This year’s set feels like it could have been made in the 1980s. It features a basic design and many cards: 500 base cards of current and retired players and 100 “Marquee Rookies.” A box of 2013-14 O-Pee-Chee consists of 32 eight-card packs. Here are the results of the box I opened:
186 Base Cards
The base cards are mostly of current players, with retired greats thrown into the mix. I did not get any doubles in my box. Not all of the cards use orange and green for the borders, either. Other color combinations are used to frame each crisp, full-color photo.
16 Marquee Rookies
Marquee Rookies are seeded one in every two packs (1:2). Since the product was released before the start of the season, it misses out on the “Double Rookie Class,” and thus features only RCs of players who debuted in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season. The good news is, we get 100 rookie cards to collect instead of “Marquee Legends,” like we have in years past.
32 Retro Parallels & 1 Blank Back Retro Parallel
Every pack contained a Retro Parallel, except for one pack that had a Retro Parallel and a blank-back Retro Parallel — a parallel of a parallel, if you will. This year’s Retro design is a bit bright and busy. Many of them feature yellow lettering (like the Gretzky card above), which makes the names somewhat hard to read. I wish these were a bit less psychedelic and a bit more ’71-72.
The design of the stickers is so nice that I wish Upper Deck used it for a full set. I am fond of these insert stickers because Topps used to insert hard-back All-Star stickers in their packs of hockey cards from 1985-86 to 1989-90.
8 Rainbow Parallels
1 Rainbow Black Parallel
2 Team Logo Rings
Based on O-Pee-Chee inserts from the 1970s, these “Team Rings” are new to modern OPC cards. The cards are perforated and will actually come apart quite easily if you are not careful. Quick — throw ’em in penny sleeves to keep ’em mint. And whatever you do, don’t let your kids wear them!
What I like about 2013-14 O-Pee-Chee Hockey: The base card design is worthy of the O-Pee-Chee name. The O-Pee-Chee logo is not overbearing like it was in the sets from 2006-07 to 2011-12. The 500-card base set features a diverse range of players, and not just the top 100 players like many of the small sets. Stickers, Team Rings and Retro Parallels give you plenty of variety to chase after. More rookie cards to collect than other sets.
What I dislike about 2013-14 O-Pee-Chee Hockey: One RC in every two packs means that you’d have to buy 200 packs of OPC to hope to complete a set. The Retro Parallel set is a bit of a letdown when compared to the Retro Parallel sets from 2011-12 and 2012-13. But my biggest gripe is the same one that I have every year: the cards are printed on ugly brown card stock. This — along with the tiny text — makes the backs of the cards nearly impossible to read.
O-Pee-Chee may not be a better hockey card than Upper Deck Series One and Two, but it might be more fun because of its bright colors, variety of inserts and nostalgic appeal. 100 different rookie cards — instead of the usual 50 or so — give you more incentive to build this year’s set. Plus, the minimal amount of gloss on the fronts of each card makes them ideal for getting autographed.
Currently, DA Card World and Steel City Collectibles are selling full boxes of 2013-14 O-Pee-Chee Hockey online. FYI, neither of those stores sponsor this site, but both are reputable dealers that I’ve purchased cards from in the past and highly recommend.
Special thanks to Upper Deck for providing the box for this break.