Not long before the 2021-22 season started, Upper Deck released 2020-21 Allure Hockey. All of Upper Deck’s hockey card releases have been pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so it is sometimes an odd feeling to open last year’s hockey cards during this season — especially when you pull a card of someone who has since changed teams.
Anyway, a hobby box of 2020-21 Allure Hockey contains eight packs. Each pack contains eight cards. A box is guaranteed to have one jersey card and one autographed card. Boxes of Allure debuted at around $160 per box but are now selling for around $140 from online retailers based in the U.S.
I’m a bit late to the party here, but I finally had a chance to open a box of 2020-21 Allure Hockey. Let’s see what I got.
28 Base Veteran Cards
Every pack had three or four base veteran cards, as Allure is more focused on rookies, parallels and inserts. Unfortunately, these don’t scan very well, so the silver borders and background look black. There are a total of 70 “base veteran cards” in this set.
10 Base Rookie Cards
Falling at just over one rookie card per pack, these RCs aren’t tough pulls. There are 30 “base rookies” in this set.
8 High-Numbered Rookie Cards
The high-numbered rookie cards are considered short prints, but at one per pack, they are really not all that short of prints. There are 50 of these short-printed rookie cards, which have an ice-blue border. What I can’t figure out is why there are both low-numbered and high-numbered rookie cards of the same players. For example, Liam Foudy has two rookie cards in this set: cards number 81 and 106 (above). Why make two rookie cards of the same player in the same set? Why not make rookie cards of 30 other players instead?
3 Red Parallel Cards
Now these are sweet! The Red Bordered Allure Parallels are brighter and more eye-catching than the standard base cards. If the whole set looked like these parallels — with the pixel borders and backgrounds — I would want to have the complete set.
4 Black Parallel Cards
The Black Border Parallels have more of a shimmery background — think O-Pee-Chee Platinum Rainbow Parallels — instead of a pixelated background.
1 Orange Die-Cut Card
I love this card! The shiny, micro-pixel background looks great, and the orange borders of this particular card compliment the blue of goaltender Igor Shesterkin’s Rangers jersey.
1 Green Die-Cut Card
This Mathew Barzal Green Parallel is numbered 23/99 and has a rainbow foil background.
3 Grand Entrance Insert Cards
Grand Entrance are inserts of rookie players. The three Grand Entrance cards I got in my box were Gabe Vilardi of the Kings, Vitali Kravtsov of the Rangers, and Morgan Geekie of the Hurricanes. The latter two are kind of odd, since — as of this season — Kravtsov is now playing in the KHL and Geekie is with the Kraken. But these are last year’s cards.
1 Iced Out Insert Card
This almost fees like a Metal Universe insert card.
1 Diagnostics Insert Card
Kind of an odd name for an odd insert card, which has a fingerprint (presumably not from Connor Hellebuyck) on the back.
1 Jersey Card
Mark Stone of the Vegas Golden Knights was the jersey card that I pulled in my box of 2020-21 Allure Hockey. I like the fact that it has a gray jersey swatch, and, as I mentioned before, love the pixelated look of the card.
1 Allure Quartz Autograph
This Allure Quartz autograph card of of Gabe Vilardi. I gotta lotta Gabe in this box — one base RC, a Grand Entrance insert card, and an autographed card. This auto card is signed on a sticker which was then applied to the card. Vilardi is currently playing in the AHL, but hopefully will make it back to the Kings and become a great player.
I like the way Allure looks, but it is a bit expensive of a product. If a box is around $140, that means each pack is $17.50 and each card is $2.18…give or take. That’s a lot to spend for rookie cards that will almost always take a back seat in popularity to Upper Deck Young Guns. This set also feels a bit redundant when you factor in that Upper Deck also issued O-Pee-Chee Platinum and Skybox Metal Universe in 2020-21. Is there such as thing as “metal fatigue” when it comes to hockey cards and the abundance of metal-like sets? Plus, the autograph is on a sticker applied to the card, while O-Pee-Chee Platinum has on-card autographs, costs around $20 less per box, and has 16 more cards per box (80 vs. 64). Regardless, you get a ton of rookie cards, one guaranteed autograph, and quite a few parallels and inserts. If you are more into RCs and inserts, then Allure is worth a look.
Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk. ■