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2012-13 In the Game Heroes and Prospects Hockey Cards

2012-13 In the Game Heroes and Prospects Hockey Cards

Product Review

2012-13 In the Game Heroes and Prospects Hockey Product Review

Reviewed by Ryan Cracknell

Good: 3-D cards take technology to a new level, nice mix of autographs, great alternative to rookie-lacking 2012-13 NHL products.

Bad: Basic inserts lack pop, artwork on Heroes subset is inconsistent.

The Bottom Line: 2012-13 In the Game Heroes and Prospects gets a big boost from the NHLPA cutting off this year's rookies from appearing in NHL products. While these cards will never be considered true rookie cards, they are a worthy alternative, especially in the meantime. In particular, the 3-D Class of 2013 subset is strong. Images don't do these cards justice. They really do have to be seen to be appreciated.

The variety of game-used and autograph cards add some great variety as well as a boost in value. The deep checklist means some of the first certified autographs from the stars of tomorrow.

Staff Rating:
4.0 / 5.0

Card Design: 4.0/5.0

The 2012-13 ITG Heroes and Prospects base set is highlighted by a very clean design. Prospect cards use crisp in-game action photograph and have a modern nameplate that notes the player's name and team. The "Heroes and Prospects" text that runs vertically up the side of the card is a little overpowering, although the layered look mutes things a little bit.

Heroes base cards offer something of a change of pace. Instead of photos, they use drawn artwork on a generic background. I like the idea, but the results are mixed. Some of the drawings do a great job at getting to the heart of the player's likeness. Others, particularly those that are obscured by a mask, look generic.

The real standout in the design department are 3-D cards. This isn't the same 3-D collectors experienced in the 1970s and 1980s. It's sharp and shows lots of depth. It's unlike any 3-D cards I've seen, even recently.

Hits continue to be another strong point for ITG. While the signatures are still on stickers, they're done right -- on a clear surface and applied very carefully. While there are plenty of patch opportunities, even plain jerseys look good with the large swatch pieces.

Checklist: 3.5/5.0

Prospecting isn't nearly as big in hockey as it is in baseball, at least in the collecting world. That said, 2012-13 ITG Heroes and Prospects offers the most in-depth option for those wanting to learn more about the sport's future stars. Card backs offer good insight into the players' achievements and potential. The number of prospects is also nice, offering a balance between depth and not going a little too far. The inclusion of NHL veterans and retired greats adds star power to the lineup as well.

With such a deep checklist, some of the hits may not result to much. But this is prospecting. Some of the fun comes in the waiting game. And it's not like boxes cost a ton. They're not low-end, but they're certainly affordable -- especially for what you get.

The one major change I'd like to see with the checklist is an overhaul of the basic inserts. They look like base cards with a slightly different design. I'd suggest one of three approaches. The first would be fold them into the base set as a subset. Even better would be to see some cool technologies used. It doesn't have to be ultra-fancy, just something to set them apart from the base set. The tradeoff would be increased costs, though, which may not be worth it. Which brings me to a third option -- eliminating them entirely.

Value: 4.5/5.0

Full disclosure -- the box that was opened for this review looks like it over-delivered. It had a fifth hit. The hit quality was also strong. This may or may not be the case across the entire print run.

2012-13 ITG Heroes and Prospects boxes deliver at least two autographs and two game-used memorabilia cards. The odds are also solid that you'll land a fifth. The designs are clean and offer plenty of possibilities. The mid-range price point also helps as there's a lot less risk involved.

ITG has added some print run information to some hits this year. Previously, it has been up to collectors to seek out this info, which is easy to forget or ignore completely. For example, 2013 Draft Prospect Autographs are hand-numbered to 13. Autographed jersey cards note the version and the print run on the back. This simplifies the process and also lets collectors know right away what they've got. I hope ITG continues in this direction and expands it further to more of their hits.

The use of 3-D cards adds value to the main set as well. Short prints are easy, but the 3-D gimmick helps justify the difference.

The Fun Factor: 4.0/5.0

2012-13 ITG Heroes and Prospects is not a complicated set. That said, it has many layers that make it a blast to open. The base cards look good and have lots of information. The 3-D short prints take something familiar and expand on it. Autographs and game-used cards have lots of variety with plenty of possibilities. Above all, there's the long-term fun of following some of these players as they progress through the system. For some cards, this might mean waiting several years. But the reasonable price makes it a low-risk proposition worth exploring.

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Product Details

User Rating:

Who will be hockey's next wave of big stars? That's the question In the Game asks each year with one of their most popular sets. 2012-13 In the Game Heroes and Prospects Hockey sees the theme of emerging youngsters paired with some of the game's greats.

The 2012-13 In the Game Heroes and Prospects Hockey base set has 199 cards. Although the majority are junior hockey standouts, the first 30 spots on the checklist belong to stars who have gone on to star in the NHL. Among the "heroes" are Mario Lemieux, Patrick Roy, Evgeni Malkin, and recently inducted Hall of Famers Pavel Bure, Joe Sakic and Adam Oates. The prospects portion of the set is now dedicated solely to the CHL. These include 120 prospect cards and 49 projected 2013 draft picks. Draft picks are short prints, falling two per box. They are printed with 3-D technology.

As always, autographs and game-used memorabilia cards are a key part of 2012-13 In the Game Heroes & Prospects Hockey. Both are inserted 1:7 packs.

The He Shoots, He Scores program returns, rewarding those who buy multiple boxes. Packs without a hit come with a decoy card, each worth points. Once a collector has saved up 150 points, they can send them in for one of 30 exclusive He Shoots, He Scores memorabilia card numbered to 20. These decoy cards double as puzzles. Each of the 11 featured players all have nine different pieces, making them ideal for nine-pocket pages.

Full checklists are available on the ITG website.

Product Configuration: 18 packs per box, 9 cards per pack
Price Point: Mid-End Hockey Card
Target Audience: Prospectors, Set Builders, Autograph Collectors, Memorabilia Card Collectors

2012-13 In the Game Heroes and Prospects Hockey Box Break

  • 2 Autographs
  • 2 Memorabilia Cards
  • 3 Inserts
  • 2 3-D Draft Picks
  • 162 Total Cards

Card Gallery:

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Ryan is a former member of The Cardboard Connection Writing Staff.   His collecting origins began with winter bike rides to the corner store, tossing a couple of quarters onto the counter and peddling home with a couple packs of O-Pee-Chee hockey in his pocket. Today, he continues to build sets, go after inserts with cool technologies, chase Montreal Expos and finish off his John Jaha master collection.

User Reviews

Top product of 2013 by a wide margin.

As stated before thiis product isperfevtly fit for Canadians, well done

Pierre Dansereau
Pierre Dansereau

This product is a perfect fit for real Hockey fans. First cards of any new players are always interesting and important to have in a collection. Should also be taken into consideration, this product is CANADIAN. Keep up the good work Dr Price, you deserve 5 stars.


Good: Lots of young up-and-coming players. Nice mix of veteran players depicted in caricature format in their minor league uniforms. Wide range of patch cards and autographs.

Bad: Card design is too busy. Heroes and Prospects wording along the left side of the cards takes away from the photography on the card itself. Insert cards have too much information filling up the front of the card. Sometimes simple is better.

The Bottom Line: As a mid-end product, 2012-13 ITG Heroes and Prospects does a nice job of offering up some decent value. With four guaranteed hits, it is not out of reach for a lot of collectors. With a mix of veteran and prospect cards, it offers up something for everyone to collect. Although the cards seem to be over-designed and busy, the product, as a whole, does have decent pulls and a lot of variety for different types of collectors.

Staff Rating: 3.5/5.0

Card Design: 2.5/5.0
The card design is not overwhelming. Base cards are different from previous years, but they’re also overdone. They are very busy on the front, and the large print of the product name up the edge definitely takes away from the overall look. The photography is nice.

The Team Cherry inserts made much better use of the product name in smaller font on the card. The Subway Super Series inserts again seemed to go too far with the background behind the player. Without that, those cards would have been a nice variation from the base set.

Game-used cards have more of the standard look of the ITG products. But the multi-color patches and the multi-player swatches are a very nice feature of a lot of the ITG releases. This year is no different. The autograph cards follow the same stream as the base cards, and are relatively bland. Even when opening the packs, I went by autographs without even realizing what they were. Overall, this product has some good design and some not so good design.

Checklist: 3.5/5.0
The 2012-13 ITG Heroes & Prospects checklist has good variety. Up front, the base set has the caricature cards of the veterans depicted in their minor league uniforms. Followed by this are the rookie cards and undrafted players, which they are calling the Class of 2013. So, some real prospecting is going on here. The inserts are nice, with most being younger stars and up and coming prospects. And there is a nice variety of inserts from the Subway Super Series to the 3D cards. The game-used cards and autographs also have a nice mix of both prospect and veteran cards.

Value: 4.0/5.0
With this product having so many prospects in it, some would say the value is not there until some of these guys have proven their worth. There are some nice game-used patches from both young players and veterans. Also, with autographs of legends like Jean Beliveau and Steve Yzerman, this really adds some punch. This additional possibility, certainly should make for a nice value from any box that contains one of those cards. Overall, I see very good value here, both in potential of the prospect cards, and value of the veteran cards.

The Fun Factor: 4.0/5.0
At first, I wasn’t overly excited to open this product. I was pleasantly surprised. I could tell ITG tried new things in the design department. In some areas they missed, but some areas are fantastic. There was a nice variety with mixed in veterans, which is more my area of interest in collecting. As I was opening the packs, I started to enjoy it more. When I was done, I was pleased with the overall results.


Nobody is buying this stuff, as per mentioned above after being ripped off by History of Hockey. Somebody should have went to jail for that fiasco.


After the screwing I took on History of Hockey, I don’t care if Dr. Price puts diamond rings in his boxes of crap, I WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER IN THE GAME PRODUCT.

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Overall Rating

1 Star - Avoid this product like the plague
2 Stars - Below Average Product
3 Stars - Average Product
4 Stars - Excellent Product
5 Stars - Incredible Product