My Daughter and I were very lucky to be 2 of 6 people allowed behind the scenes to watch the Upper Deck photo shoot in Toronto on September 1st. After a good sleep on Monday evening in Toronto we enjoyed some down time at the Toronto Zoo with Jamie, a good friend and business associate. It was hot as heck with the temperature soaring to 41 with the humidity! Even some of the animals had to go inside to escape the smoldering heat. Seriously? Don’t lions come from Africa? I guess they have become as climatized as I have become in Kelowna! We then visited with Andrew and the gang at AJ’s and took part in a signing with P.K. Subban. What a great guy! I told him I had seen him play in the playoffs in Abbotsford; he laughed and mentioned that he left scared after coach Playfair from Abbotsford went crazy on the bench.
The next morning was the big day. We got to the arena early to get our credentials. We met the other 4 people attending and were escorted upstairs to see a behind-the- scenes making of Upper Deck hockey cards. They showed us the stickers that they have players sign to put on their cards at a later date. They had a large selection of sticks, helmets, jerseys, etc. that the players would proceed to sign by the end of the day totally over 1200 autographs! I got a list of players attending this event that showed not only rookies drafted this year but others as well (much to our surprise and delight)! Jordan Eberle (Canada`s World Junior stud and one of my faves), Kyle Beach (friend and 11th overall pick) and Chet Pickard (one of my daughters favorite players who she met a few times watching him play vs. Kelowna.) were all on hand for us to meet!
Next, it was off to ice level; we had complete access to everything, photo shoots on and off ice. We could watch the skits that all players had to go through and trust me they are very funny and you will be able to view on You Tube in the near future. My daughter got to do one with Tyler Seguin. We talked to most players but enjoyed longer times with some like Taylor Hall, Zack Hamill and Tyler Seguin who gave Brianna his stick he used all day (which leaves her mom wondering where amongst all her things in her room will she be putting this new addition to her ever-growing collection!) We then got invited to the Hockey Hall of Fame but this H.O.F. is where the goods that didn’t fit in the down town H.O.F. are kept. I grabbed Pickard and Beach`s Dad and went for the tour. Wow! It was amazing! The goods that are there are crazy – old hockey cards, magazines, 1/1 art pieces, jerseys and much, much more. We then had dinner with a couple players, got some autographs and watched a great exhibition game.
Upper Deck and the NHLPA put on an amazing event, one my daughter and I will never forget. Check out my photo gallery to see other great photos. It was great to interact with the young players and see how they treated Brianna as a 9 year-old. They kept calling her Crosby (as she was wearing his jersey) and asking her for treats and drinks. All were outstanding. Tyler Seguin won me over as he was one of the greatest. Also, Hamill, Pickard, and Hall are all guys we were proud to meet. I will be staying tuned to those we met over the next few years; hopefully, life in the NHL will bring them many great things and they remain as grounded as they all seemed during our visit!