Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Michel Goulet: Two Autographed Cards

I already had a post here where I talked about his stats and, mostly, the cause of his retirement, so I won't repeat it in this post, but one thing I really wanted was to have some Michel Goulet memorabilia in his Québec Nordiques uniform.... and now I do.

All it took was a ''home-and-home series'' pitting alumni from the Nordiques versus former Montréal Canadiens players to get a chance to bring old 80s cards and get them signed.

As a kid, I always preferred the underdog Nordiques to my home-town Habs (except for Patrick Roy, of course, my childhood hero), perhaps as a gesture of defiance, or maybe because their jerseys were spectacular (particularly when they added a red contour to their numbers and lettering in the 90s), but for whatever reason, they were my team.

And from the Nordiques, Joe Sakic and Peter Stastny were the definite defining players, but also Mario Gosselin in nets, Jeff Brown at the point, and Goulet, one of the purest goal-scoring machines of the 80s: 4 straight 50-goal seasons, 7 straight 40-or-more-goal seasons, never less than 20 goals in any season except his very last, where he scored 16 but only played in 56 games before a freak injury forced him to retire. A sad exit for one of the defining moustaches of the 80s.

He was kind enough to sign both cards I brought with another fan's blue sharpie. I didn't hang around too long because so many people were there asking for autographs, and I didn't want to hog the place to myself, but I kind of regret not explaining to him why I chose those two specific cards instead of my usual ''one of every uniform'', but I'll do it here.

Firstly, on the right, is a 1987-88 O-Pee-Chee card (#77), its picture taken during a pre-game skate (as was common for cards in the 80s). I particularly like it because his usual afro looks more like a perm, and because I like to be reminded that he wore Jofa equipment - usually worn by European players at the time, whereas North Americans would wear CCM. Also notice the stick he's using: a white Titan with red lettering - it's the Wayne Gretzky model (with fac-simile autograph on it) that so many of us kids in the 80s were using ourselves, until The Great One was traded to Los Angeles and switched to Easton aluminum sticks on the way.

On the left is a 1988-89 Topps card (#54) where he's sporting the usual blue 'away' uniform (again during the pre-game skate, obviously before a game against the Boston Bruins), but on his right arm, on top of his number is a patch for 'Rendez-Vous '87', an international hockey match-up that replaced the All-Star game that year and was held in Québec City (Goulet was on the NHL team that faced the Soviets, with fellow Nordiques Clint Malarchuk and Normand Rochefort). He really seems to be having a blast on this card!

The Topps card is special to me, because those cards were pretty much unavailable in Canada at the time; The Topps Company were releasing O-Pee-Chee in Canada, and Topps in the U.S. - mostly the same set with the same design and pictures and players, only the Topps set usually had much fewer cards, probably because hockey is more of a niche/big market sport in the U.S., while it's the main sport in Canada. I was not aware of this at the time. But when the sports card market exploded in 1990 and a bunch of card shops started opening, some of them imported the Topps cards; for novelty's sake, I often traded an O-Pee-Chee for its Topps twin - even though they were often worth a little less, usually a 10-25% difference - and it's the case here. Fun/fond memories, though.

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