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NHL Rookies Make Their On-Ice Debuts with Upper Deck!
Trading card leader captures the league's newest freshmen in a variety of poses for upcoming releases

Carlsbad, CA, Friday August 28, 2009
On Wednesday, August 26, the Hershey Centre
in Mississauga, Ontario was transformed into the site of Upper Deck's
inaugural NHL Rookie Debut Photo Shoot. As with previous Upper Deck rookie
shoots with top freshman talent entering the NBA and NFL, this week's hockey
version sported the best of the NHL's finest young guns prepping to make
their on-ice debuts as professionals. For the record, this represented Upper
Deck's first chance to capture the players - 14 in all - sporting their new
NHL team uniforms in a variety of poses and scenes. John Tavares, the No. 1
overall selection by the New York Islanders from the 2009 NHL Entry Draft,
was on hand as was Swedish Elite League Rookie of the Year Victor Hedman
(No. 2 pick, Tampa Bay) and slick stick handler Matt Duchene (No. 3 pick,
Colorado).



The players were enthusiastic and eager to please. They went through a total
of four "stations" set up by the creative forces at Upper Deck including
on-ice action; portraits; memorabilia signings; and a video station where
the players laughed hard and received their "rookie boot camp" initiation on
everything from how to properly sign hockey trading cards to the correct way
to lace up their skates and tape their sticks.



As added incentive, Upper Deck dangled an autographed LeBron James Cleveland
Cavaliers jersey (courtesy of Upper Deck Authenticated) as a top prize to be
awarded to the player who showed the most enthusiasm during the video
tapings. Although trick shots, celebratory skating and even on-ice
hip-checks delivered to Upper Deck's official mascot "Coach Cardman" were
part of the mix, the player having the most fun throughout the day would
walk home with the jersey signed by the NBA's reigning MVP who just happens
to double as an exclusive autograph signer for Upper Deck.



Following a meet-and-greet dinner at the Hockey Hall of Fame in downtown
Toronto on Tuesday and a good night's sleep at the Westin Harbour Castle,
Upper Deck shuttled the players to the Hershey Centre where they quickly
donned their new teams' jerseys for a 60-minute media "scrum." From 9:30 to
10:30 a.m., more than 25 members of the Canadian press (TV, radio, online
and print) put the rookies through the paces, asking them questions
regarding their on-ice careers as well as the day's fast-approaching photo
shoot for their first-ever Upper Deck trading cards. Excitement defined the
mood as Canada's sports news leader TSN (The Sports Network) covered the
event, along with reporters, photographers and Bloggers from outlets
including the Toronto Star, Toronto Sun, Reuters, Rogers Sportsnet, and The
Hockey News.



Following the media interviews, each of the players retreated into the
locker room to get into pads and equipment for the day's photo shoot. At 11
a.m., the event was underway. Group No. 1 included Tavares, Hedman, Duchene
and Cody Hodgson (Vancouver Canucks). While they attacked the on-ice action
station, Group No. 2 (Mikael Backlund, Calgary Flames; Tyler Bozak, Toronto
Maple Leafs; Jonas "The Monster" Gustavsson, Maple Leafs; and Jared Cowen,
Ottawa Senators) christened their acting chops at the video station. Group
No. 3 consisted of James Van Riemsdyk (Flyers), Colin Wilson (Predators) and
Bobby Sanguinetti (Rangers), who posed for portrait shots. The fourth group
involved P.K. Subban (Canadiens), Eric Tangradi (Penguins) and Logan Couture
(Sharks), who got their first dose of an orchestrated autograph session as
they signed hundreds of signatures for the hockey card leader.



As part of the video segment, the players were asked to demonstrate a
skating celebration they might employ after scoring a lamp-lighter in the
NHL. Backlund, the Flames center, showed a unique "moon-skate" dance (think
Michael Jackson), while Cowen - a 6' 5" defenseman - showed a nice
Vegas-style craps roll after putting the puck in the net.



Each of the players showed plenty of zest for their newfound hockey
opportunity, but no one was more animated throughout the day than Subban, a
good-natured defenseman selected by Montreal. His laughter, energy and
enthusiasm were infectious and as the event came to a close, the Upper Deck
crew had picked their winner.



"It's my brother's birthday next week and he's a huge LeBron James fan, so
the timing couldn't be better," said Subban. "I just want to say thanks to
Upper Deck for putting this event on today and for letting me walk away with
this jersey."



Josh Zusman, Upper Deck's Hockey brand manager, summed up the day's event
this way: "The inaugural NHL Rookie Photo Shoot was a smashing success. With
14 of the top rookies, 25 media outlets and some great momentum, we have
created hype that will carry us into the season and beyond!"



Collectors can look for rookie cards of these NHL newcomers first appearing
in Upper Deck's 2009-10 Series One Hockey release in November, provided the
player skates on Opening Night. Video footage from the shoot will be posted
on YouTube and the Upper Deck website within the coming weeks.



About Upper Deck



Upper Deck is the leading sports and entertainment trading card and
collectibles company. For more information on Upper Deck and its products
please visit www.upperdeck.com





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