Monday, January 23, 2012


With ITG's 'Enforcers' product out in full force, I thought I'd take a look at a pretty unique looking card from the 1970's depicting one of the lesser known tough guys of the time..

It's the 1977/78 OPC set specifically and it's got a very basic design which really lends well to photos that are well thought out.

In this case, I feel that it was.

1977/78 O-Pee-Chee
#17 Willi Plett

The Flames were still a couple seasons away from relocating to Calgary and I would have been 5 years old at the time this card was released. Needless to say, it slipped by me the first time around.

But Willi made the city of Calgary take notice that first year in 1980. He notched 38 goals and accumulated 239 penalty minutes. He continued his hot hand in the playoffs tallying 8 goals and 4 assists in 15 games while sitting in the sin bin for 89 minutes.

Speaking of the sin bin, you don't normally see hockey card photos showing this aspect of the game.

There's a lot I really like about this card, so let's break it down.

First, the isolation of being the only person on the bench. These days, there's 8 other guys in suits sitting next to you. Either telling you when you can leave, or asking for a quick interview.

Willi's a big guy (6'3" and 205 lbs) even by today's standards. But when I look at this photo all I see are the small pants, lack of padding above the knee, the non-football-like shoulder pads and of course the lack of helmet.

I don't think any player in the league would dare go out on the ice wearing what Plett is in a game today.

I like the towel in his hands. It has the appearance of movement to it. The waterbottle sitting next to him on his right while his wood stick is propped up to his left.

The bench itself has the wear and weathering of a 30-year-old outdoor rink. The black bumper is just chipped enormously with character and the glass looks as though it's seen better days.

In the background, you can see hundreds of fans in the crowd. Did they just witness a scrap involving Plett? Did Willi get lazy and trip someone up? We'll never know for sure.

What I can say is that the layout of this card fits the photo quite well. And the photo....well, if you got the original, blew it up and framed it - it would make one heck of a hanging in your man cave.

As for Willi, did you know he was a six-time 20-goal scorer? He also cracked the 200 penalty minute mark 7 times.

In addition to the Flames, he played for the Minnesota North Stars and Boston Bruins finishing with over 200 goals, 400 points and 2500 PIMs. Not too bad for a 5th round pick.

I think he could have fit into today's game quite well.

1 comment:

  1. Great post! I had this card when I was a kid and must have looked at it 100 times but never noticed all those things that you mentioned. Awesome photo. Thanks for bringing it to my attention again :)