The upcoming release of In The Game Enforcers is generating a lot of discussion in the mainstream media, especially in Canada and at least one of the players in the set is threatening to sue. At issue is the design of the cards meant to feature the league's 'goons', players who are usually instructed to get physical with the opposition--usually through fisticuffs. Some of the cards feature what are designed to look like blood spatters around the border. Others feature actual blood-stained pieces of jerseys worn during fights.
The set is causing a stir because its release comes as the sport is dealing with the recent deaths of three former players who filled the 'enforcer' role. The mother of one of those players, Wade Belak, called the cards "disgusting".
Georges Laraque, another former player featured in the Enforcers set, said he agreed to a deal to have a card made, but didn't know the design would include fake blood. He's asked In The Game to take his card out of the set or re-print it without the blood theme.
In The Game says Laraque wasn't given creative control and has no plans to remove his card. Laraque says he's considering a lawsuit. He spoke with CTV, which also got reaction from In The Game's Dr. Brian Price.
CBC News also covered the story extensively.
In The Game was planning the tough guy themed set long before the long term effects of playing the role went under the microscope. Legendary brawler Bob Probert will headline the checklist of players featured, with numerous autograph cards produced for random insertion.
Each pack of Enforcers will contain 15 cards including five authentic autographs, five game-used memorabilia cards and five base cards. There will be over 80 different Enforcers on the autograph checklist including Laraque, Dave Semenko, Joey Kocur, Dave Manson, Basil McRae, Rob Ray, Marty McSorley, Brad May, Jim Kyte, Chris Nilan, and more.
There are several different insert sets featuring game-used swatches including; Instigators, Dual Combatants, Quad Tough Franchise, Fight Straps, 1/1 Fight Strap Dome Fastener cards, 1/1 Enforcer Nameplates. The checklist includes Stu Grimson, Wendel Clark, Kelly Chase, Enrico Ciccone, Lyle Odelein, Gino Odjik, Jeff Odgers, Terry O’Reilly, Bob Nystrom, Clark Gilles and many, many more.
There will be four different subsets; Tale of the Tape, Record Holders, Bloody Battles and Tough Franchises in the 90 card Non-Memorabilia Insert checklist.
In The Game Enforcers will be released next month. The company expects the product will sell out of its print run of some 7,000 boxes.