Tuesday, January 31, 2017

WHA Trio!

As I mentioned in a post a couple of weeks ago, one of the sets I decided to work on here in 2017 is the subset of WHA cards that were included in the high number series of the '72-73 O-Pee-Chee release.  The Larry Cahan card that I posted that day was the fourth I'd shown here on the blog, but I actually have three more that I picked up a year or two ago and never got around to posting.  Let's check them out!

First up is center Joe Szura of the Los Angeles Sharks.  Joe toiled in the AHL throughout the '60s before finally making his NHL debut with the Oakland Seals in his late 20s.  After just 90 games over two seasons with Oakland he was back in the AHL, this time with the Providence Reds in the little state that I call home, Rhode Island.

The WHA gave Joe a chance to briefly revive his career, as he latched on with the Los Angeles Sharks for the league's inaugural '72-73 season.  After that it was off to the Houston Aeros for '73-74, followed by one final season in the obscure North American Hockey League to wrap up his career.  On a side note, how great is that LA Sharks logo?

Here's the first card I ever picked up from this release.  As a Whalers collector this one was essential, as Jim Dorey is the only New England Whaler to appear in this set.  Jim was a rugged defenseman who had spent a few years plying his trade for the Maple Leafs before New England poached him.

Jim found immediate success at the WHA level, as he helped the Whalers win the league's championship that very first season, and would remain a star in the league throughout its 7-year existence.  As one of the few cardboard representations of the lone championship that the New England Whalers/Hartford Whalers franchise would ever win, I've always treasured this one.

Lastly, the star of today's trio, the one and only Gerry Cheevers!  Gerry was one of the biggest names to jump from the NHL at the WHA's inception.  He had just helped the Bruins win two Stanley Cup Championships in a three year span before making the leap to the rival league.  Bruins fans could not have been very happy at the time about that turn of events.

Not surprisingly, Gerry excelled over the three seasons plus that he spent with the Cleveland Crusaders.  He was hands down one of the better goalies in the WHA, and was named all All-Star in each of those seasons.  Eventually he'd depart from the Crusaders over a financial dispute with management and return to the Bruins, where he finished out his professional career.

This card represents one of only two HOFers present in the '72-73 OPC WHA subset.  Nice to have half of the HOFers covered at this early stage of my project.

Well, that's a wrap for today.  There are just over 50 of these cards in total, and today's post brings me to 7.  A long way to go still, but I look forward to it.  Thanks for reading as always!


Mark Hoyle said...

Love these. I might have to someday add the wha cards to my 72-73 set

Adam Sanders said...

Never heard of the Cleveland Crusaders but I'm going to have to look into them now. My goal one day is to build all the WHA OPC sets from the 70s.

Billy Kingsley said...

Very cool! I just got my first WHA card Saturday, it was a gift from a member of the Trading Card Database. I plan to show it in my January trade recap (probably) on the first of February.

Tony Burbs said...

You're right - that Sharks logo is phenomenal!

Hackenbush said...

Joe may not have been the best player but he definitely had the best looking card of your trio. Yeah that logo is terrific.

Anonymous said...

Excellent cards, even if Gerry Cheevers looks like he's auditioning for the role of Quasimodo.

shoeboxlegends said...

Yeah it's certainly not the most flattering photo of Cheevers, that's for sure. It's almost like they went out of their way to avoid showing the logo on the sweater but ended up with a ton of empty space as a result.

Chris said...

Very cool cards! I'm partial to the Jim Dorey of course. I have a couple WHAlers but they're from the 77-78 set I think.

I'm setting aside some cards for you and I'll check your wantlists later this week. Probably wont be able to help out with your Red Sox or Whalers wants, but I bet I can fill a few set needs. I cant find your e-mail anywhere, so if you'd like you can shoot me one: sutherlandct @ gmail (dot) com.

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