Ides 33: O-Pee-Chee


Hockey cards are woven into the fabric of Canadian childhood. If you were an Ontario schoolkid, expressions such as “shootsies,” “flipsies,” and “got ’em-got ’em-need ’em” were a common part of your vernacular, at least until the dollar value of the cards outweighed their playground value.

It all started in 1934 with the O-Pee-Chee Gum Company making their first set of hockey cards just down the road in London, Ontario. O-Pee-Chee – derived from the Ojibwe word meaning “the robin” – was named after the Grand Bend cottage of the brothers who founded the company in 1911. They mostly made hockey and baseball cards, but The Beatles, Batman and Charlie’s Angels also got the O-Pee-Chee treatment. And who can forget that sweet, pink slab of gum that came in every pack!

If you happened to keep your Wayne Gretzky rookie card out of your trading pile in 1980, that card could net you $50,000 today. Or maybe you didn’t hold on to your Gretzky card, and maybe this simple, delicious lager will help you forget about losing it to Miles Pumpernickle in grade four.

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