Hockey Hall of Famer Bryan Trottier releases NFTs to commemorate his time with the New York Islanders

The latest person in the hockey world to enter the realm of NFTs? Hockey Hall of Famer Bryan Trottier.

The seven-time Stanley Cup champion -- including four times with the Islanders of the early 1980s, twice with the Penguins of the early '90s and once as an assistant coach with the Avalanche in 2001 -- has released a set of three commemorative digital pieces of artwork to encapsulate his time with the Islanders dynasty.

"I didn't know a lot about it," Trottier said to ESPN regarding NFTs and the digital collecting world. "But the way they explained it to me, they said, you know, collectors are eating this stuff up. Tom Brady did one, Gronk did one. It's great to be to be a part of something new and fresh in the world of collectibles, and to be an early one in the hockey world, even as I'm known maybe as one of the old guys."

The offering, which is on sale on OpenSea and Bitski until May 7, includes three unique pieces:

  • A 1-of-1 "Six-point period" NFT, honoring when Trottier scored four goals and two assists against the Rangers in the second period of a Dec. 23, 1978 game. This includes a real-life experience with Trottier, playing golf or attending an NHL game.

  • A 1-of-5 "First Cup win" NFT, which includes original audio from Trottier telling the story of his first night with the Cup: "I wanted my alone time with Lord Stanley's Cup, so sneaking the Cup out during the night's celebrations at the Beaver Dam Country Club was exciting and terrifying at the same time. Bill Torrey was our general manager, and was the only person I asked. He said, 'Go for it,'" Trottier says on the NFT. This one includes a virtual meet and greet with Trottier.

  • A 1-of-100 "Four in a row" NFT encapsulating the Islanders dynasty of the early 1980s, when they won four straight Cups.

NFTs are having a mainstream moment in 2021, with digital art selling at astronomical prices, including famously a Beeple piece for $69 million. In the sports world, NBA Top Shot has often been credited by people in the NFT community as further popularizing the concept of digital collectibles to a wider audience, particularly in sports. Athletes such as Patrick Mahomes and Rob Gronkowski have released collections to massive financial success. Tom Brady will serve as founder and chairman of Autograph, a new NFT platform for celebrities and athletes, releasing his own collection in the process.

In hockey, Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk was the first NHL player to launch his own NFT, which generated $27,954 for charity. Leafs forward Auston Matthews also released an NFT collection that garnered close to $200,000. Recently, Sabres captain Jack Eichel has launched an NFT with USA Hockey.

The Trottier NFT collection is a collaboration with Trottier, digital artist Kevin Briones and Flux88 Studios. This is the company's first NFT drop.

"We have been fortunate to know Bryan Trottier for a number of years," Flux88 partner Blake Armstrong said. "He is not only one of the nicest guys in the game, but he is also an incredible storyteller. Not to mention, he has one of the most impressive lists of accolades in hockey history. A lot of the sports NFTs that have been previously released have focused on purely the art rather than on a moment. By celebrating the most iconic moments in Bryan's career, it allows Bryan to relive some of his most exciting moments and to share them in a new format -- many in the NFT market were not alive when Bryan was a player."

At time of writing, the "Six-point period" NFT is currently at $1,576.77 in an auction-style format, while the "Four in a row" NFTs were purposely priced at $35. Armstrong explained that he wanted the collection to be "attainable for the average fan."

The NFT artwork was inspired by hockey cards of the era, according to Armstrong. "It gives the pieces a true vintage collectible feel with the modern-day enhancements of animation and an original audio track," he said.

"I was kind of blown away at the style and the art. I was very happy with it," Trottier said.

Trottier said that he selected the themes of the NFTs and wanted each to have a unique touch, and he was also responsible for writing the stories on the back of the digital cards.

When asked if he would recommend NFTs to other players, he was emphatic.

"I think it's going to be the next wave," Trottier said "There will be opportunities for more and more alumni and present players to get more involved with this fun stuff. The hunger is there from the collectors' side. I certainly hope it doesn't just fade off into the sunset. I think all of us who enjoy sharing our stories and giving the fans that wonderful experience, that's what I really like about it. I'd highly recommend it. If someone knocks on your door, please give it all the consideration you can."

Armstrong said that Flux88 plans to release more NFT projects in the future with both NHL legends and current players. Trottier noted that based on the success on this drop, another NFT collection might come from his career, and he'd also consider collaboration with other players from his playing days, mentioning specifically the Trio Grande line of Trottier, Mike Bossy and Clark Gillies as a possibility.

When asked about collectibles in general, Trottier said that while he wasn't able to collect as much as he would have liked growing up, he is intrigued by the collector space, and liked to pull a little prank on card shop owners throughout his career:

"I would go into card shops and say, 'Hey, do you have any Bryan Trottier cards?' And the responses varied by the owners. Sometimes it was 'Oh, finally, I get to get rid of 'em.' They don't realize I'm the guy who's on the card. I'd pick them up for my grandkids and nephews."

Trottier said that though most of his own memorabilia has been donated to charity, he does have a few keepsakes from his career; he also plans to pass on his Stanley Cup rings to his grandkids.

"I will move these to them before I kick the bucket so that we can enjoy this stuff together," he said.