NSFW Gallery Warning: Panini America’s Stunningly Gorgeous New Hockey Beauties

April 01, 2011

I thought that headline might grab your attention, even on April Fool’s Day.

The fact of the matter is that the following image gallery and video are perfectly suitable for viewing at work, at home or any place else where those watching can appreciate the flawless execution and sheer beauty of an adored-for-decades printing technology on the verge of making a huge comeback.

While visiting the Panini America printing facility earlier this week to capture the QC process for 2010-11 Classics Basketball, I couldn’t help but be blown away by the pallets of collectible paradise awaiting 2010-11 Pinnacle Hockey when it arrives in stores April 20.

The mesmerizing shimmer of uncut sheets graced with Nufex — the modern-era evolution of Pinnacle Brands’ fabled Dufex process from the 1990s — was a veritable beacon in the vast warehouse filled with seemingly countless trading card releases in various stages of production. It caught my attention immediately and warranted an extensive examination.

For those collectors who aren’t familiar with the Nufex/Dufex effect, you’re in for a treat.

“When I saw Pinnacle on our schedule for this season, my first thought was that we had to have the technology,” says Al Muir, Panini America NHL Brand Manager. “To this day, I still see collectors at shows trying to finish their old Museum Collection parallel set, and it’s all because of that dazzling Dufex finish. I knew I wanted something that would have that same allure, that same staying power, but it had to be updated.

“I wanted to take advantage of what modern printing makes available to us. So after lengthy experimentation, we arrived at this year’s Museum Collection, powered by Nufex. It’s got that old-school feel, but the effect is sharper, crisper, more colourful. I dig it, and I think collectors will, too.”

Truth be told, the below images and video footage don’t do complete justice to the technology, but they offer a revealing scene-setter of the resplendent finish.

For hockey collectors, this particular trip to the printing facility was especially fruitful, for it also included uncut sheets of cards slated for 2010-11 Contenders and 2010-11 Zenith, too. So we’ve included some of appetite-whetting coverage of those products, too (be sure to check out the short video at the end of the gallery).

Enjoy . . .

Now, onto the video . . .


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