NHLPA and NHL Agree to Long-Term Exclusive Trading Card License Extensions with Upper Deck

Rights Expanded to Include NFT Trading Cards


TORONTO/NEW YORK (October 25, 2021) – The National Hockey League (NHL®) and the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) today announced that each have agreed to long-term extensions of their licenses with The Upper Deck Company to be the exclusive licensed manufacturer of physical trading cards. NFT trading cards will also be part of the assortment of the NHLPA- and NHL-licensed offerings from Upper Deck in the future.

“We’re proud to continue our longstanding partnership with Upper Deck, an industry leader in trading cards,” said Brian Jennings, NHL Chief Branding Officer and Senior Executive Vice President. “Upper Deck continues to be a staple for hockey enthusiasts with proven track-record of offering a broad range of trading cards and other collectible offerings that appeal to and engage new and existing fans and collectors of all ages. As a market leader at the forefront of innovation in the space, we look forward to working alongside Upper Deck and the NHLPA to continue to push the bounds of the best-in-class collecting experience, and to provide NHL fans with the most dynamic and robust offerings from the high-quality physical trading cards to the expansion of the e-Pack platform and the introduction of NFT trading cards, as well as the myriad of other related offerings that modern hobbyists seek.”

“Throughout our relationship, Upper Deck has demonstrated its strong commitment to NHL players and their fans. They have continued to deliver exceptional products over the last 19 months despite the difficulties brought about by the pandemic, said Don Fehr, NHLPA Executive Director. “We look forward to continuing to build on our partnership and offer the highest quality traditional cards, as well as innovative digital collecting opportunities.”

Upper Deck has maintained NHL and NHLPA trading card licenses since the 1990-91 season and is credited with numerous innovations that have shaped the trading card industry over the last three decades. In 2016, the company launched ground-breaking technology with its patent-pending Upper Deck e-Pack® platform, allowing collectors to buy, trade and store collectibles at any time, from anywhere in the world.

“Upper Deck’s focus has always been on creating the best experience possible for collectors,” said Jason Masherah, President of Upper Deck. “With our proven track record and omni-channel strategy, we are able to empower the end-consumer to engage with the hobby through whatever way they prefer, whether trading card shops, mass retailers, direct to consumer, or online. For now, and into the future.”

In conjunction with today’s announcement regarding the NHLPA and the NHL, Upper Deck is unveiling the latest extension of e-Pack’s worldwide success with a new patent-pending NFT platform, Evolution™. Evolution is expected to launch this Winter and will allow fans around the globe to collect and trade never-before-seen licensed NFTs. The NHL- and NHLPA-licensed trading card NFTs are expected to be available on the Evolution platform in the future. Upper Deck’s expanded online ecosystem will include a vibrant secondary market and promises to become a go-to destination for new and experienced collectors alike.

About Upper Deck

Upper Deck, headquartered in Carlsbad, California, is a worldwide sports and entertainment company built on the pillars of quality craftsmanship, authenticity and innovation with a dedication to creating products that turn memorable moments into collectibles. Upper Deck revolutionized the sports trading card experience with anti-counterfeit holograms, high quality card stock and stunning photography in its inaugural 1989 baseball set, and since then its mission has been to capture the excitement of the game and deliver it to fans of all ages. Upper Deck is home to the world’s greatest athletes, including Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Connor McDavid, Alexis Lafrenière, Shane Wright, Quinton Byfield, Tiger Woods, LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Find more information at, or follow us on Facebook (UDAuthenticated), Instagram (UpperDeckEnt and UpperDeckSports), Twitter (@UpperDeckSports), and YouTube (UDvids).

About the NHL

The National Hockey League (NHL®), founded in 1917, consists of 32 Member Clubs. Each team roster reflects the League’s international makeup with players from more than 20 countries represented, all vying for the most cherished and historic trophy in professional sports – the Stanley Cup®. Every year, the NHL entertains more than 670 million fans in-arena and through its partners on national television and radio; more than 191 million followers - league, team and player accounts combined - across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and YouTube; and more than 100 million fans online at The League broadcasts games in more than 160 countries and territories through its rightsholders including ESPN, Turner Sports and NHL NetworkMC in the U.S.; Sportsnet and TVA Sports in Canada; Viaplay in the Nordic Region; Yandex in Russia; and CCTV and Tencent in China; and reaches fans worldwide with games available to stream in every country. Fans are engaged across the League’s digital assets on mobile devices via the free NHL® App; across nine social media platforms; on SiriusXM NHL Network Radio™; and on, available in nine languages and featuring unprecedented access to player and team statistics as well as every regular-season and playoff game box score dating back to the League’s inception, powered by SAP. NHL Original Productions and NHL Studios produce compelling original programming featuring unprecedented access to players, coaches and League and team personnel for distribution across the NHL’s social and digital platforms.

The NHL is committed to building healthy and vibrant communities using the sport of hockey to celebrate fans of every race, color, religion, national origin, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status. The NHL’s Hockey Is For Everyone™ initiative reinforces that the official policy of the sport is one of inclusion on the ice, in locker rooms, boardrooms and stands. The NHL is expanding access and opportunity for people of all backgrounds and abilities to play hockey, fostering more inclusive environments and growing the game through a greater diversity of participants. To date, the NHL has invested more than $100 million in youth hockey and grassroots programs, with a commitment to invest an additional $5 million for diversity and inclusion programs over the next year.

About the National Hockey League Players’ Association

The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA), established in 1967, is a labour organization whose members are the players in the National Hockey League (NHL). The NHLPA works on behalf of the players in varied disciplines such as labour relations, product licensing, marketing, international hockey and community relations, all in furtherance of its efforts to promote its members and the game of hockey. In 1999, the NHLPA launched the Goals & Dreams fund as a way for the players to give something back to the game they love. Over the past 21 years, more than 80,000 deserving children in 34 countries have benefited from the players' donations of hockey equipment. NHLPA Goals & Dreams has donated more than $25 million to grassroots hockey programs, making it the largest program of its kind. For more information on the NHLPA, please visit

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