2016 Leaf In The Game Used Hockey Review

The moment that vintage memorabilia fans have been waiting for is here! Leaf’s In The Game Used Hockey has been released and it is amazing. I know some people will complain that there’s no logos, or that some players don’t have pictures, but to me that doesn’t matter. This is a huge opportunity for legends collectors to grab some amazing cards and we’d be fools to ignore that because of a little thing like logos and licensing. The fact is that absolutely nothing Upper Deck does can come close to honouring legends the way Leaf does.

Unboxing Leaf In The Game Used Hockey

Base cards? What’s a base card? We don’t need base cards! Leaf has no base set for this product, meaning that it is all hits, all of the time. Each box contains 5 cards, all of them memorabilia, there are some autograph chances, but for the most part relics are the focus. With 10 boxes per case collectors are practically guaranteed to get some legendary cards. A hobby box will probably run collectors about $220usd, which isn’t bad considering the value.

Leaf In The Game Used Hockey Autographs

Leaf In The Game Used Hockey Paul Coffey Auto

Paul Coffey Auto /9

As I have already said, autographs are not the main focus of this product, but they do exist, so let’s get them out of the way. The first set of autos has a total of 15 cards numbered out of 30, with the exception of Gordie Howe, who’s cards are numbered out of 12. While we don’t know for sure if the short run of Howe autos is due to his unfortunate death, it does seem like a possibility. Howe’s auto is also shorted on the Gold parallel, where Howe is numbered to 5, while the other are /9. Other parallels are Red Spectrum /4, Blue Spectrum /3, Silver Spectrum /2, Gold Spectrum 1/1, and printing plates 1/1. All the remaining parallels have the full contingent of Gordie Howe. Other names on the list include Bill Barber, Trevor Linden, and Vladislav Tretiak.

The second, and last, autograph set is the Dual Autographs set. This is a 7 card set that boasts name combinations such as Bernie Parent/Gerry Cheevers and Felix Potvin/Curtis Joseph. There is also a Jean Beliveau/Gordie Howe combination, but this is a 1/1 in both the basic set, and all of the parallels. These parallels include Gold /4, Red Spectrum /3, Blue Spectrum /2, Silver Spectrum 1/1, Gold Spectrum 1/1, and the full gamut of 1/1 printing plates.

Leaf In The Game Used Hockey – Honouring the Nations

Leaf In The Game Used Hockey Countrymen USA

Countrymen USA /15

As is the case in many of it’s previous products, Leaf has once again put together sets that pay tribute to national heroes. The 1st set of nation themes cards is the Countrymen Relics set. This 7 card set celebrates 5 of the most iconic hockey nations on the planet. Each card has a total of 8 relic pieces from 8 different players. The first 3 cards are all about the king of the hockey world, Canada. Names that crop up in these combinations include Martin Brodeur, Sidney Crosby, and Phil Espositio.

Finland’s card touts names like Saku Koivu and Jari Kurri, while Sweden has the likes of Mats Sundin and Borje Salming. Cold War rivals USA and USSR both have cards as well, with USA including names like Brett Hull and Chris Chelios, and the USSR showing off Vladimir Krutov and Vladisalv Tretiak, among others. For this set the base version is numbered /40, while parallels are /15 for Gold, /10 for Red Spectrum, /5 for Blue Spectrum, /3 for Silver Spectrum, and 1/1 for Gold Spectrum.

Leaf In The Game Used Hockey International Showdown

USSR vs Czech /45

We all know that if we have national teams, than we need them to face off. With this in mind Leaf In The Game Used Hockey has put forth the International Showdown Relics set. The set has 5 cards, each of which has 8 relic pieces in it. Faceoffs include USA vs USSR, and Canada vs USA, both of which are iconic matchups. Names like Brett Hull, Jaromir Jagr, and Steve Yzerman all pop up in this set. I absolutely love the theme of these cards and may have to grab some for myself.

Leaf In The Game Used Hockey – Game Used Jersey/Patch Cards

While this entire product is a collection of authentic memorabilia, these sets specifically focus on game used materials of more recent players, that is to say players from the so called “modern era” of hockey. Each set has a huge variety of parallels to choose from, details of which can be found on the Leaf In The Game Used checklist. Each set also has both a jersey and patch variety to choose from, meaning that a large selection is available for collectors to peruse.

Leaf In The Game Used Hockey Quad Game Used Mem

Leafs Quad /5

There are 4 different categories of Game Used Jersey/Patch cards in this year’s release. These appear to be the some of the more common cards to find and the single player ones are probably the second closest thing you’ll see to a “base” set in this product. The categories; Single, Dual, Trio, and Quad number no higher than 45 for the regular jersey versions and /9 for the patches. Each has a large number of parallels, the full breakdown of which can be found on the checklist. Players whose names pop up, either as a single or as part of a combination, include Wayne Gretzky, Dominik Hasek, Patrick Kane, Al Arbour, and Gordie Howe. It is likely that these cards will be some of the cheaper resells, but will still be nice pickups for any collector.

Leaf In The Game Used Hockey – Fantasy 8s and Legendary Starting 6

Leaf In The Game Used Hockey Fantasy Team 8s

Fantasy Team 8s /30

One hallmark of Leaf products are the multi-player mem cards. Two sets that exemplify this well are the Fantasy Team 8s Relics set and the Legendary Starting 6 Relics set. The idea behind the Fantasy Team 8s seems pretty obvious, assemble 8 of the greatest players ever to create dream teams. Leaf definitely knew what they were doing when they drafted these cards together as the player selection is phenomenal.

Let’s take the first card in the set for example, FT8-01, this card is made up of memorabilia from Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, Jacques Plante, Doug Harvey, Mario Lemieux, Maurice Richard, Bobby Orr, and Patrick Roy. That is an unbelievable lineup and I know of no hockey fan who wouldn’t want that card. With the base silver version numbering no more than 35 (FT8-01 is /30) these will be a hard pull, even with 5 parallels to hunt, I’d love to have the full rainbow of any of these, but would hate to see the cost.

Leaf In The Game Used Hockey Legendary Starting 6

Legendary Starting 6

Keeping with the idea of fantasy team, the Legendary Starting 6 Relics set is built around the ideal starting lineup, that is the 5 skaters and a goaltender, that any coach would want on the ice. This set comes in jersey and patch form and has the full set of parallels to accompany it (except plates, only auto series have plates). An example of what to expect from these cards is LS6-04, which features Stan Mikita, Pavel Bure, Nicklas Lidstrom, Dominik Hasek, Chris Chelios, and Sergei Fedorov. These are the starting lineups that give opposing teams nightmares, and make collectors mess themselves.

Leaf In The Game Used Hockey – Single Player Mini Sets

Next up are a series of 5 sets dedicated to single player memorabilia. With no more than 10 cards in each set these could prove to be the hidden gems of the entire product. Making an unassuming appearance on the checklist they are actually very nice looking cards with a great selection of players behind them.

Leaf In The Game Used Hockey Locker Room Vezina

Locker Room Vezina /3

One of my favorite sets I have yet to see pulled from Leaf In The Game Used Hockey this year is the Locker Room Collection Quad Relics set. These single player cards feature 4 pieces of mem each and feature only the biggest of names. Numbering no higher than 12, fans can look for Jacques Plante. Jean Beliveau, and Aurèle Joliat, just to name a few. These are the types of cards legends collectors dream about owning.

Leaf In The Game Used Hockey Masked Men Esposito

Masked Men Esposito /12

Masked Men memorabilia honours the great goaltenders from days gone by. Bernie Parent, Ed Belfour, and Patrick Roy all make appearances in this set. With a 10 card list these cards, numbered /12, come with 5 pieces of mem on each card, offering up items such as pads, gloves, and skates. There are a lot of goalie collectors out there so these cards are certain to sell fast.

Leaf In The Game Used Hockey Rare Materials Gordie Howe

Rare Materials Howe /7

The Rare Materials set is a stunning collection of cards that offer up 8 pieces of mem from one player on each card. These cards live up to their name with no more than 12 of any one version exist. Beautiful jerseys, patches, and skate pieces come together to create the total package for relic collectors. With only 7 cards on the checklist these likely won’t hang around on the secondary market for long. Look for Ovechkin, Jagr, and Gretzky to all appear in this set.

Stadiums

Leaf In The Game Used Hockey Legends of Olympia Stadium ted Lindsay

Olympia Stadium Lindsay /20

The Legends of Chicago Stadium and Legends of Olympia Stadium sets both offer jumbo relic pieces that take up half the card. Paying tribute to two of early hockey Meccas these series are a great way to honour the past and collect some Original 6 history. The Chicago series features names such as Bobby Hull, Pierre Pilote, and Stan Mikita, while Olympia offers up the likes of Bill Gadsby. Harry Lumley, and Sid Abel. You needn’t even be a Hawks of Wings fan to fall in love with these amazing cards.

Leaf In The Game Used Hockey – Super Swatches

Leaf In The Game Used Hockey Super Swatches MacKinnon

Super Swatch MacKinnon 1/1

Super Swatches are just as the name suggests, large pieces of jersey or patch of a single player. With a 42 card checklist and a base version numbered /45 there isn’t too much to say about these cards. They are the lowest possible hits in the product, meaning that they will be fairly common and likely number at least 2 per pack. The patch version of these cards do offer up the chance at some nice pieces, but that really is luck of the draw. Too many plain white swatches are possible for me to really be excited. Some of the bigger names include Carey Price, Joe Sakic, and Martin Brodeur, but overall this is a bit of a lackluster checklist.

Leaf In The Game Used Hockey – Vintage Love

The last 6 sets of In The Game Used Hockey are the reason people buy this product, authentic vintage memorabilia from the founders of the sport. These are the types of cards you may only get a shot at once or twice in a lifetime, and as time passes relics of these players will be harder and harder to find. These sets are what legend collecting is all about.

Single Vintage

Leaf In The Game Used Hockey Vintage Gump Worsley

Vintage Gump Worsley /12

Ace Bailey, Dit Clapper, Elmer Lach, and Newsy Lalonde. What do these names all have in common? They are all legends, and they are all on this checklist with pieces of memorabilia. Quite possibly the most impressive singe player checklist that I have ever seen, there is not a bad name on here. With 35 cards on the checklist, and a handful of parallels, these cards are mind blowing and put anything that I’ve seen from Upper Deck this year to shame. As a legend collector I would rather spend money on any of these guys before even thinking about buy a McDavid anything. In my books legends are where it’s at and collectors who rejects these sets due to licensing issues are blind to what the hobby is really about. Every card on this list is numbered /12 or less and are sure to sell for small fortunes.

Dual Vintage

Leaf In The Game Used Hockey Vintage Mem Duo

Vintage Dual /4

More mem! More mem! The Vintage 2 Memorabilia set offers collectors 2 pieces of mem from 2 different players, and the combinations are fantastic. We see Maurice Richard and Jean Beliveau together, along side other combos such as Howie Morenz and Elmer Lach or King Clancy and Charlie Conacher. With a print run no higher than 8 on the main set, these cards may be tough to find, but are worth every penny.

Vintage 3

Leaf In The Game Used Hockey Vintage Trio

Vintage Trio /4

Three mem, one card. This product just keeps giving! Now they’ve gone and tossed some Dryden mem into the mix. The nearly unattainable player in the world of relics is matched with Ed Giacomin and Gerry Cheevers to for one of the ultimate chase cards for goalie fans. /8 this card will likely be the highest selling of the bunch, due mainly to the rarity of anything to do with the former Habs net minder. In a 12 card checklist that has Maurice Richard, Hap Day, Toe Blake, and Eddie Shore among its ranks, this will be a nearly impossible set to collect.

Leaf In The Game Used Hockey Vintage Quad

Vintage Quad /7

Vintage 4

We aren’t even close to being done with the vintage mem series, next up we’ve got the Vintage 4 Memorabilia set, whose highlights include the combination of Jacques Plante, Paddy Moran, Georges Vezina, and George Hainsworth. With cards numbering 7 or less this 10 card set is everything that Leaf promised with the product, good looking cards, with awesome vintage memorabilia.

Leaf In The Game Used Hockey Vintage 6

Vintage 6 /2

Vintage 6

The Tragically Hip would be happy, Bill Barilko has made an appearance. The legendary Leafs player, who died tragically in 1951, inspired the Canadian rock band to write their famous 50 Mission Cap, and he’s in this set. Matched up with Ace Bailey, King Clancy, Ted Kennedy, Hap Day, and Charlie Conacher, Barilko completes a sextuplet of legendary Leafs. For once Toronto fans have legitimate reason t be excited.

Leaf In The Game Used Hockey Vintage 8

Vintage 8 /3

Vintage 8

We’ve finally reached the end of this mega product and it is going out with a bang. This final set offers up 7 cards, all serial numbered /5. Names like Barilko, Richard, Clancy, Plante, and Vezina are all floating around at various point here. 8 legendary players grace each card and each card is in itself legendary. I have seen Nirvana of the collecting world and it is this set. Well done Leaf, well done.

Closing Thoughts

It should be clear by now that I am blown away by the quality of this product. In my mind it may even be better than last year’s edition. As a legends collector I have griwn frustrated with Upper Deck’s focus on rookies and over selling of Connor McDavid. Thankfully, this product meets everything that I desire. Vintage mem from legendary players, and no rookies in sight, finally I am satisfied. And to those who look down on Leaf, Panini, and the other unlicensed card manufacturers, sucks to be you.

 

 

 

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Looking for the checklist for this Product? Find it here:

2016 Leaf In The Game Used – Checklist

 

 

 

 

 

 

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