Do you like retro cards at low end prices? Than O-Pee-Chee hockey is right up your alley. One of the oldest brands in hockey collecting is back again for another year, and it his bringing its usual huge checklist with it. Consisting primarily of base variations and inserts, this product may not offer up many traditional hit chances, but remains a fan favorite none the less. The traditional cardboard stock and simplistic design are a nice change from the foil and plastic that we see far too often these days. A hobby box will run you about $72USD and for this you can expect 32 packs of 8 cards each. Grab your kids and have fun ripping into this one.
O-Pee-Chee Base Set
It is not often that a base set becomes the main focus of a product, but for O-Pee-Chee base cards are their bread and butter. The whopping 660 card checklist is divided into several categories. True base cards are numbered 1-550, these are standard base and have no real special interest. Cards #551-600 are the Marquee Rookies. These cards fall 1:2 packs and include names such as William Nylander, Anthony Mantha, and Pavel Zacha. Unfortunately Austen Matthews seekers will have to wait another few weeks before his rookies start appearing in the for of Artifacts redemptions. Cards #601-615 are Season Highlights cards and celebrate moments from the 2015-16 NHL season. These moments include McDavid’s return from injury, and Iginla’s 600th career goal. #616-645 are the individual team checklist cards, while #646-660 are League Leaders, these highlight the statistical leaders from last season.
As I have already said, O-Pee-Chee is a base oriented product, and to make this system work they have included numerous parallel variations to the main set. These give collectors something to look forward to, while maintaining the integrity of the overall product. This year sees Rainbow Foil parallels, which fall 1:4 packs, Retro parallels which fall 1 per pack, Black Rainbow Foil, which are serial numbered /100, and Red Bordered cards which can only be obtained through OPC’s wrapper redemption program (5 per redemption).
O-Pee-Chee Signatures Set
While hits are a rare commodity in O-Pee-Chee, they do exist. The first such example is the Signatures set, which features a sticker auto of 28 different players, mostly mid-range guys. These are a 1:192 pack hit for hobby boxes, meaning an average of 2 per case. Retail packs see them at 1:400, while blaster boxes are a 1:800 longshot. Oliver-Ekman Larsson is the sole Group A signer and falls 1:50,573 packs. These are decent looking cards, but not the main reason to buy the product.
O-Pee-Chee Team Canada Signatures Set
We all know that hockey is a Canadian sport. The USA may have the most NHL teams, but the heart of the sport rests above the 49th Parallel. For this reason it is not uncommon to see Team Canada oriented sets included in many hockey products. This is once again true in OPC with the Team Canada Signatures set. This 27 card list is a true case hit, falling 1:384 packs for hobby boxes, 1:1200 for retail, and 1:2400 for blasters. Here the featured names are quite a bit more impressive than the previous set, with names such as McDavid, Orr, and Gretzky all being included. As was the case with the other Signatures set, all autographs are stickers and not hard signed.
O-Pee-Chee Manufactured Patch Relics Set
I have stated in previous articles that I dislike the trend of including manufactured patches in products, but in this case it is necessary. Here Upper Deck is not trying to replace game-used relics with manufactured mem, but instead have created an entire insert series dedicated to using manufactured patches as a medium. This set includes 100 cards and has been split into a variety of different themes and is exclusive to hobby boxes.
The base version Manufactured Patches feature a player image made completely of patch piece. Essentially these are a base card made of material. Regular base fall 1:156 packs while legends and rookies fall 1:835 packs. All Star Logos celebrate the logos of different all star games from the past 30 years. The 2016 version falls 1:1043 packs, while 2008-2015 logos are 1:626. 1988 logos are the rarest at 1:4176 packs. Finally the Mascots subset celebrates select NHL Team Mascots such as Fin the Whale, and Harvey the Hound. These fall 1:3912 packs for the regular ones, and 1:31,296 packs for the rare version.
O-Pee-Chee Playing Cards Set
New to the product this year is the Playing Cards set. This 52 card set is exactly what it sounds like, an insert set based on the design of traditional playing cards. Each card features a different player image at its center, but maintains the playing card style border with suit and number in the corners. Card 2 though to King fall 1:8 packs for the hobby version, while Aces are a 1:200 pack rarity. This strikes me as a fun set to try and complete, as any solo card would feel incomplete, much as it would for a real playing card. The Aces in this set are Connor McDavid (Clubs), Sidney Crosby (Diamonds), Henrik Lundqvist (Rangers), and Erik Karlsson (Spades).
O-Pee-Chee Puck Stickers Set
Puck Stickers are clearly aimed at younger fans, who want something fun to collect. I can remember as a kid having the walls of my play area plastered with stickers, so these are a nice addition. 30 different subjects are featured (1 per team), and they are available as part of the wrapper redemption program. With 1 sticker being available for each redemption, this will be a fun set for kids and parents alike.
O-Pee-Chee V Series C Set
The third offering of the V Series cards, this 40 card set falls 1:16 packs. Measuring 2.5″ by 2.5″ these cards are meant to resemble the pre-war style of trading cards and are a way of honouring the long legacy of OPC hockey cards, as well as the hobby in general. Names that fans should look for are Crosby, McDavid, Gretzky, and Price. This strikes me as a fun insert and are a must for anyone who collected the two previous offerings of the set.
O-Pee-Chee Box Bottom Variations
Two separate types of box bottom cards exist for this year’s O-Pee-Chee product. These are cut-out cards that are printed directly on the bottom of the card box itself. Always a fun and unique set, it too serves as a reminder to the heritage type of card collecting where trading cards came as an extra to different products, be them tobacco cards, or cereal box cut-outs.
The Blaster Box Bottom cards come in 6 different players and are 2 per box. Names such as Ovechkin, and Stamkos highlight this set. The Retro Hobby Box Bottoms have a more extensive 16 card checklist and come 4 per box. McDavid, Eichel, and Toews all make the cut here. As a personal recommendation I’d advise keeping the box bottom whole, or use a straight edge cutting device to ensure that these cards remain quality collectibles.
Final Thoughts on O-Pee-Chee
While I personally would have hoped that the price would be a bit lower due to the rareness of hits, I still like this product. The nostalgia factor is a big selling point for me and I also enjoy the fact that it is something that can be shared with the family, which after all is the intention of trading cards. I hope that Upper Deck continues to maintain the good name of O-Pee-Chee for generations to come.
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