Heading into the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games, collectors were witness to resurgence in women’s hockey cards. Upper Deck presented the promise for a bright future as its O-Pee-Chee brand featured a unique insert series recognizing the Canadian men’s and women’s hockey teams.
The insert series featured the roster of the 2009 Canadian women’s team that competed at the IIHF Worlds. For players such as Marie-Philip Poulin and Shannon Szabados, these issues would prove to be their rookie cards. In addition, a foilboard card of Manon Rheaume (in her
Tampa Bay Lightning uniform no less) was an
added attraction, building the momentum of her previous card release in Upper
In the aftermath of
Upper Deck issued another insert series titled The Champions. Randomly inserted
in 2009-10 Upper Deck Series 2 Hockey (released in late winter 2010), the
series honored American and Canadian Winter Games heroes past and presented.
Collectors would also search for variants that were autographed.
Among the group of women’s hockey players included were Canadians such as Jennifer Botterill, Cassie Campbell, Kim St. Pierre and Hayley Wickenheiser. In addition, Campbell was featured in an insert series offered by World of Sport. Titled Clear Competitors, these were acetate cards randomly inserted in packs that were see-through. Including the likes of Tiger Woods and Nancy Kerrigan, Campbell was among the featured athletes. Adding to the collectibility was the fact that several American hockey heroes were part of the series. Cammi Granato (who was previously featured in 2005-06 Upper Deck hockey as part of its Young Guns subset) was joined by Julie Chu and Natalie Darwitz.
Of note, all of these players were back on card issues during the 2011 World of Sport trading card set, also issued by Upper Deck. While the set also featured female athletes from other sports, women’s hockey fans were pleased by the issuing of cards featuring members of
Under-18 Women’s Hockey team that won the gold medal at the 2010 IIHF Under-18
Featuring the likes of Erin Ambrose, Christine Bestland, Melodie Daoust (who would win a gold medal at Sochi 2014) Jamie Lee Rattray (the 2014 Patty Kazmaier Award Winner) and Jillian Saulnier, all five are possibilities to be part of
roster at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games. The U18 heroes in the set added to
the excitement of a ground-breaking card set which was akin to the pleasant
surprise of women’s players included in the 1997-98 Collectors Choice set (also
by Upper Deck).
Unfortunately, there would not be a repeat of U18 players in the 2012 edition of the World of Sport set. It was a disappointment taking into account that Upper Deck currently has an exclusive licensing agreement with Hockey
Instead, players such as Botterill,
Chu and Darwitz were back in the 2012 set. Although
cards of Granato and Wickenheiser were also featured in Upper Deck’s Goodwin
Champions set, with miniature variations (which pays homage to the tobacco sets
of the early 20th Century), it was of little consolation.
The only other option at the time was rummaging through Sports Illustrated Kids. A monthly magazine that features nine perforated trading cards in the middle of the magazine, every issue tends to have at least one female athlete featured. In the last two years, Hilary Knight and Amanda Kessel were the only women’s hockey players that SI Kids produced cards of.
With the emergence of women’s hockey at the NCAA level, a unique collectible sprouted at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Custom cards honoring senior captains on various varsity sports were produced by RIT Sportszone. During the 2010-11 campaign, Sarah Dagg would earn the cardboard treatment, making for a treasured keepsake.
Despite Upper Deck not issuing any women’s cards in the Team Canada set, it did manage to provide one very special female player with the cardboard treatment. The late Mandi Schwartz was honored with a Game Jersey card in the 2013-14 Upper Deck Series 1 hockey issue. Schwartz’s parents donated the blue Yale jersey in order to make the card a reality.
Regarding the Sochi Winter Games, the Topps Company would manage to appeal to women’s hockey collectors. Issuing a 100-card set recognizing male and female members of the American contingent, three women’s hockey players were given the opportunity to appear on cardboard. Hilary Knight and the Lamoureux Twins (Jocelyne and Monique) gained official Rookie Card status. As an added bonus, there were memorabilia cards and autographed versions randomly inserted.
US captain, and former player Caitlin Cahow, who
served on President Obama’s delegation at Sochi.
With Upper Deck recently gaining an exclusive license with the National Hockey League (to complement its Hockey
Canada license), future card issues
with women’s hockey players are unlikely. Except for the annual Allen and
Ginter release, the only other hope Topps collectors have for female hockey
players appearing on cardboard is the possibility of a set for the 2018 Winter
Games (as a side note, Topps shall issue a US Olympic set for the 2016 Summer
Panini, who holds the exclusive license with the NBA, occasionally produces card sets featuring individuals from popular culture. Such sets are the only chance in which a women’s hockey player could earn the cardboard treatment.