The 2023 Team Canada Juniors set was released in November of 2023. The set features Canadian players who played in the 2023 Under-20 World Junior Championship and the 2023 Under-18 World Junior Championship, as well as women who play on the Canadian Women’s National Team.
2023 Team Canada Juniors hockey cards cost around $230 for a 15-pack hobby box. Each pack has six cards. The box – which pictures Connor Bedard on it – claims that you can get “at least 4 hits per box!” Bedard also happens to be the main reason why a box of 2023 Team Canada Juniors is rather pricey; it is possible to get an autographed card of Bedard, who was drafted first overall by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2023. Bedard also has two cards in the base set, one card in the short-printed “Program of Excellence” subset, several insert cards – plus the plethora of parallels those cards have.
In other words, if you are looking for cards of Connor Bedard, this is a good box to break.
Besides autographed cards, other hits you can get in a box of these cards includes a jersey card or a high-end insert card printed on plexiglass.
I recently opened a hobby box of 2023 Team Canada Juniors. Here is what was inside.
49 Base Cards
The first 100 cards comprise the base set.
- Cards 1-18 are Men’s U-18 Junior Championship players
- Cards 19-40 are Men’s U-20 Junior Championship players
- Cards 41-63 are Women’s World Championship players
- Cards 64-100 are the Pride of the Program subset, which reprise most of the Men’s Junior players found in cards 1-40
Card fronts look snazzy, with the Team Canada and Upper Deck logos printed on rainbow foil. Another nice touch is how the background “gradients” to silver at the top of the card.
Card backs display stats for the player’s last three international tournaments, plus their international totals. Also included are the player’s height, weight, shoots/catches, birthdate, and birthplace, along with a short biography.
5 “Program of Excellence” Short Prints
Program of Excellence – not to be confused with Pride of the Program – are cards 101-150. These cards are short prints and supposedly found one in every four packs. However, I seemed to get one in every three packs, as my box yielded a total of five “Program of Excellence” cards. These focus on Men’s Junior players, and again, re-use a lot of the same players featured on cards 1-40. Hey – Upper Deck has gotta put Connor Bedard in this set as many times as possible!
Inserts a’ Plenty
Of course there are a bunch of inserts and parallels.
16 Red Foil Parallels
Cards 1-100 also have Red Foil Parallels. These are found one per pack, though one of my packs had an extra, so I got a total of 16.
3 Patterned Foilboard Parallels
The 100 base cards also have Patterned Foilboard Parallels, which have a shiny, speckled background. You get these one in every five packs. In addition to Connor Bedard, I also got Patterned Foilboard Parallels of Women’s National Team Players Sarah Fillier and Natalie Spooner.
1 Red Patterned Foilboard Parallel
Red Patterned Foilboard are printed on a prismatic card stock and replace the rainbow foil with red foil. Again, only the Base Set (1-100) have these parallels. You get one Red Patterned Foilboard per box.
1 Clear Cut Parallel
Clear Cut Parallels are found one in every 40 packs – or about one in every three boxes. They are printed on a clear, plastic stock. Alex Pharand was drafted in the 4th round (99th overall) by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2023, so I may hang onto this card for a while 🙂
There are other parallels too, including Blue Patterned Foilboard, Exclusives numbered out of 100, Gold Patterned Foilboard numbered out of 25, High Gloss numbered out of 10, and Finite numbered 1/1.
1 Prospectus Momentous
Prospectus Momentous cards mention if the player has been drafted by an NHL team, or what year they are draft eligible. Prospectus Momentous cards use the same rainbow foil as the base set, but are a standalone insert set.
1 Prospectus Momentous Electric Red Parallel
Oh yeah, there are many parallels of Prospectus Momentous – cuz Deck gonna deck – and of course I seemed to get all of them. This is an Electric Red Parallel, numbered out of 549. Although this set came out after the 2023 NHL Draft, it was designed before the Draft, so some of the cards are a little out of date now. Andrew Cristall, seen above, was drafted by the Washington Capitals in 2023 (2nd round, 40th overall).
1 Prospectus Momentous Electric Blue Parallel
Electric Blue parallels are numbered out of 349. Reid Schaefer was selected in the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft (32nd overall) by the Edmonton Oilers, but has since been traded to the Nashville Predators. (The card incorrectly states that he was drafted by Nashville.) Shaeffer is currently playing with the Predators’ AHL team, the Milwaukee Admirals.
1 Prospectus Momentous Electric Yellow Parallel
Electric Yellow? Sure, why not. If this Andrew Cristall guy pans out, I may have to player collect him, seeing as how I have two of his cards already.
There are five other colors of Prospectus Momentous cards – Gold, Green, Orange, Pink, Purple – plus Autographed and Black Autographed 1/1 versions.
1 Go to the Top
Go to the Top are found one in every 28 packs. Natalie Spooner has won two Olympic gold medals and two World Championship gold medals with the Canadian Women’s National Team.
Puttin’ on the Hits
You are supposed to get at least four hits per box. I got four – and one of them was really a hit!
1 License to Ice – Red Parallel
License to Ice cards are printed on a thick plastic stock – like a Clear Cut card, but the thickness of a jersey card. They also have rounded corner and, for some reason, come in their own penny sleeve. There are also Red Parallel versions that are allegedly numbered out of 23. I say allegedly because I cannot find the serial number anywhere. License to Ice look like a photo identification card, and even have the player’s birthdate, height, weight, and eye color listed on the front.
2 Game Used Jersey Cards
Calum Ritchie and Ethan Del Mastro were the two Jersey cards I got in my box of 2023 Team Canada Juniors.
These use the same design as the base cards, but are thicker – about the normal thickness of a jersey card. These are found about two or three per box – one in every 5.5 packs. The rainbow foil around the jersey swatch is a nice touch.
1 Premium Autograph / Patch Card
The fourth and final “hit” in my box of 2023 Team Canada Juniors is not even of a junior player – and I’m totally OK with that! Marie-Philip Poulin is a six-time gold medalist (three in the Olympics and three in the World Championships). She also scored 87 goals and 97 assists in 93 games played in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League. This card, which is numbered out of 175, is going right into my display case!
The 2023 Team Canada Juniors set has a nice design, is informative, and features cards of many future NHL stars, as well as cards of women players who have excelled internationally. But you REALLY have to want cards of junior players and/or women’s players, because that’s all you get here. Unlike past “Team Canada” sets, there are no NHL legends like Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux to bolster the checklist – and that’s OK. But at $230 per box, the 2023 Team Canada Juniors set is a tough sell for me. What’s driving that price is the potential to get a Connor Bedard autograph, but he only has a total of 106 signed cards in the entire production run, making it a very tough pull. Then again, Bedard autographs from this set are currently selling for between $600 and $1,000 on eBay, so I understand why this set is appealing for “hit chasers.”
Follow Sal Barry on X/Twitter @PuckJunk. ■