Upper Deck Retains Exclusive NHL Trading Card License
Upper Deck has signed a multiyear extension with the NHL and NHLPA to remain the exclusive licensed manufacturer of NHL trading cards. Upper Deck has produced hockey cards for the last 29 years, first becoming the exclusive trading card partner of the NHL and NHLPA in '04 through '09-10 and has held similar rights since the '14-15 season. Upper Deck also has partnerships with current and former NHLers, including Wayne Gretzky and Oilers C Connor McDavid (Ian Thomas, THE DAILY). The extension "continues an industry trend with exclusives now the norm for MLB (Topps), NBA (Panini) and NFL (Panini) also locked up." There was "no word on the length of the contract Upper Deck will operate under for hockey cards" (SPORTSCOLLECTORSDAILY.com, 1/9). BECKETT.com's Ryan Cracknell reported Upper Deck also has signed Sabres C Jack Eichel and Devils C Nico Hischier to "autograph deals." The pair previously had "exclusive deals with Leaf." Since Upper Deck has the exclusive NHL card rights, that "meant no rookie autographs with their team logos." Meanwhile, Upper Deck also "announced that they've signed a deal with the NHL Alumni Association," giving the card company "access to hundreds of retired players for their products" (BECKETT.com, 1/9).