Preview: 2011-12 Upper Deck Parkhurst Champions Hockey

I am still in a hockey mood. The NHL Draft was last week and my two favorite teams picked up vital pieces to their organizations that they need to succeed. The Oilers picked up the number one pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and a solid defenseman in the first round and my Hurricanes also picked up a much needed defenseman. I’m excited for the future of both of my favorite franchises.

But this product isn’t about the rookies. It’s about what those rookies may become someday. Legends. Lemeiux, Gretzky, Orr, Howe….they were all rookies at one time but evolved into some of the greatest players to ever put their metal on ice.

2011-12 Parkhurst Champions is going to bring you the legends of the winter like no other hockey product has before. With 20 packs a box and 5 cards a pack you are going to find some great cards. One of those cards is going to be a Champs mini. I know many people in the hockey collecting community missed Champs this past year, so Upper Deck is reviving it as a subset in this product. Remember how the last Champs product you could pull fossils and other artifacts? It’s back with Parkhurst Champions.

The main selling point of this product though is the autographs. You will find 2 autographs per box, unless you pull an artifact or fossil which would then make it one autograph a box. 100% on card autographs too on these beautifully designed cards. With base parallel autographs, wire-to-wire autographs of the players in original black and white newspaper photography, Rendition autographs with an artistic style photo, and Champs mini autographs this product is going to be loaded with beautiful autographs.

You can also find those inserts in standard non-autographed versions as well and they look sharp.

An average box break will have 2 great hits with at least one being an autograph, 5 wire photo cards, 2-3 Rendition inserts, and 20 Champs mini cards. A case will have at least one of the following: fossil/artifact, a Champs red ink auto numbered to 5, Parkhurst Masterpiece sketch, Renditions autograph, or Wire Photo multi-signed card.

2011-12 Upper Deck Parkhurst Hockey looks to be one of the best collections of hockey legends I’ve seen in quite some time. Look for this product arriving sometime in the Fall of 2011.

I’m going to beg Upper Deck for a checklist as this product looks amazing. Just look at this Super Mario base parallel autograph.

Preview: 2010-11 Panini Dominion Hockey

I wanted to keep my blog down to one post per day. This one has to be the exception.

Panini has finally put out their preview for 2010-11 Panini Dominion hockey.

This is going to be Panini’s effort in direct competition to Upper Deck The Cup and ITG Superlative. Will it contain the goods to dethrone them? So far, I think it may have a chance.

At $350 a box, this product is going to be up there. Your 350 clams will give you 8 cards per box with at least 6 of them being autographs or memorabilia. You will be guaranteed that 3 of them will be autographed. Oh, and by the way, every autographed card is hard-signed. No sticker autographs here. That’s what I’m talking about.

You want to know what’s included in this set?

  • Kindred Cuts, a 1/1 cut signature of some of hockey’s greats.
  • Peerless Patches, a dual or quad booklet featuring patches of some of hockey’s best players of today and the past.
  • Engravatures, cards embedded with real silver that are etched with former Stanley Cup winners, just like Lord Stanley’s Cup.
  • Nifty 50, hard signed autographs of single season 50 goal scorers.
  • Tape to Tape, a very interesting set featuring autographs of stars on embedded pieces of hockey tape from their sticks.
  • Brass Bonanza, saving the best for last. Can you hear that tune yet? I can. A tribute insert set featuring autographs from the legends of the Hartford Whalers.

Now I don’t get very excited often for boxes of cards. But when I hear there is going to be an insert set in tribute to the Hartford Whalers, that gets my attention and excitement. It just brings me back to the days of sitting in my grandfather’s den with the Whalers game on TV, watching the likes of Ron Francis and Kevin Dineen while putting together a puzzle. I wasn’t aware at my young age what the organization was going through and the fact it would leave me without a professional hockey team years later. Flash forward to 2009 when the NHL finally got the rights back to the Whalers name and logo. I knew someday, somewhere the Whalers would return in cardboard form. Okay, back to reality.

Going over the designs shown for the cards I see some very cool concepts with a lot of larger then average swatches. I also noticed that unlike some other Panini products, the over-sized swatches don’t overtake the main focus of the card, the players. I give credit where it’s deserved and these cards look nice. Looking especially nice is the Showcase Showdown insert, which looks fantastic and is pictured below. Sadly, Panini did not post anything featuring the Hartford Whalers and their Brass Bonanza set. I think I’m going to have to bug Tracy Hackler for that.

But overall, despite my overwhelming crush on the Whalers insert set, I believe this set may have what it takes to seriously contend for the high end Cup. Low numbered cards, great autographs, and new ideas may set this apart.

Panini America’s NHL brand manager Al Muir stated, “This is for the high-end hobbyists, the whales.” The “whales” is right.

Pucky is back.

Want more Dominion preview goodness?

(SCB Note: Do you want to see a 2011 Panini Dominion checklist?)

Last Look: About to start packing out Dominion!