Some say the First Nations peoples of Canada introduced the world to ice hockey as we know it today. Others claim the source of the sport was a game called hurley, played in Windsor, Nova Scotia in the late 18th century.

Whatever its origins, hockey is a uniquely Canadian sport. During most of the 1800s, some form of hockey was ubiquitous north of the 49th parallel, and by 1875 the first indoor hockey game was played at the Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal. In a harbinger, perhaps, of things to come, rules were established a few years later.

By 1885, there were enough amateur hockey players in Montreal to form a league, which spawned a championship played during the city’s annual winter carnival. The Governor General of Canada, Lord Stanley of Preston, eventually purchased a silver Sheffield trophy for the winners, and thus, in 1893, the Montreal Hockey Club became the first team, amateur or professional, to claim the Stanley Cup.

Professional leagues formed in the U.S. and Canada in the early 20th century, with the National Hockey League getting its start in Montreal in 1910. Imperial Tobacco promptly issued the first hockey cards for the 1910 and 1911 seasons.

After a drought of two decades, Canadian chewing gum companies O-Pee-Chee and Ice Kings issued hockey cards in 1933. The Ice Kings set only lasted one year, but OPC, as the company is known, made hockey cards until the early 1940s.

After World War II, Parkhurst produced hockey cards, and continued to do so until 1964, but its licenses limited its output of cards—in some years it only made cards depicting players on the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens. Topps got into the game in 1954. By the late 1960s, OPC had resumed its association with hockey by distributing Topps cards with its name on them.

Other hockey collectibles from the 1960s were the plastic coins made by Shirriff, a maker of jelly desserts and puddings—these coins often featured the Salada Foods brand on them...

Shirriff was not the only dessert company to produce what are now considered hockey collectibles. In 1970, Dad’s Cookies published a series of 144 vertically shaped cards featuring players like Bobby Orr, Tony Esposito, Jacques Plante, and Jean Beliveau. The cards are a bit of a curiosity since each player posed for his photo wearing an NHL Players uniform rather than his team uniform.

Signed hockey memorabilia is another favorite of hockey fans and collectors. Autographed, game-worn jerseys from Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe are highly prized (for both players, the older the jersey, the better). Game-used signed hockey sticks are also popular, as are team-signed sticks.

Pucks are in a class by themselves. Some just bear the player’s signature, while pucks from 1972 and 1973 that were used to score a goal were cataloged and authenticated by the NHL—these pucks are usually signed and dated, and come with a certificate from the NHL.

In terms of printed matter, official NHL Hockey Guides are collectible, especially those from 1930s through the 1950s. And if you can find them, the 8-by-10 photos given away as promos by Bee Hive Golden Corn Syrup from 1934 to 1967 are terrific collectibles. More than 1,000 different photos were produced during the promotion’s 34 years. Find one with a player’s signature, and you’ve got a unique vintage hockey collector’s item.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Beehive Hockey Photo Museum

Beehive Hockey Photo Museum

This easy-to-navigate site contains a complete inventory of the 1,026 Bee Hive Hockey Photos (organized by team and… [read review or visit site]

Hockeylegend.com

Hockeylegend.com

Scott Petterson’s personal collection of vintage ice hockey memorabilia focuses on the history of the Portland Bu… [read review or visit site]



Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

1953-jean Beliveau # 27-parkurst- Psa-graded 4-rookie Hockey Card2013/14 Morgan Rielly 1/1 Nhl Shield Logo Black Rc Auto Patch National Treasures1985 Topps Hockey #9 Mario Lemieux Rc Rookie Hof Psa 10 Gem Mint CenteredNathan Mackinnon 2013-14 National Treasures Nhl Draft Plaque Auto #2/10.. Rare!!1968-69 O-pee-chee Opc Puck Sticker #4 Bobby Orr Psa 8 Nm/mt1979 O-pee-chee Opc Hockey #18 Wayne Gretzky Rc Hof Sgc 92 Nm-mt+ 8.5 CenteredCasey Hankinson Minnesota Gophers Hockey Jersey 1997 Rare Alternate Third1980-81 Opc Hockey Complete Set (396)1967-68 Topps- Bobby Orr # 92-graded Ksa-nm-7 Hockey Card1973-74 Opc Hockey Complete Set (264)One Of A Kind 1968 Topps Hockey Unopened Sealed Wax Pack Psa 9 Mint Rare1952-gordie Howe # 88 -parkurst- Hockey Card1966 Topps Hockey #35 Bobby Orr Boston Bruins Rc Rookie Hof Psa 2.5 Good + 1979-80 Opc O-pee-chee Near Complete Set Missing Gretzky Nm To Nm/mtJaroslav Halak 2013-14 National Treasures Nhl Shield Patch Auto One Of One 1/1Jofa Hockey Helmet1984-85 Hockey O Pee Chee Wax Box 48 Unopened Packs Yzerman Rookie Possible2012-13 Ud The Cup Wayne Gretzky Ultimate Signature Auto1968 O-pee-chee #2 Bobby Orr, Bruins. Psa 5.2007/08 07/08 Ud Ultimate Signatures Wayne Gretzky Auto Autograph Us-wg Ssp1957 Jacques Plante # 15-graded Psa-nm-7 -parkurst- Hockey Card1976-77 Opc Hockey Complete Set (396 Cards)Original 1979-80 Topps Wayne Gretzky Rookie Oilers Hockey Card Sgc Nm/mt+ 8.5 921968-69 O-pee-chee Opc Puck Sticker #4 Bobby Orr Psa 6 Ex/mtEarly 80's Maine Mariners John Paddock Ahl Game Worn Jersey - Ahl Hall Of Famer13/14 Panini National Treasures Matchups Gordie Howe - Johnny Bucyk 1/1 1975-76 Opc O-pee-chee Hockey Partial Set Lot Ex-mnt Nr-mnt Avg 291/396 Bv$610Game Worn Western Michigan Hockey JerseyExtreme Rare Vintage Nhl Pittsburgh Penguins Czech Not Converse 'big Logo' PuckVintage Official Nhl Art Ross Converse Hockey Puck / *** California Seals ***Wayne Gretzky Signed La Kings Jersey Coa From Wg Authentic1979 Opc Hockey #18 Wayne Gretzky Rookie Card, Low Grade Mint,...yes Mint!Wayne Gretzky Patch Auto #19/50 2006-07 Ud Cup Limited Logos Autograph La Kings1975-76 Opc O-pee-chee Wha Hockey Partial Set Lot Ex-mnt Nr-mnt+ 112/132 Bv$688 2012-13 Upper Deck Canvas Autographs #cawg Wayne Gretzky 15/791979-80 Topps #18 Wayne Gretzky Oilers Rc Rookie Hof Bccg 81979-80 Topps Wayne Gretzky Rookie Card #18 Very Well Centered1985-86 Opc O-pee-chee Near Set Missing Lemieux + 3 More  nm/mtBobby Orr Authentic Boston Bruins Game-issued Outdoor Game JerseyHowe / Roy / Messier / Bourque + National Treasures Gold 8 Man Auto #3/5 A8492Wayne Gretzky Ccm Game Issued Jersey Rare La Kings Rochester Americans Stars & Bars Jersey #8 Keaton Ellerby 75th Ahl Patch Amerks!Wayne Gretzky Autographed La Kings Stanley Cup Wg Authentic Hologram Coa 2007-08 Ud Sweet Shot Puck Signings Sidney Crosby Auto Penguins Bgs 9 Mint W/ 1014 Panini Prime Jonas Brodin 1/1 Nhl Shield Prime Rookie Auto1958 To 1974 Topps Raw Football Lot - 1100 Cards + Basketball And Hockey Cards1976-77 Opc O-pee-chee Wha Hockey Partial Set Ex-mnt Nr-mnt+ Avg 131/132 Bv$419Wayne Gretzky 2014 Ud Upper Deck National Sports Cc Autograph Auto #/10 KingsSioux City Musketeers Game Worn Hockey Jersey-58+g-ushl-ncaaNew Reebok Ncaa North Dakota Fighting Sioux Authentic Hockey Jersey Size 58Bobby Orr 2010 11 Sp Authentic Sign Of The Times Dual Auto Bgs 9.51974-75 Opc O-pee-chee Wha Hockey Partial Set Lot Exmnt Nr-mnt+ Avg 63/66 Bv$4371960-61 Topps Hockey Card S. Mikita #14Authentic Nhl Adam Graves New York Rangers Ccm Hockey Jersey CosbysNational Treasures Flawless Gordie Howe 2/5 DiamondNew Nhl Chicago Blackhawks Hockey Real Glass Neon Beer Bar Pub Light Sign1979-80 Topps Wayne Gretzky Rookie Card #18 Bvg 5.5 ExcellentOntario Reign Echl Hockey Sp Apparel Jersey Xl With Rare Stocking CapPittsburgh Penguins 3rd Color Bauer Supreme Pro Stock Hockey Pants Size MediumPsa 7 Near Mint 1960 61 Parkhurst # 20 Gordie Howe Detroit Red Wings