Friday, October 21, 2011

2011-2012 Upper Deck Parkhurst Champions Review

Another early season release from Upper Deck!  This time the focus is not on the current crop of NHL players... With Parkhurst Champions, Upper Deck combines bits and pieces of past products to create a set with tons of retro appeal.

Base Card Design -
The main set of Parhurst Champions comes in three forms - a basic card, wire photos, and renditions cards.  The basic cards in Parhurst are numbered from 1-100 and feature legends of the NHL.  You'll find players like Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe, and Basil McRae... yep... only the most household of names here!  haha.  Kidding aside, the players from 1-100 are great players - even though some may not be as familiar.

Upper Deck has given the base cards a fairly modern feel for such a retro themed set.  Each card is full of shiny gloss and features tasteful foil touches.  The cards are surrounded by a faded forest green border that reminds me a little of a fancy old mansion's furniture.  I have to say that I am not a fan of the border.  Tacky.  Yes, tacky is the word.  I think the base cards can't decide if they should be modern or retro, and end up being stuck in some sort of retro-modern middle ground.  They aren't terrible, but this design just doesn't resonate with me.

The backs of the cards are simple and feature full career stats.  They stick with the basics and don't add too much else.  Players with stat lines that don't fill up the entire card have a short informational paragraph written about them to fill out the rest of the backside.

Following the standard base cards are the wire photo cards.  These cards are inserted at a rate of about one in every five packs.  In my opinion, these are the gems of the entire set.  The wire photo cards are black and white photos set on an off white background.  A short description in old typewriter font is below each photo.  It was so exciting to pull these cards out of the packs.  Unlike the standard base cards, these ones hit you hard with the nostalgic retro feelings.  Upper Deck has done these RIGHT, and they are great cards to have.  Absolutely perfect for a set like this.

Finishing off the main set are the Renditions cards.  Both black and white as well as color versions are in the set.  These cards are reminiscent of the UD Masterpieces set that was release a few years back.  The cards show artistic renditions of the players.  Each card I've seen has been done in an elegant way.  I am surprised at how well the paintings nail specific moments or emotions.  The only qualm I have with these cards are distracting extra words and logos on the card.  I could do with a less cluttered front - like the wire photo cards - a more simple design would have worked better here.

Base Card Design Score:

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos -
The main draw of Parkhurst Champions are the autographs.  Upper Deck provides you with an awesome opportunity to pull on card autographs of legendary NHLers.  Each of the subsets (base cards, wire photos, and renditions) have autographed variations, and each type of autograph comes in a different tier of rarity.  A box will yield one to two autographs.  In the two boxes I have opened, one had just one auto, while the other had two.

The most basic autograph are the base card autographs.  Unlike Artifacts, these cards do not feature the sticker autograph - they are on card, a huge plus for this set.  The autographed base cards are very similar to the standard base card except that the foil on the front is in silver rather than gold.  And the back of the card has a congratulations message instead of career stats.  The base card autographs can be a little hard to see because there is not spot for the players to sign.  They just sign over the base card picture in blue ink.  With an already dark card, it is possible to even overlook the fact that a pack may contain an autograph.  But I'm sure most savvy collectors would catch them in their packs.

Wire photo and Renditions cards can also be found autographed.  Finding one of these cards in a box can be quite a challenge though.  According to the ratios stated on the Parkhurst box, the best odds of a wire photo autograph is 1:500.  Wow, that's pretty tough.  And yes, the ratios just get higher from there.  Pulling one of these cards is  an awesome treat though.  The autographed versions of these cards are stunning, and I am sure that collectors will clamor over these.  Some wire photo autographs even feature multiple player signings - how awesome is that?!?!?!?

Mini cards make a return in Parkhurst Champions.  Upper Deck has produced mini cards before in hockey as part of their Champs line.  The mini cards in Parkhurst are simply designed and look good.  I am not personally a big fan of mini cards only for the fact that they can be hard to store.  It's a fun concept though, and collectors can have fun trying to chase down all the different variations of the minis.  Minis come in all sorts of flavors - different colored backs, auto'd versions, short prints, and more.

And one last thing... the fine folk at Upper Deck have again chosen to insert redemption cards for fossil and ancient artifact cards.  They are pretty tough pulls.  I know that collectors have mixed feelings about these cards.  They can be fun, but the argument can be made they aren't really hockey related, so they are not necessary.  I'm on the fence about these cards.  I guess I wouldn't mind pulling one.  They are certainly unique.  But I wonder why UD chose to put these cards into this particular set.  I mean, what are they trying to say?  NHL legends... fossils... relics... hmmmmmmmmmm. Tsk tsk UD!

Inserts/Game-Used/Autos Score:

Overall Rating -
Parkhurst Champions comes at collectors with a strong showing of legendary NHL players.  From a product standpoint there are some really great aspects to these cards - the foremost being that collectors can get hard signed cards of some really great players.  Wire photos are also a good reason to get some of these cards for your hockey collection; they are one of my early season favorites in terms of design.

The only drawback I see in this set is the difficulty at which it is to pull the best of the best.  A box will cost around $75-$90 USD, and there is a good chance that there is only one autographed card in the box.  It can be very hit or miss.  Pack prices are pretty low, but again, only one of those twenty packs will yield an autograph or two.  Certainly a risk to weigh when buying Parkhurst Champions.

If you're into the NHL legends, I would recommend giving this product a try.  Perhaps a case would be in order.  For more casual collectors, buying a box or two to try out is a fun proposition that could snag you a sweet auto... or even a dinosaur bone!

Overall Rating:
(not an average)

Here's my box of 11/12 UD Parkhurst Champions:


  1. 1st thx for another contest!
    I think parkhust champions is an ok product because most of the time you don't get your money back but, the desgin of the inserts are awesome. I personally don't like the style of the base cards but i think when they have an autograph, the card looks really stunning. The only thing i wish they did different is put memorbilia cards in this product. Like maybe 1 in every 75 packs or something. Just to have something else besides autos to look forward too.


  2. This product does remind me a lot of Champs mixed with the theme of Legends and Masterpieces. The base cards with the green border and the foil don't really seem to go together in my opinion. I have to agree with you on the mini cards they look nice but would be a bit more difficult to store. The Autographs seems to be nice as well as there's a chance of pulling GREAT autos like Bobby Orr,Wayne Gretzky,Mr. Hockey etc...

  3. Thanks for the contest again :)


  4. I forgot this product came out. I love collecting hall of famers so this product seems great for me. I'm not a huge fan of the green foil on the sides of the base cards but the inserts make up for that.

  5. In my opinion I think this is a good product to buy. I love the base card design. I am definitely going to buy a box of this for myself in the future at some point. The only thing I would see added is obviously a few jersey cards even if they are really rare to pull. Overall though I think this product is worth buying.

    Thanks for the contest!


  6. I think that this is a "ok" product. The reason why I like this is because of the fact that it comes with only legend cards of players that dont play anymore. I would have liked it if the cards had a better feel but that not bad. I would also like to have some more jersey's and autos just for some more excitement.
    Thanks for the contest!


  7. I think 2011-12 Parkhurst is a great product for those vintage collectors. What I liked most about the product is the nice, clean design on the base cards and inserts (especially the wire photos). I think it would of been a lot more cooler if they added jersey cards but can't go wrong with having the chance to pull Gretzky and Orr autos I haven't picked up any yet but after seeing you pull that Lemieux auto makes me a lot more tempted : ) Awesome review and thanks for the contest!

    HockeyCardFan1000 on Youtube

  8. I think this product is a great product for people who collet vintage players and people who want to learn more about those players who played in years gone by. I like the retro design as it feels like its a vintage product. Those wire cards are pretty cool as they look like old newspaper clippings which reminds you of the times you cut out your favorite players picture.

    Thanks for the contest Luke.

    Hockeyplaya4life20 from youtube.

  9. hey it doesnt look like its working again...

    In my opinion I would probably buy Parkhurst just because of the designs of the cards! I really enjoy looking at the base cards, they remind me of the old parkhurst. I might not buy it because its hit and miss with the autos ie. Lemieux & McCrae, and because of the odds of getting something amazing. Overall I love the design, and would buy it just for that...


  10. parkhurst for me is a gamble, if you bought a box , you would hope to get a lemuix auto, but usally the autos are of unknown players such as basil macre, love the minis and the the base design, so overall pretty cool stuff!


  11. I've never opened parkhurt before, but I have seen a lot of breaks on it from the past and present. It's not bad, at least it is better than opeechee ;). I like this years design with the base cards of opeechee, it looks like vintage mixed with present. The autographs are very nice too, this product seems more like champs, masterpiece and a hint of parkhurst all in 1. I dislike A LOT about the mini cards because in my opinion it is pointless. It seems cool, but at the same time pointless. Would I ever buy parkhurst? NO, I'm not really a big fan of parkhurst even though it's not bad. If i can get it for the right price then i would :p. Would i try parkhurst in the future? YES, eventually because my goal is still trying a product of everything :)Overall parkhurst has it's ups and downs. I don't mind it, but not a big fan of it. It won't hurt to try :) overall rating 7/10 :p

    - MrSport4life WWWYKI

  12. Parkhurst Champions seems to be a very nice set. I do like getting cards of retired players, it is always a nice change from the regulars. The only thing I do not like about this product, just the same as champs, is the mini cards. They are just a hassle to me because they dont really fit in toploaders to well or pages. I like what ITG did this year and put the minis into a normal size card. Thanks for the contest!


  13. I think its a really cool product, because you have a chance of pulling a great auto, like gretzky, orr, roy, howe, etc. i think it kinda suffers because it doesnt have any jerseys or autographs, and i think alot of collectors will avoid it because of that. THANKS FOR THE CONTEST! :D
    -- CanucksCollector

  14. Base cards looked alot like artifacts from a couple of years ago, and i really liked that design.. less gren though.. =) inserts and hits looked awesome, especially the "photo" cards who looked liked it was directly from a old newspaper.
    Thanks for the contest..!!

  15. I like pretty much the parkhurst, mainly for the souvenir that they gave me. Pretty descent looking card, i like that they put some coach card. Pretty neat.

    Nice website BTw

    --savardf from Québec City

  16. I think this is a overall good product. You can get great cards like look at that last one great product

  17. I think that parkhurst champion is a very cool product for the people that loves retired players, like I do. The base cards, the minis, the inserts, they all look awesome. The only thing that I think upper deck forgot to put in parkhurst champion, is jersey cards. With jersey cards, this product would be perfect. But overall, I believe that this is a really cool product for hockey cards collector.

    Thank you,
    my youtube is:12iginlacalgary12

  18. I agree with what seems to be the consensus that there's just a little too much green on the base cards for my liking. However, I'm still a fan of the design and any opportunity to collect hockey legends definitely piques my interest. While I don't really care at all for the Mini cards, the insert that has me most excited are those Wire Photo cards. I could see myself just buying a box for the chance to get some of those cards and pulling an autograph like that Lemieux one you got would be like winning the lottery. Anyways, great review as always, Luke!


  19. Just to let you know that the Lemieux wire auto may be 1:500 but Lemieux is group A and it's actually 1:2145 packs and with 5 players in group A ... Gretzky is in group B at 1:1000 ...

    Enjoy ur autograph I pulled the same lemieux as you :)

  20. thanks for the contest(s)!!!
    i think this product is interesting and everything but i dont think i would buy it cause i dont find it super interesting...

    - CalebClardy

  21. more contests coming soon!