Box Break: 2015-16 Champ’s Hockey


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


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


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


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


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!


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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Box Break: 2015-16 Black Diamond Hockey


Upper Deck has upped their game with this year’s release of Black Diamond Hockey. Over the past decade, Black Diamond was one of those $100-per-box, impossible-to-complete sets that most collectors bought just for the hits. So, in 2015-16, Upper Deck has made Black Diamond all about the hits. Seems like an obvious idea, but it was a great idea, too.

This year, a box of Black Diamond contains only one five-card pack, plus a bonus pack of Exquisite Hockey. (Collectors can find packs of Exquisite Hockey in other sets released throughout 2015-16.) Of all the six cards, they are either an autograph, a jersey card and/or a card serial-numbered to 199 copies or less. But all those hits come with a price; a box of 2015-16 Black Diamond costs $250.

I recently busted a box of 2015-16 Black Diamond. Let’s see what treasures were found within.

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Box Break: 2015-16 Full Force Hockey

2015-16 Full Force Hockey Hobby Box

I was excited when I first saw the promotional images of Upper Deck Full Force, a new hockey card set for the 2015-16 season. From what I could tell, it seemed like a set that would have a very 1990s look and feel to it, with lots of fun inserts and/or subsets. Plus, the name “Full Force” just sounds like it would have been right at home with other 1990s sets such as “Metal Universe” and “Electric Ice.”

A hobby box of Full Force has 18 five-card packs and costs in the $65-$75 range online. Here is a breakdown of a box I recently got my hands on:

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Box Break: 2014-15 Masterpieces Hockey

2014-15 Masterpieces Hockey Unopened BoxI love cards that use paintings instead of photos. Sets like the Hall of Fame postcards from the 1980s, Donruss Ice Kings from the 1990s and 2010s, and even the Upper Deck Hockey checklists from the early 1990s were all “must haves” for my collection. There’s just something awesome about seeing your favorite player rendered as a painting; it makes them seem even more iconic. So when Upper Deck announced that they were making a new set of Masterpieces Hockey, I knew I had to buy a box. It took me a while, but I finally got my mitts on one.

A box of 2014-15 Masterpieces costs around $100 and consists of 15 five-card packs. You are guaranteed three hits per box, with at least one (read: probably just one) hit being an autograph. Here is what I got in my most recent box break.

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Pack Break: 2014-15 Panini NHL Stickers

wrapper_frontEven though they lost their license to make NHL trading cards, Panini is soldiering on with their annual hockey sticker set for 2014-15. I probably won’t collect this year’s sticker set, but I’m still glad it came out. Panini has made NHL sticker sets since 1987-88, and it is nice to see that trend continue. Plus, this gives people a choice if they don’t want to collect any of Upper Deck’s offerings. A pack costs $1.00 and has seven stickers. There are 500 stickers in the set. I recently bought a pack to see what this year’s set was like. Continue reading “Pack Break: 2014-15 Panini NHL Stickers”