The NHL is again playing regular season games in Europe and the league’s trading card partner is going along, hoping to find new collectors.
Upper Deck has created the company’s first even packs of Finnish and Swedish language hockey cards that will be offered for sale in the two hockey hotbeds. The cards are being issued in conjunction with the NHL’s regular-season games in Europe.
On October 2 and 3, the Detroit Red Wings will face off in a pair of games against the St. Louis Blues in Stockholm, Sweden, while the Chicago Blackhawks and Florida Panthers will battle each other on the same dates in Helsinki, Finland. Upper Deck will have a presence in each country with its special Victory series.
“The overseas games provide us with an excellent opportunity to share our product with European fans,” said Kerri Kauffman, Upper Deck’s director of Marketing. ”We’ve developed an exclusive sampling of our Victory brand with a special insert set dedicated to the top Swedish and Finnish players. All of the cards and packaging are printed in Swedish and Finnish.”
Both of the respective product offerings – Swedish and Finnish versions – will consist of 200 of what Upper Deck calls "star studded" regular player cards. A “Victory Rookies” insert lineup (1:2 packs) can be found in either, with a special “Swedish Superstars” insert collection (1:1 pack) in the Swedish edition and a “Finnish Superstars” insert lineup (1:1 pack) in the Finnish option. There will be six cards per pack, 24 packs per box.
In addition to sampling the special language-specific cards at each of the games and selling boxes and packs in the respective European markets, Upper Deck will also be running print ads in corresponding game programs each day and will be airing its latest hockey-focused TV commercials in-game.
For the Red Wings, barring any more roster moves, this year’s NHL Premiere Games will be a chance for Niklas Kronwall, Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, Andreas Lilja, Mikael Samuelsson, Tomas Holmstrom and Jonathan Ericsson to sport Detroit’s winged wheel logo in their home country. The lone Swede on the Blues’ roster is Patrick Berglund.
The Blackhawks and Panthers, meanwhile, are currently represented by one Finn player apiece: Chicago backup goaltender Antti Niemi and Florida forward Ville Peltonen. They are both from Vantaa, which borders Helsinki.
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