A series where I post some thoughts about favorite cards. Previous cards in the series are available here.
Today you won't be reading a long, nostalgic, thought-provoking description of why this card is in my box of favorites.
You don't need one.
I mean, just look at it:
Is there a better example of 1970s hockey? Rogue hair and mustache, rogue stance, rogue glare, rogue uniforms.
Rogue hockey league, for goodness sake.
You can practically hear Led Zeppelin blasting from the radio in his Chevelle SS.
Aside from the look, Mike Pelyk also nailed down a pretty serviceable professional hockey career. From 1967-68 to 1972-73, the Toronto native played for his very own Maple Leafs (a success right there, full stop!), and put up a total of 13 goals and 40 assists. He really broke out offensively in the 1973-74 season, though, nearly matching his career goal output (12) and adding 19 more assists in that one season alone.
Surely it was good for his confidence—and with his contract expiring, you'd think it would be just as beneficial for his wallet.
Peculiarly, the offer from Toronto wasn't exactly substantial.
However, an offer from the Cincinnati Stingers of the WHA sure was (one million dollars for seven years, which at the time for a rugged defenseman like Pelyk was quite a large amount). And as much as Mr. Pelyk would have liked to stay with his hometown team, the WHA's offer was just too good. He took it, and would end up being loaned to the Vancouver Blazers for a season, which gave us this gem of a card. After that, he did join the Stingers for a season before returning to the NHL and the Leafs to wrap up his playing career.
All in all, a successful decade of pro hockey and a fantastic trading card.
And for all the 1970s goodness the card displays, 1974-75 O-Pee-Chee WHA #19 has a spot in my box of favorites.