Upper Deck, a prominent name in the trading card industry, has recently announced the extension of its licensing partnership with the NHL Alumni Association (NHLAA). This renewed agreement solidifies Upper Deck’s exclusive rights to produce and distribute physical trading cards featuring over a thousand former NHL athletes.
According to Jason Masherah, President of Upper Deck, this renewal is a strategic move for the company. Masherah recognizes the vital role played by the NHLAA in enriching Upper Deck’s offerings, allowing them to feature trading cards and autographs of hockey’s greatest players. This partnership enhances the collectibles market, catering to the passionate hockey enthusiast community.
The NHL Alumni Association, based in Ontario, has been actively supporting former NHL players. Their group licensing program, initiated in June 2017, grants the NHLAA the authority to use the collective image rights of its members. This program helps fund various programs and initiatives of the association. The participation of legendary players like Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, and Ray Bourque, among others, contributes to the success of this program, with nearly a hundred Hall of Fame inductees involved.
Upper Deck’s collaboration with the NHLAA reflects the broad commercial appeal of the association. Apart from producing trading cards, the NHLAA is also involved in other activities such as player appearances, professional-amateur tournaments, career transition programs, and an annual stick auction. These initiatives celebrate the sport and honor its legacy.
Glenn Healy, the Executive Director of the NHL Alumni Association, expressed his enthusiasm about the extended partnership with Upper Deck. He highlighted the significant role that Upper Deck trading cards play in capturing and preserving the heritage of hockey. This agreement ensures that fans and collectors across different generations can continue to cherish and celebrate the iconic NHL Alumni who have contributed to shaping the game.
In an exciting development, Upper Deck also announced plans to expand its product line to include digital trading cards, available through its Evolution platform. This move signifies the company’s efforts to bridge the gap between traditional collecting and the digital age. The introduction of digital trading cards offers a new medium for fans and collectors to connect with the rich history of hockey.
In conclusion, the extended licensing agreement between Upper Deck and the NHL Alumni Association not only establishes Upper Deck as the exclusive producer of physical trading cards featuring former NHL players but also marks a significant foray into the world of digital collectibles. This partnership aims to enrich the legacy of hockey for a new generation of fans and collectors, combining the best of traditional and digital collecting experiences.