Thursday 25 October 2012

Custom Card: 1969-70 Topps Hockey Ivan Boldirev

A custom in style of "Cards that Never Were" we have a 1969-70 Topps Ivan Boldirev. A name that I had not heard of until recently looking back on the 1970's Bruins Cup winning teams, a player than not only has his name on the Stanley Cup, but went on to have a fairly impressive NHL career.

Born in Yugoslavia in 1949, Ivan Boldirev's family emigrated to Canada in 1951. Like any other kid in this country he found hockey and would be drafted by the Boston Bruins, 11th overall, in 1969. The NHL was a 14 team league at that time and the Bruins were a strong and deep team making it hard to crack the roster. After spending all of 1969-70 with the Oklahoma City Blazers of the Central League, Boldirev was called up as a spare body for the 1970 playoffs, and despite never playing in an NHL regular season  or playoff game, his name was engraved on the Stanley Cup, as far as I can tell becoming the only non-goalie to appear on the Cup before playing in an NHL game. He would eventually make his NHL debut in 1970-71 playing in 2 games for the Bruins, then in 11 more in 1971-72 before being traded to the California Golden Seals mid-season. In 1974-75 he would play in his first playoffs, with the Blackhawks, 6 seasons after being immortalized on hockey's Holy Grail. For his career he would play in 1,052 games, scoring 361 goals with 866 points playing for the Bruins, Golden Seals, Blackhawks, Flames, Canucks, and Red Wings. He scored at least 20 goals for 9 straight seasons and reached a career high 35 three times.

Boldirev never appeared on a card with Boston, his rookie card coming in 1972-73 with the Golden Seals. He did appear in the 1971-72 Toronto Sun photo set which I recently picked up of eBay for around 3 bucks shipped and used for this custom.

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