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Bob D’Angelo

Bob is a longtime member of the Florida sports media, having served as a reporter and copy editor for more than 30 years. His true sports passion, however, is the history of the various games, exhibited by his in-depth book reviews and hobby of collecting cards and other sports memorabilia. He blogs for TBO.com on both subjects, transferring his work for the Tampa Tribune to the realm of cyberspace.


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Upper Deck donates packs of hockey cards to military charity

Posted Nov 11, 2013 by Bob D'Angelo

Updated Nov 11, 2013 at 09:57 PM

On this Veterans Day, I always think about my neighbor, Jim Rizzo, an avid collector and a veteran of the first Gulf War. Jim has had some medical issues through the years that have forced him into a wheelchair, but his passion for collecting has never waned. His collection of New York Mets cards, autographs and vintage cards are fantastic.

That’s why I am always pleased when a card company does something special for military personnel. This year, Upper Deck donated 6,000 packs of new hockey cards to Defending the Blue Line, a charity that ensures that children of military personnel “are afforded every opportunity to participate in the game of hockey.” The first step is exposing children to hockey cards, and to its credit, Upper Deck is more than happy to donate cards.

Defending the Blue Line (http://www.defendingtheblueline.org) is a nonprofit organization that was created by National Guard members from Minnesota. You have to like their motto: “Helping children of armed service members stick with hockey programs.” Defending the Blue Line covers the costs of registration fees, hands out free equipment, covers the expense of summer camps, and sends families to watch NHL games. If you are going to build upon hockey’s fan base, this is the way to do it.

In a news release, Upper Deck president Jason Masherah said his company “couldn’t be more excited about helping” Defending the Blue Line.

“Upper Deck loves to assist charities involving the military and kids, so to find a charitable organization that targets both those key demographics was very exciting for the company,” he said. “We are looking forward to continuing our efforts to help the organization in the future, and we know this donation will be a great way to share the fun of collecting NHL cards with these very worthy kids.”

Interestingly, the Defending the Blue Line website credits these quotes to UD marketing manager Chris Carlin, but regardless of who said it, the intentions are admirable.

In the same news release, Defending the Blue Line founder and president Shane Hudella said he was “so excited” that Upper Deck has lent support to military kids.

“I can’t wait to see the looks on their faces when they receive a new pack of hockey cards after getting the gear they need to play hockey,” Hudella said. “As they rifle through the cards in search of their favorite player, I know it will take their mind off of the stress that comes along with having a parent serving in our armed forces.

“We’re very thankful for this gift, it is through the generosity of the great people at Upper Deck that we will now be able to provide this ‘cherry on top’ benefit as we continue to keep hockey alive for the children of our nation’s heroes.”

My friend Jim Rizzo would approve. So on this Veterans Day, a salute goes out to Upper Deck.

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