The First Peoples Rookie Card is a line of eight cards featuring Indigenous former NHLers that have never appeared previously on a licensed trading card.
Thanks to Upper Deck, a world leader in the sports collectibles industry, eight former Indigenous players that played in the NHL, now have their own National Hockey League licensed trading card.
Official news of the set was released on Friday, Jan. 13, with the eight players featured in the set including; Ted Nolan, Jason Simon, Rocky Trottier, Dan Frawley, Danny Hodgson, and Victor Mercredi. Also Johnny Harms and William LeCaine, who are now deceased.
A total of 10,000 of the eight-card sets have been printed. They are set to be distributed free of charge at various Indigenous hockey camps, Indigenous youth tournaments and at an Indigenous-owned hobby shop, First Row Collectibles in Winnipeg.
Representatives from the NHL, National Hockey League Players’ Association and Hockey Hall of Fame assisted with the project.
Jacob Alexis, an artist from Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation in Alberta, designed the cards. And Cardinal also worked with a board, comprised mostly of Indigenous people, who provided advice throughout the project.
The idea for the hockey set came a few years ago when an Upper Deck representative met with hockey card collector Naim Cardinal, a member of Tallcree First Nation in Alberta.
Cardinal had earned recognition in the sports card industry in the last decade with a large collection of rookie cards of Indigenous players who had suited up for at least one game in the NHL of his own.
Cardinal discovered through his hobby that there were several other Indigenous players who had seen some NHL action that never had a licensed rookie card produced for them. That’s when Upper Deck stepped up and offered to make the limited edition set.