Just over a year ago, the Upper Deck Company released what many now perceive to be the last edition of Victory hockey cards. While no one can predict whether this set will ever make a comeback in one, three or even 20 years down the road, we can confirm that Victory hockey cards will not be issued this season.
Victory’s spot on the Upper Deck hockey schedule has been replaced by O-Pee-Chee hockey, which in recent years had been published after the start of the new hockey season. UDC officials have said that Victory will be replaced by another brand to be released later this season, although the name and nature of that brand have yet to be announced.
So what is the legacy of Victory hockey? The brand was issued 12 times over a 13-year period (1999-2000 to 2011-12), which incidentally matches the run by Parkhurst over a similar 13-year period (12 sets from 1951-52 to 1963-64). Of course, we’re not suggesting that Victory created the same legacy. Whereas Parkhurst was sometimes the one-and-only (or otherwise one of two) hockey brand of its era, Victory was often the one of 25 or even one of 40 hockey brands released in any particular season.
The first Victory set included 440 cards, of which the last 50 paid tribute to the recently-retired Wayne Gretzky. From year to year, the Victory brand featured anywhere from 200 to 450 cards in the base set. More than 1,200 players were featured in Victory over the 13-year run.
Should Victory be remembered for one thing, it will be its affordable price point in an ever-growing collector’s marketplace. From start to finish, a pack of Victory hockey cards was always less than a Canadian “toonie.” The brand included no frills – no autographs or memorabilia inserts. Instead, the brand simply focused on delivering the best players in the National Hockey League at kid-friendly price.
ONE LAST TIME: 2011-12 VICTORY HOCKEY
“Collecting hockey cards has really become a year-round pursuit for a lot of puck fans” said Josh Zusman, Upper Deck’s hockey brand manager last summer. “We are thrilled to start the season off with 2011-12 NHL Victory, as it has a lot of great content that is affordable to every level of collector, especially kids.”