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Why 2021-22 Upper Deck Premier Hockey Is An Essential High-End Release

upper deck 2021-22 premier hockey

The hockey card selection is smaller than the more prominent sports such as baseball, basketball and football have to offer. That helps each brand have a bit more weight and personality than, say, among the many football releases.

As a result, Upper Deck Premier Hockey has become essential in the higher end of the hockey releases. As a six-card-per-box release, it is designed to offer high-quality hits consistently.

But does it do so reliably? Read our 2021-22 Upper Deck Premier Hockey review to find out.

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What is the UD Premier Hockey brand?

In the early 2000s, Upper Deck briefly released Premier as a high-end brand. It had the vaunted NHL shield patch logos and one of the best sets of autos ever seen in a hockey product up to that point.

However, it was beset by problems. The 2002-03 release had several errors, lowering the brand’s prestige. In addition, the numbering that year was a catastrophe. It contained 17 duplicated numbers (44-49, 51-52, 56-60, 67, 70-72) and 3 (85-87) that weren’t printed. Soon, Upper Deck Premier Hockey disappeared from the release schedule.

It took over a decade for Upper Deck executives to realize the obvious: the product idea for Premier was great. It was the execution that totally sucked. So, the company brought back Upper Deck Premier Hockey in 2014-15. The attraction in that release was a guaranteed Rookie Patch Auto, which remains the cornerstone of the product today.

Since then, there have been a few adjustments. For example, the release has decreased from 7 cards per box to 6. But the general idea of a high-end hockey release with guaranteed bangers has remained.

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2021-22 Upper Deck Premier Hockey pros

The great thing about these boxes is that you can get the highest-end hockey cards for a fairly reasonable price. The $350 price tag will get you a retail release in other sports (like Mosaic, for example). And here, it gets you a guaranteed RPA. That is a huge advantage.

The designs are above average on this release and in Upper Deck Premier Hockey, in general. It’s hard to make an RPA that looks attractive. The patch takes up a lot of real estate and the designs can be unfortunate. But Premier Hockey has a lot of creativity up its sleve and the patch cards really work.

2021-22 Upper Deck Premier Hockey cons

The problem with high-end hockey cards is that fewer players have significant value than in the more prominent sports. So your chances of hitting a big RPA that pays off are lower. The difference between hockey player RPAs and, say, NBA ones are primarily seen in the mid-tier.

Compare the value of prospects that can go either way and you will know what I’m talking about. Many more people are willing to invest in longer-shot opportunities for the more popular sports. That tends to raise the value of the RPAs.

Upper Deck Premier Hockey 2021-22 release date

The 2021-22 Upper Deck Premier Hockey hobby box is scheduled for a December 7, 2022 release. Fortunately, release delays have become less common as companies have learned to manage supply chain challenges better. So, we assume the product will arrive on time.

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2021-22 UD Premier Hockey formats

Upper Deck doesn’t mess around with as many formats as Panini and Topps in general. And with Premier Hockey they are keeping it particularly basic and issuing only a hobby box.

Hobby Box

  • 6 premium cards per pack
  • 1 pack per box
  • Look for 2 Non-Autographed Memorabilia Cards, 1 Acetate Autographed Patch Card, 1 Autographed Card (Could be a non-Acetate Autographed Memorabilia Card), 1 Regular Base Set or Base Set Legends Card (Includes Gold & Platinum Parallels), 1 Regular Base Set Rookies Card (Includes Gold, Bronze, Purple & Platinum Parallels) per box on average.
  • You can pick up a box for $350
  • A case of 10 boxes goes for $3,500

2021-22 Upper Deck Premier Hockey checklist

2021-22 Upper Deck Premier Hockey only offers two base cards per pack. So it is no surprise that the base checklist is not particularly long. The set consists of only 150 cards, far shorter than the average 300-player checklist.

Each box provides you with one base rookie (#/399 or less) and possibly one base veteran (#/299 or less). You will hit a legend (#/99 or less) card if the package does not contain a veteran.

  • Base rookies – #/399 or less
  • Base veterans – #/299 or less
  • Legends – #/99 or less

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Base Card parallels

Each card in this release is numbered and has an assigned color. That means that technically all the cards are parallels. But wait, if everything is parallels, does that mean nothing is? Mind blown. While you recover from that, here is a list of all the base parallels in this release:

Base (#1-90)

  • Base – #/299
  • Gold – #/65
  • Platinum – 1/1

Legends (#91-100)

  • Base – #/99
  • Gold – #/25
  • Platinum – 1/1

Rookies (#101-150)

  • Base – #/399
  • Bronze – #/199
  • Gold – #/65
  • Purple – #/10
  • Platinum – 1/1

2021-22 UD Premier Hockey autos

The product is particularly auto-heavy. Each box is expected to yield one acetate autograph patch and one other auto. That makes up a third of the cards in each box. That is an excellent yield for a $400 box. The variety is pretty good as well. Here is the complete list:

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Base Autographs

  • Base Auto – 1:8 packs
  • Gold – #’d
  • Platinum – 1/1

Legends Autographs

  • Base Auto – 1:300 packs
  • Gold – #’d
  • Platinum – 1/1

Rookie Autographs

  • Base Auto – 1:4 packs
  • Gold Tier 1 – #/35
  • Gold Tier 2 – #/15
  • Platinum – 1/1

But the highlight of the release is not the regular autos. Instead, with so many awesome patch auto cards available, collectors will be looking primarily for these cards.

2021 Premier Rookie Auto 

  • Rookie Tier 1 – #/99
  • Rookie Tier 2 – #/25
  • Rookie Patch – #/15
  • Rookie Logo Patch – 1/1

2002-03 Rookie Patch Auto

  • Rookie Tier 1 – #/49
  • Rookie Tier 2 – #/15
  • Rookie Tier 1 Gold – #/5
  • Rookie Tier 2 Gold – 1/1

Star Systems Auto Relic

  • Base Auto Relic – #’d
  • Gold – #’d

Star Systems Rookies Auto Relic

  • Rookie Tier 1 – #/149
  • Rookie Tier 2 – #/75
  • Rookie Tier 3 – #/75
  • Rookie Tier 1 Gold – #/25
  • Rookie Tier 2 Gold – #/10

Acetate Rookie Auto Patch

  • Rookie Tier 1 – #/249
  • Rookie Tier 2 – #/99
  • Rookie Tier 1 Gold – #/65
  • Rookie Tier 2 Gold – #/35
  • Rookie Platinum – 1/1

Acetace Rookie Auto Patch Horizontal

  • Rookie Tier 1 – #/99
  • Rookie Tier 2 – #/49
  • Rookie Tier 1 Gold – #/25
  • Rookie Tier 2 Gold – #/15
  • Rookie Platinum – 1/1

Acetate Veteran Auto Patch

  • Veteran Tier 1 – #/35
  • Veteran Tier 2 – #/25
  • Veteran Tier 3 – #/15
  • Veteran Tier 1 Gold – #/10
  • Veteran Tier 2 Gold – #/5
  • Veteran Tier 3 Gold – #/3
  • Veteran Platinum – 1/1

2021-22 Upper Deck Premier Hockey value

The potential for value from a product like Upper Deck Premier Hockey is considerable. After all, for a sum of $350, you get a guaranteed Rookie Patch Auto. But that’s all in theory. So how well does the product hold up on the open market?

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Wax

How do boxes from recent years hold up? Here are the latest.

ReleaseValue
2016-17 Upper Deck Premier Hockey Hobby Box$500
2017-18 Upper Deck Premier Hockey Hobby Box$610
2018-19 Upper Deck Premier Hockey Hobby Box$650
2019-20 Upper Deck Premier Hockey Hobby Box$650
2020-21 Upper Deck Premier Hockey Hobby Box$528

As you can see, this is a no-brainer. The boxes often almost double in value. In the worst-case scenario, they gain 50% value within a year. And considering the depth of the rookie class this year, there is reason to believe this box will reach closer to the high prices than the low ones.

So, stashing them away is an excellent idea for a low-risk and high-reward gamble.

Singles

We looked at a couple of breaks from last year’s product to see how people did.

Break #1

CardValue
Mathew Barzal /299$4
Pius Sutter /299$13.40
Bowen Byram Auto /35$149
Jordan Staal and Andrei Svechnikov Mega Jersey Dual Patch /49$8
Paramount Jersey Ty Dellandrea$9
Ty Dellandrea RPA /299$17.50
$200

Break #2

CardValue
Jack Eichel /299$6
Gabe Vilardi /299$23.24
Sasha Chmelevski auto /99$5
Sasha Chmelevski Paramount Premier auto /99$9
Ville Heinola RPA /99$14
Mega Patch Logo Alexandar Georgiev 19/20$140
$197.20

The numbers show that this product is a good and solid rip. Unfortunately, these are boxes without a significant hit. What you were looking for was a Kirill Kaprovoz. And if you are one of those, you could net a 300-400% profit on the box. Despite that, the boxes offered a reasonable return.

Final thoughts on the 2021-22 Upper Deck Premier Hockey release

You are correct if a $350 box with a guaranteed beautiful RPA sounds like a good deal. These are good boxes. They resell strong, and you can make back the sum of your investment with a good hit or two.

Upper Deck has a no-frills approach to giving value for their money, in contrast to the Panini way of doing things. Here it can be seen at its strongest.

Shop for 2021-22 Upper Deck Premier Hockey hobby boxes on eBay

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim

Shaiel Ben-Ephraim is the emeritus editor of Cardlines. He continues to write for several hobby outlets, including this one and Cardbase. He collects primarily vintage baseball and soccer and has a weird obsession with 1971 Topps.

In his spare time, Shaiel is sobbing into his bourbon when the Mets lose and playing Dungeons and Dragons. In a past life, Dr. Ben-Ephraim was a political science professor, journalist, and diplomat. But cards are more fun.
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