Upper Deck Champs Hockey: Ice Meets Ice Age

The Great One meets the Great White. Toews meets T-Rex. Upper Deck’s latest hockey product is part hockey, part science lab.

Upper Deck’s 2008-09 Champs Hockey product hits the hobby this week, with some standard issue cards, but also an array of rare fossils and artifact cards.

Those who like…well..hockey with their hockey cards will get some decidedly non-sports cards as chase material. The set boasts bone fragment cards from creatures like the Woolly Mammoth and Woolly Rhinoceros.

“With this year’s launch being Upper Deck’s inaugural effort with the Champ’s brand, we’re very excited that we were able to include some extraordinary artifacts cards of pre-historic proportions," said Hockey Brand Manager Josh Zusman.

Late last year, Upper Deck started to acquire rare dinosaur bones and teeth for the project. The bones were eventually cut down to size for inclusion on top of Upper Deck’s 2008-09 Champs Hockey card fronts. Using special diamond cutters, the bones were carefully cut and the card making process ensued.

A woolly mammoth femur, Tyrannosaurus Rex tooth, Triceratops vertebrae, you name the ancient piece, Upper Deck officials sought them out. Some of the tooth cards collectors will find in packs also include the Spinosaurus and the Pterosaur.

The 200-card regular set, with NHL rookies falling at a rate of 1:2 packs, is further supplemented by a 480-card mini-set within a set (2⅝” high by 1⅝” wide) that features an extensive Natural History Collection of endangered species. Some of those endangered species include the bald eagle; the great white shark; the California condor; the clouded leopard; the Chinese alligator; the black widow spider and the King Cobra. In addition to the fossils and artifacts, Champs Hockey will also yield signatures from past hockey greats such as Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr and Wayne Gretzky as well as current superstars like Martin Brodeur, Eric Staal, Jarome Iginla and Jonathan Toews.

Mini Hall of Legends sports memorabilia cards (1:240 packs) are also included and showcase actual tourney- or game-worn threads of hockey legends like Patrick Roy and Gordie Howe, as well as golfer Tiger Woods.

“The 2008-09 Champ’s Hockey product is the perfect vessel by which to deliver something truly unique to the hobby,” added Zusman. “When we saw these incredible pieces coming in, everyone was in awe."

There are five cards per pack (three regular-sized cards and two minis), and 24 packs per box. Over 800 cards, boxes and cases are already listed on eBay. Boxes have been selling for around $100.