Thursday, December 8, 2011


Some of you might be asking "Beards? As a concept?"

That's right.

When it seemed all the avenues of concepts have been exhausted, Upper Deck comes out with a sneaky little parallel set that can be either intriguing, frustrating or flat out boring.

I choose the first one.

2011/12 O-Pee-Chee
#1 Scott Hartnell
Playoff Beard version

O-Pee-Chee released a 50-card parallel set that celebrates the decades-old tradition of playoff beards. Each card depicts the player proudly wearing their sign of playoff success (you never really see guys wearing full beards in game one or two of the first round....unless they're cheating).

The card looks exactly the same as the regular version say for a couple tweaks.

2011/12 O-Pee-Chee
#1 Scott Hartnell
Regular version

First (and most obvious) is the photo. But if you look closely, you'll see that some of the text is a different color. The regular version has gold lettering for the player name and the 'O-Pee-Chee' slashing through the card at the bottom of the photo. The 'Beard' version has this text in silver.

The backs of the cards are exactly the same. There's no serial numbering, no text indication - nothing.

Without a doubt, there are people out there building the set that have no clue about the variation. To many, it might not even matter.

I, on the other hand, would not be able to put a 'Beard' variation in the spot where a regular card should go.

It just doesn't work that way in my world.

So, how rare are the 'Beard' variations? They are 1:25 packs. Not super rare, but still a good hunt is required to build the full 50-card set at a reasonable price.

I kind of like this idea. These photos aren't just from 'any' game. They are from the most important games of the season. And there are a number of players who seem to transform into another character once that beard has fully formed.

So, once I discovered this unique concept, I thought to myself if there were other instances of 'facial hair' being a theme for a set.

Believe it or not, it has happened before.

1996/97 Leaf Limited
#16 Joe Sakic /1500

How many of you remember these beauties?

This set was actually inspired by the playoff beard tradition, but was a bit more of a miss as a lot of the photos just don't reflect that sentiment.

This 20-card insert set did have some big names though. Yzerman, Lemieux, Gretzky and Roy just to name a few. And since they are numbered to 1500 (which at the time was a pretty rare card), they hold half decent value (Gretzky just recently went for about $30 on ebay).

All the card fronts show head shots of players 'sporting' stubble. I think some of these pics are of guys who are just too lazy to shave.

To make things even cheesier, the player name and 'Stubble' text have a fuzzy felt-like texture. It reminds me of books that I read when I was one.

'Stubble'? I think not. This is just a poor inclusion to the set. I don't think I've ever seen Alex grow any sort of beard, goatee, sideburns or moustache. Ever.

Now did someone say - MOUSTACHE?

Thinking about this concept, there was a clear lane to this obvious avenue that I'm sure will soon be gobbled up by a card company.

At least you can say you saw it here first.

I give you - "The Movember Set"

Again, for those living under a rock, November is the month where us guys refrain from shaving the ol' stache in support of men's health (specifically prostate cancer).

And a bunch of the NHLers have jumped on this ship big time.

You probably saw the Jonas Hiller Movember mask I showcased at the start of the month. But he wasn't the only goalie to get in on the excitement. Tim Thomas had a great looking Movember mask designed as well.

Both the Hiller mask and the Thomas will be raffled (or auctioned....I can't remember which) off with all the proceeds going to support the cause.

So why not do the same with hockey cards?

I think each team should designate one player to represent their team on a 'Movember' card. Only available in that team's city. Math concludes that this would mean a 30-card set.

I think the initial purchase of the card be set at like $20 bucks with only a limited number of them available (say 1000).

If every card sold in every city and all the money from the cards went to fight prostate cancer, that would be $600,000.

Some people might only want cards from their favorite team or city, some might want to build the set. There are player collectors as well.

And of course, the money would go to a very worthwhile cause.

And think of the fun photos you could come up with.

Cal Clutterbuck might just lead the charge. His 'Clutterstache' as he calls it is so popular, it has its own Twitter account. Hilarious.

Even better.......his stache was interviewed by Outstanding!

There are guys that just should never be seen in public with a moustache. I think this group of players play for the Habs.

In addition to this nasty caterpillar on Cole's lip, do some hunting for Carey Price's contribution. Yikes!

This tandem just made me laugh. Goofy face on Moulson and goofy staches on both. Love it!

But my favourite might just be Jagr's attempt. It actually suits him. This coming from a guy who had the worst mullet in league history.

Hey, now maybe that should be a card set., no ,no. Ignore that thought.

Of course, no blog post on facial hair would be complete without a card from this guy.

Got Heeeem!

Enough said.


  1. Love love LOVE those Movember cards! There has to be a Parros one, right? And if you did a throwback version, you'd have to include Derek Sanderson. I mean, check this out from the 71-72 Bruins Yearbook:

    "Derek wore a mustache last Winter to become the first N.H.L. player with lip dressing since Toronto's Garth Boesch, in the late 40's"

    Are you building the beard parallel set because I have a Ryan Smyth if you want it.

  2. Those MOvember cards would have fit perfectly within my 2011 Mustache FrankenSet
    I've been doing MOvember for the past 4 years and I too am glad to see some athletes getting involved and bring some attention to my favorite time of the year.

  3. Sorry, no Parros.....right now. But you've made me think about who (and who shouldn't) be included.

    Now a guy who always has a moustache, is he really growing one for Movember? (That said, I'm not 100% sure if the guys I mocked up grew theirs just for the month only).

    I also like seeing players who never really sport the stache giving her a go.

    But the idea of who you can put on a card grows considerably if you include the likes of Parros and Sanderson.

    I could use the Smyth as I am building a 'One Sheet, One Set' set and still need one card.

    Thanks for the comments guys.

  4. the beard variation in OPC is 1:9 packs, not 1:25. You get 4 per box. Maybe retail is 1:25... I dunno.

    And can you explain why Crosby is in this set? He wasn't in the playoffs last year? And why is Saku Koivu in this set, in a HABS sweater??????

  5. Parros did indeed shave his moustache off in order to grow one for Movember.

    Now about moustaches, seems that in the 80's every other player wore one...

    Those Movember cards are ultracool. Eric Cole looks like (with the jersey imagined away) someone who's sitting at his regular table in the corner of his local pub, just drinking a pint after another after a hard work day, wondering if he could take just one more and be able to get up to work the next day...

  6. Parros would be cool to see also Lanny McDo as a throwback would be nice. Thank goodness someone finally got a "GOT HEEEEEM" reference

  7. Awesome! While I don't really care for the OPC parallel idea, the standalone set you've got going here is excellent. I especially love the background, for some reason it just seems perfect.

  8. Nice designs! Is it odd that you're cards are almost always better looking than upper deck's? Maybe you should start your own company???