Before we take a look at the Vintage Kenner NHL Hockey Starting Lineup figures let's get an insight into how the NHL was founded and how it progressed to become one of the greatest sports that Canada and America have ever seen.
Foundation of The National Hockey Association
The National Hockey Association, also known as NHA in short was founded in the year 1917 in Montreal, Canada.
It was formed by the National Hockey Association which would look over the start of play as well as any suspension operations.
However the The National Hockey Association was not without its set of controversies in the beginning itself. The first of those controversies involved conflicts between the owner of the Toronto Blueshirts owner called Eddie Livingstone and other team owners.
The other team owners were up in arms against Livingstone because he decided to merge his two Toronto teams as a result of which many top players did not get a chance to play.
Livingstone also resorted to dirty politics where he induced top players from other teams not to play by awarding them big contracts. Livingstone also retorted to tactics like telling the organization that he will soon come up with a rival organization in the United States.
Team composition in the first season
The first season of The National Hockey League saw six teams competing against each other.
The six teams consisted of Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Wanderers, Ottawa Senators, Quebec Bulldogs, Toronto Blueshirts. The sixth team was unnamed at that time but included players from the 228th army battalion in Toronto.
All the team owners met at the Windsor Hotel in Montreal to discuss about the future of the sport. However there was one shocking decision made and that was evicting Livingstone altogether from NHA with his Blueshirts team.
Livingstone was not able to attend that meeting due to illness. Livingstone did not attend any of the meetings after the decision and he sent his lawyer to represent his interests.
The first vintage Kenner NHL Hockey Starting Lineup figures were released in 1993 as part of Kenner's successful line of Starting Lineup action figures.
These figures came in yellow carded blisters and each of the 4-inch figures had articulation on the shoulders, neck and waist and a base that resembled a part of the ice-rink.
The first series had twelve players: Ed Belfour, Ray Bourque, Grant Fuhr, Brett Hull, Jaromir Jagr, Pat LaFontaine, Mario Lemieux, Eric Lindros, Mark Messier, Jeremy Roenick, Patrick Roy, Steve Yzerman.
The figures were sold to retailers in cases of 16 and were designated by the year, sport and a two-digit decimal number, e.g. 1988 Football Case .01, 1992 Football Case .04 etc.
Kenner color coded each of the blisters so that it was easy to differentiate between from a distance with baseball (blue), basketball (red), and football (green) then later when they began to produce NHL figures they had yellow cards.
The Starting Lineup Hockey figures had a great run with their regular series of figures but there were not nearly as many other series produced - which many would argue is a good thing, as it did not over-saturate the market with starting lineup hockey figures in the the 90's.
Kenner also produced a series of these figures in Canada with French cards which tend to be harder to find and are considered to be a lot rarer than the basic NHL Hockey Starting Lineup figures, thus making them a bit more valuable.