Upper Deck Answers My Burning Questions

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Back in March, I wrote a long-winded opinion piece on how Upper Deck can improve their Series One and Series Two hockey card sets. But I hate to just wish for things; I want them to happen. So I forwarded my article to Chris Carlin, Upper Deck’s Senior Marketing & Social Media Manager. 

Not only did Chris read my article, but he actually addressed all of my points. As collectors, many times we believe that the card companies can make what we think are a few easy changes that will make us happier.  Well, it turns out that those changes aren’t always easy to make as they might seem — and they won’t necessarily make collecting better, either. 

Here’s a summary of each point from my prior article, along with Chris’ response to each one. Maybe you will learn something; I know I did. 

On including First Round Draft Picks cards in Upper Deck Series One and Two:

We’ve been doing SP1 cards of the first round draft picks the last few years including autograph parallels.

On putting cards of AHL and European Prospects in Upper Deck Series One and Two:

The NHL will not allow this, as much as we’ve tried and continue to try.

Putting Award Winners cards back in Upper Deck Series One and Two:

These were not very popular, but we can look at trying it again.

The return of “Fun Subsets” and other unusual cards: 

Today, these are a source of embarrassment for Upper Deck and the players who appeared on these cards. 🙂 I get a lot of grief about this card in particular.

Fun in the sun, with Doug Weight, Steven Rice and Tony Amonte.

We do a bit of those nostalgic cards and inserts in Fleer Showcase, however.

On the illustrated team checklists that Upper Deck put in its hockey sets from 1990-91 to 1992-93:

1992-93 Upper Deck Hockey team checklist #9 – Hartford Whalers (Pat Verbeek)

So it turns out artists are really expensive and before we had to pay for autographs, foil, etc. there was a budget for that. Nowadays there isn’t as much, unfortunately and they weren’t popular enough to warrant the cost.

Why not make Upper Deck Series One and Two hockey cards out of plastic?

It wouldn’t just increase the cost a bit. It would increase it astronomically. PETG (Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol) printing is very expensive.

Release an Upper Deck Series Three:

Hobby shop owners and distributors have said no to this repeatedly. The NHL isn’t wild about it either.

There you have it, straight from the source. I will admit that I thought most of these ideas were “no-brainers,” but it turns out that Upper Deck had put some brain power into these ideas in the past, and for one reason or another determined that they would not work in today’s hockey card market. 

Still, I will cross my fingers and hope for the painted team checklists to return. ■

Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk


Author: Sal Barry

Sal Barry is the editor and webmaster of Puck Junk. He is a freelance hockey writer, college professor and terrible hockey player. Follow him on Twitter @puckjunk

9 thoughts on “Upper Deck Answers My Burning Questions”

  1. Very cool that he took the time to answer you. Not many execs in any industry can be bothered. Honestly I’m no fan of the silly pose cards but I’d love for the painted checklists to return.

    1. Upper Deck has been pretty good with me as far as answering my questions and even talking to me for stories. I might not agree with everything they do, but as a company they’ve been very accommodating of my requests.

    1. I know someone named Shellie who is a talented artist, but she has better things to do than to draw hockey players 🙂

  2. Isn’t there software available that takes a regular photograph and makes it look like a painting or sketch? I like the painted team checklists too and would not mind at all if they used software to create the look of art rather than hire artists. The artist is just going to use a photograph anyway.

    1. I think there are a few different software that do that. I know there is a series of steps in Photoshop that you can do to make a photo look sort of like a painting. And even though an artist uses one (or many) photographs when doing a painting, there is something to be said for artistic license. The artist can choose which details to remove and which details to keep or even accentuate. A photo that’s been “filtered” to look like a painting never looks quite right to me.

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