TORONTO, ON – The National Hockey League (NHL) and the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) announced today that each have agreed to terms with The Upper Deck Company on multi-year agreements to be the exclusive licensed manufacturer of NHL Trading Cards, beginning with the 2014-15 season.
Upper Deck had been the exclusive trading card partner from 2004 through 2009-10, and is currently one of two licensed manufacturers through the 2013-14 season. Upper Deck has held NHL and NHLPA trading card licenses since the 1990-91 season, and will release the 25th edition of Upper Deck Series One Hockey this coming fall.
"The players are excited about the direction Upper Deck is taking NHL trading cards – not only in product development and collectability – but also in adapting to the needs of an ever-evolving retail landscape," said Adam Larry, NHLPA Director of Licensing. "We're extremely pleased to continue our partnership with Upper Deck - now 25 years and counting - and look forward to working with them and all the category stakeholders to enhance hockey trading cards for current and future collectors alike. While we are excited about the future of hockey trading cards, we would be remiss if we did not thank Panini America and we look forward to their remaining hockey card releases."
"For nearly 25 years, Upper Deck has been delighting and surprising NHL fans and collectors with innovative officially-licensed hockey trading cards and collectibles," said Dave McCarthy, NHL Vice President of Consumer Products Licensing, Hardlines. "Upper Deck's passion for our sport is evident with their commitment to making great products, marketing them aggressively and seeking new ways to enhance our fans and collectors' love of the game. We are proud to extend the exclusive license for trading cards to Upper Deck and look forward to working closely with all stakeholders for category growth in the coming years."
The first product to be released under the new agreement will be O-Pee-Chee, the most comprehensive base set of the year, featuring nearly 600 different player cards. In September, Artifacts will return, chock-full of exciting memorabilia and autograph cards. Collectors also will be happy to hear that MVP hockey cards will be making an exciting return with a 400-card base set and an array of enticing parallels. More product details will be announced soon.
"I cannot think of a better way to celebrate Upper Deck's upcoming 25th anniversary of producing hockey cards than with this exclusive partnership announcement," said Jason Masherah, President of Upper Deck. "Since 1990, Upper Deck has been delivering the most innovative, high quality hockey cards to fans across the world, and this deal will allow us to add even more brands and excitement to our growing hockey portfolio."