O-Pee-Chee was once the Canadian version of Topps, but the dormant company name is returning immediately under a new corporate identity.
Upper Deck has corraled the brand name and is releasing a huge new, 700-card set of OPC hockey cards.
“The O-Pee-Chee name has always stirred fond memories for hockey collectors, especially in Canada,” said Joe Fallon, Director of Product Development for Upper Deck. “From 1968-69 through 1992-93, hobbyists of all ages eagerly snapped up the annual O-Pee-Chee offering. The O-Pee-Chee name is a great addition to our already stellar lineup of hockey cards.”
With manufacturing facilities based in London, Ontario, O-Pee-Chee cards enjoyed widespread distribution from Newfoundland in the east to British Columbia in the west. Legions of Canadian hockey fans continue to have a glimmer in their eye whenever the topic of O-Pee-Chee cards arises.
Hockey card historians will tell you the O-Pee-Chee name actually dates back to the 1933-34 season with the release of the V-304 “A” and “B” series. Subsequent O-Pee-Chee issues were released in 1935-36, 1936-37, and 1937-38. These sets include many of hockey’s all-time greats, such as Howie Morenz, Eddie Shore, King Clancy, Charlie Conacher and Toe Blake.
“The O-Pee-Chee brand represents a tremendous amount of heritage not only to the sports collecting hobby, but to Canadian culture in general”, added Jeffrey Morris, publisher and managing editor of Canadian Sports – The Magazine. “Any kid growing up in Canada in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, before the trading card boom started in 1990, is more than familiar with the O-Pee-Chee brand and the excitement of building and completing sets of hockey cards.
"O-Pee-Chee hockey cards really brought the NHL to life in Canada when they started making hockey cards in the 1930s. It’s amazing to think of how many great hockey palyers have O-Pee-Chee rookie cards – from Eddie Shore, Ace Bailey, Charlie Conacher, Turk Broda and Syl Apps in the 1930s, to rookie cards of Bobby Orr, Ken Dryden, Guy Lafleur, Marcel Dionne, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Brett Hull and so many more great hockey legends.”
Many of the hobby’s most desired rookie cards were available in O-Pee-Chee sets released from the late 1960s onward. This includes the most revered of all, the Wayne Gretzky rookie card, #18 in the 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee set.
After a two-year hiatus, O-Pee-Chee cards were produced in 1995-96 as well as from 1998-99 through 2003-04. Topps was one of the companies which lost it’s license to produce NHL cards and apparently felt comfortable releasing the brand.
The 700-card OPC base set released under the Upper Deck corporate identity this month will offer a selection of players from all 30 NHL franchises including young phenoms like Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, and Phil Kessel. A wide array of subsets such as Team Checklists and Stat Leaders harkens back to the rich tradition of O-Pee-Chee releases from the 1970s onward. Memorabilia cards, autograph cards, and parallel cards of the entire regular set will be offered.
“Every pack of 2006-07 O-Pee-Chee Hockey will contain one themed subset card while every box will contain an average of one memorabilia card,” added Josh Zusman, Hockey Brand Manager for Upper Deck. 2006-07 O-Pee-Chee is scheduled to reach hobby stores in mid-March and will have an SRP of $1.59 per pack.
· Featuring the industry’s most comprehensive hockey set
· Find an average of one themed subset card in every pack
· Look for one memorabilia card per box on average
· Collect O-Pee-Chee Autograph cards
·Signature and Memorabilia cards
o O-Pee-Chee Swatches – game-used jersey cards – inserted 1:36.
o O-Pee-Chee Autographs – signature cards – inserted 1:360.
·Parallel cards and Inserts
o Regular Cards – Rainbow Parallel – #’d to 100
o Hall Worthy – Rainbow Parallel – #’d to 100
o Team Checklist – Rainbow Parallel – #’d to 100
o Stat Leaders – Rainbow Parallel – #’d to 100
o Rookie/Sophomore Showdown – Rainbow Parallel – #’d to 100
o Marquee Rookies – Rainbow Parallel – #’d to 100
o 500 Regular Cards
o 25 Hall Worthy
o 30 Team Checklist
o 15 Stat Leaders
o 30 Rookie/Sophomore Showdown
o Marquee Rookies