Completing the 1992-93 Upper Deck hockey set has been a collecting goal of mine for quite some time. While sentimentally it's a step down from Upper Deck's first two hockey releases, there are still some great cards to be had. Sure, I probably could have bought the entire set on eBay for 10 bucks, but where's the fun in that? I wanted to hand collate this one like I used to do when I was a kid. I got a pretty good start a while back when I busted a Series 1 hobby box. When I recently discovered a great local hobby shop, this Series 2 hobby box was one of my first purchases.
Series 1 was all about Gretzky, Series 2 is all about Gordie Howe. In addition to being on the box cover, there are random Gordie Howe Hockey Heroes inserts found in these packs. Gordie is also featured on the back of the box:
The box contains 36 packs, 15 cards per pack. Each 15 card pack contained a mix of cards from Series 1 and Series 2, with the average pack containing 9 Series 1 cards and 6 Series 2 cards. Here are my favorites from the box. We'll start with Series 1, comprised of cards 1 - 440. I'll only show my favorite Series 1 cards from the box that I did not already have from my previous box break. Altogether I pulled 321 Series 1 cards, 246 unique cards with 75 doubles, and of those 246 I needed 71 for my set:
#14 - Ottawa Senators Checklist - This set is absolutely loaded with subsets, as you'll soon see. The first 24 cards are these illustrated team checklist cards. I still needed 9 of them after my Series 1 box break, and I happened to pull all 9 in this box, so that was a win.
#16 - Pittsburgh Penguins Checklist - I always liked these illustrated team checklists, which are also featured in the early Upper Deck baseball releases (and maybe football too?). The paintings are well done and they provide a nice cover for a team set.
#17 - Quebec Nordiques Checklist - One more team checklist, I couldn't resist posting this because of the sweet Nordiques logo in the background.
#151 - Jim Hrivnak - The set provides some good variation, not every photo is an action shot which I think is nice.
#190 - Jon Casey - The photography is high quality, just as you'd expect from Upper Deck.
#194 - Dave Christian - Dave just took a spill but is not giving up on the play. There's a lesson to be learned here kids!
#204 - Pat Verbeek - Another good shot of Verbeek along the boards, a split-second before he catches the puck with his glove.
#233 - Mikael Renberg - World Junior Tournament - Here's another subset, commemorating the World Junior Tournament. This tournament is a place for the top hockey nations to showcase their under-20 talent. The stacked Swede team (featuring Renberg, Forsberg, Naslund and Nylander) had the 4 top scorers in the tournament in 1992, but finished with a Silver medal. Renberg is one of those players I thought would be huge in the NHL as a kid, but never really panned out.
#262 - Bill Ranford - I never get tired of overhead shots on goalie cards.
#263 - Petr Nedved - Nedved was a bit of a disappointment as well, although not as much as Renberg was. He did manage to tally over 700 career points in close to 1,000 career NHL games, but he had a reputation for soft play and his best years came when he was on a stacked Pittsburgh Penguins team (with Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr and Ron Francis).
#264 - Rod Brind'Amour
#265 - Ray Bourque
#267 - Vladimir Konstantinov - One of the sad stories in modern sports.
#270 - Kelly Hrudey - You try doing that with full goalie gear on!
#284 - Brian Leetch
#364 - Keith Tkachuk - Rookie Report - Another subset, Rookie Report. I miss the Winnipeg Jets.
#385 - Trevor Kidd - 1992 Ice Hockey Championship - Yet another subset and yet another tournament! Kidd's Canadian team was ousted by Finland in the quarter-finals.
That does it for the Series 1 cards I needed. Series 2 is comprised of cards 441 - 660. I pulled 212 of these in the box, 52 were doubles and as I didn't have any Series 2 cards to begin with I needed all 160 different cards I pulled. Here are my favorites:
#447 - Nick Kypreos - You know I am going to show most if not all of the Whalers cards. 1992-93 was Kypreos' only full season with Hartford.
#449 - Bob Sweeney
#453 - Lethal Lines - New York Rangers - This subset is literally 3 or 4 cards in its totality. I guess I've seen worse, and I do like that the team's venue is depicted in the background of each photo.
#454 - Lethal Lines - Pittsburgh Penguins - Nice shot of the Igloo.
#456 - Lethal Lines - Buffalo Sabres
#461 - Dino Ciccarelli - Nice shot of a post-goal celebration, you can see the excited crowd behind the glass.
#470 - Eric Lindros - Very similar shot to the Ciccarelli card. 1992-93 was Lindros' first season in the NHL after all the hype and buildup, and he did not disappoint. He lit the lamp 41 times in just 61 games. He would've been a Hall-of-Famer no questions asked if it weren't for the injuries.
#480 - Peter Sidorkiewicz
#512 - Terry Yake - I may have mentioned this before but my brothers and I always referred to this guy as "Teriyaki".
#518 - Sean Burke
#520 - Mikael Nylander - With former Whaler Ulf Samuelsson in the background.
#532 - Ron Hextall - I always forget that Hextall played a single season with the Nordiques. This is probably my favorite photo in the box, with Ron flashing the leather (even though it looks like the shot was maybe going wide).
#533 - Keith Jones - Rookie card of the Vs. network analyst.
#538 - Mike McPhee - I don't know why, but I just like this photo.
#544 - Brian Bradley - Nice horizontal shot of some in-game action.
#546 - Steve Chiasson - Like Konstantinov, Chiasson is one of the truly sad stories of the NHL. After being eliminated from the playoffs in 1999, he left a team party with a blood alcohol level of .27 refusing both a taxi and a ride home from a teammate. He wrecked his truck and was killed on impact. A sad reminder of what drinking and driving can result in.
#553 - Eric Weinrich - I bet you didn't realize Weinrich spent a year in Hartford.
#554 - Young Guns Checklist - Cards 554 - 583 make up the Young Guns subset. I liked the Young Guns cards a lot more when they were found at the same odds as all the other cards. Nowadays they are short printed, something like 1 in 4 packs, and get ridiculously expensive for star players. They are the single reason I haven't completed a master set of Upper Deck hockey since I got back into collecting. Anyway, enough complaining, there are some good Young Guns cards in this set.
#557 - Patrick Poulin - Young Guns - Poulin had actually played a single NHL game with Hartford in 1991-92 before this card came out. His first full campaign in 1992-93 was fairly successful. He scored 51 points in 81 games. How did the Whalers respond? By trading him just a few games into the next season. Sigh.
#559 - Martin Straka - Young Guns - I always thought this guy was better than he actually was, probably because he was so fast in the EA Sports hockey games of the 90's. He did have one fantastic season in 2000-01 though, amassing 95 points for the Pens.
#563 - Darius Kasparaitis - Young Guns
#569 - Robert Petrovicky - Young Guns - Petrovicky has been out of the NHL for close to a decade, but still plays professionally in Slovakia!
#573 - Alexei Kovalev - Young Guns - Does anybody else remember the ESPN team referring to this guy as Kovalov constantly when he first came into the league? I sure do.
#574 - Teemu Selanne - Young Guns - Best Young Guns card in the set, hands down. Teemu is still playing and is still effective too.
#584 - World Junior Championships Checklist - Cards 584 - 619 commemorate the 1993 World Junior Hockey Championships. As you can tell from the checklist, team Canada took the gold, downing Sweden.
#585 - Manny Legace - There are a lot of good early cards of future NHL players in this subset. Legace is still playing in the league and is currently with the Carolina Hurricanes organization.
#586 - Paul Kariya - The most "valuable" card in the entire 1992-93 set, this one "books" at $8. You can probably buy a wax box for about that. Whatever, still a cool card.
#587 - Alexandre Daigle - Just posted about him a couple of days ago, HUGE draft bust.
#591 - Chris Pronger - Pronger's rookie card, also one of the more valued cards in the set.
#595 - Peter Forsberg - Forsberg crushed the competition in this tournament. Even though his team didn't win it all, he set a tournament record with 31 points!
#597 - Niklas Sundstrom - Sundstrom had a good tournament as well, with 10 goals and 4 assists.
#602 - Pavol Demitra
#609 - Adam Deadmarsh
#613 - Viktor Kozlov - Viktor scored his first career playoff goal in 2009 after 15 years in the NHL!
#615 - Jere Lehtinen - I don't believe Jere is signed by anyone for the upcoming NHL season, could his career be at an end?
#617 - Saku Koivu - Saku is still at it and still effective. He scored over 50 points last year for Anaheim. Finally, we have one more subset to finish things off. Cards 620 - 640 are the "Profiles" subset.
#621 - Wayne Gretzky - Profiles - These are pretty cheesy, they each show the player standing in front of their locker, and in most cases they are displaying something related to a hobby or interest outside of the NHL. I don't think Gretzky ever did anything except practice though, so his card is pretty boring.
#622 - Jaromir Jagr - Profiles - Apparently Jagr did little else other than play hockey as well. How about that terrible Upper Deck jacket? You're making millions buddy, I don't think you need to wear a free coat.
#626 - Ray Bourque - Profiles - Ray is apparently an avid golfer when not at the rink.
#629 - Chris Chelios - Profiles - I thought this card was kind of cool, you can tell Chelios is proud of his sons. Ready to feel old? Dean (on the left) played hockey as a freshman at Michigan State last year, and Jake (on the right) is playing with the Chicago Steel of the USHL.
#633 - Alexei Kovalev - Profiles - Apparently a soccer fan...
#637 - Adam Oates - Profiles
#638 - Denis Savard - Profiles - Savard is holding a photo of some horses. Not much more to say about that.
#639 - Doug Gilmour - Profiles - Gilmour is apparently bad to the bone. I see very little hockey equipment in his "locker". That sums up the base set, now onto the inserts:
#CC16 - Scott Lachance - Calder Candidates - Needless to say Lachance did not win the Calder Trophy.
#AC3 - Steve Heinze - AmeriCan Hologram - Not a huge fan of these, pretty weak design if you ask me.
#AC4 - Scott Lachance - AmeriCan Hologram - Another Lachance, great...
Heroes #21 - The First "Production Line" - These were pretty much the only inserts I actually enjoyed pulling. Continuing the Heroes insert set, Howe's cards are numbered 19 - 27 with a non-numbered header card (Hull's Heroes cards from the 91-92 set were numbers 1 - 9, and Gretzky's from 92-93 Series 1 were numbers 10 - 18).
Heroes #23 - Six-Time Hart Trophy Winner - Great card, unfortunately I pulled two. Anyone want to trade?
Heroes #27 - Checklist - Here's the checklist, you'll recognize it from the back of the box at the top of the post.
To close things out, here are my 5 favorite card backs from the box.
Man those Nordiques jerseys were fantastic.
I'm a sucker for horizontal in-game photos.
Don't drop it!
The back of Teriyaki's card. I think this photo does a good job of encapsulating the drive and emotion of hockey players as these two struggle along the boards.
Finally we have Jim Hrivnak who appears as though he's about to give up a goal.
Well, that wraps it up. For 15 bucks this box was a ton of fun to open and got me a lot closer to completing my set. If anyone has doubles from this junk wax era set (Sal, Captain?) let me know, I'd love to complete this one and take it off the list!
Blank space - The first time I ever saw a blank-backed card -- that is, one that wasn't supposed to have a blank back -- was in 1987. I was buying rack packs of '87 To...