Review: 2009-10 O-Pee-Chee

A great shot that just misses the mark

2009-10 OPC #230 - Patrick Sharp (front)For the fourth year in a row, Upper Deck has leased the name “O-Pee-Chee” from Topps in order to brand a set of hockey cards. Overtly emblazoning the O-Pee-Chee logo and featuring Wayne Gretzky on the box and wrapper, the set is clearly meant to appeal to old school collectors who cut their card-collecting teeth during the 1970s and 1980s. And for the most part, it will. Comprising the set are 500 base cards, 50 short-printed Marquee Rookies and 50 short-printed Legends.

Continue reading “Review: 2009-10 O-Pee-Chee”

Review: 2008-09 Collector’s Choice

Victory-like set is un-victorious in making an impression

2008-09 Collector's Choice #23 - Carey PriceIn 2008, former super-pest Claude Lemieux came out of retirement. So did Collector’s Choice hockey cards. After a ten-year hiatus, Upper Deck has dusted off this brand of low-price cards. First produced in 1995, and lasting three seasons, Collector’s Choice was intended to be “kid-friendly” with its price – about a buck a pack – in a market that was rapidly become less affordable for younger collectors. But Lemieux’s comeback was short-lived – he retired after the Sharks were eliminated from the 2009 playoffs. Collector’s Choice’s comeback might be short-lived too. Continue reading “Review: 2008-09 Collector’s Choice”

Review: 2003-04 Topps C55 Hockey

Really, really, really old school design makes for an interesting distraction

2003-04 Topps C55 #68 - Jaromir Jagr

Retro-themed sets based on early 20th century design – such as Upper Deck’s “Champ’s” brand of hockey cards, or Topps “Alan & Ginther” baseball cards – are a popular trend with collectors right now. While few can afford the original cards of Art Ross or Georges Vezina, many still can appreciate the look and feel of current cards that base their designs on these old sets. Earlier this decade, Topps made an initial attempt to make a set of neo-retro hockey cards, naming it “C55” and basing the design on a set of cards that is almost a century old. Continue reading “Review: 2003-04 Topps C55 Hockey”

Review: 2007-08 Victory Hockey Update

100-card update to complete a set you probably didn’t buy

2007-08 Victory #253 - Daniel BriereVictory is one strange little set. The first 245 cards were released in packs and boxes towards the end of August 2007 – almost six weeks before the start of the hockey season.

The next 100 cards – known as the “Update Set” – are actually inserts in packs of Upper Deck Series 2. Continue reading “Review: 2007-08 Victory Hockey Update”

Review: 2007-08 O-Pee-Chee Hockey

Lame design and low-quality besmirch the OPC name

2007-08 O-Pee-Chee #399 - Sidney CrosbyFor the second year in a row, Topps has leased the name “O-Pee-Chee” to Upper Deck for use in branding a large set of hockey trading cards. Whereas the prior year’s set of cards was a bit more appealing, this year’s set proves that Upper Deck could stamp the words “O-PEE-CHEE” on a box of crap, and we’d buy it. Continue reading “Review: 2007-08 O-Pee-Chee Hockey”

Review: 1988-89 Panini Hockey Stickers

Quite possibly one of the best hockey sets – ever!

1988-89 Panini Sticker AlbumThe 1988-1989 Panini hockey sticker set was a great series, and possibly the best one a new hockey fan from that era could hope for. Way back in early ’89, I “discovered” hockey when I, at 14 years of age, accidentally put on the wrong channel (I was flipping between SCTV reruns and a biopic on Martin Luther King Jr.). I ended up catching the last five minutes of a Chicago Blackhawks game. Tuning into a game of theirs a few days later, I was hooked–and I needed to start collecting hockey cards.

1988-89 Panini Stickers #24 - Doug WilsonBut hockey cards were hard to find in Chicago in 1989. The only place you could find them was at baseball card stores. However, my local grocery store happened to sell Panini hockey stickers. I decided to start collecting them. Why not?–a pack of six stickers was 25 cents, and the album was only 69 cents.

Little did I know how useful this set would be to help me understand the great game of hockey. Continue reading “Review: 1988-89 Panini Hockey Stickers”

Review: 1987-88 O-Pee-Chee Hockey

Overlooked set has many good rookie cards

1987-88 OPC #53 - Wayne GretzkyLike the previous year, this season’s O-Pee-Chee set contained 264 cards. The first 198 cards were identical to the 1987-88 Topps Hockey set – both Topps and O-Pee-Chee use the same photographs. Cards of players traded in the off-season differ slightly in this set. Players who got traded have a short text blurb mentioning the player’s new whereabouts (“Now with Black Hawks”, “Now with Maple Leafs”, and so forth). The team name on the front of the card is also changed to reflect the player’s new digs. Continue reading “Review: 1987-88 O-Pee-Chee Hockey”

Review: 1987-88 Topps Hockey

Robitaille and Oates stand out in this sleeper set.

1987-88 OPC #15 - Mario LemieuxDuring the 1986-87 season, Topps increased its hockey set from 165 cards to 198 cards. This year continued the trend of 198 cards, as that seemed to be a comfortable number of cards for Topps to handle. Hockey cards were not popular in the United States in the 1980s – remember, there were no Topps hockey card sets for 1982-83 or 1983-84. So, it would not make sense to make their hockey sets as large as say, their annual Football set, which was usually around 396 cards. Continue reading “Review: 1987-88 Topps Hockey”

Review: 2006-07 SP Authentic

Run-of-the-mill set with legends thrown in for good measure

2006-07 SP Authentic #89 - Ryan Miller

The 2006-07 SP Authentic set featured the typical short-printed rookie cards and one-per-box autographs. The short-printed cards were limited to just 999 copies each. Since many collectors bought multiple boxes with dreams of getting some expensive insert card, the result is that they end up with multiple base sets (1-100). Go on eBay, and you’ll find people trying to get rid of base sets for $5 or $10.

Since I only have the base set, that is what is reviewed here. Continue reading “Review: 2006-07 SP Authentic”

Review: 1991-92 Parkhurst Hockey

First Parkies set in over 25 years a mediocre offering in crowded 90’s market

1991-92 Parkhurst #26 - Doug GilmourThe 1991-92 Parkhurst Hockey set was manufactured by now-defunct trading card company Pro Set, who was the first company to lease the Parkhurst name. Parkhurst made hockey cards from 1951 until 1964. Pro Set’s big idea was to use the name to brand another set of their own hockey cards, hoping that its nostalgic ties would help it stand out in an increasingly crowded hockey card market. Continue reading “Review: 1991-92 Parkhurst Hockey”