2008-09 Upper Deck Champ’s Hockey – the Rookies

March 21, 2009

Continuing with my piecework review of the box of 2008-09 Upper Deck Champ’s hockey that I broke early today, let’s finish off the base set with the slightly SP’d rookies (1:2 packs).  There are 100 of these as well.  One more vote for expanding the base set – there shouldn’t be the same number of rookie cards as base cards in a product.

UD went with a completely new design for the rookie cards.  I’m not sure if this is an actual retro design, or just supposed to look retro.  I’m kind of torn on this.  Part of me thinks the rookies look cool.  The other part of me wishes that they looked more consistent with the base set.  Perhaps the same basic design but with a ‘Champ’s Rookie’ designation at the bottom where the regular base cards just say ‘Champ’s’. As might be expected for rookies – there are no stats on the back, just short write up about the player.

With 100 rookie cards, this set hits all the big names, so there are no issues with the checklisting.  A few guys (Ty Wishart for sure) make their RC debut in Champ’s as well. If you are busting this and aren’t sure who you are looking for, these are the names that should make you sit up and take notice:  Steven Stamkos, Luke Schenn, Steve Mason, Kyle Okposo, Drew Doughty, Mikkel Boedker, Kyle Turris, and Justin Pogge.  There are lots of  good rookies in this year’s crop, so this list is by no means exhaustive.

As I mentioned earlier, the rookies are slightly SP’d, falling one in every two packs.  I hit these odds bang on.  I opened a box (24 packs) + four loose packs and I have 14 rookie cards.  No issues there.  I like SP’d rookie cards – they add a bit of a challenge to the set, and also give a bit more value to the RCs.  You’d need to open up 8+ boxes with perfect collation to nail the entire set, so these cards should have decent value.  Maybe not as good as the ever popular Young Guns, but if this set proves popular with set builders, Champ’s Rookie Cards should be able to pull themselves out of the low – mid end quagmire we sometimes see.

Overall Rating for the RC portion of the product:  8/10.  The design issue is still gnawing at the back of my brain.  No issues with checklist, seeding or quality control keeps this rating up near the top of the grading scale.

2008-09 Upper Deck Champ’s Hockey – the Base

March 21, 2009

Also commonly  known as the Upper Deck hockey version of A&G.  For those die hard hockey card fans out there – its much closer to 03/04 Topps C55.  Right down to the box design actually.  The only thing it is missing is the box topper containing all minis.

I’m going to review this box / product on a piece work basis.  This post is dedicated to the base cards.

2008-09 Upper Deck Champ’s Hockey has a 100 card base set.  Its mostly current players, but there are a few veterans thrown in there as well – as you can see by this awesome looking Bobby Orr.  These cards would be awesome for TTM – but a lot of these guys are tricky TTM.  Any time a set is limited to 100 cards – it contains mainly the biggest names.  That cuts down on TTM opportunities.

These cards are printed on thick cardboard stock.  The backs are grey cardboard, feature a 5 year stat rundown, with totals for the player’s entire career as well.  There’s also a short write up about the player.  Current and legend players receive the same treatment for the card backs.

This is a set I wouldn’t mind seeing doubled or tripled in size.  It would improve the chances for TTM sigs (and the set has the perfect finish).  Also, with the large number of minis, and other things in the packs – breaking more than one box would get less repetitive with a larger base set.

Overall – the base set gets a 9/10.  the only deduction being for the small size.  QC was good.  The thicker stock holds up well, and while there were a few rough cuts, they don’t detract from a card nearly so much in a vintage themed set as they would in a more modern design.