An NWT born Hockey player now has his own trading card!
Victor Mercredi is among eight Indigenous players who will be receiving licensed NHL cards. The other players include Ted Nolan, Jason Simon, Rocky Trottier, Dan Frawley, Danny Hodgson, Johnny Harms and William LeCaine. 10,000 cards have already been printed, and will be distributed free of charge at various Indigenous hockey camps, youth tournaments, and hobby shops.
Mercredi was the very first NHL player to be born and raised in the NWT. He was kind enough to personally share some of his background.
“I left home here at 15 to pursue a hockey career. I spent three years in Penticton B.C. in the B.C. Junior Hockey League, and then two years in the New Westminster Bruins in the Western Canadian Hockey League and then I was drafted in 1973 to the Atlanta Flames in the 16th overall first round, and spent just about another five more years just playing pro hockey.”
Mercredi played 2 games for Atlanta in the 1974–75 season, and three games for the Calgary Cowboys during the 1975-76 WHA season. He also played for a time in Stockholm, Sweden, on the now defunct Hammarby IF Hockey team. After his career was over, he ended up moving back to Yellowknife in the early 1980’s.
The idea for these new hockey cards came about from a collaboration between the company Upper Deck, a trading card company based out of California, and a hockey card collector named Naim Cardinal, who is a member of Tallcree First Nation in Alberta. Cardinal owns a large number of hockey trading cards and eventually noticed that there were several notable Indigenous players who never received rookie cards.
Members of the NHL, National Hockey League Players’ Association and Hockey Hall of Fame lent some support to the project.
Two of the players, Johnny Harms and William LeCaine, have already passed away, which presented an obvious challenge to getting their image on the cards. Cardinal and his team were able to reach out to the players’ families and make sure everything was done properly and respectfully.