In 1966, Topps released their football set. The design harkened back to the 1955 Bowman set and depicted a player on a TV screen (one of the big old wooden consoles that vanished after the late 70s/early 80s). It looked good – good enough, in fact, that it was used for the 1966-67 Topps Hockey set.
Now, Topps Hockey in 1966-67 was produced under license by OPC and was primarily a Canadian product. Was it thought that US collectors who had purchased football earlier in the year would never see the hockey set? It’s sort of possible (caveat for later).
Much safer was the next use of the design. We’ve seen earlier that Topps would re-use or license baseball designs for football (soccer) sets in the UK. What they also did was license a number of football (US-style) designs to Australian candy-maker Scanlen’s Sweets. Scanlen’s would then produce Australian Football cards with some minor tweaking of the artwork. This is from the 1967 VFL set:
(Caveat from above) There is technically a fourth set using this design as Topps also produced a test hockey set for release in the US. It is a clone of the first series of the Canadian 1966-67 release although the printing of the wood grain is somewhat lighter. The Bobby Orr RC just happens to be part of that set and retails in the multiple tens of thousands of dollars. I don’t have one.
The design sharing did not continue to the backs. This was 1966 Football. Stats are thin but at least it looks like something:
Hockey, on the other hand, had one of the worst backs of the postwar era. At least there is actual information on it, sort of:
Scanlen’s was in its second year in which every card made up part of a puzzle. This might have been fun for collectors at the time but is somewhat irritating to people who have no idea who these players are:
The newest Scanlen’s cards I have are from 1980 (which used 1979-80 Hockey as a base). They still use the puzzle backs. I think the last cards with actual text came from 1965.