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In The Game has one of its best years … and it’s not over

By Susan Lulgjuraj | Beckett Hockey Editor

In The Game trading cards had a good year – and the hockey card season isn’t even over for them.

In a trading card season limited of NHL-licensed cards, ITG saw considerable growth having one of its best years in the history of the company.

“It’s either one or two for us with the last lockout season,” ITG’s Dr. Brian Price said. “We had sell out after sell out this year. To credit the fact that the other two manufacturers curtailed their productions, but the negative that goes with that was they weren’t playing hockey. The interest was less as well.”

In The Game put out six products for the 2012-13 season with a prospects-only product to release later this week. It also has Superlative and a1990s-focused product later this year.

ITG also had cards of many of this year’s rookies – something you couldn’t find anywhere else. That means autographs of players such as Nail Yakupov and Alex Galchenyuk are on the market.

In fact, there are already 23 autographs of Yakupov’s cards on the market in ITG products since last year. Calder Memorial Trophy winner Jonathan Huberdeau has 90 cards and nine total autographs between ITG and Upper Deck’s Goodwin Champions.

Price hopes that with more collectors buying ITG this season, it can leverage a new category in the hockey-collecting field.

“Maybe over time we can establish a market for draft pick cards,” Price said. “Maybe with too many Rookie Cards being produced, a draft pick card of (Nathan) MacKinnon might be more popular.”

Heroes & Prospects saw the most upside this year for ITG. Price said it sold out from the factory quicker than any other year. It featured autographs of MacKinnon, Jonathan Drouin, Seth Jones, Yakupov, Galchenyuk, Dougie Hamilton and many other prospects – all players that will likely appear on NHL products when the Double Rookie Class kicks into full gear in November.

“I think having them in the product made a tremendous difference,” Price said. “That’s the only place collectors could go. But a lot of collectors went on hiatus. A lot of dealers bought boxes instead of cases. There wasn’t that balance there for them.”

Susan Lulgjuraj is an editor of Beckett Hockey. You can email her here with questions, comments or ideas. Follow her on Twitter here. Follow Beckett Media on Facebook and Twitter.

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