Box Break: 2016-17 MVP Hockey

Upper Deck’s MVP Hockey Set was released two months before the start of the season, making it the first hockey card set of 2016-17. Sets released before the start of the season cannot include cards of players who were drafted over the summer or who have not yet played in a single NHL game, so the rookies found in MVP are players who made their debut late last season. Thus, no Auston Matthews or Patrick Laine in this set, though you can hope to pull a rookie redemption card to get cards of those players mailed to you at a later date. 

A box of 2016-17 MVP costs around $40 and contains 20 packs. Each pack has eight cards. Although the set came out earlier in the season, I finally opened a box of 2016-17 MVP Hockey. Here is what I got. 

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Box Break: 2015-16 Panini Anthology Hockey

Hi, have we met? Good, then you know I hate Panini. But I do love a good deal when it comes to hockey cards. A little while ago I found a “box” of Panini Anthology cards marked down from $125 to $45 “for a limited time.” Spoiler Alert: they’re still $45 everywhere. Now, before I get to the cards, let me tell you about the “box,” yes in quotation marks. Pandora’s Box was easier to open and frankly had less regrettable contents than this “box.” Here is what I had to do to get inside:

STEP ONE. Get my knife out and cut off the shrink rap.

STEP TWO: Slice open the plastic seal at the lid of the box.

STEP THREE: Open the box. 

STEP FOUR: Come the realization that the box was housing a smaller box…ALSO IN SHRINK WRAP!

STEP FIVE: Get my knife out AGAIN and slice open the second layer of shrink wrap.

STEP SIX: Open the INNER box.

STEP SEVEN: Shake the little box violently to remove the six cards housed inside that also has a block of polystyrene holding them in place with a vacuum seal!

So I’m already pissed off at these cards because of this and I haven’t even seen them yet. They must be something special and awesome for this much trouble and for a company to ask well north of a C-note in price.

God, you disappoint me so much, Panini. 

I’ve never opened a pack/box of cards that unsatisfactory to me as much as this and after that much work. You know when it’s the Fourth of July — or “July 4th and oh God is America attacking??” if you’re in Canada — and you see a rocket shoot off into the night sky, zipping in a squirrelly fashion and leaving a bright trail of sparks behind it? The sparks trail off into the darkness and you’re all like, “ooooh, this is gonna be a big one!”….aaand nothing, it’s turns out to be a dud that falls back to the earth unseen and unheard from again.  That’s this box of cards.

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Box Break: 2016 Team Canada Juniors

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Canada is pretty much the top of the food chain when it comes to international hockey competitions, so a card set based solely on Canadian players is bound to be loaded with stars. Upper Deck’s 2016 Team Canada Juniors set highlights 100 of the best players, past and present, to don the maple leaf. There are 16 packs in a box, and five cards per pack. Not too long ago, I opened a box; here is what I found inside:

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Box Break: 2016-17 Artifacts Hockey

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Upper Deck issued its new Artifacts Hockey set at the start of this season, making it one of the earliest releases for 2016-17. A box costs around $85 to $90 online and has eight packs. Each pack has four cards. The box states that you can get “3 Autograph, Memorabilia or All New Aurum Cards & 4 Serial Numbered Cards!” in the box, on average. I recently busted a box of 2016-17 Artifacts — here’s what I found:

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Box Break: 2015-16 Champ’s Hockey

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I’ve always had a fondness for Upper Deck’s Champ’s cards; they have a very unique and classy look about them, especially since they’re rather low-fi with only a light gloss coat over a picture that is suppose to look more like a portrait rather than a photo, and an O-Pee-Che-esque brown cardboard back.  They’ve also always included strange insert cards such as historical figures, high adventure locations and animals. OK, it’s interesting to ME, but I’m a scientist, so maybe I’m just weird and you all think it’s a waste of space where yet another Hal Gill common card could be hiding.  You can voice your disagreement in a comment below.

Champ’s had been sleeping since 2009-10, so I was excited to see it return. Being burned by sets that had almost no cards featuring my favorite team, I did wait until a full checklist of the set and subsets came out before buying a hobby box at $100.  If there’d been a famine of Carolina Hurricanes cards, I would have waited until a sale and then gotten them for 25% off.  Thankfully that was not the case.

A box contains 20 packs. Each pack has six cards. A box averages one autograph, two memorabilia cards, four high series cards, six inserts and nine parallels/variants. I don’t know if it was just my box or if it is because this is one of the last sets put out for the season, but if you like rookie cards, then this box is your jam because I pulled 22! There are so many crazy things about this set that I’m getting lost in the details just trying to write about it, so let me back away and get down strictly to what popped up in the box break.

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Box Break: 2015-16 Upper Deck AHL

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For a third year in a row, Upper Deck has produced a set of trading cards of American Hockey League (AHL) players. The AHL is the top developmental circuit for the NHL. Many players who play in the AHL go on to play at least a little bit in the NHL, making this a sort of future prospects set.

The 2015-16 Upper Deck AHL Hockey set came out in April of 2016. A box costs around $65 and has 20 five-card packs. Being a fan of minor league hockey, I could not wait to get my hands on this product, and recently busted a box. Here is what I found inside:

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Box Break: 2015-16 Fleer Showcase Hockey

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Fleer is quickly becoming that go-to set that Upper Deck puts out when they want to infuse some 1990s nostalgia into the hockey card market. In the past, they released a set called Fleer Retro, which played heavily on 1990s base card and insert designs. The 2015-16 Fleer Showcase set is sort of their retro set of this year, with designs from two decades ago. A box costs around $110 online, and has 12 five-card packs. Here are the results of my recent break of Showcase.

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Box Break: 2015-16 Upper Deck SPX Hockey

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Coming out towards the end of the regular season was 2015-16 Upper Deck SPX, which has more or less been a part of the hockey collecting landscape since the 1996-97 season. This year, Connor McDavid — a.k.a. the guy who everyone wants a rookie card of — adorns the box.

SPX is geared more towards hit chasers, as building a complete set with all of the rookie cards would take a lot of time, effort and funds. This year, a box costs around $100 and has 10 four-card packs.

I recently opened a box and got…

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Box Break: 2015-16 Upper Deck Contours Hockey

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Contours is a new hockey set that came out towards the end of April 2016. It is a “hit-based” product, meaning that it is meant to appeal to those who like high-end game-used cards and autographed cards more than building large sets. A box costs around $100 and contains four five-card packs. Each pack is guaranteed to contain one hit. Here is what I pulled from a recent box I opened:

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Hockey Card Gamble: A Seduction of Hits…and Misses!

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Hey, who out there likes to gamble? Maybe take a little trip to Vegas, or just a friendly card game between buddies? I don’t mind it from time to time, and now I’ve found a way to mix my love of inked cardboard and the thrill of laying it all on the line: case breaks!

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