Sunday, October 3, 2021

From the Favorites Box: Glenn Healy, 1991-92 O-Pee-Chee #368

A series where I post some thoughts about favorite cards. Previous cards in the series are available here.

Here's Glenn Healy, minding the net at Nassau Coliseum.


The old Coliseum, the classic home white uniforms, the advertisement on the boards behind him, it all reminds me of a Glenn Healy story from a game I attended back then—probably around the same year this card was released. 
Toward the end of pre-game warmups, Mr. Healy was still on the ice and noticed a few kids standing 15 or 20 rows back from the glass, behind his net. No one else was in that section of seats. (The Islanders weren't very good at the time, and weren't drawing huge crowds during pre-game warmups, especially on a weeknight as it was.) It became clear to me that he was trying to figure out a way to get a puck or two up there so the kids could go home with a souvenir. But how? 

Well, he got the attention of a couple of his players and pointed them toward the kids. Then he moved to the side of the goal, tapped the blade of his goalie stick on the ice, and tilted it back, effectively producing a ramp. (Can you see where this is going?) 

The players picked up on it. They began deliberately shooting pucks hard and along the ice, right toward Healy's stick-ramp.

Unfortunately for Healy, he'd angled his stick perfectly wrong. Instead of going up and over the glass, the first shot went straight into the top of the goal!

He threw his head back as if he were saying "D'oh!"

It was a funny moment. And as I look back now, it's impressive. Think about it. There was Glenn Healy, professional NHL goaltender, having fun like a kid—during warmups of an NHL game. 

When most players were busy getting their game faces on, Healy was busy trying to get a hockey puck to a few kids in the stands. Now it could be that he wasn't the starting goaltender that evening, and that's why he was goofing around a little bit. I don't know. But in any case, the moment stuck with me.

And if you know anything about Mr. Healy, it will all make perfect sense. 

He was quite a lighthearted guy during his playing career (as evidenced by a little TV comedy spot he'd occasionally do with teammate Patrick Flatley called The Heals and Flats Show. In this particular segment they discuss the differences between the NFL and the CFL). 

Not surprisingly, after his playing career ended, Healy continued to amuse hockey fans as a color commentator and analyst for various Canadian television networks. Currently he's the President and Executive Director of the NHL Alumni Association, and despite the lofty job title, I'm sure he still keeps everyone laughing.

Here are his career numbers across 15 seasons: 437 GP, 166 W, 190 L, 47 T, 13 SHO, 3.37 GAA, .887 SV%

Although he didn't spend much of that time as his team's outright number-one goalie, Healy had some pretty good individual seasons, winning as many as 25 games with the Kings in 1988-89 and 22 games with the Islanders in 1992-93. He also played a big part in taking the Isles to the Conference Finals that season, dethroning the two-time defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins along the way. 

The following year he was traded to the Rangers, just in time to provide solid backup to Mike Richter across 29 games of the regular season. He also helped the team hoist the Stanley Cup that year, appearing in parts of 2 playoff games and posting a robust .941 save percentage (16 saves on 17 shots) along with a minuscule 0.89 goals-against average.

I'm sure he played a big part in keeping his teammates loose during those intense Stanley Cup games, too.

And for reminding us that it is indeed possible to have a little fun despite the pressure of playing a professional sport—or perhaps because of the pressure—1991-92 O-Pee-Chee #368 has a spot in my box of favorite cards.

Here's to the new hockey season.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Billy! Fun memory, for sure. Nassau Coliseum is a great old hockey arena, too.

  2. I remembered the name vaguely but nothing else about him. Sounds like a great guy - fun story!

    1. Thanks Bo! I'm sure he's got all sorts of fun stories to share.