In Ken Reid’s book, “Hockey Card Stories,” he had a fun look at 59 of his favorite hockey cards from his youth and interviewed the athletes depicted on the cards about them. While Ken really looked at vintage cards (primarily O-Pee-Chee) in his book, we thought it would be fun to have him share his thoughts on new O-Pee-Chee cards from Upper Deck. We recently met up with Ken at a trading card show, had him open a box of new O-Pee-Chee NHL® trading cards and pick out five cards that reminded him of cards featured in his book.

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#5 – JORDIE BENN #356

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“First things first, I love that OPC continues to capture “the spirit of the thing” by printing the cards on the old school card stock. Just the feel of these cards alone brings me back to when I was a kid. I love this card because Benn has that old school (which has become new again) look: the hair and the beard. Enough said. This card could be right out of the ‘70’s. Maybe that’s why I have a soft spot for these great Dallas unis. They remind me of some colorful sweaters that we saw back in the WHA. Some love these Stars unis (me) some (like my Sportsnet Central co-anchor Evanka Osmak) not so much.”

#4 – BEN SCRIVENS #91

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“I was always a softie for goalie cards when I was a kid. This card takes me back. I love the close up shot of Scrivens, his mask, and the fact that you can’t see his eyes. It reminds me of some of the photography we used to see on cards back in the day, not perfect, but truly authentic. And how about the design? I love it; the goalie stick right down the side of the card takes me right back to 1969-70 O-Pee-Chee Hockey. If I write a book, in say 2036, about old school cards, this one will be in it.”

#3 – MARK GIORDANO # 277

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“One day I hope to see an entire set made up of guys striking old school hockey poses, until then, this is as good as it will get. Giordano looks like he is in mid-dangle, he even has his dangle face. We all look like that when we’re making a move on the ice, whether we are in squirt or old timers. I love that this photo captured the perfect pic of Giordano. It looks like they pulled it right out of the 1981-82 “In Action” series. I also love the female Capitals fan over his shoulder pulling her hair out over whatever he is about to do.”

#2 – TIM THOMAS # 319

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“The best thing about old school goalie cards is that every goalie had a unique look. They didn’t all look the same. Goalies for the most part these days, all look the same, except for Tim Thomas. I love this shot of him. And I love his mask. That bucket is unique, he’s like the Corrado Micalef of his era (see Micalef’s Highlight card from 1983-84 for details. Oh and by the way that Micaelf card is in my book, Hockey Card Stories. Cheap Plug!!!!)”

#1 – MARC METHOT #488

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“Fantastic. Awesome. Outstanding. Pure hockey. Pure throwback. When I saw this card I smiled. It looks like it is right out of a pack from the mid ‘70’s. I love the close up shot. Love it. Plus it looks like Methot is missing a chicklet or two, add in the nice 5 o’clock shadow that he is sporting, along with the killer design, and you have yourself one awesome hockey card. This one is a winner!”

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Gift givers who missed out on Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales from Upper Deck need not fear as the leader in sports collectibles will be bringing fans special offers for twelve consecutive days (December 2 through December 13, 2014). That’s right, everyday different athletes and sports will be featured at serious discounts during this once-a-year promotion! You’ll want to set a reminder to check www.upperdeckstore.com each day during this period so you don’t miss out on the savings!

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Fans will find great deals on collectible cards, games and signed memorabilia from athletes like Peyton Manning, Rory McIlroy, LeBron James, Landon Donovan, Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky, Mike Tyson, Cam Newton, Bobby Orr, Patrick Kane, Steven Stamkos and more! If you are looking to give the world’s greatest sports memorabilia this holiday season, look no further than Upper Deck.

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One of the fun things about my job at Upper Deck is the ability to get out of the office to meet our customers – both the Hobby Shop owners and collectors. I have gotten to know quite a few over the years, and was very happy to be able to take a group of them to the 2014 Hockey Hall-of-Fame induction ceremony recently in Toronto.

This years’ 2014 Hockey Hall-of-Fame Class included Mike Modano, Peter Forsberg, Dominik Hasek, Rob Blake, Bill McCreary, and the late Pat Burns. It was moving to see Pat Burns’ widow and son there representing the legendary coach, as he was being inducted posthumously.

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The weekend events include a media conference, a fan forum, the Hall-of-Fame game Friday night, the Legends Classic game, and then wrap up with Induction itself. I had the opportunity to escort customers to all these events, and a good time was had by all. The questions asked of the inductees over the weekend by media, fans and emcees were great, and their answers were everything from humbling to hilarious.

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Upper Deck guests appreciated the opportunity to meet hockey’s greatest players.

Friday started with a media conference, which I was invited to be a part of. It was a nice small group on-hand that filmed and snapped pictures of the inductees while they were asked questions in the Esso Great Hall. Afterwards, the inductees split up within the room and media went around and asked each inductee questions from close-up. Friday night was the Hall-of-Fame game at the Air Canada Centre as the Toronto Maple Leafs took on the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins.

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Saturday was Fan Forum Day at the Hockey Hall-of-Fame. Visitors to the Hockey Hall of Fame received a special Upper Deck Dominik Hasek card at admission along with another special Upper Deck game-used card. Fans lined up to be part of the limited-seating Fan Forum, held in the Esso Great Hall. This event started with the moderator asking questions of the inductees, and then opened the floor to fans asking questions.

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Fans visiting the Hockey Hall-of-Fame scored this special 25th Anniversary card of Hasek!

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Sunday was the Legends Classic game. Last year it was moved to the Old Maple Leaf Gardens due to a scheduling conflict, and there is tight seating at that reconfigured rink. This year it was back at The Air Canada Centre. The inductees received their HHOF blazers in a ceremony before the game. Team Sundin took on Team Sakic in a showdown that ending in a tie score, on purpose, in order to provide a shoot-out. This is my favourite game all year as you get to see generations of classic players all together on the ice for one fun game. I even got to chat with hockey legend and old friend Pierre Pilote after the game.

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I have a tradition of going to dinner at Gretzky’s restaurant after the Legends game yearly, and do so with some dear industry friends who also give back yearly to the HHOF through donations and photographic talents. I did a bit more looking through the back display cases in the restaurant this year and spotted this little Upper Deck gem.

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Monday night was the induction which is an event I look forward to all year, every year. I was fortunate to be able to bring several customers to this event, and they all were very happy to be there. There was lots of mingling through the HHOF while bidding on Silent Auction items and playing other games for prizes. Food and drinks were everywhere, at every turn. Lots of former players and coaches were there and I had the pleasure of meeting a few again including Ted Lindsay, Lanny McDonald, and even some mounties.

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It was awesome to see Dominik Hasek get enshrined!

The induction ceremony itself is very special, and though I could not get into the seated area, we all watched on televisions spread throughout the HHOF, and that only meant I could position myself front-and-center for the area where the inductees come to sign the Official Book of Registrar afterwards.

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If you have the opportunity, please come for all the Hockey Hall-of-Fame Induction festivities some year. Packages are available for any and all of the weekend events, and all proceeds benefit the HHOF, which is a registered charity. Also, if you own any part of hockey history, please consider donating it where it can be preserved in its current state through the Hockey Hall-of-Fame for future generations of hockey fans to see. Contact acquisitions@hhof.com or call (416) 360-7735 if you would be willing to donate items to the organization!

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There are a variety of reasons why Peter Forsberg is in the Hockey Hall-of-Fame. It wasn’t just his physical style of player or great vision on the ice that set him apart from the rest, he was a winner. He hoisted the Stanley Cup twice during his career and just had an uncanny knack for making the people around him better. He keeps busy today and we get excited when we get the chance to sit down with him for a signing session.

Recently we completed a session with the retired great where he signed some items for upcoming projects, but primarily worked on some outstanding redemptions including these incredible cards from 2013-14 NHL® The Cup. We will be receiving everything in next week, checking for quality, and then packaging them up from there. We thought fans who may be holding these cards would like to see what may be coming their way!

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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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