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]

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    

1985 O-pee-chee Hockey Mario Lemieux Rookie Rc #9 Bgs 9.5 Gem Mint (pwcc)1969 O-pee-chee Hockey Setbreak Serge Savard Rookie Rc #4 Psa 8 Nm-mt (pwcc)1966-67 Topps Hockey Card Full Set 132/1321969 O-pee-chee Hockey Setbreak Bobby Orr #24 Psa 8 Nm-mt (pwcc)1979 Topps Hockey Unopened Wax Pack Box W/ 36 Packs Gretzky Rookie YearBobby Orr Psa 2 Rookie Card Topps #35 Boston Bruins 196607/08 Upper Deck Opc Premier Foursomes Auto Howe,hull,beliveau,mahovlich /152013-14 Ultimate Collection Ryan Strome Auto Rc Nhl Shield 1/1 Islanders Sick 2015-16 Hockey Upper Deck 1st Overall Pick Connor Mcdavid #sp11951-52 Parkhurst Hockey Card Full Set 105/105Wayne Gretzky Patrick Roy The Cup Dual Auto 14/15 Game Used Stick No Patch Sp 1978 Pittsburgh Penguins Hockey Jersey Stall- Dean Brockton Mass.Connor Mcdavid Signed Autographed Edmonton Oilers Reebok Hockey Jersey CoaOpc 1971-72 *set Break* #45 Ken Dryden Rc. (o-pee-chee 71-72) Graded Psa 8 Oc.1967-68 Topps Hockey Card Full Set 132/132Scott Stevens Washington Capitals Ccm Pro Authentic Nhl Hockey Jersey 2014-15 Ultimate Collection Alexsander Barkov Logo Nhl Shield Auto 1/1 Panthers1952-53 Parkhurst Hockey Card Full Set 105/105(2) Consecutive #ed 1990 Pro Set Hockey Stanley Cup Hologram Insert Cards #3881969 O-pee-chee Hockey Setbreak Checklist 1-132 #132 Psa 7 Nrmt (pwcc)1972 O-pee-chee Hockey Setbreak Bobby Orr #129 Psa 9 Mint (pwcc)79-80 Opc Wayne Gretzky Rookie Oilers Opeechee 197913-14 The Cup Wayne Gretzky Honorable Numbers Patch Auto /9 2 Color1969 O-pee-chee Hockey Setbreak Gump Worsley #1 Psa 8 Nm-mt (pwcc)Wayne Gretzky Brett Hull The Cup Dual Auto 14/15 Game Used Stick No Patch Sp1986 O-pee-chee Hockey Patrick Roy Rookie Rc #53 Psa 9 Mint (pwcc)1972 O-pee-chee Hockey Setbreak Bobby Orr & Brad Park #227 Psa 9 Mint (pwcc)Nhl A.g. Spalding & Bros 1930's Vintage Logo Hockey Puck - Signed By 3 Players!2009/2010 Upper Deck Black Lustrous Materials Auto Jersey Wayne Gretzky /50Wayne Gretzky The Cup Limited Logos Patch Auto 40/50 Game Used Sp RarePittsburgh Penguins Vintage Converse Game Puck RareNhl A.g. Spalding & Bros 1930's Vintage Logo Hockey Puck - Signed By 4 Players!1979-80, O-pee-chee, #18 Wayne Gretzky Rookie Card, Bvg 5Nhl A.g. Spalding & Bros 1930's Vintage Logo Hockey Puck - Signed By 4 Players!Nhl A.g. Spalding & Bros 1930's Vintage Logo Hockey Puck - Signed By 3 Players!1970/71 Topps Hockey Wax Pack Display Box With 1 Wrapper1963-64 Topps Hockey Card Full Set 66/661979 Wayne Gretzky O-pee-chee Rc #18 Psa 6 Ex-mt1964-65 Topps Hockey Card Starter Set 83/1102013-14 Upper Deck The Cup Dual Nhl Logo Shield Auto Booklet Beaulieu Tinordi1965-66 Topps Hockey Card Full Set 128/1282015 Upper Deck Connor Mcdavid Nhl Draft Sp Auto Rookie Sp1a Signature Young Gun1969 O-pee-chee Hockey Setbreak Bobby Hull #70 Psa 9 Mint (pwcc)Wayne Gretzky 12/13 Upper Deck The Cup Foundations Auto Quad Patch 3/5 Kings1955-56 Parkhurst Hockey Card Full Set 79/791975 Opc Wha Hockey Wax Pack Psa 8 Near Mint - Mint Rare2014-15 Wayne Gretzky Upper Deck Ud Masterpieces Autograph Card #92 $3501969 O-pee-chee Hockey Setbreak Gordie Howe #61 Psa 8 Nm-mt (pwcc)Vintage New York Rangers Hockey Bobblehead BankRare 1967-68 Boston Bruins Nhl Converse Puck - Patent Number 222651615-16 Ud Tim Hortons Hockey Box Of 100 Sealed Unopened Packs Sold Out Free Ship1981 O-pee-chee Hockey Paul Coffey Rookie Rc #111 Psa 9 Mint (pwcc)1972 O-pee-chee Hockey Setbreak Phil Esposito #230 Psa 9 Mint (pwcc)Wayne Gretzky The Cup Scripted Sticks Auto 6/35 Game Used No Patch Sp Bgs 9.5 1969 O-pee-chee Hockey Setbreak Checklist 133-231 #31 Psa 8 Nm-mt (pwcc)1953 Nhl Parkhurst Hockey Card Jean Beliveau #27 Psa 5.5 Ex+ Rookie*must See* Art Ross Psa/dna Autograph Hockey Cut Hof 1945 Deceased 1969 O-pee-chee Hockey Setbreak Phil Esposito 214 Back #205 Psa 8 Nm-mt (pwcc)2015-16 Upper Deck Tim Hortons New Nhl Hockey 100 Pack Box2015-16 Ud Hockey Young Guns Rookie Card Of Connor Mcdavid # 201