There was an announcement yesterday by the NHLPA's Adam Larry which basically addressed the situation regarding the 2012/13 rookie class.
"After discussions both internally and externally, including with many stakeholders within the trading card industry, we have decided to restrict the rookie class for the 2012/13 product to those players who debuted between the 2012 All-Star Game and the conclusion of the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals. This means that all rookies who debut during the 2012/13 season will have their rookie cards appear in 2013/14 products."
Here's the link to the article on Beckett's website.
This basically means that there will be no new rookies appearing in any of the remaining products this season. Only those who are currently in products (like Calgary's Sven Baertschi) will be the ones who represent the 2012/13 season as rc's.
Bummer for this year, but boy that could mean a pretty stacked rookie class next season with a double dose.
Sadly, this could really hurt the hobby in the sense that a lot of people have been anticipating some new product with a new crop of players. Now they will have to wait an entire year before they get that wish.
I don't know how much this will affect the local hobby establishments as I can only imagine sales have dropped a bit since the lockout started. With this announcement, a lot of returning momentum might have just been squashed.
And the news doesn't get much better....
Panini today announced their plans as a result of the NHLPA's announcement.
While they are excited about the double rookie class next season, they have plans to release only three more hockey products this year.
"...with one product launching shortly after the start of the NHL season later this week. 2012/13 Limited Hockey will be available at both retail and hobby stores in early February. Limited will be followed by 2012/13 Rookie Anthology Hockey, available at hobby shops in early June. The 2012/13 Panini America NHL/NHLPA product calendar will be rounded out with the highly anticipated return of Prime Hockey, which will be available at hobby shops in August."
Here's the link to the article on Panini's blog.
That means no Titanium, Dominion, Elite, Crown Royale, Contenders, etc.
Ouch. That hurts.
While it will lighten the load a bit when it comes to the number of potential Linden cards I'm going to add to the wantlist this year, the complete cancellation of a number of products just can't be good for the industry.
I can understand some of the reasons for doing it though. It would be near impossible to any sort of auto or memorabilia of rookies into the products with such a lightning quick turnaround. Is it better to put the brakes on the products altogether or release what would surely be a substandard product.
People are patient, but I think this is the right thing to do. It sucks for a lot of people but I can only imagine the buzz come this time next year.
Upper Deck has yet to announce their plans for remaining 2012/13 product. What will they do with the Young Guns in UD Series II? What will become of The Cup? Will it be cancelled too?
Lots of news still to come I'm sure. And without question will be a hot topic in the card shop and at the shows.
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