Mint Musings: Surprises in Store for National Hockey Card Day – As the majority of us prepare for the Super Bowl this Sunday, there is another event this weekend that gets hockey card collectors equally excited. Upper Deck’s National Hockey Card Day is back and taking place at hobby stores across the United States and Canada on Saturday, February 6th. To learn more about the promotion’s history and what collectors can expect this year, I had the chance to catch up with Upper Deck’s Chris Carlin.
KS: For those who may not know, what exactly is National Hockey Card Day?
CC: National Hockey Card Day is an annual event where fans can try a free pack of NHL® licensed cards by visiting a participating Upper Deck Certified Diamond Dealer in Canada and the USA. Upper Deck partners with the NHL®, the NHLPA and the company’s network of dealers to put on the annual event. It also corresponds with Hockey Day in Canada when all seven Canadian NHL® franchises play throughout the day.
KS: Why did Upper Deck decide to start the promotion?
CC: Upper Deck started this program to grow the category and create more hockey collectors. To say it has been successful is an understatement. In fact, at the 2015 NHLPA Rookie Showcase, many of the (NHL) rookies indicated they started collecting hockey cards because of National Hockey Card Day.
KS: What are some of the highlights of this year’s NHCD set?
CC: The rookie class is really the highlight. This season has been incredible for hockey cards because of standout rookies like Connor McDavid, Dylan Larkin, Artemi Panarin, Max Domi, Jack Eichel, Sam Bennett and more, all who can be found in Upper Deck’s National Hockey Card Day packs.
KS: Just between you, me and the readers, can you tell us something no one else knows about this year’s NHCD?
CC: There will be an unannounced set randomly inserted into the product that will give fans in the USA the opportunity of pulling Canadian rookie cards of players like Connor McDavid, Max Domi, Sam Bennett and more. Collectors in Canada will also have the opportunity to pull rookie cards of American/International players like Dylan Larkin, Jack Eichel and Artemi Panarin to name a few. They will be hard to pull, but fans should be fired up when they find them in their packs.
KS: There’s been a lot of excitement with hockey trading cards this year given the strong rookie class. How is NHCD tying into that excitement?
KS: Though they are hard to find, NHCD packs do contain randomly inserted autographs. Who are some of the players in this year’s autograph checklist?
CC: We never reveal that list until the day of release. There are three subjects in the autograph checklist for the Canadian and the American sets however. And yes, they are really tough to find.
KS: The promotion runs in both American and Canadian card stores. Given the typically stronger reaction to hockey and hockey cards in Canada, what kind of reception have you seen for it in both markets?
CC: Shop owners have told us that National Hockey Card Day is their best day of the year in terms of traffic and sales. We have great partners, our Certified Diamond Dealers who do a lot of different promotions in their shops to make the day memorable for fans, many of whom are visiting their stores for the first time.
CC: Not at this time.
KS: Is there a list available online for collectors to look up the stores participating in the promotion?
CC: Yes, collectors can find participating retailers at http://upperdeck.com/nhcd/.
CC: Yes, that will be revealed on Friday.
KS: Given the many retail stores that sell trading card packs, do you think Upper Deck will ever try to expand the promotion to retail locations like Target?
CC: We continue to push for them to try it, but haven’t been able to crack through there yet.
KS: If you could see one change made to the promotion in the future, what would it be?
CC: To have every shop participate. Upper Deck does a ton to promote this annual event and it is well known it helps to drive traffic to stores. Seems like a no-brainer to get involved, but not every shop does at this time.
Mint Musings: Surprises in Store for National Hockey Card Day
Get even more details about the 2016 National Hockey Card Day set from Upper Deck, here.
Kelsey’s ability to bring hobby coverage to the mainstream sports fan as the producer of ESPN’s Mint Condition has been a true asset. GTS is happy to feature his thoughts on the hobby in Mint Musings. The opinions expressed are his and do not necessarily reflect those of GTS Distribution.
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