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Upper Deck hopes to play its McDavid rookie cards just right

Thursday September 03, 2015


In the old Maple Leaf Gardens, Connor McDavid charges across the ice, flips a puck toward a net that isn’t there, scores an imaginary goal and pumps his fist. A photographer captures the moment he has long daydreamed about.

In less than two weeks, hockey’s next big thing will report to his first NHL training camp. In a little more than a month, the 18-year-old will play his first game. In November, his first rookie card, shot Tuesday in Toronto, will hit the market.

It will be highly coveted, and the card company promises it will be a challenge to find. There hasn’t been a player of such magnitude to enter the game in at least 10 years.

“We have been planning on this since Connor was 14,” says Chris Carlin, senior marketing manager for California-based Upper Deck, the NHL’s lone licensed trading-card partner. “This type of player comes around very seldom.”

There is speculation Mr. McDavid’s rookie card will be worth $250 to $300 straight out of the pack. Mr. Carlin says the buzz is beyond anything the company experienced with Sidney Crosby.

“Connor is not just attracting interest from hockey, he is attracting sports fans, investors, gamblers and speculators,” Mr. Carlin says. “We have card dealers telling us that people are calling and saying they want to buy a case this year instead of a box. Everyone wants a piece of Connor.”

On Tuesday, Mr. McDavid and 38 other rookies gathered at the old Gardens, now Mattamy Athletic Centre, for a daylong hockey-card photo shoot co-ordinated by Upper Deck and the NHL Players’ Association.

Cards cannot be released until a player has skated in his first league game, so Upper Deck uses the day to get a head start. It’s an emotional moment for the rookies, a landmark day for the company, and an important day for the NHL.

Read the full article here


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