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For the last two years the only thing that has been more popular than collecting the new set of NHL® O-Pee-Chee is collecting hobby wrappers from the product. Fans have taken those wrappers to their local card shop to have them send in for special red bordered bonus packs. The only problem was that last season, there was so much demand for these packs, we ran out quicker than anticipated. We have worked to make sure we have a solid inventory this season and the program should be awesome.

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A special red-bordered version of the entire 600-card set and a unique 50-card O-Pee-Chee Mini Tall Boys set will be available for collectors to claim through a wrapper redemption program. Here is how it works:

  1. Purchase HOBBY packs of 2014-15 NHL® O-Pee-Chee and collect the empty HOBBY wrappers.
  2. Submit groups of 50 HOBBY wrappers from 2014-15 NHL® O-Pee-Chee to an Upper Deck Certified Diamond Dealer (CDD) in Canada.
  3. The CDD will send in groups of 50 HOBBY wrappers for their customers to Upper Deck’s Canadian Fulfillment Center. Shipping information will be provided directly to Upper Deck’s network of Certified Diamond Dealers in Canada.
  4. Upper Deck will send one six-card pack for every 50 HOBBY wrappers received consisting of five red-bordered O-Pee-Chee parallel cards and one O-Pee-Chee Mini Tall Boy card.
  5. CDD will contact their customers to come pick up their packs when they arrive back at the shop.

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The promotion will only be available through Upper Deck’s network of Certified Diamond Dealers in Canada. The promotion is available while supplies last and once inventory is depleted, the promotion is over. There are no charges tied to receiving these packs from Upper Deck although some shops may request a nominal shipping and handling fee to send the wrappers in to Upper Deck’s Canadian Fulfillment Center.

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Recently at the 2014 NHLPA Rookie Showcase we were able to spend some time with a variety of NHL® prospects and it was incredibly interesting to see how all the different players interact with Upper Deck Hockey cards. Much like normal collectors, they all have different things they look for and enjoy from opening up trading card packs.

Jacob de la Rose, a second-round pick for the Montreal Canadiens enjoyed putting together a Swedish dream team from his packs as he hails from Sweden and played in the Swedish Elite League.

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Jacob de la Rose loves to collect the Swedes!

Also fans of finding players from their home country were Evgeny Kuznetsov and Andrei Vasilevskii who are both from Russia. They were excited to get players like Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin.

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Evgeny Kuznetsov & Andrei Vasilevskii like to collect Russian stars.

And then there were actual players who grew up collecting like Max Domi and Curtis Lazar. Obviously Max inherited a lot of cards as a youngster from his dad Tie who played in the NHL® for a number of years. Curtis on the other hand enjoyed collecting with his little brother and the two still have a pretty large collection today.

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Max Domi has been collecting since his dad Tie was in the league.

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Collecting Upper Deck Hockey cards was a family affair for Curtis Lazar as he collected with his brother growing up.

Our favorite interaction between NHL® prospects and hockey cards came on the last night of the event. We were at a cool billiards club, but some of the guys wanted to do something a little different. Joey Hishon came up with the ideal to open packs and put together your best line. They opened about 8 packs each before having their lines judged. We asked Joey, “Who gets to judge who as the best line?”

Joey Hishon responded with a smile, “I do. I’m the oldest.”

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Joey Hishon came up with a fun game to play with Upper Deck Hockey cards.

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Greg McKegg and other took part in trying to build the best line from packs of new Upper Deck Hockey cards.

Joey did judge fair and he was not the winner. Here’s a look at the winning line, this would have been an amazing group to see on the ice together.

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Brodeur in goal. Orr & Doughty on D. Bobby and Brett Hull on the wings with Wayne Gretzky at Center. What a line that would be!

Just like collectors have different tastes in how they choose to experience Upper Deck Hockey cards, it appears that so do NHL® rookies. One thing everyone can agree upon though, Upper Deck Hockey cards can be a lot of fun!

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Upper Deck’s hockey and marketing teams work very hard to make the NHLPA Rookie Showcase a memorable event every year as we work hand-in-hand with our partners at the NHLPA. It is our first opportunity to spend time with future NHL® stars and also the first time many of them will wear their actual NHL® uniforms so to say it is a special event for all involved is an understatement.

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The 2014 event was one of the best the NHLPA and Upper Deck have ever put on, primarily because all the participants were so great to work with. Collectors have some high-quality players to chase this season who are very conscious of how important their fans are to the game. You should expect big things from participants at the 2014 event like Vlad Namestnikov (Tampa Bay), Teuvo Teravainen (Chicago), Evgeny Kuznetsov (Washington), Aaron Ekblad (Florida), Sam Bennett (Calgary), Sam Reinhart (Buffalo) and more!

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Aaron Ekblad should be able to come in and make a big impact in Florida joining the likes of other young stars like Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov.

Day one at the NHLPA Rookie Showcase is pretty laid back. The guys start to come through after breakfast and we have a signing session with them where they provide autographs for new trading card sets, promotional items like pucks & sticks and then we have a photo session with them.

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New this year, we worked with rookies on viral videos on Friday to help us introduce them in a fun way to fans. We also invited in Brad Krysko from CloutsNChara to open Upper Deck packs with the guys to get their thoughts on the hobby.

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Friday night was very special as we held a private dinner at the Hockey Hall-of-Fame in the great hall for the players and some of their guests. Martin Biron addressed the young prospects on behalf of the NHLPA and shared thoughts on his career, what to expect in the NHL® and the importance of signing for Upper Deck and the fans. Then rookies we allowed to tour the Hall which was quite an exciting opportunity for many who had never been.

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Of course, along the way, there was also fun to be had as Aaron Ekblad faced off against Upper Deck’s Drew Mills in the gaming area of the Hall. Not surprisingly, Drew did not fair well against the #1 pick in the 2014 NHL® Draft.

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Day two began at the Mattamy Centre (the old Maple Leaf Gardens) with media interviews and many of these young stars were able to provide insight on their goals for the season and how they hope to fit in with their teams.

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And then there were a variety of stations for the rookies to work through primarily to get photography of them in their team uniforms.

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We also had stations set aside to acquire a few more autographs from them as well for those who were unable to finish the day prior.

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The station rookies had the most fun at however was our video station where we again hope to create some fun videos to introduce these rookies to our fan base. They did trick shots and their best celebrations, but the thing that had everyone watching and laughing was when they worked with a figure skater we brought in to learn to be more graceful. The results and images we shared via Upper Deck’s Hockey Twitter account had fans wondering what was going on at this event.

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During lunch rookies watched and laughed as they saw previous year’s videos from the event that Upper Deck has created for YouTube.

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The highlight for them however had to be the shinny game at the end of the day where they go to do what they love; play hockey. It was awesome to watch these future stars give us a preview of what we can expect from this season. They all looked VERY good. It should be a great year to be a collector and NHL® fan!

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Upper Deck selected one player to win a special Wayne Gretzky autographed shawdowbox memorabilia item and that went to Max Domi. Not only was Domi great on the ice and at various stations, he took time to sign for kids and Arizona fans should be excited to have him!

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Collecting cards was a family affair for my family as my brothers all did it and my father was definitely involved too. I have so many precious memories of collecting cards as a kid. Now working for the Upper Deck, it is awesome to hear the stories of so many other families totally engaged in the hobby. We surprised three sets of fathers and sons with the opportunity to attend the NHLPA Rookie Showcase and spoiled them a little bit with some new trading card product they could bond over.

I asked them why they collect together and this is what they told me.

“It’s something we share. There are not many things we can do together, but this is a great one. I get the old guys, he gets the new guys and I teach him about the game we love. He doesn’t really like to read a lot, but he will read the back of a hockey card.” – Thomas Vallesi

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Thomas Vallesi and his son celebrate a big pull!

“To me, the satisfaction of putting a smile on my son’s face by opening a pack together is priceless.” – David DeMarchi

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David DeMarchi enjoys seeing his son’s eyes light up when they open packs together.

“It started as something as something to do with my dad. It brought us closer to the game, but it brought us closer together too.” – Brett Straus

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Brett has been collecting with his dad for a long time. It has given them something tangible to bond over.

At Upper Deck, we often say we work to bring fans “closer to the game,” but what we really love hearing is how we can bring families closer together. When is the last time you opened a pack with your dad or your kids? We are guessing it has probably been too long. Share a pack today and make memories that will last a lifetime.

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Aug
19

Upper Deck has gone to the Dogs!

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Recently Upper Deck shared a story about a young man who lost his dog and how we helped keep the memory alive of his best friend.  And today the trading card leader in customer engagement did something nice for another young man and his dog.

Veren Bistline has Cerebral Palsy and his life can be a challenge, but his mom Verlene is right by his side to help him throughout the course of the day. She is going to get some help though through Canine Companions for Independence, a charity based right here in San Diego, California. Veren is visiting the area to pick up his new service dog Cherokee and as luck would have it, Veren is a sports fan.

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We invited his family and his new best friend Cherokee in for a tour today. Given the competitive nature of our business, normally Upper Deck doesn’t offer tours, but we made an exception for Veren, Verlene and Cherokee. He was excited to see everything that goes into making Upper Deck trading cards, memorabilia and games as he visited today, but by far, the biggest thrill came when we surprised him with his very own trading card with his mom and Cherokee!

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We printed up some copies for them to enjoy and remember their visit by. It was just another fun Upper Deck Random Acts of Kindness moment that helps us show our appreciation to fans and a great cause in Canine Companions for Independence.

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