There are three four-year colleges in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. All are hockey hotbeds. Two have produced the NCAA champion the past two seasons. Two have issued trading cards of their players.
Northern Michigan, the 1991 champion, is odd team out in the card department. Michigan Tech has issued its second set of cards, and reigning champion Lake Superior State produced its first set for the 1991-92 season.
Michigan Tech finished 16-22-1 last season, but its 36-card set is a winner. Cards have no border, are printed on high-quality paper and come in a clear plastic box. Each carries a simple gray block with the player's name, and the word "Huskies" in team-logo script rises into the picture but is rarely a distraction.
Card backs, dominated by school colors of black and gold, have black-and-white head shots and action shots, statistics and biographical data. Since the cards were produced after the 1991-92 season ended, everything is up to date. There are also special cards recognizing the team's scholar-athlete, fastest skater, player with the hardest shot, rink, pep band (180 strong in a school with no music program) and radio voice.
As promised last fall by Capt. John Anderson, former Air Force ROTC instructor at Michigan Tech who was transferred to AFROTC headquarters in Alabama, there's a bonus card in every set. Some are signed NHL cards, with signatures obtained through former Huskies in the NHL.
Last year, Anderson did the cards himself with help from the sports information office and hockey team. This year, he laid the groundwork and coordinated the project from hockey-less Alabama. Sets are $9.50 plus $2.50 shipping (for up to three sets) from MTU Convenience Store, Michigan Tech University, Houghton, Mich. 49931.
Across the peninsula, in Sault Ste. Marie, Lake Superior State came out with a 28-card set. The paper is thin, and fronts feel like old gum-sprinkled Topps cards. Each card carries an anchor logo, but some anchors are plopped in action shots and are distracting. Backs are uninspired -- black and white head shots, statistics and personal data.
Unfortunately, the cards were printed before the end of the Lakers' championship season, so there's nothing about the season just past. At $10 a set (plus $5 shipping) and packed in plastic wrap, these cards are only for dyed-in-the-wool Lake Superior State fans (who can get more bang for the flat shipping charge by ordering additional commemorative items) or NHL draft junkies.
Card to watch could be goalie Darrin Madeley, college Player of the Year and NCAA Final Four MVP, who signed as a free agent with the Ottawa Senators. No Lakers were drafted this year. For more information, contact Campus Shoppe, Lake Superior State University, Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. 49783.
Today, baseball card show, Towson Quality Inn (I-695, Exit 26 S), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., (410) 239-7446.
Wednesday, baseball card show, Towson Sheraton (I-695, Exit 27A), 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., (410) 922-8366.
Friday-Sunday, USA Sportcard Classic, Virginia State Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall, Richmond, Va., Friday 2 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., (804) 266-0140. Expected signers include Yogi Berra, Stan Musial, Luis Aparicio and Al Kaline.