The sun is shining a little bit brighter, and the fall air just feels a little bit more crisp and fresh.
That’s because the first hockey cards of the new NHL season are finally available.
Once again, the Upper Deck Company has ripped off the clear wrap on the metaphorical box that would be the 2021-22 hockey collecting season with the annual Tim Hortons hockey card promotion. As expected, long lines in the drive thru were evident from coast to coast in Canada on Wednesday as hockey collectors and fans got ready to rip open packs.
Tim Hortons is the official quick service restaurant of the NHL in Canada. Their hockey card program has been operating since the early 1990s, when McDonald’s was the NHL’s official QSR in Canada. The McDonald’s card program was delivered annually by Upper Deck, Pinnacle and Pacific. After the NHL lockout and the exclusive license given to Upper Deck, the California-based company has produced the annual card set, and having Tim Hortons as a partner is a perfect fit.
“The launch of every new set of our Tim Hortons NHL Trading Cards is a huge event for our guests and we’re really excited to up our game yet again with new additions like the ProMotion collection, Hockey Heroes cards and a lineup of autographed cards from NHL superstars,” said Hope Bagozzi, Chief Marketing Officer at Tim Hortons.
Guests can purchase a pack of cards for $1 with the purchase of any qualifying beverage, or for $1.99 without a beverage. Guests have the chance to find one of 87 signed Sidney Crosby cards, one of 100 Colton Parayko cards featuring him as a Timbit Hockey player, and one of 1,517 Wayne Gretzky tribute cards.
Guests can store all of their Tim Hortons hockey cards for safe keeping in a specially-designed binder available for purchase for $16.99.
Each pack contains three cards. Two are base cards – there are 125 cards in the base set – and the other card is either an insert card or one of 50 Red Base Card Variants. Fifty of the 125 cards are included in the red set.
The Set and Inserts
This year’s set features a lot of foil and a lot of micro-etching in the design. The base set is printed on micro-etched holographic foil with a bright image of the player raised off the card. Although the cards are not embossed to the level and detail of the early 1990s Action Packed NFL football cards, they do have a similar feel and are very striking.
There are six different insert sets to collect. Hockey Heroes is a 20-card set featuring superstars. The horizontal design has a player-isolated action shot popping and a head shot in the bottom corner off a three-dimensional background using lenticular printing.
Photo Finish is a horizontal card printing on stock similar to the Upper Deck Series 1 and 2 base cards. It is a 15-card set featuring celebration photos.
Gold Etchings is a 15-card micro-etched gold foil set with a color photo of the player isolated in an action photo while everything is gold tinted in the background.
NHL Canvas is a canvas-card set featuring 15 NHL superstars. It sports a bright, full-color design.
ProMotion is a 15-card set with a bright and colorful design. An isolated full color photo of each player is clipped and placed on a bright, micro-etched background.
Among the randomly inserted autograph redemption cards are Crosby, Nathan MacKinnon, Anthony Mantha, Drake Batherson, Elias Lindholm, Tyler Seguin, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Josh Morrissey, Jack Roslovic, Cale Makar, Mark Giordano, J.T. Miller, Mitch Marner, Nick Suzuki, Brock Boeser, Thomas Chabot and Zach Hyman.
Redemptions good for a piece of an authentic, game-worn jersey include Auston Matthews, Brady Tkachuk, Blake Wheeler, Connor McDavid, Carey Price, David Pastrnak, Elias Pettersson, Johnny Gaudreau, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, J.T. Miller, John Tavares, Kyle Connor, Leon Draisaitl, Nathan MacKinnon, Quinn Hughes, Sidney Crosby, Thomas Chabot and William Nylander.
Autographed relic cards include Brendan Gallagher, Bo Horvat, Connor Hellebuyck, John Tavares, Leon Draisaitl and Matthew Tkachuk.
Upper Deck continues to pay tribute to Timbits Hockey, the youth hockey program in Canada sponsored by Tom Hortons through which most Canadian players are introduced to playing hockey. This year’s set features a Timbits Hockey card featuring 2019 Stanley Cup winner Colton Parayko. Only 100 Timbits Parayko cards are available.
Also, Upper Deck continues to use their relationship with spokesman Wayne Gretzky with a Wayne Gretzky tribute card. The card is limited to a production of 1,517.
A full checklist is available for download below.
There’s already a healthy supply of ’21-22 Tim Hortons cards and sets listed on eBay.
Reaching Beyond the Traditional Collecting Base
Upper Deck hockey brand manager Paul Zickler, a Vancouver native, said in an interview earlier this year that the Tim Hortons hockey card promotion is an important way to start the collecting season.
“Tim Hortons is synonymous with hockey,” Zickler said. “There has always been a connection to Tim Hortons and hockey. Kids in Canada start playing hockey at the grass roots level through Timbits Hockey, and Tim Horton was a player in the NHL when he started the donut and coffee shop chain in Canada. Upper Deck is an international company, and the annual Upper Deck Tim Hortons hockey card promotion strengthens their brand in hockey and connection to the game.”
Zickler added that the promotion draws the mainstream hockey fan and hockey family into the hobby. The promotion is heavily promoted and supported with a national television ad campaign that began running in Canada on the morning of Oct. 27.
“Not only do our regular hockey collectors get excited for this set, but it also gives us the opportunity to give all Canadians who are hockey fans a chance to collect,” Zickler said. “There are a lot of adults who collected hockey cards as kids, and this promotion is a way to rediscover collecting along with their kids.”
Due to recommended health and safety guidelines enforced by the Canadian Government, Tim Hortons says there won’t be any Hockey Card Trade Nights in 2021. They are hopeful they’ll be able to host them once again in 2022.
Collect to Win Contest
In addition to the set, Tim Hortons also has their Collect to Win contest. This year’s contest includes a chance to win a VIP experience to attend a live NHL game and meet Sidney Crosby, a trip to the 2022 Stanley Cup Final, an official NHL Team Bike from FunRideBikes.com, NHL LIVE subscriptions, and $50 Tim Cards.
Hockey fans can also leverage their NHL knowledge every game day by playing the NHL Hockey Challenge. Using the Tim Hortons mobile app, Tims Rewards members can access the Challenge to select three NHL players who they believe will score a goal each game day. For each correct pick that is made, members will receive Tims Rewards points or offers. If a member correctly predicts at least one player to score a goal for seven consecutive game days, they will win free coffee or tea for a week. For more information visit the Tim Hortons NHL Hockey Challenge website.