Rumours have begun to float around the hockey hobby world that the exclusive which Upper Deck has had in the hockey market for the past five years is ending. Rumours continue with the potential news that Panini will be brought into the mix. No one is saying much and no one is saying whether it is a Panini-exclusive or Panini in addition to one or more companies. Upper Deck and Panini have remained silent.
Dr. Brian Price of In the Game, which has produced hockey cards for the past five years while respecting the rules of the licensing agreements by not using logos and team names, had this to add to the discussion on a recent post on Hobby Insider:
"Although we have applied for a license with both the NHL and NHLPA and have repeatedly contacted them for more information about our situation, nothing has been forthcoming.
They continue to say that they are assessing the situation and will get back to us. However it has been quite a while and we have had no negotiations. Draw your own conclusions.
We are hearing that there will be NO exclusive next year and we are also hearing that Panini is in the mix.
This is not what I would like to be reporting but it where things are at from my position.
Nothing has been fair about the situation so far, we have paid our dues over the last five years and deserve an opportunity, since no negotiations have taken place with us at this late date, I am doubtful that the NHL or NHLPA are giving us anymore than lip service.
Sorry, I wish I had better news for our loyal collectors. But on a bright note, you're going to love BTP and Superlative Hockey Volume Two will be out for the Expo and it is our best product ever."
Of course, these are all rumours. Until the official news is revealed, it is all speculation. Most collectors have opinions on the situation however it is unclear as to whether the NHL or the NHLPA has any interest in listening to collectors as opposed to the almighty dollar.