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Upper Deck Rookie Photo Shoot Day

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Well we attended the Upper Deck Rookie Photo Shoot at Mastercard Centre in Toronto on Tuesday Before getting into specific details I want to thank our main Upper Deck distributor Grosnor Distribution for the invite and to Upper Deck for taking care of us. I also want to say thanks to all of the rookies who attended the day long event as this was the second straight day of this and for all they go through during it, having their stuff on all day, they were truly cordial and easy to talk to. A very special thank you to Nail Yakupov who took the time to laugh and smile and take a picture with my wife and sign a puck for us. Thanks to Austin Watson who took the time to chat and sign a puck for our Predators fan Pete and thanks to Philadelphia first rounder Scott Laughton who took the time to chat and sign a puck for the biggest Flyers fan and our friend Justin. Many thanks to Morgan Rielly who signed a puck for us and who took the time to chat and pose for pictures along with Tyson Barrie of the Avs I apologize to all of the future NHL stars that I didn't get a chance to chat with or sign something because we didn't want to be a bother or interrupt them during this busy and sometimes boring day as noticed when Nail Yakupov went on the ice just to shoot pucks so he didn't have to just sit.

The day started at 6:00 am as we got up for the early morning ninety minute rush hour drive from Whitby to the rink. We picked up Justin (one of our best friends and store supporters) to tag along with us and enjoy the ride back and forth (well maybe not 'enjoy'). We arrived at Mastercard Centre at 8:30 making great time only to find out that the 9:00 start time wasn't arranged with our Grosnor host who wasn't showing up until 10:00. When Chris finally arrived we got a quick update on how things would go and what was going to happen. We were introduced to Chris Carlin from Upper Deck who is also the main guy behind the UD Volunteer Alliance to which we are a part of and a guy I have sent several emails back and forth with. There are several 'stations' set up both on the rink and beside it where the players rotate through to do various things. I should mention that Panini was set up on the other half of the rink but more on that later in this post.

Justin, Angie and I first spent several minutes watching the Upper Deck stations where they were shooting various videos. We saw videos done for Hockey Card Day in Canada featuring Morgan Riellly the Leafs first overall pick and we saw Austin Watson the 2010 Nashville Predators first pick (18th overall) getting beat into submission by a fish during his video. Watson was a great sport as not only was he cut by the real fish they were using but had blood and gunk on his jersey too. I asked if he drew the short straw for this video and he laughed and said "I guess". So if you get a Watson Preds jersey piece with blood on it you know where it came from. It was so much fun to see these kids trying to be actors and as one mentioned "I get paid to play not act" it was sometimes very tedious.

A lot of players were given packs of Upper Deck cards to entertain themselves while waiting for their video or photo turn. Some were opening a pack or two and some went nuts opening pack after pack. We watched Flyers pick Scott Lawton and Wild pick Charlie Coyle as they cracked packs and compared pulls. We watched as several players (LA Kings pick Tyler Toffolii and Wild pick Charlie Coyle) sign their Upper Deck 'letters' for insertion into the 2012-13 products. Some guys less pleased then others with the shear quantity of what had to be signed. We saw the process used for the rookie shoot jersey items as evidenced by the several bags of jerseys that were being used including several put on and taken off by Ranger pick Chris Krieder. While all of this was going on several players rotated through the on ice station for video profiling. Placed in front of a huge green screen these guys skated around forwards and backwards, went through some shooting motions and some stationary poses.

At this point it was about 12:45 and we went into the lobby for lunch from the in rink snack bar. While we sat eating our lunch some of the Maple Leafs roster players were skating next door for a couple of hours but we decided not to go looking for them as we wanted to focus our time on the photo shoot and all of the details that were going on. We came back from lunch and this time we went to the other end of the rink to watch the Panini side for a while. It should be noted here that we were not guests of Panini and we were totally ignored by them. Despite the presence of several Panini card guys (including there main card guy who I met a few months back) nobody bothered to ask us anything, give us anything or take the time to even say hello. I don't understand this but to me it looked like a Panini family picnic with relatives getting special treatment including photos with the players and dressing room tours and the paying card collectors being totally ignored. I guess the arrogance of the hobby came though here big time and is quite unfortunate that someone can forget who supports them and makes it possible for them to be with the players

The highlight or for lack of a better term the icing on the cake was the rookie scrimmage. What a blast watching these guys buzzing around the rink and having so much fun. Yakupov was waiting at centre for the stretch pass most of the game, Jack Campbell, complete with mask camera, seemed to be the most vocal talking during the play and I heard laughter numerous times. A few guys decided to play the body a little all in fun, several made and tried to make some dangles and one even went down face first getting his stick caught between his legs. These guys stayed out and played for about forty-five minutes just horsing around going up and down the ice. It was an absolute thrill to watch and was quite entertaining. The most notable thing that caught my eye was the practical jokes and kidding around that I saw. Watching Alex Galchenyuk take Nail Yakupov's hockey glove and throw it behind a curtain while Yakupov was being filmed was hilarious especially when Nail came back and couldn't find it. Galchenyuk is obviously the biggest practical joker out there today and he was great to watch Just a side note that two players (one from the Sabres and one from the Leafs) were missing from the shoot.

It was a fun day and one I am hoping to get to be able to do again for our customers

Updated 08-29-2012 at 04:55 PM by frozenheroes (spelling much for my spell checker.)



  1. frozenheroes's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by mooneyes
    sounds like a blast! was Malcom Subban there?
    No he wasn't. A little disappointed about that.
  2. frozenheroes's Avatar
    Just to follow up....we gave our Flyers fan his Laughton signed puck, we gave our Preds fan the Austin Watson puck and we gave an oversized Alexander Ovechkin Upper Deck Rookie blow up card to a client whose son is a big OVIE fan. All were thrilled and thankful for their goodies. At this point the Yakupov signed puck is going to be put in a frame with the 8x10 photo for display at the store and a memory of this great day. We are going to give away the Morgan Rielly (Leafs #1 pick) signed puck and the P.K. Subban Young Guns Rookie blow up card to a couple of lucky store customers.

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