Friday, January 4, 2013

Jean-François Jomphe Autographed Card

Jean-François Jomphe made the news during the Holidays when he and fellow NHL alumni Rich Costello were arrested after an altercation with ''kids'' at a Jack-in-The-Box after a night out drinking.

Never drafted by an NHL team, Jomphe nonetheless played for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks (104 games), Phoenix Coyotes (one game), and Montréal Canadiens (6 games).

But it wasn't during his time with the Habs that I got this card signed - by the time he came around, in 1998-99, the team had long traded the two players I like the most on the team (I was a Québec Nordiques / Colorado Avalanche fan for most of my childhood), the best goalie of all time Patrick Roy and team captain and best defensive player of all time Guy Carbonneau*, the team was a bottom-dweller and I momentarily lost interest in the sport altogether except come playoff time where I followed the Avs and Edmonton Oilers.

So, no, I didn't get this signed in '98-99, but in 1995, while Jomphe was playing with the Canadian National Team; before NHLers were Olympians, Team Canada had a year-round team playing games against other countries, participating in small tournaments and playing against College teams here and there, keeping in shape until the next Games, and I played against them both with my school (the Collège Notre Dame Sabres) and my Midget AAA team (Collège-Français Montréal-Bourassa Canadiens). I didn't bring any cards for the first game (played at my school's rink) mostly because I didn't know who was on that team, but made sure to bring a few at the next one, although many didn't play in both games. Jomphe did, and if memory serves right, I think he was among the team leaders in games played (second), points (third) and penalty minutes (first). He won the bronze medal at the World Championships that year.

He signed it in blue sharpie, adding the jersey number not that he wore on the card (from Classic's 1993-94 Pro Hockey Prospects set, card #123, showing him with the old IHL's San Diego Gulls), but the one he wore with Canada and, later, with the Ducks. He wore #42 in juniors.

*Who else shut out Wayne Gretzky and a 50-goal scorer in a Stanley Cup Final?

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