There’s a time-honoured tradition around this time of year – In The Game Inc., a leading hockey card manufacturer, releases its signature Heroes and Prospects series.
As the name implies, Heroes and Prospects (or colloquially known as H&P) is a hockey card series dedicated to the future and past of the game. You won’t find a lot of current NHL’ers here – moreso the men who helped shape the game and those who will carry the torch in the future.
Up until this year, Heroes and Prospects included future stars from both the CHL and AHL; however, earlier this hockey season word came out that the AHL and In The Game no longer were in business together, and as such H&P is now strictly a junior hockey series.
Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
The expanded coverage of yet-to-be or recently drafted prospects is pretty extensive, reaching out to new players who we otherwise might not have seen for another year. Of course, major names like Nathan MacKinnon and Seth Jones are highlighted multiple times, but others like Roland McKeown are also getting a bit of the spotlight.
This year’s series is highlighted by a subset of lenticular motion cards. When the previews for these were sent out to media a couple weeks ago, they instantly became the subject of adoration almost universally, and in person they live up to their promise. Not since McDonald’s offerings in the mid-90s have 3D cards been produced so effectively.
Of course, the bread and butter of Heroes and Prospects, as is the case with almost every In The Game release, is their chase card program. While insert series like those dedicated to the Subway Series and Memorial Cup have their fans, the real pursuit by most collectors is the opportunity to get the first autographs and jersey cards of prospects like Stefan Matteau; and boy does ITG deliver this year.
From our sample box, we received three autographs and three memorabilia cards. For an 18-pack box, that means you’re getting one of these coveted cards once in every three packs, incredible odds for an entry level trading card set.
The themes this year are similar to those in the past – a base-line autograph series, game used jersey, patch and number cards, cut Subway Series jerseys, combination cards of signatures and swatches and, of course, the most in-demand H&P cards, Complete Logo which features a full CHL insignia from a player’s sweater. The designs for this year’s run are among the best seen in H&P’s near decade of production and the swatch sizes on some cards, partiuclarly the Subway Series jerseys, are among the biggest we’ve seen in years.
Overall, Heroes and Prospects is a series that is going to once again be a hit with collectors. The great assortment of hits will entice collectors to be multiple box breakers, especially as they hunt for the next big thing in hockey.
Hockey Breakers Report
Packs per box: 18
Cards per pack: 9
Expected 3D short-prints: 2
Expected Inserts: 3
Expected Autographs: 2-3
Expected Memorabilia Cards: 2-3
Best Card: Subway Series Trios Game-Used Silver: Ty Rattie, Derrick Pouliot, Mark McNeill
This is the first set in memory that combines jersey and patch cards for multiple players. I’ll be very curious to see how these perform in the secondary market. The look is solid and with only 25 produced, this is going to be an in-demand piece on trade boards, especially for Rattie.
3D subset: Martin Reway, Zach Nastasiuk
Subway Series: Morgan Reilly
Top Prospects: Tom Wilson
Memorial Cup: Anton Zlobin / Max Domi
Autographs: Roland McKeown; Charles Hudon; Kale Kessy
Subway Series Game-Used Jersey Black: Nathan MacKinnon
Game Used Patch Black: Stefan Matteau
Want one of these cards? Chasing the 3D subset? Jon’s trading almost all the cards he got in his box and they can be yours! Leave your trade offer below and Jon will respond. Plus, the first two completed trades will receive a bonus 3D card!
Jon Waldman has written about hockey for several publications over his decade-long journalism career, including The Hockey News, The Toronto Sun and Winnipeg Men Magazine. A graduate of Ryerson University’s journalism program, Jon is working on his first book on the history of hockey, to go along with two other books he has published since 2009.