Tuesday, October 18, 2011

2011-2012 ITG Canada Vs. The World Review

This year I want to review more ITG products.  ITG is a legitimate player in the hockey card world even though they don't have an official NHL license.  They make great cards that are revered by some collectors.  I'll be very interested to see what they've got this hockey card season!


Insert Card Design -
The Canada Vs. The World (CvW) is a product similar to their Decades 1980's release.  The cards come in a box of 9 cards.  There is no regular base set as all the cards are regarded as 'hits'.  For the purposes of this review, I will review the non-autographed or game-used cards in this section and save the memorabilia cards for the next.

The first insert card I received in my box was from the 100 Years of Hockey Cards set.  These unique cards feature painted images of great hockey players from the past century.  They are made to resemble old tobacco style cards.  Unlike Topps and Upper Deck mini cards, these cards are not mini sized.  The cards are produced so that they are standard sized with the mini card image sitting within a baby blue border.  I like this decision by ITG because having a bunch of mini cards can be a pain in terms of care and storage.


The painted image on these cards look really nice.  The interpretation of the hockey sweater is especially well done.  These cards have a classiness to them in their simplicity.  ITG follows the old style of card information by only putting the player's first initial and last name on the card.  For popular players this is not really a problem... but for the card shown above, it was difficult to know who it was that I had exactly since I am not familiar with older Russian hockey players.  Luckily, I got a second card of the same player in my pack.


And here it is.  Unlike the previous card, this one features a photo of the player amidst a beige-gold background.  This card highlights Valeri Kharlamov and his role during the 1972 Summit Series between Canada and the Soviet Union.  The card contains a nice write up of his participation in the event on the back.  It's good information that's interesting since I know very little about the Summit Series.  Unfortunately, though the back has great information, the front design leaves a bit more to be desired.  Having the flags of the two nations is a nice touch, but the design of this card falls a bit flat and feels a bit dated.  To me, graphics have a mid 90's feel/quality to it.  If it were up to me (and obviously it isn't), I would have made the flag graphics quite a bit bigger, or simply used the flags as a backdrop rather than the graphics shown.  I just feel that the design could have been more bold.


My third and final insert cards is of Harry Watson.  Here we have a very simply designed card.  My feeling is that this card, and cards of this type are to here to present information to card collectors.  This card definitely increases my knowledge of hockey history by reading the back.  There is a wealth of knowledge to be had simply by reading the information.  I do think that from a design standpoint more could have been done to make the card more aesthetically pleasing.  One simple suggestion would be to add red foil where the name is and feature the ITG logo in foil.  That would definitely make for a more premium feeling card.  It may be difficult for companies to add foil to card though.  I've noticed that foil is not commonly used in low or mid level ITG products (and Panini for that matter).  Perhaps the cost would increase too much in terms of production.  Just a guess... I don't know!

Insert Card Design Score:
6.5/10

Game-Used/Autos -
Of all companies, ITG does the best job with their game-used cards.  ITG does a fabulous job in giving you specific information about the piece of cloth imbedded in the card.  And unlike Upper Deck or Panini, these cards do not come from events - they are from actual games that the featured player has played in.  Each pack of CvW will come with 4 jersey, patch, or equipment cards.


The Angela James card shown above reminds me most of the 'standard' ITG jersey card.  It has a familiar design if you buy ITG on a regular basis.  This card has been upgraded from a design standpoint though.  The colors chosen for it mesh very well together.  Having the red and black obviously represents Canada well, but the hint of gold on right hand side really takes the card up from a design standpoint.  The card is very sharp, clean, bright, and modern.  Kudos to ITG for upping their design edge here.


The International Goalies jersey card above is pretty different than the Angela James card.  Here the jersey cloth is in a circular cut-out, and has a very different color pallet that is appropriate for the country he represents.  CvW really nails the national theme and respects each country's colors.  I am sure that hockey fans all over the world would appreciate the work ITG has done to put some national pride into this card product.


This final jersey card comes from Swedish player Hakan Loob.  It features a vertically oriented design that mimics the shape of a gold medal.  I cannot say that I think this card is spectacular looking, but this is probably my favorite card in the pack that I bought.  The card just has a certain charm to it that I find endearing.  It's a fun design that shows ITG stretching its creativity, trying to come up with new things for collectors.

In terms of autographed cards, each box contains two.  The autographs featured players from Canada as well as the entire world.  You have the possibility of getting players that have retired, who have played for their home countries, and even current NHLers.


The Mike Green autographed card is typical of what you get in a box of CvW.  I really like that again ITG has gone full bore in decking out the card with national colors.  Here we see Green in his Team Canada jersey and his signature over a Canadian flag.  I am not fond of the background of the card, but it gets the job done.

Game-Used/Autos Score:
8/10

Overall Rating -
ITG's Canada Vs. The World is an interesting product that will give collectors a variety of content per box.  It is fun to open up a box and find a wealth of international themed cards.  Certainly there is star power to be found in boxes of CvW, but some collectors may not appreciate the variety as much as others.  I would say that for hockey collectors that enjoy Canadian themed products, this is certainly a winner and a must have.  For collectors who want rookies and other NHL stars, it would be a wise idea to wait for less specifically themed products from ITG or other card companies.  Overall, CvW is a strong product out of the ITG factory.  There's a concentrated shot of hits to be had at a reasonable price point.  It's just up to you to see if what's inside is your cup of tea.

Overall Rating:
8.5/10
(Not an average)

Check out my box of Canada Vs. The World!

20 comments:

  1. In my opinion I really don't like Canada vs the World i mean too many basic jerseys, there still nice but you need a few more nicer hits instead of just 2 autos and like 8 different jerseys, all in all i think this is how the box should be narrowed down to

    3 autographs
    2 hits
    4 jerseys
    2 inserts

    or however thanks for the contest!

    --leafsfan451

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  2. I think the product overall is weak. It doesn't have enough good hits like; autographs and patches. If there were better players it would be much more appealing, when you broke your box, i can only say i was familiar with two players. The "mini" cards are nice, and i like the autograph card design, but with the rest of the designs, it seems like they put in the effort that UD did with Victory. The packs are not worth buying as if you were trying sell back the cards, in your case, you would be lucky to make half with your Green. Also, although im canadian, this products name has to be utterly
    appalling to americans, aswell as one or more of the inserts and hits revolve mainly around canadian players. and i bet, by jugding with the Canada vs. USA hockey faceoffs, americans must dislike the candian team, providing they lost to them so many times. :)

    -CanucksCollector
    (sorry i made it soooo long :S)

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  3. In my opinion I do not like the look of the base cards. I also wish it was just Canadian player and more recent players but I like the design of the autographs.

    Thanks for the contest!!

    Kylevdb

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  4. This is my first time getting a look at this product, and nothing really catches my eye about the cards, they are pretty basic and from what I can see the hits aren't that appealing. I think they should also add some bigger names as well!

    Thanks for the contest!

    Habsfan771

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  5. ITG Canada Vs World's hits aren't that great from what I've seen so far in breaks. The design of the cards to me are very plain and original. I also don't like how the hit is right at the top it would've been better if they placed the inserts at the top instead to give it a bit more excitement to it. The autograph cards design is pretty well done with the Canadian flag on the back. Overall I think the product was just mehh lol.

    Thanks Blacksheep for this great contest! Ohhh I should really be studying right now...

    -RetailRippers

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  6. I think that Itg made a good product but they could have possibly added some more colorful jersy cards.

    -TheMinecraftBH

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  7. ITG has always come out with extremely innovative products albeit without an NHL license. This is just another one of those products by ITG. The cards touch not too much on Canada and don't leave many other countries out. Yet, the quality and feel of the cards is expected of them and the swatch size and even color of swatch really is the best value. I have always liked the cards ITG has produced.

    And I will buying this when I get the chance to cash my paycheck.

    -gkolodziej1108

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  8. As always great in depth review luke. I really think ITG is underrated by many or ignored at least. Can't say this product is favourite from ITG, I'm more of a Between the Pipes and hopefully one day I'll be able to purchase a pack of enshrined or another high end product of ITG. CvW just has too much of a busy design in all there cards for my taste. Of course there's always room to improve.

    In my mind ITG has...

    strengths: ex. nice swatches, bang for your buck, nice insert ideas
    weaknesses: photos, card design (at times)

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  9. First off, Luke thank you for doing this contest. This is a good way to promote your website! okay so here we go, I thought to myself one day before the canada vs the world came out if ITG can step it up to a new level, come up with a product that is both original and unique, thank you ITG for not making it USA vs the World or else :p BLAH haha but seriously, i like the idea of canada vs the world because number 1 it makes canadian consumers feel that the box is meant for them, its destiny since its us Canadians vs the World. seeing many breaks and cards on ebay i've noticed that it actually isn't a bad product at all. I enjoy every single bit of it, although there are some names that you pull and your reaction is "who?" Canada vs the World can be better, but for the price of how much it's selling for i'd go or one :)

    - MrSport4life

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  10. Never opened a pack of these, no shops near me carry it, but from what i've seen it looks like a decent product. The jersey cards seem plain and the base cards are a bit boring, but I feel a soft spot for it cause of the whole Canadian pride thing, the autographs look sweet, and the insert cards are certainly unique.

    -yugiiimonnnz

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  11. ITG Canada vs the World
    I have opened this product only once and I think they are great. ITG really did a great job this year of changing the design of the card. The autographs and not that bad at all considering they are all mostly stars because they all need to play on the national team. The card quality of the jerseys, autos are actually very nice because they are very simple and glossy and you can also see the name and auto very clearly. Unlike the base cards like the person who commented before me said are kind of "boring". That is not a bad thing as the price for this box is good, because of what you get. Every hit that you find in this product you can always be satisfied about.

    -techinapple

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  12. I think Canada vs the World is a great product for anyone who loves hockey. ITG did a really great job at coming up with this idea and the 100 years of collecting inserts. This product looks like it can be really good but at times fall a little short from the price of a box. Even though it sometimes falls short, the cards are still great for trading and from what i've seen these boxes mostly have one or two really solid hits. I also love that they show the person in their international jersey in the picture and the jersey piece is mostly from the international jersey which is never seen in any UD products. Once again ITG had shown there love and pride for hockey with these beautiful cards.

    -tvtvrain

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  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  14. I like the fact that you can get cards of present/past NHL players in an International uniform. However, ITG's swatches on the cards are the same boring square, or rectangle, or circle, and that needs to change.

    Thanks for the contest Luke!

    UHF91

    ReplyDelete
  15. I've never really been a fan of these big name products. I have yet to see a break of this product that justifies toe price. I would much rather find cards of the Canes from it on eBay and pay much less.
    Thanks for the contest luke!

    Youtube= SlayerD101

    ReplyDelete
  16. from jtgoleafs...

    In my opinion this product isnt one that I would spring out and buy, it is too old school for my time, and I rather dish out the money and buy some Artifacts, or Ultimate Collection. I must say the gold medal design was cool, but I wish Upperdeck thought of it first. The other positive is the autographs, my favourite thing is autographs, and the variety you can get is a real plus!!

    - jtgoleafs

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  17. Canada Vs. the World doesn't seem like a product that I would buy. If I am going to spend this type of money on cards from ITG, I would buy something like Heroes and Prospects or Between the Pipes. There doesn't seem to be enough variety in this product to entice me.

    Youtube ID: Wilsonethan6

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  18. I usually don't like ITG products but this looks to be a good one. The reason for that is that they usually have no-name retired players! I also like because there Mike Green auto in the product! ;)

    Overall, I like it and I would score it an 8!

    Y-tube handle: Kesler17Snipe

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  19. I've never really liked these big name products.None of the hits seem to be worth the price but i guess that's why its more of a gamble than others!
    Thanks for the contest luke!
    Youtube=CanesOnTheBrains

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  20. Like the design just wish there was more current nhl player. Youtube name-- goaliefreak2943

    ReplyDelete