Archive for Hockey

A lot has changed from the Civil War era when sports cards first debuted to today, but none has had more of an impact on the industry than the internet. Initially many feared the internet would signal the end to the way trading cards are bought and sold, but for the most part, it has been a positive tool for collectors, hobby shop owners and trading card manufacturers who have chosen to embrace this technology to find new levels of engagement in this hobby. It is clear that Upper Deck has done a great job of engaging their fans through online tools like this Blog, their company website, their Facebook page, their YouTube channel and their Twitter accounts for sports, hockey and entertainment. The tools Upper Deck provides make it a lot easier to be a trading card collector and to stay up to date with the latest happenings with the company.

There used to be trading card clubs where collectors could get together to trade with each other and share their latest trading cards. That is all done online nowadays as there are a variety of online communities where collectors share their great pulls and trade with each other on various forums. And how awesome is that to see the internet bring like-minded collectors together to experience the hobby on a whole new level no matter if they live in Topeka, Kansas or Moosejaw, Saskatchewan.

Arguably the biggest change from before the internet era was how cards are bought and sold. Instead of walking down to your local hobby shop, today you can buy or sell trading cards with a few clicks of the mouse. Unfortunately with internet sales of collectible items come unscrupulous buyers and sellers looking to make a quick buck by taking advantage unsuspecting collectors. Upper Deck has definitely adapted to the times by creating their Authorized Internet Retailer group as a way of protecting consumers from these online predators. If you live in the United States and purchase sealed product online, make sure you are only purchasing your Upper Deck cards through these Authorized Internet Retailers.

OC Dugout is an Authorized Internet Retailer for Upper Deck that routinely brings athletes in for signings. Here Reggie Jackson signs at the popular Southern California store.

Dave & Adams Cardworld Tonawanda, NY 14150 (888) 440-9787 www.dacardworld.com
East Coast Connection Lyndhurst, NJ 07071 (201) 438-4327 www.eastcoastconnection.net
Fox Sports Cards Marion, IL 62959 (618) 997-3800 www.foxsportscards.com
Legacy Sports Cards Las Vegas, NV 89117 702-341-6525 www.legacysportscards.com
Legends Sports and Games Grand Rapids, MI 49512 (866) 975-2518 www.legendsfanshop.com
OC Dugout Anaheim, CA 92804 (714) 527-6319 www.OCsportscards.com
Republic Jewelry & Collectibles Auburn, ME 04210-6150 (877) 422-7979 www.republicjewelry.com
South Bay Baseball Cards Inc. Lomita, CA 90717 (310) 530-5818 www.sbaycards.com
SportsCards Etc. McKees Rock, PA 15136 (412) 787-3235 www.sportscardsetcpgh.com
Steel City Collectibles McKeesport PA 15132 (412) 672-6200 www.steelcitycollectibles.com
The Hobby Box Wilmington, NC 28403 (910) 350- 2858 www.cardsinfinity.com

And if you live in Canada, make sure to check out these Authorized Internet Retailers for your Upper Deck purchases.

D&M Sports Cards in Canada is a huge retail sports store that also has a strong online presence.

Breakaway Sports Cards Hamilton, Ontario L9C 2Y6 (289) 755-0966 www.breakawaysc.com
Cardboard Memories Brampton, Ontario L6Z 1R3 (905) 846-1058 www.cardboardmemories.ca
Cartes Timbre et Monnaies Ste-foy Sainte-Foy, PQ G1V 4P7 (418) 658-5639 www.imaginaire.com
Clouts’n’Chara Kitchener, Ontario N2H 5G3 (519)-954-8278 www.cloutsnchara.com
Collector’s Avenue Montrea, Quebec  H3W 3C2 (514) 488-8881 www.collectorsavenue.com
D & M Sportscards Moncton NB E1G 1A6 (506) 852-3244 www.dmsportscards.com
Maple Leaf Sports Calgary, Alberta T2E-2T9 (403) 338-0668 www.mapleleafsports.ca
Red Nails II North York, ON M3L 1B2 (416) 242-7899 www.rednails2.com
Superstars Winnipeg, MB R3J 0H3 (204) 831-9001 www.superstarssports.com
Wayne’s Sports Cards Edmonton, Alberta T5T 1L6 (780) 483-3177 www.waynessportscards.com

The trading card industry was slower to adapt to the internet, but it is clear Upper Deck and others are using other industries as a blue-print for what works best in this digital age. I’m not sure what new online invention will be next to blow customer’s minds, but I’m sure it will serve to make the hobby better and keep the industry alive. How do you think the internet will change the world of sports card collecting next and how else to you think it has changed the hobby?

Make sure to look for the Upper Deck Authorized Internet Retailer logo when purchasing sealed UD product online.

Sam is a young writer from Minneapolis, Minnesota. When’s he’s not watching sports he’s tweeting about it. You can follow Sam on Twitter @Chinookverify.

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The 2014-15 NHL® season is approaching and fans are fired up about the opportunity to score some of the first cards from the new Fleer Ultra Hockey set.  Recently we asked our fans on Twitter, “Tell us why you are excited to break some packs of this family friendly new release!” Here is some of what we heard:

Jamie McKenzie ‏@jmemcnz 

@UpperDeckHockey @NHL Would love to pull a Toews National Heroes card, those things look sweet! Also my new favourite base set to collect!

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Turk Behlmann ‏@DieselDugong 

@UpperDeckHockey @NHL Very excited. Pre-ordered two boxes and can’t wait to rip. Looking forward to those sweet inserts.

UltSportsCards ‏@UltSportsCards 

@UpperDeckHockey I really like the design of the subsets. Great job UD. We hit a 1/1 RC redemption feel free to send Ekblad

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Mazz ‏@iMazz25 

@UpperDeckHockey Oh my gosh I want a box of this product so bad

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What is really great about the 2014-15 NHL® Fleer Ultra product however is that it is perfect for parents to open up with their kids. As we have highlighted before, collecting hockey cards is a great hobby to allow parents to bond with their kids. With a low price point and content that has a little something for everyone, Fleer Ultra is a great product to share with the entire family. Share a pack with someone you love!

For those who are just starting to learn about the hobby of collecting hockey card, it is also the perfect type of product to get your feet wet with. If you consider yourself a beginner or intermediate collector, try some packs of 2014-15 NHL® Fleer Ultra and for more tips on getting started in the hobby, check this out!

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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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