#324 Michel Larocque
#324 Michel Larocque
There are a lot of things I love about this card.
I love the framing of the photo. Having a full shot of Larocque nicely placed in the frame makes this card feel bigger than it actually is (if that makes sense). I hold it, and it just looks physically larger than other cards (I've had this happen a couple other times with full frame cards - great optical illusion).
I love the nicely worn in pads. These wouldn't even make the grade playing street hockey these days, but man did they look sweet back then.
I love the subtlety of the skate toe sticking up and the pad strap hanging beside it. It gives the feeling of movement.
I love the puny glove Michel is wearing. Gone are those days - long gone.
I love the goalie stick sticking straight up. Again, giving the photo movement.
I love the jersey that is a snug fit with the TML crest proudly flaunted in front. This card wouldn't be nearly as impressive if he was wearing the whites.
I really love the vintage mask. Awesome stuff. Not enough of this in hockey card photography from those days. If you look closely, you can see a hidden design in the mask. Here's a closer look.
Can you see it? Nice. If you can't, drop me a comment. I won't leave you hanging.
The last thing I like about this card is the simplicity of the photo background. Not a scratch of signage on the boards (how I miss that), no fans to break up the flow. Just a goalie doing his job. Well, maybe he didn't succeed in this pic (he seems to be looking behind him....and I don't see a puck. That can't be good).
Now, on to why this 'Bunny' Larocque card was my nemesis back in '83.
Growing up, card collecting was a pretty simple task for me (in the sense of what needed to be done.....to be done). You go to the store, buy some cards, trade the doubles and quit when you acquired one of each. Making sure to ruin the checklists by diligently filling in each square once a card was obtained.
Well, the little square hole for card #324 stayed empty for a long time. In fact, it was the card that cost me not completing the 82/83 set that season. I was pretty disappointed (OK - crushed). Everybody had one and only one. It was haunting me (especially because the card itself was so cool).
It took a trip to a flea market that summer to finish off the set. I vividly remember this because the guy selling cards had a full wheelbarrow of 'em. Yup, full, loose and strewn all over the place. Of course, corner condition meant very little to me back then.
Nothing like saying to your mom "Hey mom, I'll be at the wheelbarrow digging through hockey cards looking for #324."
It took a while, but I eventually found this white whale. You wouldn't believe how happy I was to finally complete the set.
Looking at it (and it's still nicely off-center cut) brings back great memories. Something hockey cards should always do.