Saturday, August 14, 2010

Preview: 2010-11 O-Pee-Chee Hockey (It's Looking WAY Better Than Last Year)

In the interest of full disclosure: I probably give the O-Pee-Chee name a little more of a pass than it sometimes deserves. Call it my personal form of Canadian patriotism mixed with equal parts nostalgia. That said, after a handful of jumbo packs, I was extremely apathetic towards Upper Deck's 2009-10 O-Pee-Chee Hockey release. The design was pukish, which for a release geared towards set building, was a kiss of death.

But from the early images for 2010-11 O-Pee-Chee Hockey, it looks like Upper Deck has things back on track. The base card design has a fair amount of white space and is probably the most modern since Upper Deck took over the brand. The picture window on the front may end up being too small for some action photos, but the Jarome Iginla shown on the initial promo materials looks very solid - it feels kind of like 2002 Topps Total or 2003 Topps Bazooka Baseball to me. The Marquee Rookies return once again. Although there's no mention of them being short printed, I'd assume they will be as in years past. In all, the base set will have a whopping 600 cards.

As far as inserts go, there's no guarantees with a guaranteed hit in every box. Overall odds have O-Pee-Chee Signatures and O-Pee-Chee Souvenirs each falling at a rate of three per case, or one autograph or memorabilia card in every other box. O-Pee-Chee Souvenirs are quad jersey cards featuring four different players. I like these odds as it emphasizes the set building as the focus of the set, rather than tossing in a bunch of hits for the sake of having them and only driving up the cost.

2010-11 O-Pee-Chee isn't rocking the boat with a lot of changes. Each pack will contain a Retro parallel. One in every four packs will have a Retro Rainbow parallel, while there will be a Black-Bordered Rainbow Retro parallel or two in every hobby box. Boxes also promise one In Action insert and nine additional inserts, although details on these are not yet available.

Packs of 2010-11 O-Pee-Chee Hockey will have six cards with 36 packs in a box. It is scheduled to be released in December, a little before Christmas.

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