Friday, June 24, 2016

André Lacroix: Two Autographed Cards

Here's one to fit with the Saint-Jean Baptiste, Québec's national holiday: Lauzon, Québec-born André Lacroix may be the most productive player in the history of the WHA. After all, he does hold the career marks for assists (by nearly two hundred) and points (by over a hundred) and posted six consecutive 100-point seasons. That's 251 goals, 547 assists and 798 points in just 551 WHA games (plus 14-29-43 in 48 playoff games) and 79 goals, 119 assists and 198 points in 325 NHL regular season games (plus 2-5-7 in 16 playoff games).

After playing for the Québec Aces in the AHL for three and a half seasons, he made the Philadelphia Flyers on a "French Line" with Jean-Guy Gendron and a rotation of Richard "Dick" Sarrazin and Simon Nolet, but at 5'8" and 175 pounds, he was a bit small for the Broad Street Bullies, despite having what many people later described as Wayne Gretzky-like hands.

He did get around, though, through no fault of his own; after a season with the Philadelphia Blazers who moved to Vancouver, he was traded to the New York Golden Blades, who became the New Jersey Knights halfway through the season and became the San Diego Mariners after relocating, with whom he won his second scoring title and was the second pro player ever to hit the 100-assist mark (after Bobby Orr).

He then played one year with the Houston Aeros before joining Gordie Howe and sons Mark and Marty with the New England Whalers, who then merged with the NHL, becoming the Hartford Whalers.

Here are two identical cards of his I got in a repackaged "guaranteed-hit" envelope a few years ago, both signed in silver sharpie and consecutively numbered (883 and 884) to 1972:
They're from Pacific's 2004-05 WHA Autographs and WHA Legends sub-sets, showing Lacroix wearing the WHA's All-Star uniform.

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