Friday, December 9, 2011

Peter Sidorkiewicz: 5 Autographed Cards

An Adams division rival who played the Québec Nordiques and Montréal Canadiens often made it so that I could see Peter Sidorkiewicz in at least a third of the games he played when I was growing up, even though back then not all games were televised.

Born in Poland, Sidorkiewicz' family moved to Canada in time for him to play through the Canadian minor hockey system, culminating in his playing for the OHL's Oshawa Generals, leading to his being drafted by the Washington Capitals, who eventually traded his rights away to the Hartford Whalers, who let him perfect his game for 4 seasons with their AHL farm team, the Binghamton Whalers.

After splitting duties with superstar goalie Mike Liut for a season - earning an All-Rookie Team nod in the process - he was given the net full-time in the following season when the Whalers sent Liut to... the Capitals.

After 4 successful seasons with the Whalers, however, he was left unprotected for the expansion draft and he was the very first player chosen by the Ottawa Senators. The inaugural season may not have been the easiest, but Sidorkiewicz provided the team and its fans most of its brightest moments, as can be attested by his presence at the 1992-93 All Star Game. He was so good, in fact, that the New Jersey Devils traded for him at season's end - for 3 players, a goalie (Craig Billington), a forward (Troy Mallette), and a draft pick. Unfortunately for him, Martin Brodeur took the #1 goaltending job, and Sidorkiewicz only played 4 games over 5 seasons in Jersey, spending the bulk of his time in the minors.

Still, All-Rookie and NHL All Star - that's a heck of a career.

I sent these 5 cards and a fan letter to Sidorkiewicz's home on November 19th (2011). I got them back on December 7th, all signed in black sharpie. In my letter, I mentioned that I, too, as a goalie, used to wear more than one brand of gear, with Brian's also being my choice of glove, as can be attested here, when I played for the Bantam AAA Sens in a summer league prior to moving on to the Midget AAA level:
I did use Vaughn blockers, though, not Brown like him.

Onto the cards:
These three are of Sidorkiewicz in the Whalers' early-90s home (white) and away (green) jerseys; these would change a bit before their move to Carolina. Notice how the team's logo is white on their away jerseys - just like in their WHA and early NHL days - but that the home one has it coloured in green and blue.

The card of the left is from Upper Deck's 1991-92 Series 1 set (card #325), classy and simple with the white borders. I also like the picture on the back, making a glove save on a shot that's clearly too high, with Randy Ladouceur checking a New York Islanders player behind the net:
The card on the right is from Score's 1992-93 Score (Canadian) set (card #41), while the one in the middle is from Fleer's 1992-93 Fleer Ultra set (card #150) and despite showing him in the Whalers' uniform, has his listed as a member of the Senators. That's because 'premium' sets such as Ultra were produced later in the year, so they had enough time to update their data at least to Opening Day.

But the following two cards are the ones I prefer, not just because the signature fits with the uniforms, but because I actually really liked the Sens' original jerseys: black, red and white, how could you go wrong?
The card on the left, where he is sporting the home (white) uniform, is from Score's 1992-93 Pinnacle set (card #371). Pinnacle was Score's premium brand, and as the card market started to switch (93-96), they tried to re-brand themselves by changing the company's name to Pinnacle Brands, trying to market itself as premium-first, with Score becoming their lone low-level product.

The card on the right, with the dark (away) jersey, is from Pro Set's 1992-93 Series 1 collection (card #125).

Ironically, the face-only team picture on the back of each card has him wearing the other jersey:
I must say I really like how he went out of his way to sign all the cards at the bottom, keeping the integrity of the pictures and of his poses. And he took the liberty of putting the cards in penny sleeves - which I hadn't even included (here's why, thanks again Sal!). All of that in less than three weeks!

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