The 1968-69 O-Pee-Chee hockey card set marked the company’s first NHL production since 1940-41. This was the first time the 1967 NHL expansion teams were included in a set. Of course, Bobby Orr of the Boston Bruins leads the way when it comes to value. The top four rookie cards are not far behind and feature some pretty impressive hockey players.
Bernie Parent – Philadelphia Flyers
Number 89 in the 1968-69 O-Pee-Chee set features Hockey Hall of Fame goaltender Bernie Parent of the Philadelphia Flyers. With a book value of $250, this is the highest valued rookie card in the set. Interestingly, Parent played 39 of Boston’s 70 games in his rookie season but Topps did not include him. He played another 18 with the Bruins in 1966-67 and 38 with the Flyers in 1967-68, making him nearly a veteran by the time his rookie card finally came out.
Bernie retired after the 1978-79 National Hockey League season and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1984. Along the way, he played for the Bruins, Flyers and Toronto Maple Leafs. Parent also spent a season in the WHA with the Philadelphia Blazers.
The Flyers perhaps would not have been two time Stanley Cup champions in the 1970’s without Bernie Parent. The team won back to back in 1973-74 and 1974-75. In each of those seasons, Parent was awarded the Vezina Trophy during the regular season and the Conn Smythe Trophy in the playoffs.
Mickey Redmond – Montreal Canadiens
Number 64 in the 1968-69 O-Pee-Chee set is the Mickey Redmond rookie card and has a book value of $70. Redmond played in the NHL from 1967-68 to 1975-76 with the Canadiens and Detroit Red Wings. Mickey won a Stanley Cup championship with the Habs in 1968-69 but became an individual star in the league only after he was traded to the Red Wings. In 1972-73, Redmond scored 52 goals and the following year he scored 51.
Keith McCreary – Pittsburgh Penguins
Number 193 is the Keith McCreary rookie card and has a book value of $40. However, the card is valued so high because of an error. There were some that were produced with the card number absent from the back. These cards are the ones valued so high. If the card actually has the number 193 on the back, it is valued as a simple common card.
Keith’s NHL career began in earnest back in 1961-62 when he played one playoff game for the Montreal Canadiens. He played nine more games with Montreal in 1964-65. However, it wasn’t until the 1967 NHL expansion when McCreary became a regular in the National Hockey League. He played until the end of the 1974-75 season with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Atlanta Flames.
Garry Unger – Detroit Red Wings
Number 142 is the Garry Unger rookie card and has a book value of $30. Unger is the number 2 ironman in NHL history, holding the record for most consecutive games played until Doug Jarvis, the current ironman, broke it a few years later.
Garry played in the NHL from 1967-68 to 1982-83 with the Maple Leafs, Red Wings, St. Louis Blues, Atlanta Flames, Los Angeles Kings and Edmonton Oilers. His first year was split between Toronto and Detroit and Unger is shown as a member of the Red Wings on his 1968-69 hockey card.