Less than a week before the first puck dropped to begin the 2015-16 NHL season, six legendary goalies were immortalized as part of Canada Post’s multi-year NHL stamp collection celebrating the goaltending greats who transformed the game of hockey.
Available in booklets of six – one for each player, including Lorne Worsley (Montreal Canadiens), Johnny Bower (Toronto Maple Leafs), Tony Esposito (Chicago Blackhawks), Bernie Parent (Philadelphia Flyers), Ken Dryden (Montreal Canadiens) and Martin Brodeur (New Jersey Devils) – the stamps measure 40 mm x 32 mm with simulated perforations and were printed by Lowe-Martin on Tullis Russell paper using seven-colour lithography.
The front of the booklet features a photograph of Brodeur taken by his father Denis, and the inside cover features a Hockey Hall of Fame archival photograph of Worsley and Bower shaking hands after a 1962 playoff game. Oversize rate, hockey-card-size souvenir sheets are also available in a pack of six.
“Many people dream of playing in the NHL, but only a distinguished number of players achieve it; and an even smaller, esteemed group leave a timeless impression,” said Bill Daly, NHL deputy commissioner. “Having some of the greatest NHL goalies immortalized on these stamps is remarkable; a true testament to their impact on hockey fans around the world. We’re proud to share this momentous occasion with the players, their loved ones, and the fans.”
Phil Legault, a media relations manager with Canada Post, said the new set highlights some of the finest goalies to play in the NHL between 1952 and today. All six won the most coveted of prizes – the Stanley Cup and the Vezina Trophy, recognizing the NHL’s best goaltender – and each changed the way the game was played and perceived around the world.
Avi Dunkelman and Joe Gault, of Mix Design in Toronto, designed the six-stamp issue, which features head-and-shoulder images of the players in uniform. The players are portrayed the way fans remember them, said Legault: four of the six are in masks while two – Worsley and Bower – are without.
“These six goalies will forever remain relevant and real in a country that embraces its stars,” said Canada Post President and CEO Deepak Chopra. “They wore their hearts on their sleeves while they played, and captured ours in the process. Their on-ice brilliance left an indelible impression on a nation. They are an important part of our country’s rich history, and we are proud to immortalize these players on our stamps.”
The “NHL Great Canadian Goalies” set is the third of a five-year collection of NHL stamps leading up to the NHL’s 100th anniversary in 2017. This most recent issue follows the “Canadian NHL Team Jerseys” stamps (Scott #2670-2676) released in 2013 and the Original Six defensemen issue released last year.
Legault said Canada Post has produced more than 50 NHL-themed stamps since 1992.
The souvenir sheets, which resemble hockey cards and feature full images of the players during a game, also tell part of the players’ professional story by showing career statistics on the reverse, completing the “hockey-card experience,” said Legault.
Available in packs of six – like hockey cards, Legault added each of the souvenir sheets includes a chance to win: every one out of 40 packs has a signed and authenticated souvenir sheet.
Canada Post also issued a gummed mini-pane collectors’ item featuring all six players. The mini-pane features embossed, foiled logos of the team each respective player was best known for and an embossed image of Jacques Plante’s first game-worn mask.
The official first-day covers – one for each player – were cancelled in the birthplaces of the players: Montréal, Que. for Worsley, Parent and Brodeur; Prince Albert, Sask. for Bower; Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. for Esposito; and Hamilton, Ont. for Dryden.
Limited edition numbered framed prints featuring each player are also available. Legault said Bower, Brodeur, Esposito and Parent have also signed prints.
Four of the five living hockey legends attended the unveiling ceremony in the Esso Great Hall, home of the Stanley Cup, at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. Brodeur, who’s currently the St. Louis Blues’ assistant general manager, was represented by his nephew, Philippe Gendron, while Gump Worsley’s widow Doreen represented her husband at the event attended by hundreds of other dignitaries and fans.
These stamps and more are available at canadapost.ca/NHL.