Thursday, October 23, 2008

Fleer Ultra Hockey returns from Upper Deck

Will here, I just got sent this press-release highlighting the return of Fleer Ultra Hockey. UD claims that it's now "affordable" at $2.99 per pack for 8 cards. Pretty much the same stuff from the folks in Las Vegas, tons of parallels that no one really cares about, some nice sigs, more jerseys than you can shake a stick at, and then a new 1:864 insert set called "EX Jambalaya" which looks like, well, a stew full of vegetables you wouldn't eat without being drunk.

Here's the release:

Collecting Hockey Cards without Breaking the Bank: Priced at $2.99 per eight-card pack, 2008-09 Fleer Ultra Hockey represents a great value for NHL fans

North Las Vegas, NV (October 23, 2008) – The struggling economy has just about everyone reevaluating their purchasing decisions. Upper Deck is excited to provide hockey fans with a product where they won’t need to open a new line of credit to afford it: 2008-09 Fleer Ultra Hockey. Each box delivers plenty of value with 24 Gold Medallion parallels, six Ultra Rookies, one rookie redemption and two game-used or autograph cards, on average.

Hockey collectors will find what they have come to expect with Fleer Ultra as the quality base cards all boast crisp photography and there are plenty of exciting insert cards to chase. Collectors will also find two new additions with the debut of “EX” and “EX Jambalaya” insert sets in 2008-09 Fleer Ultra Hockey.

The 42-card EX set highlights the NHL’s top stars on a very unique acetate surface and collectors can find three of these cards per every hobby box on average. The 20-card EX Jambalaya set features the best of the best the NHL has to offer and these cards will be tougher to find (1:864 packs) which should ensure high values for each of these limited cards.

Upper Deck gets hockey fans closer to the game with the game-used memorabilia insert “Ultra Uniformity.” Collectors can find “Ultra Uniformity” inserts of players like Alexander Ovechkin (Capitals), Ilya Kovalchuk (Thrashers), Evgeni Malkin (Penguins) and Mats Sundin (Leafs) which fall at a ratio of 1:12 packs on average. And the autographed “Fresh Ink” set includes names like Carey Price (Canadiens), Henrik Zetterberg (Red Wings), Patrick Kane (Blackhawks) and Sidney Crosby (Penguins) falling, on average, one card per case.

“Hockey fans shouldn’t have to give up their love for the hobby in a down economy,” said Josh Zusman, Upper Deck’s Hockey brand manager. “Our 2008-09 NHL Fleer Ultra Hockey brand provides them with a great way to tap into the hockey market at a very reasonable price. With the inclusion of new insert sets like EX and EX Jambalaya, there is a lot more value for collectors and we expect these cards to be very popular.”

Upper Deck’s 2008-09 Fleer Ultra hockey carries a suggested retail price of $2.99 per eight-card hobby pack and is available in stores now.

CONTENT HIGHLIGHTS:

o Get six Rookie Cards in EVERY Box, on average! Plus get a Rookie Redemption card for a player who debuts early in the 08/09 season!

o Collect Gold Medallion parallels of the regular set – averaging one per pack – and look for limited numbered Ice Medallion parallels!

o Each box contains two jersey or signature cards, on average!

o Look for the debut of EX Hockey with three cards per box, on average, and limited numbered parallels!

o Search for rare EX Hockey Jambalaya insert cards!


PRODUCT BREAKDOWN:

Insert Cards
o Scoring Kings – Inserted 1:6
o Difference Makers – Inserted 1:6
o Franchise Players – Inserted 1:12
o Season Crowns – Inserted 1:12
o EX Hockey – Inserted 1:8
o EX Essential Credentials Red // (#’d to 99 or less)
o EX Essential Credentials Green // (#’d to 99 or less)
o EX Hockey Jambalaya – Inserted 1:864


Parallels
o Regular Cards Gold Medallions Parallel – Inserted 1:1
o Ultra Rookies Gold Medallions Parallel – Inserted 1:8
o Rookie Redemption Gold Medallions Parallel – Inserted 1:288
o Regular Cards Ice Medallions Parallel (#’d up to 100
o Ultra Rookies Ice Medallions Parallel (#’d up to 100)
o Rookie Redemption Ice Medallions Parallel (# up to 100)

Memorabilia Cards
o Ultra Uniformity – Inserted 1:12

Autograph Cards
o Fresh Ink – Inserted 1:288

Regular Cards and Rookies

o 200 Regular Cards
o Ultra Rookies – Inserted 1:4

Commentary

I gave up on collecting Hockey in 2003 for several reasons, one is that I got married and I had to give up SOMETHING to appease the new bride, and it wasn't going to be toys or comics at that time. Secondly my beloved Kings were, and still are, in the cellar of the Western Conference, and collecting sports memorabilia of a team that has had more failure than success in it's 40+ years in existence is not my idea of a good use of discretionary funds. Besides, finding Hockey in Southern California at the time was so hit and miss that it wasn't funny. Of course now I see Hockey ALL OVER THE FREAKING CITY, but a few years ago you couldn't find packs ANYWHERE but a hobby store, and there are fewer and fewer hobby stores in existence these days, and those that are left don't really care about Hockey in a town dominated by Baseball and Basketball.

Still, I'm please that UD has not abandoned the Fleer Ultra brand all together, as I have always been fond of the first additional brand from the venerable Fleer franchise. I'm also happy to see that some of the old insert sets are back and hey, Gold Medallions were always the cream of the one-per-pack parallel in my mind.

BUT (and there's big buts here, not like Sir Mix-A-Lot butts, you now what I mean), if this set is supposed to be "affordable" why is it three bucks a pack? Three bucks doesn't seem like much to most collectors, but for BUDGET collectors (hint hint) three bucks is a mid-level set or a retail pack of a higher-priced set. AFFORDABLE packs are two bucks these days, which is pretty much every base Topps product (and say what you want about base Topps, but it IS affordable) and even some UD retail products (UD Heroes I'm looking at you). Budget brands are Topps Opening Day and UD First, both of which offer nice base sets and little else.

Plus, I'm sorry, look at those one per case inserts of the EX Jambalaya, which has GOT to be the dumbest name of any insert set I've seen in quite awhile. They look to me like someone found a template for the old Topps Red Backs and Blue Backs and decided that they would make nifty Hockey cards. I'm all for the rink in the background, but NOT with red and blue as the colors. Are they trying to insinuate that these cards have some sort of political leaning? If political cards don't belong in Baseball sets (and I'm not so sure they don't), they DEFINITELY do not belong in Hockey sets, where 90% of the players aren't even American.

Sigh...so nice try UD, but this set is nowhere near what it could have been, which is too bad, because as I said, Ultra has always been one of my preferred brands. Let's just hope that they don't decide to reinvent Flair, that would be even more of a disaster.





9 comments:

  1. I like how UD has not abandoned the Fleer brand names. Hopefully we'll see the return of Ultra Baseball for '09.

    What I don't like...

    1) Calling $3/pack "affordable."

    2) The Jambawhateveritscalled inserts. What does a Louisiana Creole stew have to do with hockey?

    3) No picture of any of the base cards in the press release.

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  2. Umm, 3 dollars a pack is affordable.

    With inflation, I believe thats around the same price as most "cheap packs" in the history of collecting.

    This isnt 1985.

    Im not sure if I am reading you right, so I apologize if I am not.

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  3. Okay, I am wrong about the inflation thing, but its still affordable by today's standards.

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  4. This is the longest post ever about a product nobody cares about.

    Can we get a product review on High School Musical cards next?

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  5. The parallels in this set are continuing a disturbing trend. I just opened a box of Donruss Threads Baseball yesterday and it was just as bad. It sucks opening a pack and then taking 20 minutes to find out what the hell it is. More importantly, High School Musical cards are coming out? When? Where?

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  6. I stand corrected, I blended the inserts with the parallels. This set isn't too parallel crazy.

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  7. Chris - those were pretty much my sentiments too.

    Gellman - $3 per pack is SOMEWHAT affordable, but as I pointed out, $2 or $1 would be more so. In fact, if this product were $2 per pack I wouldn't have a single issue with the product.

    Voltarheel - My point in posting this was two-fold - 1) to show that Fleer Ultra isn't dead, that's eomething that a lot of collectors will be happy about, and 2) to point out yet another gaffe by UD by calling this piss-poor idea for a set "affordable."

    Besides, I'm sure there's SOMEONE out there who will purchase a box or two of this product, there has to be.

    Oh and there's already HSM cards out there from Topps. Or was that Camp Rock. Doesn't matter HSM cards are either here or coming soon. And no, I don't care.

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  8. I agree those Jambalaya are stupid. It's a bad name and a bad-looking card.
    I just got my first box of these today, and I'm really impressed. The stock is a little nicer than in years past, and I like that they've put the player's position on the card.
    I haven't seen a Jambalaya in person, but the EX cards look great. I think it's a nice addition.
    If you think $3 a pack is a little steep, it's pretty easy to find a hobby box of these (24 packs of 8 cards) for less than $50 on ebay. That's what I did. Either way, this set is easier and much cheaper to collect than, for example, o-pee-chee. That has a 600 card base set which doesn't even count the parallel sets and other stuff.

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  9. you cheap ass idiots..there is so much $$$ to be made off clowns like you. how do you deem yourself competent to comment on new releases of cards? you are CLUELESS

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