Normally an early-season release, the 2022-23 O-Pee-Chee Hockey set was released on March 1, right as the regular season was winding down. Releasing the set later later in the season allowed Upper Deck to include rookie cards of players who made their debut early in the ’22-23 season, such as Shane Wright of the Seattle Kraken and first-overall pick Juraj Slafkovsky of the Montreal Canadiens.
A hobby box of 2022-23 O-Pee-Chee costs around $60 for 18 packs. Each pack contains 10 cards, so a box yields 180 cards. As usual, O-Pee-Chee has numerous parallels, as well as popular inserts, such as Playing Cards.
I recently opened a box of 2022-23 O-Pee-Chee Hockey cards. Here’s what was inside.
123 Base Cards
Cards 1-500 make up the base set. Base cards feature a simple, yet-appealing, design that is worthy of the name O-Pee-Chee. The ornate frame around the photo and the diagonal lines emanating outward are just enough flourishes to make the design look interesting. The O-Pee-Chee logo, while a tad bigger than what I’d like, does not overpower the design.
Card backs have up to 13 seasons of statistics, which is better than the usual five — or sometimes just one! — season of stats, plus career totals. Vitals like height and weight are also listed, while the photo from the front is reprised as a black-and-white headshot on the back.
18 Short Prints
Cards 501 to 600 are short-printed and made up of two subsets: 40 All-Stars (501-540) and 60 Marquee Rookies (541-600). Curiously, there is no checklist for the short prints. Each pack had one short print for a total of 18. Eleven of the short prints in my box were Marquee Rookies while the other seven were All-Stars.
1 Photo Variant
At first glance, I did not know that I pulled a “Photo Variant,” which may be one per box. But when I looked at this card and saw Jack Eichel wearing a garish red warmup jersey, I knew it had to be a Photo Variant. Besides warmup jerseys, there are also Photo Variants that use closeup head shots, photos from outdoor games, and photos from draft day.
5 Blue Parallels
Every year, Upper Deck seems to add more and more colored parallels to O-Pee-Chee. Blue bordered parallels have been a thing for at least a few seasons now. I got five Blue Parallels in my box.
2 Rainbow Foil Parallels /350
This year adds the Rainbow Foil parallels, but they are only for the Marquee Rookies and All-Stars. Rainbow Foil parallels are numbered out of 350.
1 Red Parallel
You get one Red Parallel per box. I got a Red Parallel of Matt Dumba of the Minnesota Wild. Like the Blue Parallels, the Red Parallels are not numbered.
1 Pink Parallel /75
However, the Pink Parallels are numbered out of 75. This Roope Hintz Pink Parallel is numbered 13/75.
18 Retro Parallels
The ever-popular Retro Parallels are back for another season. Whereas the base card design of the standard O-Pee-Chee set is subtle and achromatic, with just black, white and gray design elements, the Retro Parallels are the complete opposite – with bold type and loud colors. If putting together a Retro Parallel set wasn’t such a Sisyphean task, I would seriously consider building this year’s Retro set. These parallels come one per pack, so I got 18 of them.
1 Retro Black Parallel /100
I also got one Retro Black Parallel. These cards are numbered out of 100. This Yegor Sharangovich card is numbered 048/100.
5 Playing Cards
Playing Cards are back again this year, and like the Retro set, the only thing that keeps me from chasing this insert set down is the difficulty in completing it. There are a total of 54 playing cards to collect, with Ducks’ mascot Wild Wing and Kings’ mascot Bailey as the Jokers this year. The challenge of completing the Playing Cards insert sets is that some cards are very tough pulls. Cards 2-10 for each suit (♥ Hearts, ♦ Diamonds, ♣ Clubs, and ♠ Spades) are easy enough to collect, occurring once in every five packs or so. Jacks, Queens, and Kings are found one in every 34 packs (every other box). Aces are found one in every 101 packs (every six boxes). Jokers are found one in every 202 packs (every 12 boxes). My box had the following playing cards:
4 ♦ – Cole Caufield
5 ♥ – Nick Suzuki
2 ♣ – Joel Farabee
9 ♣ – Tristian Jarry
Q ♣ – Brad Marchand
So, I got four numbered cards and one “Face” card — though some might argue that Brad Marchand should be a Joker 🙂
5 O-Pee-Chee Premier Inserts
Finally, I got five O-Pee-Chee Premier inserts in my box. You get one of these in every four packs. I pulled five of these from my box. There do not seem to be any short prints of these inserts — though there are Rainbow versions numbered to 99 — so this is probably a little easier of an insert set to put together than the Playing Cards.
Everything about the 2022-23 O-Pee-Chee Hockey set just clicks for me — from the affordable price point, to the bevvy of interesting inserts, to the subtle-yet-appealing base design because, YES, I collect base cards. If you are looking for the next $5,000 rookie card, you are not going to find it in O-Pee-Chee, but that’s OK. Just like Amstel Light is the “beer drinker’s light beer,” O-Pee-Chee is the “set builder’s hockey set,” as it is a large set that is challenging, but not impossible, to complete. Plus, with O-Pee-Chee being released towards the end of the season, Upper Deck was able to include some rookies who debuted earlier in the year. If you are a fan of modern O-Pee-Chee hockey cards, the 2022-23 O-Pee-Chee set does not disappoint.
Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk. ■