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    

1972-73 Opc Hockey Set (338/340) Nice Shape!1979-80,81-82,82-83,83-84,85-86,86-87,87-88,88-89 Wayne Gretzky Cards All Psa 1979 Topps Hockey #18 Wayne Gretzky Hof Houston Oilers Rc Rookie Psa 8 Nm-mt1961 Parkhurst #20 Gordie Howe Psa 7.5 Nrmt+Supreme Thunderbird Hockey Jersey Frank Ocean Sz Medium Vnds Hennesy BlackhawksPsa 10 Wayne Gretzky 1983 Opc O Pee Chee #29 HofMarc Andre Fleury 11/12 Panini Dominion Silver Ensigns Nhl Shield Patch Auto 1/11977 1979 Sportscaster Wayne Gretzky Rare Rc Rookie Italian Variation Psa 7 Nm1954 Parkhurst #41 Gordie Howe Hof Psa 8 Nm-mt Smr $1,150, No Reserv $0.99 Start1973-74 0-pee-chee Hockey Wax Pack Gai 8.5 Robinson Rc....opc1975-76 O-pee-chee Hockey Card Full Set 396/396 Inc. All 4 Checklists Unmarked Muhammad Ali, Wilt Chamberlain,gordie Howe And Others Signed Baseball Jsa&psaNike Mens Sz 56 Team Usa Hockey Jersey Sewn Stiched OnWayne Gretzky #99 Signed New York Rangers Jersey Auto Size 52 Wg Coa HofGame Used Worn Hockey Gloves Dany Heatley Thrashers Autographed!!1967 Bobby Orr All Star Topps #128 Psa 9 MintWayne Gretzky Signed Los Angeles La Kings Nhl Hockey Jersey 48 Ccm Nwt1979/80 Opc O-pee-chee Hockey Complete Set With Wayne Gretzky Rookie Bgs Bvg 4Nhl St Louis Blues Oates Ccm Jersey Sz 50 Fight StrapLot Collection All Hits Hot Mackinnon, Lemieux, Roy, Yakupov, Galchenyuk & More1967 Bobby Orr Calder Topps Psa 9 Mint1992-93 Cleveland Lumberjacks Jaime Leach #20 Hockey Jersey -size 54 -game Used?Gretzky 1996 World Cup Of Hockey White Canada Bauer Jersey Mens 52 13-14 The Cup Signature Renditions Auto Wayne Gretzky /35 1910 C-56 Lester Patrick Rookie #26 Hockeycard Psa 2 Gd-cond "rare Hockey"Vintage Denver Spurs Wha Hockey Jersey, Rawlings, Size 48 1975-76 Road DarkTeam Usa Game Worn Hockey Jersey Olympic Women's 2002 Sarah Tueting Salt Lake 1975-76 75 76 Opc Wha Hockey Unopened Wax Pack Psa 81910 C-56 Frank Patrick Rookie #1 Hockeycard Psa 2 Gd-cond. "holy Grail Hockey"1996 60th Anniversary Ahl All Star Classic Game Worn Jersey2010-11 Upper Deck The Cup Hockey Enshrinements Wayne Gretzky Auto 14/50 OilersTj Oshie Saint Louis Blues Autographed Game Used 2013 Hockey Stick1993-94 Atlanta Knights Game-worn Ihl Hockey Jersey - #21 Scott Boston Ahl EchlWayne Gretzky Ud Upper Deck Inked Sweaters Sp Game Used Auto Jersey Nhl Kings 1979 Topps Wayne Gretzky #18 Hockey Card Psa 71971 Bobby Orr Double Opc #245 Psa 9 MintJoe Sakic National Treasures Auto Jersey Patch Lot Ovechkin Lemieux MessierGordie Howe Signed Red Wings Jersey With Mr. Hockey & Hof 1972 Insc. Psa Dna Coa2014/15 Itg Ultimate - Original Artwork Memorabilia Masterpiece - Ken Dryden 1/11979 Topps Hockey #18 Wayne Gretzky Hof Houston Oilers Rc Rookie Psa 6 Ex-mt1975-76 75 76 Opc Wha Hockey Unopened Wax Pack Psa 71967 Topps Hockey #92 Bobby Orr Hof Boston Bruins Psa 5 ExSigned Bobby Orr Victoriaville Hockey Stick1969 O-pee-chee Gordie Howe Mr. Hockey Psa 9Nhl Toronto Maple Leafs Sundin 1998-99 Nike Jersey Sz 56 Fight StrapBoston Bruins Bobby Orr Signed Hockey Puck With Certificate Of AuthenticityU-mass Amherst Minutemen #18 Larue * Military Game Worn Used Hockey Jersey HeRed Wings Gordie Howe "mr Hockey" Authentic Signed Red Jersey Psa/dna Holo & CoaWayne Gretzky Signed All-star Campbell Ccm Jersey W/gai Coa & Tags1939-40 Armstrong, Conacher & Anderson Ny Americans Nhl Ccm Hockey Ad Store SignRed Wings Gordie Howe "mr Hockey" Authentic Signed White Jersey Psa/dna1985-86 O-pee-chee Opc Hockey Set Psa Mario Lemieux Rc Rookie 7, Wayne Gretzky 81912 C57 Eddie Gerard Rookie #34 Hockeycard Psa 2 Gd-cond "rare Hockey"C. 1990's Welsh Cape Breton Hockey Team Game Worn Hockey Jersey..great Usage!!!!1979-80 Topps #18 Rc Rookie Wayne Gretzky Bvg 7.5 Near Mint+ Not Opc Or PsaNhl Los Angeles Kings Coffey Ccm Jersey Sz 52 Fight Strap2001 Ahl All Star Classic Smrek Autographed Game Worn Jersey Sp Pro 561998 Ahl All Star Vorobiev Autographed Game Worn Jersey Pro 561980 Olympic Team Card U.s. Miracle On Ice Hockey Booklet W/16 Auto 's 2012 Leaf13-14 Ultimate Hockey Ultimate Signatures Wayne Gretzky Auto Us-wg