Parkhurst Products was a Canadian company that first started to produce trading cards in the early 1950’s. While primarily a manufacturer of hockey cards, over a thirteen-year period, beginning in 1951-52, the company also produced baseball, Canadian football, and wrestling cards as well. However, when you say the name Parkhurt or “Parkies”, as they were affectionately known, collectors typically think of one thing, hockey cards. Parkhurst entered the market without a hockey card set being produced since ten years prior. Focusing on players from all of the Original Six NHL teams, that debut ’51-52 set is responsible for producing rookie cards of two of the game’s all-time greatest players in Gordie Howe and Maurice Richard. Blank backed with a checklist of 104 total cards, all of which are rookie cards, this set is considered the cornerstone of modern hockey cards.
A League Divided
At the time, hockey was still thought of primarily as a Canadian sport. However, with teams in Detroit, New York, Boston and Chicago, the emergence of new trading cards helped the sport gain additional exposure to a young audience. After having the hockey card market all to themselves for several years, another Canadian company, O-Pee-Chee, with backing from American manufacturer Topps, re-entered the hockey card market for the first time since 1940-41. The season spanning 1957-58 saw Parkhurst produce cards of the two Canadian teams (Montreal Canadians and the Toronto Maple Leafs), with O-Pee-Chee producing cards of the four American teams. Parkhurst left the market in 1963-’64.
Reviving a Brand
Dr. Brian Price, of the company we know today as In The Game, got his start acquiring the license and trademark of the Parkhurst brand. Unable to secure a deal with the NHL to produce trading cards, Price partnered with an existing licensee in ProSet. They produced cards using the Parkhurst brand name for two years in the early 1990’s. After ProSet’s eventual exit from the market, Price once again contracted with another established licensee, this time in the form of the Upper Deck Company. However after only two-years, the deal was breached. This time, Price took the name with him and formed the In The Game company. Under Price and ITG (In The Game) Parkhurst was issued for both the 2001–02 and 2002–03 seasons. Starting in 2003–04, the brand was utilized as an insert set in multiple products.
Labor Relations Changes Everything
As a result of the lost season in 2004-05, things changed drastically in the hockey trading card landscape. For the manufacturers and collectors, the most significant fallout was Upper Deck being awarded an exclusive license by both the NHL and the NHL Player’s Association. Not being able to utilize the brand as intended, Price sold the rights to Upper Deck who used it to produce an expansive offering in 2005-06 totaling 700-cards and featuring the NHL’s new poster boys, Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin.
Parkhurst Card Sets
Browse our database of Parkhurst trading card sets, which feature product reviews, set checklists, expert analysis, price comparisons, and more.