My team won their hockey game last night, after trailing for most of the time they ended up winning 5 goals to 4. The excitement of the game inspired me to explore the origins of Hockey Smurf. Just so it is clear I am talking about field hockey here, not ice hockey!
Hockey Smurf was first seen in 1981 Schleich catalogue, wearing a green shirt & socks, brown shorts, a light cream coloured stick with a white ball attached to the end.
In the same year in the US, Wallace Berrie displayed their version of Hockey Smurf wearing a yellow shirt, red shorts and white shoes with blue trim. I have never seen this version of Hockey Smurf anywhere so this makes me believe this was just a prototype and never actually released. In 1982 the familiar green shirt & socks, brown shorts was shown in the Wallace Berrie catalogue.
The major difference between the German and Hong Kong ones, are the different paint shades used for the shirt & shorts, along with the colour of the stick. The Hong Kong ones tend to have a dark brown stick compared to cream coloured stick.
There is also a Hockey Smurf with a red & white striped shirt, red socks, navy shorts with a light creamed stick with a white ball. I have often wondered what the origins of this one was as I could not locate it in any Schleich catalogues. Perhaps originally it was made as some kind of promotional smurf. So if anyone knows the origins I would love if they could share it with us!
In the Gian & Davi Collezioni – The Smurfs Official Collector’s Guide that was published in 2013 they also list a couple of others that are considered extremely rare. One of these includes a keyring where the Hockey Smurf is wearing the German colours of a white shirt & socks with black shorts. Another one that is mentioned is considered extremely rare is the one wearing Jo, Cule team colours of red, white and blue striped shirt with blue shorts. I have only ever seen pictures of this one.
Probably the one that carries the most interest and talked about Hockey Smurf is the Karamalz version. This is because it has never been confirmed if they are genuine promotional smurfs or not. Each smurf has brown cap with Karamalz written in white letters on it. A total of five different smurf figurines have been used by Karamalz. A version was made using Hockey Smurf with the green shirt and brown shorts.
I will always have a soft spot for Hockey Smurf as long as my team keeps winning!
Keep on Smurfin