ITG turned down NHLPA license this summer

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By Susan Lulgjuraj | Beckett Hockey Editor

In The Game’s Dr. Brian Price weighed his options.

Last summer, he was presented with a proposal – the opportunity to receive an NHL Players Association license for one year, producing two releases. Create NHLPA-licensed cards, and utilize rookies and stars in a potential locked out season? Or continue ITG’s strategy?

Price turned down the proposal.

“Sometimes the deals you don’t make are your best deals,” Price said.

Had he accepted the proposal, Price would have suffered from this season’s lockout and the loss of new Rookie Cards, a decision announced Wednesday by the NHLPA.

The exclusion of additional rookies in 2012-13 should have the greatest impacts on card store owners, something that worries Price.

“I have great concerns for the dealers whose primary sales come from hockey trading cards. While these dealers struggled during the hockey lockout, they anxiously waited for the game to get back on the ice so that they could enjoy ‘business as usual,’” Price said. “Well the lockout was resolved, but this announcement seems to be just as devastating.

“Let’s face it – the dealers are the core of the industry and without them, collectors would not be able to find the products they are looking for.”

Even so, Price understands how he can affect the marketplace. He still intends to produce products such as Heroes and Prospects coming out at the end of January and Motown Madness coming out in February. Price will also increase dealer programs to help traffic, a way to offset this season’s diminished card offerings.

The shortened NHL season officially starts Saturday. While hockey fans are happy the league is playing again, this is a bittersweet time for collectors – and that’s how Price also sees himself. He’s makes hockey cards, but he is also a fan and a collector.

“As a collector myself, I don’t feel that this decision is a good one,” Price said. “There is a season, although shortened. There are rookies playing this year. It is not like the 2004-05 season where there was no choice.”

While Price is disappointed by the decision to exclude new rookies, he also realizes how difficult the situation was.

“I am sure there are factors that went into this decision that are way over my head,” he said. “If both Upper Deck and Panini agreed to this solution, then who am I to judge their rationale?”

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.


  1. Posted January 17, 2013 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    i hope this means that panini doesn’t try and do the 2 year rookie thing like they did with basketball, but they may have no choice, but this is what you get from greedy players and there union rep’s, they killed the auto industry and know they will kill organized sports

  2. Susan Lulgjuraj
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    Charles, that’s what is going to happen. There is going to be a double crop of rookies in 2013-14 products.

  3. Ben Pezold
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    So is Upper Deck not going to make Series 2?

  4. Susan Lulgjuraj
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Upper Deck has not released information yet on what they plan to do.

  5. zotster
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Do you suppose the NHL is also going to ban the sale of replica jerseys or this year’s top rookies? Or tell TV broadcasters they have to digitally eliminate the images of all rookies from their broadcasts?

    Maybe the NHL should ban the making of rookie cards every other season, so that there will be this magical “double rookie class” every two years?

    The more I think about this issue, the more it really pisses me off …

  6. Ryan
    Posted January 20, 2013 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    This should finally put a nail in the coffin on any future talk of ITG getting a license. Never touched their product anyways, poorly executed design and terrible resale value on just about everything they produce. Might have been a bad idea not to take the 2 product license and get back to some sort of relevance instead of floundering around with these 3 and 5 card box products nobody wants.

  7. David Brown
    Posted January 22, 2013 at 1:51 am | Permalink

    It is obvious so called “collectors” like Ryan are the real problem here. Those who are only interested in resale value. Any real collector will hold up one of their many itg cards which happen to be the treasure of their collection and who can’t wait for itg to get a liscense so instead of seeing their designs and concepts plagarized by the other companies with their questionable memorabilia, we can receive breakthrough designs and jersey cards with materials that are sometimes 50 and 75 years old that were worn in actual games not put on inside a cardshop for 3 minutes and called event worn. No Ryan you go ahead and enjoy your treasures untill you decide to sell them . How many did you post while i wrote this i wonder.

  8. Robert Right
    Posted February 15, 2014 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Its the annual yearly ITG crybabyathon. I wish ITG would realize already nobody in the industry wants to associate with them, so go off into the sunset with Leaf and plan your own world domination. Just quit posting on forums and acting like morons.

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