2010-11 Panini Crown Royale Hockey Review and Prelude to a Contest

Once again, the generosity of Jefferson Burdick Award Winner Tracy Hackler at Panini America has shone upon us.  And once again, since we got free cards, you’re going to get free cards.  And let me tell you little leprechauns, the luck of the Irish struck Andy hard enough to splash onto me as well with this break.

How’s the contest going to work?  Honestly, I don’t know.  I’d like to do something more involved than just a randomization of comments left, because these cards are very involved and the prizes this time are potentially the heftiest ever offered.

Is your interest piqued enough yet?  Well, let’s end this tease and get right into the review, shall we?  Boxes retail from around $80-100/box.  There are 4 packs/box; 5 cards/pack; 4 hits per box.  It’s what you’d call high-end.

Base Set

Say all of these names ten times fast! Ha, I knew you couldn't do it. Did "Perry" trip you up, too?

We may not know hockey here, but we do know cool looking cards when we see them.  Andy deemed the crown die-cut a little too gaudy for his taste, but for me this porridge is just right.  Did I just say that?  Has this cut been done before?  Yes, several times in other Crown Royale sets.  Does that take away from it?  Not to me.  I think these look fantastic side by side with all the different colors in the scan, as well.  Want to see them a little more close-up?

Hey, I know two of these guys! Awesome action shot on the Datsyuk, considering there's no background.

I can’t speak as to the player selection in the set checklist, since I don’t know the players, but I do know the biggest names and I know we got some of them in our 4 packs.  If I had a complaint about these, it would be that the backs are a little too plain for my taste.  It unfortunately looks like any other Panini card back you may have seen in the past couple years or more.  But the fronts are thematically sound, extremely detailed and easy to stare at for a long time without getting sick of them.  And at only 100 cards, it wouldn’t be all that difficult to put together through an online lot purchase or two.


Can't stop the die cut!

Upon further reflection, I think this is one of the best insert line-ups Panini has come out with in long time.  Do you see that Loyalty insert?  It showcases players that have been with only one team and for how long.  It’s almost like the plaque my dad got after retiring from his teaching job (37 years in case you were wondering).  That’s a great idea for an insert.  You know what else is great about it?  It actually utilizes the space.  The same can be said for the Legends cards.  Even though they have jersey and auto variations and the like, these work as stand alone cards, which is what should happen.

The “In Harms Way” features goalies and, although the border is a bit too large (and should be raised a la Masterpieces, but isn’t), you can’t deny the awesomeness of that picture.  It’s a great example of the subject matter and the title.  The Razor’s Choice Award is something I hadn’t seen in any of the video breaks I’ve watched online, so that was a great super shiny surprise.  I do worry about the fragility of it, since it wanted to slide around in the stack before we finally toploaded that sucker.


138/499 & 154/499 respectively. Maybe Andy should start an On-Card Ducks collection

This is what people buy the high end stuff for.  It’s all about the quantity and quality of the hits.  I have to say that our box delivered in spades on that front.  While we’re unfamiliar with the rookies whose cards we pulled, we can’t help but appreciate that they are on card.  Of course, we got lucky since there are sticker autos in the product, but I believe that the majority are on card.  As you can tell, these look identical to the base cards, with the only difference being the “Rookie Royalty” markings near the bottom.  That’s because these are numbered as continuations of the base set.  I’m not a big fan of that technique, because although most people wouldn’t try to put together a master set of a product priced at this level, the compulsive in me wouldn’t ever really consider the set done until I got all of them, and that would be disappointing.

044/100. Is that his signature or a tracing of everywhere he skated?

Here’s a good example of some understated creativity.  I love this concept.  As I said in the video, it’s sort of like Upper Deck’s Sweet Spot, except I kind of think this looks better than a fake piece of ball and an auto that fades in a year.  The border around it could use a little more work or cohesiveness, but if I had the money and I was a hockey collector, I would be trying for this set.

07/25. Possibly one of the Crown Jewels of the product

The scan could be better.  I was afraid to take it out of it’s safe house to scan it.  Still, there’s no doubt that the best hit out of that tiny, tiny box was a non-auto card.  This Royale Lineage triple patch card of the three best offensive players in the NHL looks very nice.  I think because of all the stuff that had to be fit into the card, that it suffers a little bit.  In this case, I think the severity of the pull counteracts some of the physical drawbacks of the card.  If this were any other trio, I might be so kind to this one.  I wish the Crosby patch was actually a patch as well, but still you can’t beat that three color Ovechkin.


Even though it’s a high-end product, I think it’s one that hockey fans may want to consider taking a risk on.  At 80-100 bucks per box, it’s about the same price as your typical hobby box, and it provides you more hits than your typical hobby box.  The pack ripping won’t last as long, but the cards look fantastic and I think there’s a decent chance of there being legitimate value out of the break – both in terms of resale and definitely in terms of enjoyment.  While it does suffer from a little bit of the typical Panini traps, the variations and parallels are toned down and the designs on the cards are actually better than most of what I see from them.  This is a very solid product all around and my biggest complaint really is that there wasn’t more of it.  This is what a high-end product should be.

Design – ****
Set Collecting – *
Inserts – *****
Hits – ****
Overall – **** out of 5

Now, if you’ve stuck with us this far, thank you!  Next, you probably want to know about the contest.  Well, like I said above, I want to get your opinions.  I know we want to giveaway the three autos to three different people, but how should we go about it?  Leave your thoughts as to what the contest should be in the comment section.

Also, while you’re at it, chime in about the patch card.  This puppy is selling for close to $150 on ebay.  That would easily make it the most expensive giveaway in our relatively short history.  The way I see it we have two options:

1) We give it away as is to one of our readers
2) We sell it on ebay and use the money to hold a completely FREE group break

Personally, I like the idea of option 2.  It would allow up to 30 people to “win” prizes instead of one really, really lucky person.  Most likely the box or boxes we would be able to buy with the money would be A)Donruss/Leaf/Panini brands, since they hooked us up and B) MLB licensed baseball boxes, since that’s what most of us collect.

So, what do you guys think?  What should our contest be and what do we do with the patch?  Community vote!

14 comments to 2010-11 Panini Crown Royale Hockey Review and Prelude to a Contest

  • Dennis

    Great hits! I love the cards personally, I like option 2. Count me in.

  • TJ

    Wow. Really nice box. I don’t collect a lot of hockey, but I’ve seen a few breaks of Crown Royale and have been really impressed.

    It would be a great idea to sell the card on ebay and do a free box break. Thanks guys.

  • Jim

    I’ve seen a few breaks of this product and they have all been solid. I’d be in for either of the options but I like the idea of one of the bloggers getting that sweet patch card.

  • Contest ideas:

    1. live trivia contest
    2. March Madness style bracket with random baseball cards, stats on the back determine who advances
    3. try to find Jon and Andys doppelgangers and submit the pictures
    4. a “write Jon’s wedding vows for him” contest, his fiance judges
    5. open ustream and hold a live draft of the cards
    6. each entrant chooses a player, the first person whose chosen player hits a spring training HR wins
    7. OK, none of those were very good, but maybe they’ll help you think of something 🙂

    Crosby card:

    free box break for sure!

  • As much as I would love to win a contest for a patch like that, I think 30 winners is the best option.

  • Steve D

    Not a hockey fan, but I am a fan of great cards and that’s definitely one. But I’ll vote for option 2.

  • I love the Crown Royale Hockey release, Panini really hit a homer with this set. Great pull with the Royale Lineage patches, definitly one of the best cards from the set. I like option #2, this gives 30 people an opportunity to win.

  • Play at the Plate

    Definitely option 2. If course, I’ve had great luck with your breaks so I’m biased.

  • Love the cards and the insert concept—I’m open to option #2 unless the giveaway to a blogger is me–LOL–count me in

  • That Scratching the Surface card is frickin schweet!!! I kind of like the base Crosby card second best out of the ones pictured as well. That “In Harm’s Way” card is tiny, but just imagine what it could look like, a bit bigger, and lenticular action!! Now that would be cool. And I think 30 happy winners beats the snot out of 1 very happy winner any day. I would love a shot at a free group break.

  • I think if you can reward 30 readers then it is the best option you have.
    It is a beautiful patch card indeed.
    I’d love to be a part of the break as well.

  • I’m a huge Penguins fan, so as much as I would love a chance at receiving that Crosby/Ovie/Stamkos triple relic card, I think you’re blog would be better served long term at selling and promoting a free group break.

    As far as the rest of the cards are concerned I would love a shot at the Crosby base. Once again, the set is fantastic and I think Panini will get their money back on the free promotion you guys gave them as I am now dangerously close to buying a box of my own to bust.

  • Have to agree, option #2 would work best. Always been a fan of the Crown Royale releases and it’s good to see Panini stayed true to the brand, even if it is yet another recycled product from a previous manufacturer.

  • […] We opened a high end hockey box from Panini for review and pulled a very sweet triple patch (viewable at the bottom of this post) […]

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