The Worst Hockey Cards of All-Time is a new feature at Houses of the Hockey. On occasion, we’ll be highlighting some of the ugliest, funniest, and error-ridden cards both past and present.

By 1982 when O-Pee-Chee released its 82-83 set of hockey cards, Wayne Gretzky had already played three seasons with the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. As part of its collection, O-Pee-Chee honoured the NHL’s 1981-82 league leaders with an insert set. The great Paul Baxter was honoured for his astounding 409 PIM, while Gretzky was featured on a number of the cards the league’s top goal scorer (92), assist leader (120), and as the scoring leader (212)… obviously. Consistent with almost every one of the nearly 6+ Wayne Gretzky cards of the 82-83 set was No. 99′s iconic Jofa helmet.

We say almost every one because for some reason the commemorative scoring leader card depicted Gretzky in a poorly airbrushed version of the Jofa.

Gretzky had worn the Jofa helmet as far back as his NHL career began, no? So why the paint job? It appears as though the airbrushing was done over top of an existing helmet. That’s not even close to what a proper Jofa looks like; it’s some kind of cross between a Petr Klima and a Butch Goring. Gratuitous airbrushing at its most inexplicable.

Although we consider ourselves a bunch of nostalgia crazy hockey geeks, and have all collected cards throughout the years, we’re always looking for new cards to highlight. If you have a hockey card you’d like to see featured, just email us at and we may post your submission.

Comments (5)

  1. Not sure if you’ve reviewed this already but IMO the 1975-76 OPC of Bill Clement in a Washington uniform is by far the worst airbrush job of all time. The body is misshapen, out of proportion and the uniform is just terrible!

    You might also want to review the differences between OPC and Topps cards from the 68-69 and 69-70 sets. In many cases, airbrushing on the OPC cards (in order to show the latest team of a player) is the only difference from the Topps cards (in some cases there are different photos). Makes collecting both OPC and Topps for these sets worthwhile.

  2. …the combination of the blast marks on the helmet, and the stunned look, he kind of looks like one of those guys on the Tantive IV about to get shot while protecting Princess Leia.

  3. you guys are assholes you guys r stupid

  4. I always thought that card was actually a picture of him playing for Indianapolis and they painted him in Oilers colours for the card. But you’d think there must have been enough pictures of him playing for Edmonton that they wouldn’t have to waste their time with a brutal paint job.

  5. The original photo under the poor airbrushed job was taken at the All Star Game. Why they choose that photo is unknown but it was not an old photo of him white Indianapolis it is really a picture of him at the All-Star Game.

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