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Scott in our Athlete Relations department was adamant about all of us growing mustaches this month for Movember. He came to my desk at the end of October, changed my monthly UDA calendar for me and made it clear what was expected of me by changing the month personally. Scott is not really an intimidating force, but he sold a lot of us on the good it could do for men’s health and quite a few of us jumped on board.

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Keeping a mustache this month has been miserable for a variety of reasons. Being a blonde guy it just doesn’t look good. I’m no Larry Bird. It took awhile to come in and when it did, it was certainly not flattering. Next, my wife absolutely hates it. Then when I pick my kids up at day care, other parents are pretty creeped out by me, holding their kid’s hands a little tighter. Such mustache prejudice!

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My mustache leaves a lot to be desired…

The biggest problem in growing the “stache” this month was that I had a variety of events that I really wish I had been clean shaven for like the Fall Expo trade show, presenting at the Red Door Interactive Speaker Series, meetings with the NHLPA, and of course Thanksgiving coming up this week. The toughest though was rocking the mustache during a private meet & greet with Wayne Gretzky this month. Wayne’s agent joked with me about my semi-invisible mustache, “Chris, did you decide to start growing that after lunch today?”

The differences in facial growth with the team have encouraged a lot of witty banter as well. Two of our hockey team members have grown decisively different mustaches as Billy has a big burly stache while Matt prefers the pencil stache.

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We all feel awkward though. It’s been worth it however as it definitely has created dialogue about the Movember cause and the Upper Deck team has raised a good amount of funds for the cause.

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Here are just some of the Upper Deck team members who grew mustaches/facial hair to support the Movember cause this month.

We got together today to share stories about how terrible we look and to laugh at the odd facial growth as we posed for a group shot. Come Monday our faces will be cleanly shaven and we will be back to our old normal selves, but for the remainder of the month, we remain focused on helping the cause. Donate to UD’s team today!

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Drew from Athlete Relations may have one of the creepiest mustaches in the company, but he’s doing it for a good cause!

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Recently I was asked to share how Upper Deck had learned to think differently with regards to marketing at the iMedia Brand Summit. My presentation began with a short video talking about the Star Rookie card we created for our good friend Jack Hoffman.

After the video I was excited to share stories about other inspirational athletes we have worked with like Doc Jacobs, Mandi Schwartz, Jack Miller, Sam Tageson and John Makowiec.

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It was a thrill to be able to present in front of so many savvy marketers for major brands as iMedia always does a great job of bringing incredible personalities together at this event. It was also important to share that we were not helping these inspirational athletes and their charities for any other reason than it was the right thing to do.

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My favorite part of the day however was bringing the trading cards to life for attendees. You see we brought in Doc Jacobs to sign autographs and pose for photos with attendees during the lunch session. Doc made headlines when he earned a tryout with the Los Angeles Dodgers and most recently the Chicago White Sox as a double amputee and Purple Heart recipient. For me it was great to see Doc again as he is a major inspiration for me, but I think attendees got a lot out of visiting with him as well.

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Honoring these inspirational athletes is the right thing to do and we appreciate all the support our fans have given them. It is exciting as we continue to add more athletes to this stable of “Heroic Inspirations” like we did most recently with Josh Harding. Look for more great stories to come in the future!

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Serious collectors love hard-signed autograph cards that the athlete has actually touched and handled, but getting those completed and back in house in time for the product pack out is not always easy. This is especially true when the product is a hand-painted set that requires approvals from the athletes depicted. Therefore it is a major achievement for Upper Deck to release 2014 Goodwin Champions with zero autograph redemptions in the product and multiple versions of hard-signed autograph cards from some of the biggest names in sports. There will be many first time signers to the product as well to keep the autograph line-up fresh, take a look at some of those names:

Michael Jordan
Tiger Woods
Wayne Gretzky
Ken Griffey
Lebron James
Joe Montana
Lindsey Vonn
Peyton Manning
Sydney Leroux
Rory McIlroy
Mark McGwire
Canelo Alverez
Eric Dickerson
Graeme McDowell
LaDainian Tomlinson
Karl Malone
Jerry Rice

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Additionally we will be bringing a premium memorabilia series to 2014 Goodwin Champions as well which should have collectors pretty fired up. Take a look at some of these preview images!

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Bryan Berg is a very extraordinary individual to say the least who is passionate about building amazing structures out of playing and trading cards. One of his favorite parts of the process however is the demolition of his incredible creations. Known as the Cardstacker, Bryan creates a variety of impressive structures at events around the world.

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Bryan has worked with Upper Deck in the past and he has an appreciation for our products. As we discussed the 25th Anniversary of Upper Deck, he had an idea of a cool build he wanted to do that would involve a fun demolition, and like that he was off to work on this creation. He was good enough to get the entire build, demolition and rebuild all on video, check out his tribute to Upper Deck’s 25th Anniversary!

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Things have been busier than normal at Upper Deck headquarters. Not only is the company ramping up in anticipation of the new exclusive agreement between Upper Deck, the NHL® and the NHLPA, but we are also in the midst of a variety of celebrations tied to the company’s 25th Anniversary. Given the strong tie fans have to that 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card, there has been a lot of attention to that milestone bringing reporters out of the woodwork to find out what Upper Deck has been up to since then. Now collectors of course know what has been going on at Upper Deck and recently fans shared some of their favorite cards and moments from the last 25 years at Upper Deck, but most of the public isn’t as aware.

Upper Deck has made the most of the opportunity by doing a number of interviews with different media across the United States and Canada in particular. It is our hope that we can maximize this opportunity to share what has been happening in collectibles to potentially re-engage lapsed collectors and reach new potential fans. Check out just some of the stories and interviews we have done as of late:

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CBS Morning News in San Diego stopped by corporate headquarters to interview staff and see how UD brings cards to life!

The Coast News pays a visit to Upper Deck headquarters and talks trading cards with UD’s President Jason Masherah.

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Cynopsis Sports asks Jason Masherah about some of the key happenings at Upper Deck these days.

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Baseball superstar Ken Griffey Jr. did a variety of media about Upper Deck’s 25th Anniversary.

ESPN talks with Ken Griffey Jr. about his 1989 Upper Deck rookie card and collectibles.

Upper Deck’s President Jason Masherah gives some updates on the company to the Sports Business Journal.

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Upper Deck is featured in Non-Sports Update talking about the company’s entertainment offerings over the last 25 years.

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Upper Deck also had a HUGE spread on the cover of the San Diego Union Tribune’s Sports section.

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