Future Trends released this poorly named '72 Hockey Canada set partly to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Canada/Russia Summit Series, but mostly to commemorate some easy cash at the height of the early 90's hockey card craze. Before I talk about the set, I want to point at that the company's full name is Future Trends Experience Ltd., which is by far the worst name I have ever seen associated with hockey cards. It sounds like a company that would manufacture the shitty Transformer knock-off toys that you find at dollar stores.
I could forgive all of the set's shortcomings-- the cluttered and out of focus cards, the shots of players' backs, the ugly blue logo, the boring training camp cards (did they have to name a card with a bunch of guys bending over 'coming out party'?), to name a few-- if only they had a card of John Ferguson giving the Russians the one-finger salute after the Canadians rescued Alan Eagleson from the Russian police in game eight of the series (you can watch it in this youtube video). The incident is mentioned on one card, but the photo and quote on the back don't really provide any detail about what happened. It's disappointing that they didn't think the second most amazing moment of the series (next to Henderson's goal) deserved a photo. And while I'm on the subject of things the set is missing, why not a card for Alan Eagleson or the totem pole that Team Canada gave to the Russians before game eight? Eagleson was a lot more important than Dale Tallon or Ed Johnston, who didn't even play in any games but get cards in the set, and the totem pole was just awesome.
Even though there are many things lacking in this set, there are a few redeeming qualities as well. The story of the series is told fairly effectively through quotes on the backs of the cards. Some of the cards may seem like they'd be better left to a book, but it makes for a more interesting read than the backs of most card. The best quote is on the back of Phil Esposito's card: "And when he scored, I mean. . . that's the closest I ever came to really loving another guy." And for all that I said about blurry photography, there are a few pretty exciting and funny shots.
Five of my favourites:
#20 - Alexander Maltsev - The editorial quote on the back is only slightly more flattering than the photo on the front.
#50 - Alexander Martynuk - This could just as easily be a card for the guy in the tie sitting behind the fence.
#61 - Stan Mikita - His pants on the back of the card are pretty mind-blowing.
#70 - Series Stars - Yakushev was the highest scoring Russian in the series and this is how he is shown in the set.
#83 - Yuri Liapkin - "Liapkin will always be remembered as the defenseman who gave up the puck in his own zone with 34 seconds left in the series allowing Paul Henderson to score." Beside the quote is the photo of a shocked Liapkin moments after Henderson scored the series winning goal.