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Panini outlines plans for 2012-13 hockey releases

Posted Jan 17, 2013 by Bob D'Angelo

Updated Jan 17, 2013 at 05:38 PM

In the wake of the NHL Players Association’s decision to restrict 2012-13 rookie cards, Panini America on Thursday announce an updated schedule of hockey releases for the remainder of this shortened NHL season.

To update: On Wednesday, Adam Larry, the NHLPA’s director of licensing, said that the players’ union decided to limit the rookie class for Panini and Upper Deck products to the players who debuted between the 2012 All-Star Game and the final game of the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals. In essence, all rookies who will debut during this current season will appear in Panini and Upper Deck’s 2013-14 products. That will amount to a double class, since rookies who debut in the 2013-14 season also will be included in next season’s products.

So on Thursday, Panini announced that 2012-13 Limited Hockey will be available and hobby and retail outlets in early February. A second product, Rookie Anthology, is expected to hit the shelves in early June. And Panini rounds out its hockey lineup with the release of Prime Hockey in August.

That means several products Panini had planned for release, like Dominium and Titanium, will not be manufactured this season.

The good news is that there will be hockey, albeit a truncated season, beginning Saturday. The bad news is that hockey card collectors — particularly those who prospect for rookies — are being forced to wait.

Exceptions will be rookies like Chris Kreider of the New York Rangers, Jaden Schwartz of the St. Louis Blues and Sven Baertschi of the Calgary Flames —the only players who qualify under the NHLPA’s guidelines.

Predictably, Panini has put on a brave face and promised to move forward. Panini CEO Mark Warsop said his company will “look forward to working with the league and its players to continue the momentum the hockey trading card category experienced last season.”

Whether that momentum is blunted by the NHLPA’s decision this week, or by the hockey lockout in general, remains to be seen.

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