2011-2012 Upper Deck Hockey Series 1 Review

I’m absolutely addicted to the cardboard gold that is Upper Deck Hockey.

Any hockey fan should be too.

In a time where card companies have been facing heat for sub-par products and ignoring the basic wants of collectors, those who are  hardcore cardboard collectors should take solace in the fact that there are still products that are fun and affordable to collect.

I don’t have a box break for you, but I’ve bought enough packs to get a full range of what UD Hockey has to offer fans.

Base Cards

Upper Deck divides their cards into two series much like Topps Baseball, with cards 1-200 being in Series 1, while 250-450 appear in Series 2.

The base cards are absolutely beautiful.

The cards utilize every millimeter of space on the card with a graphic that looks sharp and allows the photography to dominate.

Speaking of photography, it is absolutely amazing. The wide variety of shots used showcasing the players both on and off the ice keep the cards from getting repetitive.

The cards also are printed on durable, heavy stock which adds to the quality of the cards.


UD Hockey features some quality insert sets that don’t swell to the point of overkill as seen in a lot of modern products (ahem, Topps Baseball).

Young Guns Rookies

While most sets center around jersey/memorabilia and autograph cards, UD Hockey keeps it old school with the wildly popular Young Guns set. Falling one in every four hobby packs, this set features the hottest rookies in the NHL on a sharp card. Defying the  laws of 21st century collecting, these no-frill cards still have a ridiculous amount of value. The card featuring top draft pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Edmonton Oilers can be found on eBay going for $80-$100. Since the base is relatively easy to complete, finding the 50 rookies that account for cards 201-250 pose a fun challenge to collectors looking for something extra.

UD Canvas

I absolutely hate parallel sets. There is nothing more pointless to me than received a clone of a card but with a different border, font color, etc.. Upper Deck has one psuedo-parallel set, but it satisfies me. The UD-Canvas features a set of the biggest stars of the game printed on canvas instead of the traditional cardboard. The catch? It features a completely different graphic set and photo. Anything that gets to show off the great photography work even more gets a thumbs up from me.

Hockey Heroes

This insert set also falls about one in every four packs and features various players from the 1950’s. Not the biggest fan of this, but unlike in baseball cards, there aren’t many cards devoted to old players. I’ll live with seeing this every once in a while.

All-World Team

This long standing set assembles a team from various countries around the world. I know hockey is a very global game but they have been doing this since the 1990’s. Time for a change.


Each hobby box should deliver two jersey cards. It features a very vibrant design that jumps off the card. For those that are really lucky, autographs of top players are also to be found. The checklists for both feature a wide variety of players ranging from the unknowns to the Sidney Crosby’s and Alex Ovechkin’s of the NHL.

Final Grade: A

This is what a card set should be. A nice base set, some challenges (Young Guns) and some nice “hits”. The amount of value that can come from a box of this that retails from $60 to $70 is hard to beat this day in age ($3-$4 per pack). Once you start collecting, you won’t be able to stop until Series 2 comes out in February. I know I won’t.