Upper Deck Hockey
When Upper Deck entered the hockey card market for the 1990-91 season, they utilized similar design components and printing technology that had made their debut in baseball cards so successful while revolutionizing the trading card marketplace. Relying on professional photography, a comprehensive checklist and anti-counterfeiting measures, hockey collectors were treated to a brand that would become a staple in the hobby for years to come.
As the Upper Deck Hockey brand evolved over the years, noticeable changes to the design of the base set included the use of full bleed photography, forgoing the traditional border that would surround the player photo. The incorporation of the use of foil in the card’s lettering was also a well received change to the brand that provided a more dynamic appearance. Those design elements are still an important part of the defining characteristics of the brand. While the design of the cards has evolved over time, one constant remained; Upper Deck Hockey cards became the brand for hockey rookie cards.
Young Guns Rookie Cards
The early formative years of Upper Deck Hockey coincided with the rise of some of the most talented and prolific players of their era.The proliferation of exorbitantly high print runs during the early ’90’s translates to inexpensive rookie cards from the likes of; Rob Blake, Eddie Belfour, Mike Modano, Mike Richter, Jaromir Jagr, Curtis Joseph, Scott Niedermayer, Teemu Selanne, Niklas Lidstrom, Peter Forsberg, Dominik Hasek and many, many more. The sophomore version of the brand saw the first usage of the term Young Guns. This moniker was desginated for top prospect rookies in the form of a subset. Years later, in the 1999-00 product release, this name would become the standard bearer for all future rookie cards and to this day, Young Guns are synonymous with hockey rookie cards.
The 2005-06 season installment of Upper Deck Hockey yielded a dual rookie class that included future super stars Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby, both of which made our list of the Top 10 Young Gun Rookie Cards of All-Time. The most recent NHL strike also gave way to a strong selection of 2012-13 Upper Deck Young Guns rookie cards.
By this point, Upper Deck Hockey’s product configuration had given rise to a very successful formula in that the seeding of the popular Young Guns rookie cards were seeded at a rate of six per box. This short printing of the most desirable cards of the base set insured that despite not having the bells and whistles of autographs, serial numbering or game used memorabilia, that these cards achieved and maintained real value as base rookies. This practice also insured that sales of the Upper Deck Hockey brand continuously leads the market compared to other competing brands.
Upper Deck Hockey Card Sets
Browse our database of Upper Deck Hockey card sets which feature product reviews, set checklists, expert analysis, price comparisons and more.