Great for fans of 1960s, 1990s hockey cards
Several different companies have leased the Parkhurst name over the past 20-plus years, starting with Pro Set way back in 1991, as an effort to sell a brand of hockey cards with some nostalgia attached to it. The 2005-06 Parkhurst Hockey set was produced by Upper Deck, coming out just as the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals were underway. This late-season set was a great “jumping on” point for collectors who had fallen off the hockey card-collecting wagon, but wished to return and try to get some rookie cards from the 2005-06 “double rookie class” — without spending over $100 on a box of cards. This relatively low-price, late season release was met with mixed feelings from collectors.
Player Selection – 5 out of 5
Parkhurst was the largest released set of 2005-06, clocking in at 700 cards — 500 base cards and 200 short-printed subset cards. While the design was definitely 1960s, the size of the set is so 1990s. This makes for a great set.
The obvious upside of such a large set is that more cards can be dedicated per team, with each getting 16 or 17 base cards. This is great if you collect not just the superstars, but the lesser-known players as well, such as a backup goaltender or fourth-line grinder. Hockey is a team sport, and it is always great to have cards of as many different NHL regulars as possible. Many players who do not appear in other 2005-06 sets are found here.
Card Design — 4 out of 5
The 2006-06 Parkhurst set went with a low-tech, almost classic design of a player “cut out” and dropped against a light background, with the team logo faintly repeated in the background, akin to designs from the 1950s and 1960s. Every base card depicts the entire player from head to toe, giving the base set a cohesive look. The low-tech card fronts are very basic, with no holograms, silver or shiny ink, or embossed player photos. Additionally, the cards have virtually no gloss, which makes them perfect for getting autographed.
Stats & Info / Back Design — 4 out of 5
The backs of each card are a bit of a letdown. One of the greatest things about hockey cards is that you can learn a lot about each player. However, these cards lack some of the most basic biographical information: height, weight, birth date and whether the player is left or right handed. Maybe those are my expectations, being raised on Topps cards, but I think this very basic info could have easily been squeezed on the card backs.
One major upside, though, is the inclusion of a player’s complete statistics. A lot of Upper Deck’s sets don’t bother with complete statistics. That’s not the case with Parkhurst, as 20+ year pros Steve Yzerman and Mario Lemieux have all of their stats listed.
While I am almost always a fan of a player headshot on the back of hockey cards, doing that simply would not fit in with Parkhurst’s “retro” design. Full-color printing on both sides would also have prevented this from being a cheaper, lower-priced offering.
Subset Quality — 1 out of 5
Two hundred different cards comprise six different subsets. Some of them are vital to the set, such as the 70-card Parkhurst rookies, while others were a bit — or even wholly — unnecessary.
The 30 card A Salute to Captains subset sounds nice in theory, but those “let’s hear it for the team captain” subsets never seem to work in practice — partially because the guy who wears the “C” is not always the team’s most exciting player. Couple that with the fact that many teams don’t have a dedicated captain. What you end up is with 30 cards that could have been dropped from the set without anyone really noticing, since those guys get their own “regular” cards anyways. More than anything, this subset really seemed to be just an excuse to make another card for Sidney Crosby (who is shown as an alternate captain).
By comparison, the Team Logos subset makes the Captains subset look ten times more appealing. How fun is it to get a Tampa Bay Lightning logo in your next pack of cards — complete with general information about the team on the back! These would have been nice if the back had been a team checklist, but Upper Deck saw some reason to make that its own wretched subset.
The Northern Stars subset was also quite unnecessary. Did we really need a subset that celebrates hockey’s best “Canadian” players? Isn’t that what pretty much any NHL card set does anyway?
And then we have the 2005-06 Season Highlights subset…which brings me to my next gripe. These cards feature a horizontal design, while the other 685 cards in the set are vertical. Why? There was really no advantage of making these cards break the design. They are not even that interesting to look at. And I have a real hard time with a 2005-06 set having highlight cards from that same season — especially when the season isn’t even finished. That only gives us highlights from the first 2/3 of the season.
On the upside, the Parkhurst Rookies subset featured a nicer design, and a very comprehensive 70-card selection of the top rookies from that year. The dynamic design — featuring diagonal “rays” emanating from behind the player — look nice, but kind of contradict the otherwise retro feel of the set. The usual suspects are featured: Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, Dion Phaneuf, Hendrick Lundqvist, Thomas Vanek and Wojtek Wolski, as well as some up-and-comers like Jim Howard, Brent Seabrook, Mikko Koivu, Corey Perry and R.J. Umberger.
Finally, there is the 30 card Team Checklists subset. Checklists are always nice to have, but why make them short printed?
In fact, why make anything, except maybe the Rookie cards, short printed? This is probably what made the 2005-06 Parkhurst set a turn-off for many collectors. 130 of the short printed cards were really nothing to get excited about. Factor in that you only get one short printed card per six-card pack, and you can see why many collectors took their dollars elsewhere.
On the other hand, the lower price point, and overall great player selection were reasons for many collectors to jump on this set and attempt to get all 700 cards. If you like retro design, and don’t want to shell out hundreds of dollars completing a set of Upper Deck, then Parkhurst is for you.
BONUS: Top 5 cards
657 — Sidney Crosby This may be Sid the Kid’s least-desirable rookie card, but it is still a Sidney Crosby rookie card (back)
669 — Alexander Ovechkin The same applies to Alex. This is a nice, inexpensive Ovie RC for your collection. (back)
390 — Mario Lemieux Super Mario’s last card as an active player. (back)
173 — Steve Yzerman Another guy who retired, destined for The Hall and nostalgia card sets. (back)
500 — Mr. Hockey Including Gordie Howe in a modern set 26 years after he retired seems a bit unnecessary. Then again, he IS Mr. Hockey. (back)
700 card set
– 500 card base set
– 200 short printed subset cards
Card size: 2 1/2″ wide x 3 1/2″ tall
Click here to download a printable checklist
(This article was originally published on October 12, 2007, but was lost when I migrated the site to WordPress in 2012. This article has been edited for style, though the ratings have remained unchanged.)