Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Ken Wregget Autograph Card

Full disclosure: I was never a huge Ken Wregget fan.

It has nothing to do with him per se, it's that he started out with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and they're the only team I really have no respect for. And he played for the Leafs in the 1980s, their worst decade ever (though 2005-2015 is pretty bad as well). Also, in the packs of O-Pee-Chee cards I collected, the Leafs were represented by Allan Bester, whose equipment was blue and white compared to Wregget's brown gear, so Bester seemed more modern, like more money was spent on him, like the true leader (give me a break, I was less than 10 years old).

After the Leafs came a short stint with the Philadelphia Flyers backing Ron Hextall (a reversal of the roles they had while playing with the WHL's Lethbridge Broncos in Juniors), then a trade to the Pittsburgh Penguins where he was behind Tom Barrasso, winning the Stanley Cup in 1992. I didn't like the stacked Pens team of the early 1990s, as I preferred Wayne Gretzky's calculated efficiency over Mario Lemieux's natural abilities, and they also had too many former Hartford Whalers (Ulf Samuelsson, Ron Francis). These days, my nostalgia includes the Whalers, but back then, I saw them essentially as I see the current San Jose Sharks, losers who'll never amount to anything and shouldn't ever get near the Cup.

After the Pens, with which he did finish fifth in the Vezina race in 1994-95, he went to the Calgary Flames - a team I like, except that I didn't follow the NHL much in the late 1990s, so it fell under the radar for me - before a final season with the Detroit Red Wings in 1999-2000. He retired after spending the 2000-01 season with the IHL's Manitoba Moose, playing in front of his hometown crowd.

It's a career path I wish I'd had, for sure, and I do love myself a good journeyman goalie story, so here he is, wearing the Flames' turn-of-the-millennium red (away) uniform, from In The Game's 1998-99 Be A Player set (card #169 in the collection, the gold variant of the signed insert version, with an on-card thin black sharpied autograph):
The fact that he wore Brown and Excel gear bothered me as a kid as well, and before that, he was still using Cooper gloves and blockers when the rest of the world was more aptly protected by Brian's and Vaughn - it didn't scream "#1" to me.

No comments:

Post a Comment