For nine-year-old Aiden McAfoose, the game of hockey has been a nice distraction and way to keep him busy while both of his parents serve in the military (Air Force). Aiden wrote an essay on why he loves the game so much that his parents submitted on his behalf for an Upper Deck promotion. Upper Deck partnered with the NHL® and the Defending the Blue Line Charity to surprise one youngster with an incredible weekend of All-Star activities. Aiden’s essay made him the clear choice. Here are some portions of his essay:

“Both my mother and father are in the military. Being a military dependent makes me feel proud.  I really miss them when they get deployed.

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“My biggest passion has always been hockey. As long as I can remember I have wanted to play. My mom started teaching me how to skate when I was two. I started to learn how to play ice hockey when I was four, but before that I played at home every day for hours. My favorite team is the Pittsburgh Penguins and I have attended many of their games since I was a baby. My favorite players are Kris Letang, Sidney Crosby, Evegni Malkin, David Perron and Max Pacioretty.

“I have a lot of hockey cards and memorabilia. I have three books and also signed jerseys, pucks, mini helmets, sticks, hats and posters. My dream is to become a NHL® star.”

Aiden will get the opportunity to see what it’s like to be a NHL® All-Star this weekend. He came out with his grandfather under the guise they would try to scalp some tickets for some of the events, but when he arrived, Upper Deck and Defending the Blue Line staff let him in on the surprise. This weekend, Aiden and his grandfather will enjoy complimentary tickets to the NHL® All-Star Fan Fair, Skills Competition and All-Star Game. On Saturday he will go behind the scenes with a special VIP locker room tour. Additionally, Upper Deck took care of their hotel accommodations and gifted Aiden with some collectibles that will surely become the centerpieces of his collection.

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From left to right: William Csaszar from Defending the Blue Line, Aiden McAfoose, Jack Yackovich (Aiden’s grandfather) and Chris Carlin from Upper Deck.

Upon hearing the news Aiden simply said, “Wow, just wow. All I can say is thanks! This is like a dream.”

Check out the video of Aiden being surprised with the news.

This is not the first time Upper Deck has worked with helping out the military. Upper Deck partnered with Defending the Blue Line for the NHL® Draft and during the holidays while also doing activations around Veteran’s Day, Operation Gratitude, and more. It is just part of the company’s continuing effort to be recognized at the military’s choice for trading cards.

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As the exclusive home of NHL® and NHLPA licensed trading cards, Upper Deck plans to have a major presence at the 2015 NHL® All-Star Fan Fair in Columbus, Ohio next week. Below are the activities you will want to make sure you take part in if you plan on attending this celebration to the game of hockey!

Wrapper Redemption Promotions – Just visit Cardiacs or Dave & Adam’s Cardworld booths at the 2015 NHL® All-Star Fan Fair to purchase qualifying Upper Deck products to use for three (3) different wrapper redemption promotions at the Upper Deck booth!

Spin Wheel Wrapper Redemption – Just spin n’ win Upper Deck wheel of jersey cards! Fans can bring one (1) sealed Upper Deck NHL® Series One Blaster Box or five (5) sealed packs of 2014-15 NHL® MVP, 2014-15 NHL® O-Pee-Chee, 2014-15 NHL® Upper Deck Series One or 2014-15 NHL® Black Diamond to the Upper Deck booth to spin the wheel and get a FREE Upper Deck jersey card!

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Puck-O Wrapper Redemption – Remember that game show where you drop the disc down a board to score a cool prize? Upper Deck will be bringing our own version of that to the 2015 NHL® All-Star Fan Fair with our Puck-O game where fans can drop a special puck down a board to score the cool prize. Fans only need to bring one sealed pack of 2014-15 NHL® Upper Deck Series One to play*.

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*Fans who bring more than one pack will need to exit and get back into line to drop another disc. Fans who bring a sealed Blaster Box will get two (2) puck drops and VIP front of line privileges.

Personalized Upper Deck Card Redemption – Ever dream of having your very own Upper Deck NHL® trading card? Well dream no more. All you need to do is bring one (1) sealed pack of 2014-15 NHL® MVP, 2014-15 NHL® O-Pee-Chee, 2014-15 NHL® Upper Deck Series One or 2014-15 NHL® Black Diamond to the Upper Deck booth. From there we will have a professional photographer shoot an image of you and print your very own Upper Deck NHL® card for you on-site!

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Upper Deck Authenticated Show Specials – Fans can check out some of Upper Deck Authenticated’s incredible authentic signed hockey memorabilia at the 2015 NHL® All-Star Fan Fair and take their favorite pieces home at amazing show specials!

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Upper Deck Ultimate Fan – Are you the Upper Deck’s Ultimate NHL® fan? Just grab your camera phone, snap and share on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #ultimatefan. Photos will be judged for their creativity, composition and Upper Deck pride. Upper Deck will award 10 prizes consisting of signed pucks and game-worn jersey cards and one Grand Prize of a Wayne Gretzky signed poster from Upper Deck Authenticated!

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Coach Cardman Visits – Upper Deck’s mascot Coach Cardman will be on site throughout the show posing for pictures and having fun with fans. Wherever Coach Cardman goes, fun is sure to be had!

Aaron Ekblad Autograph Signing – Upper Deck will sponsor a FREE signing session with the #1 Draft Pick in the 2014 NHL® Draft; Aaron Ekblad with the Florida Panthers. Aaron will be signing on the main stage with times to be announced shortly!

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Box Hockey Tournaments – Show your hockey prowess against your friends and family in Upper Deck’s box Hockey Tournaments which will run throughout the weekend at the Upper Deck booth. You’ll know the events are running when you hear the cheers from fans watching.

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Tim Carroll Trading Card Art – Come out to see the incredible talent of artist Tim Carroll as he does the unthinkable by cutting up Upper Deck NHL® trading cards to make an incredible mosaic piece. You’ve got to see him at work!

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To celebrate 25 years of licensed NHL® and NHLPA hockey cards, Upper Deck is hitting the road to personally thank the shops and customers who have kept the company going strong for all these years. After running three Silver Celebration parties in the United States and Canada, Upper Deck is heading east to visit two shops in Ohio for a special evening with their collectors.

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On Tuesday, January 20, Upper Deck will visit All-Pro Sportscards in Cuyahoga Falls from 7:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. and then on Wednesday, January 21, Upper Deck will visit TCI Sports Fan in Dayton from 7:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. There will be complimentary refreshments and an incredible raffle based on Upper Deck purchases from that evening where fans can score Upper Deck apparel, sealed product, insert cards, items from the NHL® and a very limited-edition LeBron James signed poster! These will be evenings you won’t want to miss!

Here are all the details:

Silver Celebration Party at All-Pro Sportscards

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Tuesday, January 20 from 7:00-8:00 p.m.
492 Graham Road
Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44221
(330)922-4642
Email: allprosportscards@gmail.com

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Silver Celebration Party at TCI Sports Fan

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Wednesday, January 21 from 7:00-8:00 p.m.
3962 Linden Avenue
Dayton, OH 45432
(937)254-8551
Email: tcisportsfan@aol.com

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Don’t miss an event 25 years in the making!

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Collectors have always desired to have trading cards that have game-worn memorabilia from memorable NHL® games. Upper Deck went all out to deliver to collectors just that in 2014-15 NHL® SP Game-Used by securing authentic game-worn/used memorabilia from the biggest games of 2014! All the items were obtained directly from the NHL® and fans can find unique memorabilia cards featuring jerseys, pucks and nets from these memorable games. What’s more, all the imagery is from these memorable games which makes from a truly stunning collectible!

2014 NHL® Winter Classic between the Detroit Red Wings & Toronto Maple Leafs at the Big House in Ann Arbor, Michigan

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2014 NHL® Stadium Series between the Anaheim Ducks & Los Angeles Kings at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California

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2014 NHL® Stadium Series between the New York Rangers & New Jersey Devils at Yankee Stadium in New York, New York

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2014 NHL® Stadium Series between the New York Rangers & New York Islanders at Yankee Stadium in New York, New York

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2014 NHL® Stadium Series between the Pittsburgh Penguins & Chicago Blackhawks at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois

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2014 NHL® Heritage Classic between the Vancouver Canucks & Ottawa Senators at BC Place in Vancouver, British Columbia

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2014 NHL® Stanley Cup Final between the Los Angeles Kings & New York Rangers

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We’ve talked before about why mothers should encourage their kids to collect sports cards. Recently we found a “hockey mom” from St. Albert, Alberta named Cheryl Stuart who loves the hobby and enjoys collecting with her kids. We think the bonds she is creating with them will last a lifetime and we asked her to give a review of Upper Deck’s Black Diamond Hockey. Here’s what she had to say:

“Being a ‘hockey mom’ is one of the best parts of motherhood as it is great to see my children grow up around the sport. My youngest started on skates at 14 months in our backyard rink and now at 19-years-old playing men’s hockey in cold arenas late at night. I’m not sure which I dislike more…the very early morning games in minor hockey or the very late nights in this beer league hockey – but I still attend whenever I can and will never tire of watching him play. Being a ‘hockey mom’ not only means buying the necessities of hockey like skates and sticks, but also all the extras including hockey cards every year.

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Here’s a vintage shot of Cheryl exposing her son to the game of hockey at a very early age!

“Upper Deck has always had the best quality cards which we have always collected together. Stored now in boxes and albums are years of hockey cards which have been carefully opened, examined and organized as we work to build a set. Hockey and Christmas has always been a big part of our celebrations – between playing a yearly road hockey game, the Junior Hockey Championships  and opening the hockey cards that Santa always remembered to put in my youngest son’s stocking has been part of the excitement.

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Fun Fact: Santa Claus LOVES opening packs of Upper Deck NHL cards with his elves. Hockey is HUGE in the North Pole!

“This year not only did he get to open a box of cards, but so did I thanks to Upper Deck who sent me a box of Black Diamond cards to open and review.   I drove my son nuts not opening on Christmas or even the following week as I was working long, very tiring 12-hour shifts but when I finally sat down and opened them together.

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Waiting is the hardest part! Cheryl’s son was all over her to open up the box of Upper Deck’s Black Diamond Hockey cards!

“I was very impressed with the quality and overall look of the cards. I especially liked the 3-D effect of the player’s pictures on the cards. I don’t know what it is about opening hockey cards, but it is exciting ripping open each package hoping to find either a special card or a player we like.

“These cards have it all. There are Rookie Gems, Championship Ring Cards, special numbered cards, Double Diamond Jersey cards and a few old time hockey player cards to boot. Each card is marked with either one, two, three and if you’re lucky four diamonds (the rarest cards of the best players). These cards did not disappoint. They are produced on heavy card stock with beautiful foil on the front of the cards that makes them sparkle under the light. Within the box I opened I only had minimal duplicates, which was a good sign. As a consumer I feel these are certainly well worth their price and will likely continue to increase in value as the players themselves continue to play at high levels. As a ‘hockey mom’ it would be a set I would purchase for my son to open together.

“In the box I was lucky enough to open I managed to get a special Championship Rings card of Tyler Toffoli from the Kings which fall 1 in every 60 packs! There was also two Double Diamond Jersey cards!

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“I know from years of listening to my husband and son talk and examine rookie cards that they are always a special bonus and these Black Diamond Hockey cards have a stunning set known as Rookie Gems.  We got our fair share of those in the box as well!

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You’ve really got to hold these cards in your hand to see the beauty of them as they shimmer in the light.

“One of my special gifts this Christmas was a sweatshirt proclaiming for to know all that I am a ‘hockey mom.’ Now that my son is so much older we haven’t spent as much time pouring over hockey cards, putting them in albums and reading up on the various stats as we used to. I must admit however, I enjoyed the opportunity of re-visiting this hobby with my son. Collecting cards is the perfect family activity, even if you are not a ‘hockey mom’ like me. Pick up some packs today and share the hobby with someone you love!”

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You will likely see Cheryl sporting her top Christmas present at hockey games around Alberta this season!

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