Sunday, December 11, 2022

Board Advertisements on Cards, Episode 5: MSG Network

Way back in 1978, the NHL allowed teams to start selling advertising space along the boards of their rinks. By the time I was a hockey card–collecting kid in the late 1980s, the trend had caught on. From snack foods to car manufacturers to banks to fast food restaurants, board advertisements really ran the gamut—and they still do.

This series will explore some of the advertisements that also managed to make their way onto hockey cards.
Previous entries are available here.
1991-92 O-Pee-Chee #289, Ray Sheppard

Here's Ray Sheppard of the Rangers, being trailed and hooked by an Edmonton Oiler who I think is Joe Murphy.
Back then, home teams wore white jerseys, so this game is being played at Madison Square Garden. And if you need any more proof, just have a look at the board advertisement to the right of Mr. Sheppard.


It's for the Madison Square Garden Network!
The MSG Network was—and still is—a television and radio service that broadcasts local sporting events and other programming. And they don't only cover Garden residents like the Rangers and Knicks. They also cover games played by the Islanders, Sabres, and Devils (hockey), Giants (football), Red Bulls (soccer), and Riptide (lacrosse), along with regional collegiate and high school sports.
Can't blame the network for taking up some advertising space during Rangers games, can you?
It's a sharp-looking logo, too, although it's since gone through some rebranding. For another look at the old logo, check out this video introduction to a Knicks game back in 1988:

Snazzy theme song, ritzy graphics, New York City, Marv Albert. Time to watch the game!

But let's get back to hockey for a moment and the man on the featured card. Ray Sheppard had an excellent 13-year career in the NHL, playing for the Sabres, Rangers, Red Wings, Sharks, Panthers, and Hurricanes.

His Ranger days came only across one season (1990-91), but in 59 games played he posted 24 goals and 23 assists for 47 points.

He was an excellent goal scorer from his very first season in the league (38 G, 27 A, 65 PTS in 1987-88), which earned him a spot on the All-Rookie team. His best season was likely 1993-94 with the Red Wings, when in 82 games he put up a stellar 52 goals and 41 assists for 93 points. 19 of those goals came on the power play. Sheppard also seemed to be a pretty good guy and a clean player, never compiling more than 29 penalty minutes in a season and earning some Lady Byng votes quite a few times across his career.

Career numbers: 817 GP, 357 G, 300 A, 657 PTS, 212 PIM, 125 PPG, 52 GWG

Back to the board advertisement now. At some point in the past, the folks at MSG began promoting the Garden as "The World's Most Famous Arena". If that's not an ingratiating, New York-ish thing to do, I don't know what is. But I suppose the Garden is pretty famous. And I do have some great Garden memories:

(1) Watching Wayne Gretzky play during his time with the Rangers. His on-ice awareness was second to none. Many times he'd just coast over to a certain section of the ice while play was going on elsewhere in the zone, and as soon as we'd all wonder what in the world he was doing just standing there alone, the puck would bounce out from a battle against the boards and come right to him.

(2) Watching Michael Jordan play against the Knicks. I've never seen one person completely control the pace of a game like he did. If he wanted the game to speed up, he sped it up and everyone else on the court followed suit. If he wanted to slow the game down, he did, and everyone again followed suit. Without exception. He had such a huge presence, and it was fun to feel that in person.
So now my question to you is:
Have you ever been to a game or other event at Madison Square Garden? If so, share some memories in the comment section below.

Thanks for reading!


  1. MSG is the only arena I've been in so there's that. Took the tour in 2019.
    It probably doesn't hurt that the same person who owns the Rangers and Knicks also owns the arena and the TV network...and also Radio City Music Hall and the Staples Center in LA.

    1. I think I remember that post on your blog, Billy! (e.g., you holding a goalie stick with a big smile on your face.)

  2. Never been to MSG... but I remember Kobe dropping 61 there and the fans showing him love.

    1. That's good to hear. I think in general New Yorkers do appreciate greatness in sports, even if it's displayed by an opposing player.

  3. The Yankees were on MSG Network for several years as well.

    I've never seen a game there. My sister had her law school graduation there, in one of the smaller auditoriums. Some day I'd ideally like to do the behind-the-scenes tour. I know they have vintage advertisements up in some of the hallways, I'd love to see that.

    Commuting to Penn Station every day I'd walk around the area alot. One evening, not very long before covid, I saw Mark Messier in his car, driving in to the parking area. Some fan had come over to talk to him. He's probably about the only Rangers guy I'd actually recognize by face. I think he's an announcer or something now.

    1. That's funny. About 7 or 8 years ago I saw Adam Graves (one of Messier's teammates on the 1994 Cup-winning team) in Penn Station early in the morning on a Sunday.

      You should do the behind-the-scenes tour. Seems right up your alley!

  4. Never been, and I can't imagine a scenario where I ever would. Saw a lot of Knicks games, and WWF shows, on television way back when, so that's something, right?

  5. I actually haven't seen a sporting event there but I've seen Depeche Mode at MSG, which was awesome.

    My favorite MSG-adjacent memory was when I was about 7 years old and the family took me to a Yankees game. They were getting blown out and some drunk guy yells "MSG sucks!" kind of out of nowhere. The randomness, plus the fact that I'd (probably) never heard anyone say that something sucks before, had me laughing all the way home.

    1. Hah! That's such a great childhood story, Chris. Thanks for sharing.