A lesson in how to liven up a table of contents page; kick the magazine off with an awesome shot of Grant Fuhr circa Oilers era, literally buried in rubber.
The 1993-94 Hart Trophy winner as league MVP, Sergei Fedorov, was used to push 1994-95 Fleer Ultra was the hot new product on the market. This was Fleer Ultra's third consecutive release and a breakaway from the design that was used for the previous two installments.
Fedorov was given a special 'limited edition' 10-card insert set that was distributed throughout all pack types. There were also two additional Sergei Fedorov 'Performance Highlights' cards available only by mail when you sent ten '94-95 Fleer Ultra wrappers and $1.50 (to cover return postage) to an address listed on the back of the packs.
Laugh all you want but after viewing this ad I have a whole new appreciation and interest in 94-95 Fleer Ultra, especially the inserts - they look fantastic. I wouldn't mind getting my hands on those 'Ultra All-Rookie' cards; the words "ice crystal design" definitely intrigues me.
Also, I did a little research and can debunk the claim made by Fleer that Fedorov means 'collectible' in Russian. It actually means "God's gift" apparently.
Who better to feature inside a 1994 hockey magazine issue about goalie mask cards than John Vanbiesbrouck? A tendy who just so happened to wear one of the most recognizable and beloved goalie mask designs during the '90s.
The majority of the article reflects on Beezer's most recent season, at the time, his first in a Panther's uniform. It talks about how he became an ambassador of the game and how much time he dedicated to helping expand and educate South Florida about the game of hockey.
Surprisingly, there's little in regards to hockey cards or Vanbiesbrouck's iconic mask; the article does acknowledge how his '93-94 Pinnacle Masks insert is the biggest 'prize' in the set.
I also wanted to mention, in the article it makes note that Vanbiesbrouck's rookie card (86-87 OPC #9) was the most valuable RC of any active goalie without a Stanley Cup championship ring - I wonder if that still stands today.
The main article in the magazine revolved around cards featuring goalie masks. Material was limited given the fact that there were very few hockey card sets based solely on goalie masks at the time but because of the overwhelming popularity of the '93-94 Pinnacle Mask and Leaf Painted Warrior's insert sets - various card companies had heavy intentions on rolling out similar sets to please the crowds.
Pinnacle would churn out a '94-95 version of the Masks inserts while Donruss had plans in place for a Masked Marvels set.
The popularity of collecting hockey cards that showcase goalie masks has not faded away as many collectors still chase cards from the previously mentioned sets from the past. Regardless if the card is from an actual mask themed set or just a regular base featuring a nice close-up of the protective device's design - a beautiful mask shot will never go astray.
A single page ad for 1994-95 Upper Deck! Really like that Wayne Gretzky SP 'Predictor' insert card shown.
Pavel Bure was a hot commodity in the hobby world at the time while Mario Lemieux was determined the coldest of the cold. Eric Lindros was apparently deemed luke-warm as he is found ranked at no.5 on both lists.
Paul Kariya had not played an NHL game yet and was expected to hit the ice with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in the season opener ahead. It mentions how Kariya's sole rookie card (92-93 Upper Deck #586) had slumped due to his absence from the NHL - but they predicted that his RC and numerous inserts should return to prominence "if he makes the expected quick adjustment to the professional game." He made the adjustment.
According to the 'Ready for Flight' article, the Boston Bruin's were going into the season pinning its future on Blaine Lacher and Evgeni Riabchikov, both rookies at the time. The article goes on to tote them as being possible high interest players in the hobby. It's 2017, I've never heard of Riabchikov but Lacher on the other hand, to this day, has won a lot of card collectors over with his loch ness monster mask design gracing those pieces of cardboard.
A fun full-page ad from Muppets "Take The Ice" trading cards.
I wonder just how many of these places are still in operation, 23 years later.
What kind of price guide write-up would be complete without a few scans of the actual card prices! If you'd like to enlarge the images for your viewing pleasure, just click on the picture.
Alexander Kharlamov (son of the late Soviet hockey star Valeri Kharlamov) was a first-round pick of the Washington Capitals in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft but never did suit for an NHL regular season game despite impressive numbers in the AHL.
Before the Internet, finding out which hockey players shared the same birthdate as yourself wasn't all that easy. Sure, you could check the back of every hockey card that featured a date of birth or read the latest Beckett birthday tidbit.
By 1994 the Oilers dynasty team had completely dispersed; Gretzky was scoring goals in L.A. while Messier just led the New York Rangers to their first Stanley Cup championship in 54 years, along with other ex-Oilers Adam Graves, Kevin Lowe, Jeff Beukeboom, Esa Tikkanen, Craig MacTavish and Glenn Anderson.
The article 'Edmonton Connection' reflects on just that - the Oilers dynasty of the 1980s as well as the New York Rangers recent Cup victory and the ties associated to the aforementioned Edmonton roster of days gone by.
I remember sorta liking Derek Plante as a kid for whatever reason. I think there may have been some hype built up around him during his first couple of years in the league and unconsciously accumulating Plante cards during this time didn't hurt either.
The majority of the article focuses on Plante's journey to the NHL, college playing career and his history of representing team USA during International competition.
The article references Derek Plante's 1993-94 Parkhurst and Donruss rookie cards as well as his inclusion in the Parkhurst 'Calder Candidates' insert set from the same year.
The back cover of Beckett always featured a full-sized image of a player much like the usual front cover of the magazine.