Monday, March 25, 2013

2012-2013 Leaf Best of Hockey Review

Leaf jumps into the hockey card world with their Best of Hockey release. Leaf has already had strong 'Best of' product releases in baseball, football, and basketball. With these already proven successes, it'll be interesting to see how they fare with the hockey crowd, a group that can often react differently than expected! Let's take a look a box of Leaf's Best of Hockey and see what it brings. Each box only comes with 2 cards so this review will have a slightly altered format than my usual ones.

Art Sketch Card -
The first card that you will see when opening up a Best of Hockey box is the original art sketch card. Each card is individually numbered 1 of 1. Though there may be similar pictures of players, no two cards can be exactly alike. The Alexander Ovechkin sketch I received was very nice. The full-color illustration looks great in person. I honestly didn't think I'd like it as much as I did seeing it up close in my hands. Watching video breaks do not do these cards any justice. I do, however, count myself lucky in pulling a full-color sketch. I have seen others that are done only in mono-tone black-white-and-grays. In non-sport card releases that feature sketch cards, full-color cards often carry a premium (sometimes a significant one). This could be the case with these cards - I would think the better looking the sketch, the higher it would fetch on the open market. Each sketch card simply comes in a top loader... no huge slab like ITG's History of Hockey. I find myself preferring Leaf's more humble approach to these cards. It makes me feel as though ITG was 'puffing up' their cards, whereas Leaf was just giving you a neat sketch card along with the buy-back card in the box. And it has to be mentioned that most of ITG's slabbed art cards were not 1 of 1 sketches... though they all did feature memorabilia pieces.

The reverse of the art sketch card has a sticker indicating that the card is indeed a one of a kind collectible as well as the artist's name and autograph. It's a simple design, but perfectly appropriate for an art card. It's simple and understated.

Besides just looking for more colored or less colored sketch cards, Leaf has also given a chance for collectors to find autographed Gordie Howe sketch cards. These rare cards would make a great centerpiece of a collection... or net a nice chunk of change!

Art Sketch Card Score:

Buy Backs -
The 'main event' when opening up Best of Hockey is the buy back card. The people over at Leaf have re-purchased a score of hockey cards to be inserted into this product. Since the name of the product is 'Best of Hockey', one can only assume that good cards will be found within. Here is where Best of Hockey and ITG's History of Hockey split paths. ITG's History of Hockey was all about celebrating all the players (apparently the good and the bad) throughout hockey's history. It had a strong historical focus... and centered on the people who played the game. Best of Hockey, on the other hand, is all about the cards. It's about cards that are rare, have amazing memorabilia pieces, autographs, high grades... and most importantly, I guess, a high value. With a price of over $200 per box/pack, it better deliver. And it can... there are certainly some very sweet pulls to be found in Best of Hockey, but as in all things card related, it's a huge gamble. I'm pretty sure you won't pull a $10 card of out this Leaf product (you may in ITG's History of Hockey... heck... even $1 cards...), but chances are you will get a card you could probably find for less than a box if you were to look on eBay or at a card show - unless you hit one of the real biggies that were inserted - like a 9.5 Gretzky rookie.

The card I pulled in my box was this dual auto/game-used card from Upper Deck Black. It's not particularly low-numbered, but it is a good card - not a $150 or $200 card - but a nice nice card nonetheless. Most Best of Hockey cards I have seen have been slabbed and graded. It was very surprising to me to see this card come out without a grade on it, but with a Best of Hockey label. I'm not fond of the label, I'd rather it have it out of the slab... but these things are pretty difficult to remove. I wonder how many cards have this label on it. I don't think Leaf is trying to create a Best of Hockey set like ITG kind of did with History of Hockey... so having the label is just a little weird. To me, Best of Hockey is a product that allows collectors to get sweet cards from other releases... with that being it. No set ambitions for itself as a product - purely re-sell and re-pull-ability. So I'm not going to worry about the label too much as I don't see too much significance to it. Hopefully collectors won't be confused by it.

Besides being able to get single cards, Leaf has also inserted redemptions for tins of the Cup and even packs of 1978 cards with the (extremely difficult) chance of getting a Gretzky rookie. Pretty neat I think! Wouldn't it be awesome to buy a pack of this and get a tin of the Cup? I'd be pretty happy as the price of a Cup tin is definitely greater than the Best of Hockey price.

Buy Backs Score:

Overall Value -
You'll hear this said by pretty much everyone - Best of Hockey is a high risk, high reward product. And that's totally fair to say. It is a really fun break though, and I've already seen many people excitedly breaking this product. To me, this product is card collector candy. Leaf has attempted to find THE BEST cards to put in this product. Though some of the cards may not be up to everyone's expectations, it's hard to say this product has any real dud cards inserted. For collectors like myself, who like to take the occasional gamble, this is a pretty nice product to get into. With all the assortment of great cards put into it, opening up a box will always give that rush we crave as card collectors. Leaf has done a very nice job of creating a hockey version of their 'Best of' cards. I'm hoping there is another iteration in the future as this one was supposed to be an extremely limited release.

Overall Value:

Check out my box of 12/13 Leaf Best of Hockey that I bought from Chri5784:


  1. Would be inclined to get a box of this to test my luck, dunno if I'll get around to it, but it is tempting. Seeing a lot of nice player's autos including Croaby's, Lemieux's and Gretzky's. I wouldn't want to get a rookie card. It's all one big gamble! AAARG! That's what makes it fun! I think the amount of gamble is at par with The Cup, I like those one of a kind sketches, regardless if they sell, they're dope!

    youtube: ryannturnaa

    1. wow nice box !!!!! great review love your videos !!!! keep it up !

      youtube: 333phaneuffan

  2. I like the disign of the sketch cards and the jerseys in this product it is just a chane of getting something good.
    I think you got a great box.


  3. I like this product. I like the sketch cards, the designs on the card and the details are amazing. It is hard to say if I will purchase this product only because of the price. It is a major gamble but one that could be worth it.

    Overall I think it will take off just like Baseball, Football and Basketball. The cards I have seen on youtube coming from this product are simply amazing.

    Youtube: StarnsFan00

  4. I like the Ovie drawing. The UD Black card was also awesome looking

    Youtube 64HockeyCards

  5. Now THAT is a nice looking Upper Deck card.

    A member of at OzCardTrader (Australian card forum) did a few sketches for this release, so I'm tempted to get a box to see if pull one of her cards.

    This is definitely a gambler's product though; hope for the best, but expect the worst and be willing to get hosed. That said, definitely a safer bet than History of Hockey, ever if it's $100 more.

    - reebz0r

  6. Wow $200 a box! That's pretty crazy. But, like you said, it's high risk, high reward. I just wish I had money like that to spend. I really like the sketch card. They seem really interesting.
    Great review!


  7. This box is definitly high risk, high reward. I really like the product though because it puts out really high end cards. I know it's 200 dollars a pack but let's say you hoping for a top player and a really nice card. You could buy 2 boxes of artifacts and hope to get one big card or you could get this box and your guareented a really strong player. If I ave up enough money I really like this product but right now it's a little out of the price range. The sketch cards are cool what kind of value do you put on them? I love watching all your breaks I could use the redemption codes. Im just starting a collection so it could help hahaha. Keeping doing what your doing. GO SACREMENTO GO! lol and the sharks. My youtube name is Riley Thomson. Thanks.

  8. Just way too expensive for the return in my case. But still nice to see Leaf coming up with a product.
    YT - 16royta

  9. Pretty cool product but definitely out of my price range. The sketch cards, for me, would be the main selling point. I think they are very unique and colorful. Great review Luke!

    YT - blackhawks61895

  10. Some of the sketches are really nice and some of them are pretty terrible. It's an interesting product for sure.

    Youtube: washingadog

  11. I'm just kinda confused about the premise of this product... I won't be investing in this, but would love a free card!


  12. Very high risk, high reward. Its something I dont think I will buy but it's a cool product. Great review.

  13. love seeing all these older cards insert into one big super product. somewhat pricey but as of right now, much of the cards are holding relatively high value. have seen more good than bad packs so it looks like a hit in my opinion

    yt 3jackjohnson3

  14. Can't really justify dropping $200 on a crapshoot like this. But I like the idea and see how it could appeal to the gambler in someone. Gotta be in it to win it and we all know Gretzky Rookie 9.5s don't grow on trees.

    yt delauwnavy

  15. I really like this product even with the high price tag. The art cards are so unique, i like the color ones much better than the black and white. I think you hit a pretty good card but it may not get the money back, i like the idea of pulling something amazing though. Really love the product!!

    Youtube - Dan Ezard

  16. I Really like the product. The Art Sketches are really cool they sorda remind me of the 02-03 Artistic impression Base set. I will not buy a box of this because of the high pricing of this product, But this is a pretty awesome box!

    Youtube: Sports149

  17. I think it is very nice product. It is quite pricey, but I understand for the value you are getting. I give it a 9.5 out of 10!


  18. I like this product but it is really pricey. Also you could just get a 1/1 sketch and a young guns for $300.

  19. I like this product but for 250$ its a really high risk in getting a graded yg and a bad sketch

    YouTube micerule934

  20. I think this product is nice but with only 2 cards, one being a sketched 1 of 1 card that some random person could of drawn, it should be either cheaper or should at least have the cup rookie patch autos of star players in each pack, I mean how hard would it be to throw in a future watch or an old rookie card in each box


  21. People complaining about the price don't release the effort put into producing this product such as having to scour the secondary market for these cards and slabbing them. I believe this this is a MUCH better product and better chance of making back your money than HoH. Big props to Leaf for those crazy mystery redemptions!(Sealed box of 05/06 The Cup anyone?!?!?)

    - GTAHockeyCards

  22. i love this product... think its greatt and i love the drawings!!!!!

    youtube: crazyroyal12man

  23. This is a very unique product, love the art work on the sketch cards but the price could drop a little before I see myself buying a box.
    Thanks for the contest!

    YT: Habsfan771

  24. I liked these cards but my favorite is the sketch card. I have had 2 sketch cards and sold them on ebay for 400 dollars. Like this product and love Leaf products.

  25. Really love this product! Wish I could bust it myself, really like the sketch cards

  26. Really nice product! I love the sketch cards.

    Youtube: mukmukfan89

  27. i think your review is great . I was on the fence about ordering it but after your review i decided to buy a case. It should be in on friday and i'll upload the break to youtube

    Youtube name "Hockeystud1284"

  28. i think that leaf best of hockey is a really great product with the card you can get

    1. youtube-Irbehockey cardcolect

  29. As always thank you Luke for the reveiw!!!

    I really like the painting cards because it's something new that you dont get to see in any other set. One thing I would change about Leaf Best of Hockey is to add more cards to each pack. I think two cards is way to little because if you want two cards for the same price you can just go on eBay and pick out your own cards that you want instead of taking a gamble with a box.

    Youtube: NashPredators35

  30. Wow, great box there! Love this product, hope though they will lower the price soon.

    Youtube: MrThendro

  31. Really cool product there!


  32. I loved this product but some grades coulda been higher

    youtube: gongshow3133

  33. very good product.But it is a little bit out of my budget.I opened a box with my frein d and he got some very cool stuff.Excellent review.Keep the good work up.Youtube username is Erik Karlsson

  34. Pretty interesting product to say the least..... I like how it has all sorts of products in one. I think the sketch cards are very interesting. It shows how much creativity can be put into cards and we should appreciate that. You could frame those sketch cards or something, they are neat. I don't know how I feel about the chunky cases but a card is a card.

    Overall, I like the product and variety. Thanks for the contest, Luke!

    - NothinButHockeyCards

  35. This product is a gamble but it is worth it. It is fun to anticipate what you recieve and as long as you enjoy the card and it has some value it is a good break.

    YouTube: Penguins6668

  36. Love the design of the sketch cards, it brings a whole new design to hockey cards. And believe it or not first time I heard of the hockey company "Leaf". Youtube: Graboguru

    1. For 2012 13 leaf hockey I the design of the cards is very nice and I think it is cool that they have cards that are sketched like the ovie one you got but the asking price is a little high at $250 but still lots of high end stuff.

      Youtube: mncards22 Just started my Youtube channel today

      Thanks Mitch

  37. Well i should say that I was waiting more from this stuff! Its not worth to buy case and get 2 graded rookie cards! Alright to get OVIE rookie is nice but to pull Hopkins....
    Dont get how can you call Hopkins best of hockey! Just because he is 1st pick?? 2 goals this season and call he as best of hockey? Even Marty have goal and he is a goalie :D!
    So I dont think they should cost 250$! Its just not worth that money! Youre box was good! Ovie sketch and dual auto was a great to pull from this!

    I think great idea for leaf that they made these but leaf best of basketball was way better!

    My youtube : martinspridstavlaet

  38. This stuff is amazing! I always loved Leaf and their Best Of boxes

    Youtube: jtayl132

  39. Wow! I've seen so many great things so far out of this product. Chri5784 pulled a BAP Wayne Gretzky autograph the other day. There was another video with a Crosby patch auto. It seems like most cases have one insane card and then two mediocre ones though. The price does seem high, considering the 1:3, good to bad ratio. Happy almost Easter!
    YouTube- capecodunicycles

  40. I've seen alot of great cards pulled from this set, but i'm not a fan of the fact you only get two cards. I wish they put more than 2 cards per box. However, I am a big fan of the Art Sketch cards. I love the originality.

    As always thank you for the reveiw Luke!!

    Youtube: ABZCards

  41. I like the cards that come out of this product but with that being said the price of it is high and that usually means theirs a high risk involved with it too.

    YT: OnlyTheMagnificent

  42. Great review! I really like best of hockey! I would totally open it like crazy if I had the money! It is a very fun break to watch on YouTube.