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

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.


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