Beginning next Friday, thousands of Canada’s collectors (and a few from south of the border) will descend upon the Toronto International Centre. Once again, Panini has created a promotional set that includes Rookie Cards numbered to 399, unique memorabilia cards featuring hats and materials worn and used at the NHLPA Rookie Showcase, one-of-a-kind sketch cards, instant-win redemption cards good for autographed memorabilia, and much, much more.

This year’s special set, distributed via those patented two-card, silver-foil packs, will include:

  • A 25-card NHL base set featuring the top names in the league, including 10 Rookie Cards numbered to just 399.
  • A 22-card Score Hot Rookies with a design taken directly from the original 1990 set and featuring players from all four of North America’s major sports. Each card in the Hot Rookies set will be numbered to 399.
  • An 18-card Rookie Materials insert featuring jerseys and hats worn by several rookies from basketball, football and hockey.
  • Tools of the Trade memorabilia cards of Chris Kreider embedded with towel swatches that Kreider used during the 2012 NHLPA Rookie Showcase.
  • Additional scarce insert cards randomly inserted and numbered to either five or only one.
  • Original 1/1 NHL Player Sketch Cards
  • Autographed pieces of memorabilia distributed via instant-win redemption cards.

Here’s the breakdown of how Panini America’s wrapper-redemption packs will be distributed:

  • Collectors opening one box of 2012-13 Certified Hockey at the Panini America booth will receive 6 wrapper-redemption packs
  • Collectors opening one box of 2012-13 Score Hockey at the Panini America booth will receive 1 wrapper-redemption pack.

Good luck and we’ll see you at the Expo!

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Panini has begun revealing their plans for the 2012 Fall Sports Card Expo at the International Centre in Toronto, Ontario. Once again, they hope  to be the show-stealing manufacturer with their wrapper-redemption program. This fall, it will be headlined by a 22-card Score Hot Rookies insert which provides a blast from the past.

Incorporating a familiar design taken directly from the landmark 1990 Score Hot Rookies insert, Panini’s 22-card multi-sport Expo insert will feature numbering to /399 on the front, scarce autograph versions, and a checklist with top rookies from all four major North American sports.

The set features Ashton Carter and Jussi Rynnas of the Maple Leafs, Brett Lawrie of the Blue Jays, Terrence Ross of the Raptors, and Toronto-born Tristan Thompson of the Cleveland Cavaliers. In addition, top NFL rookies such as Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Trent Richardson, and Doug Martin also are included.

In the coming days, look for more details, including the list of redemption products.

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“Sanders to auction football card to help Houston couple” from the Windsor Star

Barry Sanders knows that his trading cards are bought and sold every day.

When the Hall of Fame running back learned that a Houston couple desperate to have a baby was auctioning off one of his most rare cards to fund one last attempt at in vitro fertilization, he was stunned.

Now the former Detroit Lions star is helping spread the word about the sale of the card signed by both he and Walter Payton so Todd and Ula Nelkin can raise $20,000. It’s hard for Sanders to imagine one of his cards helping bring a child into the world.

“It would be very, very special,” Sanders said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I’m not sure that I even have the words, but it will be very special if I were able to help. Obviously we know there are no guarantees, but I will do as much as I can.”

The 1999 Donruss card has a picture of Sanders and his signature on one side and Payton, who died in November 1999, is seen on the other side with his autograph. It is the only one of its kind rated a 10 by the Beckett grading service. The Nelkins are auctioning it off this week on eBay.

“I would love to keep the card, but I would rather have a kid,” Todd said. “It’s a wonderful card. You daydream that maybe 30, 40 years from now, our son or daughter will find out where the card is and what happened to it.”

The Nelkins are huge sports fans and own a sports memorabilia shop in Houston. They met on an online dating site and had their first date at a Houston Rockets game before being married at another one.

“We’re two big kids at heart,” Ula said. “Whenever we go to an outing, whether it be a movie or a symphony or a musical we think: ‘We just can’t wait to bring our little one to this.”’

They’ve both always wanted kids, but the 45-year-old Todd and the 42-year-old Ula met later in life and when they decided to have children they learned her eggs were no longer viable. They’ve been trying to have a child for about three years and already spent about $40,000 on IVF with donor eggs, only to have both rounds end in heartbreak.

Ula had to have emergency surgery after the first try resulted in an ectopic pregnancy. On the next round she never became pregnant. They say their credit cards are maxed out, so they started thinking about their next step. The Nelkins, who are also looking into adoption, say they’re financially stable but don’t have another $20,000 for when the doctor says Ula is ready for the next procedure.

They hope their intention to use the proceeds of the sale of the card to have a baby will make it more valuable.

“That adds something to the legacy of the card,” Ula said. “Maybe this card will be known as the baby maker.”

The couple, who donned Lions shirts while talking about the auction, couldn’t believe it when Sanders reached out to them on Twitter. They’ve since texted with and spoke to Sanders by telephone.

“That’s a scream-in-your-closet type of thing,” Todd said of Sanders’ offering to help.

Sanders said he has his “fingers crossed” that the Nelkins are able to raise enough money for the procedure and that it’s successful this time. Their story touched him because of the joy his children have brought him.

“Part of why I was willing to get involved is because it is a real unique privilege and something that’s very important and precious and like nothing else you’ll ever do,” he said of parenthood.

“So the fact that I can maybe lend a small hand to a couple in this way, is a very unique privilege that I don’t take lightly. I certainly feel for them. I know how much my kids mean to me, and I know that sometimes couples have problems with that, so I just wanted to do what I could to help them.”

Ula gets emotional when talking about the failed IVF attempts, and that prompts Todd to interrupt her to provide encouragement.

“She would be a wonderful mother,” he says, patting her hand.

Todd’s parents and Ula’s mother are all elderly and they hope to give them a grandchild before it’s too late.

“This is our last shot,” Ula said.

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The Topps Company, Inc. and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) announced the release of Topps HUDDLE, the first Topps football app officially licensed by the NFLPA.

In April, Topps launched Topps BUNT and Topps PENNANT, two iOS applications for baseball fans that have since attracted more than 100,000 users. Building upon this success, Topps and the NFLPA are partnering to create a fun, casual social gaming experience for everyday NFL fans.

Topps HUDDLE blends the ease-of-use of a casual social game with the real-time, real-world action of fantasy football. In Topps HUDDLE, users declare their football allegiances, collect and trade real NFL players, and earn points based on their on-the-field performance. The app highlights the stars of the National Football League – the players – and allows fans to stay more connected with the sport through rewards and achievements.

Features include:

  • Real-Time Roster Optimization: Did your QB just get injured? Move NFL players in and out of your starting lineup in real-time—during games—to maximize your points.
  • Expanded News Feed: What’s your QB saying on Twitter? Get the latest NFL news with more editorial coverage, Twitter feeds, and “shout outs” from fellow fans.
  • Multi-Zone Leaderboard: Have fantasy league fatigue? Compete against your Facebook friends and all other app users to crown football’s greatest fan.

“For more than 60 years, Topps has been committed to connecting fans with their favorite athletes. With the release of Topps HUDDLE, we are building on this legacy and extending this iconic brand even deeper into the casual, social, and mobile space,” said Michael Bramlage, Vice President at The Topps Company, Inc. “It is very exciting to be partnering with the NFLPA to connect new, digital-first fans with their favorite football players.”

“Topps is a key partner, and we’re excited to work with them in bringing NFL players closer to fans on the iPhone and iPod touch,” said Kathie Vu, Vice President of Licensing and Business Development for NFL PLAYERS INC., the marketing and licensing subsidiary of the NFLPA. “Showcasing the great players of the NFL in a beautifully-designed, compelling new app is good for fans, players, and the sport. And the partnership is an important proof point in our on-going efforts to give app and game developers broader access to the intellectual property rights of NFL players.”

“We’re confident fans will enjoy this creative mobile and social experience,” said Nicole Pozzi, Senior Manager of Multimedia Licensing for NFL PLAYERS. “Topps continues to find new and exciting ways of showcasing our players while providing innovative engagement opportunities for fans wherever and whenever they want.”

Topps HUDDLE is now available for free in the App Store for iPhone and iPod touch. For more information, please visit:

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Fans of In The Game at the 2012 Fall Expo Redemption Program won’t be disappointed. The two products being redeemed at the Fall Expo will be Forever Rivals and Superlative Hockey Volume III.

Forever Rivals Redemption

Collectors opening a box of Forever Rivals at the In The Game booth will receive a Forever Rivals Game-Used Memorabilia card especially produced for the 2012 Fall Expo. There will be 54 different Forever Rivals Fall Expo Redemption Cards produced.

48 of the cards will have 19 silver versions and a 1/1 gold version. The last 6 cards will have 9 silver version and a 1/1 gold version. The cards will feature two, four and six authentic game-used memorabilia pieces.


In addition, everyone who redeems a box of Forever Rivals at the Fall Expo will be eligible to receive a special Forever Rivals commemorative art piece by Paul Madden. Each collector breaking a Forever Rivals box will receive a coupon to fill out for the draw for the commemorative art piece. Paul will be drawing the piece of art during the Fall Expo and In The Game will be presenting the finished piece to the winner of the draw on Sunday at 3:30 PM.

Superlative Hockey Volume III Redemption

Each collector breaking a book of Superlative Hockey Volume III at the In The Game booth will receive Two Team Superlative Game-Used Memorabilia cards produced specially for the 2012 Fall Expo.

The Team Superlative Redemption cards will feature 3, 4, 5 and 6 memorabilia piece cards. Each card will be limited to 9 silver versions and a 1/1 gold version. There are 94 different Team Superlative cards being produced for the 2012 Fall Expo.

Other In The GameLand Attractions

Deal or No Deal sponsored by Prince Wholesalers
Shoot to win prizes
Win a free Darryl Sittler Game-Used Leafs Jersey
Spin To Win prizes
Win a Paul Madden original art piece

More details will be announced prior to the Fall Expo.

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