Hockey fans may not be able to vote for NHL all-star teams this season, but they can choose what players will be in an all-star hockey card collection.
Upper Deck is giving fans the chance to select what players will be included in its All-Time Greatest Collection. The set, available in the fall, will include one player from each NHL team, six of the NHL’s best-ever rookies and one card highlighting the NHL’s best single-season team as selected by fans.
Here’s how it works: Fans may log on to TheAllTimeGreatest.com to determine what cards are included in the unique set. On the ballot are four or five players from each NHL team, 30 celebrated NHL rookies and a weekly tournament-style competition among 16 teams for inclusion in the set.
“We’re very excited about whole promotion,” Upper Deck Sports Marketing Manager Benjamin Woo said. “It’s very interactive for the fans to be able to vote. It’s a way for them to get excited about the game. There is no all-star voting this year because of the Olympics, so this is neat as a substitute. When it’s all said and done, it’s the fans vote which will determine what will be in this collection. That’s the neat aspect.”
The Pittsburgh Penguins are well-represented in the competition. Fans may choose from either Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, Paul Coffey, Tom Barrasso or Randy Carlyle as the Penguins’ team representative in the set.
“We tried to span the different eras with the players. The fans can decide if they want a current player or a veteran from the past,” Woo said. “Or, if fans want someone else, they are able to write-in whoever they want for each team.”
Sidney Crosby and Lemieux are two players listed on the 30-member rookie balloting section.
“The Penguins are a very hot franchise right now,” Woo said. “How lucky are they to have a player like Mario and follow him with a player like Sidney in the same era? It’s pretty exciting for Penguins fans.”
The 1991-92 Penguins are among the 16 squads in the competition for the greatest team. Each week, two historic teams are matched against each other in a head-to-head battle. The one with the highest votes moves on to the next round. The 1991-92 Penguins defeated the 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings in the opening round. Fans will be able to vote as many times as they want for the next Penguins next matchup, which will only be open to voting during a seven-day span. The quarterfinal round of the team competition, which will pit the eight winning teams against each other, begins in late February
“It’s definitely exciting for the fans,” Woo said.
While the team voting is done on a weekly basis, the selection of individual players and rookies continues until the end of the NHL regular season in April. Voting results are available on www.TheAllTimeGreatest.com. Upper Deck will announce the player cards to be included in the set during the Stanley Cup playoffs.
In order to help promote this unique set, Upper Deck produced a Finalist insert card series featuring two players on the ballots for each NHL team as well as all 30 rookies on the ballot.
Fans in attendance at the Penguins’ Jan. 10 home game received a five-card pack featuring Finalist cards. The five-card Finalist packs, distributed throughout NHL arenas in January, include a voting instruction card, sweepstakes details and retail offers for discounts on NHL trading cards.
Also, the Finalist cards will be inserted in three NHL trading card products: Upper Deck MVP (available now), Fleer Ultra (available Jan. 23) and Upper Deck Series 2 (available March 6).
“The finalist set is a way to expose the All-Time Greatest Collection,” Woo said. “It’s its own collection, too.”
Just for visiting the set’s website and voting for players, fans are eligible to win a multitude of prizes.
“There are some sweepstake prizes – just for voting, fans get a chance to go to the 2007 NHL all-star game,” Woo said. “Boxes of the sets are prizes, too, and NHL poker chip sets. It’s some fun stuff just to have a chance of winning great prizes at the end of the day.”
So far, response to balloting has been tremendous.
“It’s very good so far – phenomenal,” Woo said. “We launched voting during the holiday break and the response has been high from the teams, fans, NHL – everywhere. All the interest has been pretty good and very positive.”