Fantastic set photography, 20th Anniversary parallels (1990-91 Upper Deck Hockey card design), Young Guns, Canadian World Juniors cards featuring big name rookies, Rookie Breakouts acetate die-cuts, Perfect box price, Tons of variety
Relatively weak Young Guns checklist after Seguin and Paajarvi, Victory Update cards are unappealing, Young Guns card backs lack important info like birth date and measurables, Base card overload, Only 2 hits (usually junky relics), Weak relic selection
Very few products have so perfectly preserved the best parts of the 90's like Upper Deck Hockey has. While other products in the industry are constantly trying to reinvent themselves and take the "hit" to the next level, base Upper Deck Hockey simply adds a few new wrinkles to a time tested recipe. This year's wrinkle might be the best in the brand's history, as the 20th Anniversary parallels featuring 1990-91 Upper Deck Hockey card design are extremely collectible and perfectly compliment the latest crop of Young Guns highlighted by Tyler Seguin.
2010-11 Upper Deck Series 2 Hockey is the rare product that finds life outside the hits through an excellent mixture of card variety that includes rookies, parallels, inserts, die-cuts and acetates. The hits are nothing more than the gravy on the hearty meal that is Upper Deck Series 2 Hockey. Each $70-$90 hobby box delivers 6 Young Guns, 6 20th Anniversary parallels, 2 hits and a stack of inserts and Victory Update cards.
Upper Deck hockey continually features some of the industry's premier base set photography and Series 2 delivers once again. The photography perfectly captures the on-ice essence of hockey. I also find it refreshing that the card design complements the photography instead of getting it's way like all too many products. Upper Deck Hockey is a testament to the power of simplicity in card design.
Like Series 1, the Young Guns design is one of the my favorite of all-time. Series 2 also picks up where Series 1 left off with the 20th Anniversary parallels featuring 1990-91 Upper Deck Hockey card design, even the stock is identical. The 20th Anniversary parallels are among my favorite cards of the 2010-11 hockey card season.
The only real weakness in the product technically isn't even part of the product, that weak link being the randomly inserted Victory Update Hockey cards which build upon the $1 per pack 2010-11 Victory Hockey set that released at the beginning of the NHL season. These just look worthless, though there is value in some of the parallel versions of some of the bigger name rookies.
While the Young Guns checklist is relatively weak after Tyler Seguin and Magnus Paajarvi, this is usually the case with Upper Deck Series 2. However, this is somewhat off set by the Series 2 exclusive 20th Anniversary Canadian World Juniors cards featuring big name Series 1 Young Guns like Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, P.K. Subban and other key rookies.
Upper Deck Series 2 is an excellent value at the box level. Each box carries a respectable box price of between $70-$90 and packs an astounding amount of variety per box. Upper Deck Series 2 is one of those rare products that is worth every penny of it's box price. That being said, don't go into a box expecting to pull a $500+ card, as the majority of Series 2's box value is delivered through depth.
If you enjoy things like rookie cards, spot on 90's parallels, acetate die-cut cards and low risk box prices, there's absolutely no reason on earth you won't enjoy 2010-11 Upper Deck Series 2 Hockey. Upper Deck Hockey is a throw back product that continually finds ways to bring the right parts of the 1990's into the 21st century.
Perhaps what makes Upper Deck Hockey so refreshing is that you legitimately go into a box not worrying about the hits, as these aren't the most important cards in the product. If only more products were able to achieve this, I think we'd all have a lot more fun ripping boxes. Ripping a box without the intense worries that accompany buyer's remorse is a freeing feeling.
- Veterans - 143
- Young Guns - 6
Base Parallels - 8
- 20th Anniversary - 6
- UD Exclusives - 2
Victory Update Cards - 24
- Veterans - 11
- Rookies - 11
- Parallels - 2 (both Gold)
Inserts - 3
- Bobby Orr Hockey Heroes - 2
- Rookie Breakouts (acetate die-cuts) /100 - 1
Hits - 2
- Rookie Materials - 1
- UD Game Jersey - 1
Best Card in Box: Jordan Eberle Canada World Juniors 20th Anniversary Parallel
*Review Box Courtesy of a Trusted Hobby Shop: Billy's Sports Treasures in Savage, MN