Box Break: 2016-17 Upper Deck AHL

Earlier this month, Upper Deck released a new set of American Hockey League trading cards. Like the 2014-15 and 2015-16 AHL sets, this year’s AHL set is sold in packs and consists of 100 base cards and 50 short-printed cards. (The inaugural 2014-15 Upper Deck AHL set was released as a 100-card boxed set.)

This year’s AHL set is a good mix of prospects who will make it in the NHL, players who have been up-and-down between the NHL and AHL, and players who have not played much in the NHL but excel in the “A.” 

A box of 2016-17 Upper Deck AHL trading cards costs around $40 and contains 20 packs. Each pack has five cards. I recently opened a box. See the results of the break…after the break. 

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Ways to Improve Upper Deck Series 1 & 2

Upper Deck Logo

Last month, 2016-17 Upper Deck Series Two was released in stores and online shops. Other than a few packs I bought to get a promotional card on National Hockey Card Day, I have avoided buying Upper Deck Series One and Upper Deck Series Two this year. Since 1990, Upper Deck’s flagship “Upper Deck” hockey card set was something I always looked forward to. It was usually the biggest and best hockey card set every year during that decade, and set the high-water mark in quality for the hobby. 

But over time, Upper Deck Series One and Series Two have become somewhat…uninspired. Routine. Even boring. This year’s Series One Hockey set has 198 base cards of veteran players, two checklists, 49 short-printed Young Guns rookie cards and one short-printed Young Guns checklist. Likewise, this year’s Series Two Hockey set has 198 base cards of veteran players, two checklists, 49 short-printed Young Guns rookie cards and one short-printed Young Guns checklist.

Other than a little variation in the number of Young Guns, that has pretty much been Upper Deck’s script since 2005-06, and frankly, it is time for a change. 

Don’t get me wrong. The cards themselves look great and are of high quality. But even if you ate your favorite food for a month straight, it will still get dull. So it is time for Upper Deck to spice things up and not just do what has been working, but to seek to make things better. Here are seven ways that would improve Upper Deck Series One and Series Two. 

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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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National Hockey Card Day is Saturday

Get Free Hockey Cards on February 18

Doughnut lovers have National Doughnut Day. Vinyl aficionados have Record Store Day. Hockey card collectors have a day of our own, too. Saturday, February 18 is National Hockey Card Day. Set your alarm, grab some coffee and head out to your local card shop – or maybe a few card shops — and get some free hockey cards. 

National Hockey Card Day, or NHCD as us cool kids abbreviate it, started in Canada in 2009 and in the U.S. in 2012. Collectors who visit a participating card shop can get a free pack of exclusive Upper Deck hockey cards. Each pack has five cards. A bonus card can also be acquired by making a $10 purchase. 

Here are the details on National Hockey Card Day in each country.  Continue reading “National Hockey Card Day is Saturday”

1994-95 Upper Deck Hockey promo card

Upper Deck issued a promotional card of Wayne Gretzky to show what their upcoming 1994-95 Upper Deck Series One Hockey set would look like. The promo card is nearly identical to the card of Gretzky found in packs later that fall. However, there is one small difference that is quite obvious when you know what to look for. 

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1994-95 Upper Deck Hockey Variations

Four cards in 1994-95 Upper Deck Series One Hockey have variants. Cards of Mario Lemieux, Igor Larionov, Sergio Momesso and Mike Sillinger were produced with two different numbers on the back.

Below are pictures of each of the four cards’ fronts, plus pictures of both back variants. 

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Will More Parallels Save e-Pack Hockey?

Upper Deck announced some changes yesterday to their e-Pack platform as a means to reduce the potential glut of insert and parallel hockey cards available on the secondary market. In a nutshell, physical insert and parallel cards obtained through e-Pack can now be combined to make an even more-limited parallel of the same card. This is bad news for those who are already sick of parallel cards, and even worse news for those who enjoyed scooping up cheap hockey cards as a result of e-Pack. So, will this move save e-Pack?

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Puck Junk Podcast #21 – Jan. 24, 2017

…with Sal Barry & Tim Parish


Player not working? Listen to this podcast on SoundCloud.

Perhaps the design was bad. Or maybe it had a stupid name. Or the idea behind it was just dumb. In this podcast, Tim (@therealdfg) and Sal talk about the the worst hockey card insert sets from the 1990s. 

Podcast #21 is 51 minutes of hockey card nostalgia. 

Here’s a list of every set we talk about, with links to card images. 

1992-93 Pinnacle – Team 2000 (pictures)
1992-93 Parkhurst – Cherry Picks (pictures)
1993-94 Leaf – Painted Warriors (pictures & info)
1993-94 Pinnacle – Nifty Fifty (pictures)
1993-94 Fleer Ultra – Premier Pivots (pictures)
1993-94 Fleer Ultra – Speed Merchants (pictures)
1994-95 Be A Player (pictures) – no it isn’t an insert set. We know.
1994-95 Leaf – Crease Patrol (pictures)
1994-95 Leaf – Fire On Ice (pictures)
1994-95 OPC Premier – Special Effects (pictures)
1994-95 Parkhurst – You Crash the Game (pictures)
1994-95 Pinnacle – Boomers (pictures)
1994-95 Score – Check It (pictures)
1994-95 Stadium Club – Dynasty and Destiny (pictures)
1994-95 Topps Premier – The Go-to-Guy (pictures)
1995-96 Donruss – Igniters (pictures)
1995-96 Skybox Emotion – Ntense Power (pictures)
1995-96 Pinnacle – Roaring Twenties (pictures)
1995-96 Score – Border Battles (pictures)
1996-97 Be A Player – Biscuit In the Basket (pictures)
1996-97 Fleer NHL Picks-  Jagged Edge (pictures)
1996-97 Leaf – Leather and Laces (pictures)
1996-97 Leaf – Shut Down (pictures)
1996-97 Leaf – Sweaters Away (pictures)
1996-97 Leaf Limited – Bash the Boards (pictures)
1996-97 Leaf Limited – Stubble (pictures)
1996-97 Leaf Preferred – Masked Marauders (pictures)
1996-97 Leaf Preferred – Vanity Plates (pictures)
1996-97 Topps Picks – Ice D (pictures)
1996-97 Fleer Ultra – Mr. Momentum (pictures)
1997-98 Donruss Elite – Back to the Future (pictures)
1997-98 Donruss Priority (pictures) – lots of dumb inserts in this set.
1997-98 Pacific Crown Collection – Card Supials (pictures)
1997-98 Pinnacle Inside – Stand Up Guys (pictures)
1997-98 Score – Net Worth (pictures)
1997-98 Upper Deck – Sixth Sense (pictures)
1997-98 Upper Deck  – Smooth Grooves (pictures)
1998-99 Pacific Omega – Planet Ice (pictures)
1998-99 Pacific Revolution – Chalk Talk (pictures)
1999-00 PacificCrown Royale – Century 21 (pictures)
1999-00 Pacific Dynagon Ice – Checkmates (pictures)
1999-00 Pacific Revolution – Ornaments (pictures)

Note: We also talked about these four sets…

1995-96 Skybox Impact – Ice Quake (pictures)
1995-96 Pinnacle Summit – Mad Hatters (pictures)
1995-96 Fleer Ultra – Crease Crashers (pictures)
1995-96 Edge Ice – Livin’ Large (pictures)

…but due to a recording glitch, we lost the part of the podcast where we discussed them. Stupid Skype! But you know we just loved making fun of talking about Ice Quake — which sounds like a member of the X-Men — and Livin’ Large, yo. 

So, what insert sets from the 1990s did you dislike back then, or even today, because of the idea, design or name? Leave a comment and let us know. 

Podcast intro music by Jim “Not the Goalie” Howard. 

Best of the Worst: 2016-17 Upper Deck Series 1 Hockey

Welcome, my friends, to the show that never ends. Time for another edition of Best of the Worst of Upper Deck! Let’s all take a moment to appreciate just how far we’ve come with the photography and printing technology that bring us such stunning pictures in a little foil pack. The imagery is unparalleled with anything we’ve had in decades past; it truly does bring us closer to the game. 

Everybody over that moment of appreciation?

OK, good, now let’s make fun of them! 

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Top 10 Hockey Collectible Stories of 2016

Happy New Year! With the holidays and other obligations requiring my focus over the past few weeks, I needed to take a little break from Puck Junk and turn my attention elsewhere. But now I am back on track and ready to start writing about hockey goodness once again in 2017. 

Before we get on with the new, I thought it would be good to take a look back at the year that was 2016. Yes, a lot of cool people died — rest in peace, Princess Leia and Ziggy Stardust — and a mean Oompa Loompa was elected as U.S. President.

But 2016 wasn’t a bad year for hockey collectors. We saw the introduction of a new way to buy cards, a new type of hockey card altogether, and so much more. Here are the biggest hockey collectible stories of 2016.  Continue reading “Top 10 Hockey Collectible Stories of 2016”