Leaf and In The Game announce new partnership to create trading cards

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By Susan Lulgjuraj | Editor

Leaf Trading Cards and In The Game Trading Cards have formed a partnership, the companies announced on Saturday at an event at the Sportcard & Memorabilia Expo.

New products will come out with the two companies working together, adding elements from each to make new products.

“This is just what the hobby needs,” said Leaf CEO Brian Gray in a telephone interview. “One license is not enough. Me and Brian (Price) both feel it’s right to work together and take on what we think is an unfair monopoly for collectors.”

Gray says that In The Game provides great content while Leaf will have a hand in new designs and adding elements from his brand that collectors have enjoyed. Leaf will also handle distribution and solicitation for all the products under the new partnership.

“This gives us an opportunity to create creative products,” Gray said. “The two of us together realize there is an incredible value in working together.”

While the two outlets will be working together, ITG will retain its name on hockey products.

The first product under the new partnership will be a 2014 hockey draft prospects release that comes out in June. ITG worked on the autograph acquisitions while Leaf took care of the base and memorabilia cards (with ITG inventory).

“It’s going to look a little bit of the same as last year, but with a little bit of a Leaf look to it,” ITG’s President Dr. Brian Price said. “We’re making it in the mold that we did last year and they are throwing in their ingenuity and creativity.”

Leaf and ITG have worked together before with Leaf purchasing Famous Fabrics and the rights to Sportkings from In The Game. Through those deals, the two sides realized they had a good working relationship. But through those conversations, they also had learned they had similar ideas toward the industry, Price said.

This partnership came at a good time for Price as he considered his place in the hobby with the NHL and NHLPA giving Upper Deck an exclusive trading card license. In The Game produced hockey cards since 1998 beginning with the Be A Player set, but lost its NHLPA in 2005.

ITG has created hockey cards since without a license.

“It was getting more and more difficult to fight the kind of fight we had to with all the things we were faced with,” Price said. “When the last exclusive was announced, I thought ‘Do I really want to be in this business?’ I do. I enjoy making hockey cards and interacting with hockey collectors.”

This partnership allows Leaf to enter the hockey market. It also gives ITG a stronger footing in the United States market where it did not have a strong distribution network unlike it has in Canada.

“It’s still going to be Leaf. It’s still going to be In The Game,” Price said. “The products that are made together will be the best of both.”

Leaf and ITG will work out specific details of the partnership in the coming weeks.


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  1. Corky 4 May, 2014 at 03:18

    I think this is actually a good thing, it will give both companies an outside perspective when working together. While neither company has professional licensing you have to admit that they both have put out solid products that are more original than some of the stuff that other companies with licenses are producing.

  2. steve emerick 4 May, 2014 at 10:34

    Its going to be like a resse’s peanut butter cup.. two great tastes that go great together!

  3. cfs 4 May, 2014 at 10:54

    I don’t see what ITG has to gain by partnering with Leaf. Leaf is a garbage company.

  4. Mike 5 May, 2014 at 16:57

    Leaf is very autograph orientated while ITG is heavy into crazy patch and game used pieces.

    Like said above, it’s like peanut butter and chocolate, perfect combo.

  5. Jeffrey S 5 May, 2014 at 18:13

    I heard ITG let all their employees go last Friday while I was at the show in Toronto and Price is just staying on as a consultant. This isn’t a merger, it is an acquisition. And just like that there is no longer any Canadian hockey card companies even though UD does printing in Canada.

  6. bob loblaw 6 May, 2014 at 15:00

    If there’s one thing Razor–er, Leaf knows about, it’s acquiring other companies’ names.

  7. card opinionator 6 May, 2014 at 16:37

    The two Brian’s do one thing better than all the current licensees, listen to collectors. Good for them.

  8. Jeff Gloser 11 May, 2014 at 10:50

    One thing this will have an impact on all the schmucks on the hobby forums who do the ITG dance. Now what?
    No more banning people who think ITG products suck, no more flooding the boards with ITG wineathons.

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