UPPER DECK’S CHRIS CARLIN ON LAFRENIÈRE, THE CUP AND MORE
eckett Hockey: What are your thoughts on the New York Rangers winning the top pick? Assuming they make the obvious choice, how will playing in America’s biggest media market impact Alexis Lafrenière’s hobby presence?
e lights shine bright on Broadway and there is tremendous pressure to perform. Many will fade into the shadows, while others take the main stage and dazzle the audience. We have no doubt Alexis Lafrenière will be a major star in the NHL and New York Rangers fans will fall in love with his dynamic style of play. Having him go to an Original Six team with such a passionate fan base will create tremendous excitement for 2020-21 NHL releases. People have already been coming back to the hobby in droves, but Alexis will give them another reason because of the opportunity to capture Rookie Cards of a generational type of player in one of the biggest media markets in the world.
Chris Carlin: BH: Upper Deck has an exclusive autograph deal with Lafrenière. Can you tell us when we can expect to see autographed material showing Alexis with his new team? How does playing in NewYork impact the value of this relationship to UD?
At just 16-years-old, Lafrenière (became) the youngest athlete Upper Deck had ever signed to a spokesman deal. While the company does autograph deals all the time, deals for spokespeople are different. We anticipate they will become the face of our company and we don’t take that lightly. We believe he has the opportunity to be the face of New York sports for the future and you will likely see Upper Deck Authenticated pair him with another former New York Ranger who is also an Upper Deck spokesman: Wayne Gretzky. Now Wayne didn’t get his start in New York, but he certainly brought the Garden to its feet making some incredible memories there. We can’t wait to see Alexis take the ice and bring the electricity back to the Big Apple.
CC: BH: We have a better idea now of what the 2020-21 NHL season might look like than we did when we last spoke. It appears that it won’t get underway until early December, which is well past the usual release date for Upper Deck Series 1. Will you stick to the early-November time frame?