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Bob D’Angelo

Bob is a longtime member of the Florida sports media, having served as a reporter and copy editor for more than 30 years. His true sports passion, however, is the history of the various games, exhibited by his in-depth book reviews and hobby of collecting cards and other sports memorabilia. He blogs for on both subjects, transferring his work for the Tampa Tribune to the realm of cyberspace.

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Collect call: 2011-12 Donruss Elite hockey

Posted May 9, 2012 by Bob D'Angelo

Updated May 9, 2012 at 08:37 PM

Do you enjoy shiny cards? On-card autographs? Large game-used swatches? Some die-cut cards, perhaps? Then Donruss Elite Hockey will be right up your alley.


I’ll be honest: shiny cards usually don’t work for me. For some reason, they always seem to chip along the edges when I handle them. Maybe that’s me.  But Panini America brought back Donruss Elite Hockey, and while I am leery about the shiny stuff, the autograph cards really pop on those kinds of cards.

The hobby box I sampled contained an on-card signature of Maple Leafs rookie Ben Scrivens. It’s an absolutely gorgeous-looking card. The box also yielded a pair of rookie cards (blue cards) numbered to 999 that are nice.

Here’s the breakdown: A hobby box will contain 20 packs, with five cards to a pack. There are 200 cards to the base set, with 60 rookie cards and then an additional 20 short-print rookie cards. Panini promises four memorabilia or autograph cards per box.

The hobby box I saw had nice collation (no doubles) and produced 85 base cards, or 42.5 percent. In addition to the base cards, I found a pair of inserts — a Rookie Stars card of the Flyers’ Matt Read, and an Elite Stars card of the Bruins’ Tyler Seguin. Both of those subsets contain 10 cards.

There are also die-cut parallels, and this particular hobby box had five red ones (called Aspirations) and a gold one (called Status).

Panini also added six-card tribute sets for six different current or former players, including Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman and Tampa Bay center Steven Stamkos. These subsets depict different events during the players’ careers. The box I saw contained a card each from the Sidney Crosby and Mark Messier series; other players with Tribute series are Joe Sakic and Alexander Ovechkin.

These cards are trimmed in gold foil borders, and cutout photos of the players are dropped against a silver foil background.

Now, on to the big hits. I’ve already mentioned the Scrivens autograph. The other signature card came in the form of a redemption — it is for an Elite Rookies variation of Brett Bulmer.

The relic cards in the hobby box I saw had generously large swatches of material. The second pack I opened contained a Prime Numbers jersey card of Sidney Crosby. Prime Numbers is an interesting set; there are 33 players depicted, and there are three “prime” variations — signature card, jersey card and patch/auto card. Yzerman is also included in these cards, along with Ovechkin, Sakic, Tim Thomas, former Lightning goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, Martin Brodeur, Ray Bourque and Patrick Roy.

The other relic card I saw was a Newbreed card of Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman. The swatch was a large, dark blue square. The horizontal layout of the card worked well, too; the photograph captures a nice, intense look by Hedman.

There are plenty of nice surprises in Donruss Elite hockey. And even if you are not a big fan of foil, there is a good chance you will take a shine to this set once you open some packs.


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