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From the Ground Up: Panini America Peeks the Future of NHL Trading Card Imagery

June 30, 2013

The future of NHL trading card photography is looking up — literally. That much became refreshingly apparent late last August during the 2012 NHLPA Rookie Showcase in Toronto, when renowned sports photographer Gregory Shamus, one of Panini America’s sharpest-shooters, took an innovative leap forward while appearing to take a few giant steps below the surface.

The revolutionary results — including 2012 No. 1 overall pick Nail Yakupov and 2011-12 rookie sensation Chris Kreider as seen from a truly unique, beneath-the-ice perspective — will finally make their appearance in 2013-14 Score Hockey’s Future Team Score insert, and they’ll most definitely will change the way you look at hockey cards.

The idea started as a suggestion from Shamus, a Pittsburgh Penguins team photographer who has experimented with the concept a few times in the past. Panini America’s Jeff Olsen (Photo Editor), Brandon Lesley (Creative Director) and Karvin Cheung (NHL Brand Manager) loved the idea and were anxious to see it executed inside Toronto’s MasterCard Centre during last year’s Showcase.

And so they did — with Shamus on his back as 29 of hockey’s next generation of superstars took their turn perched precariously¬†above him — in skates — atop a piece of Plexiglas.

“We’re always looking at how to push the envelope, whether it’s with autographs, memorabilia or photography,” Cheung said. “We strive to bring something to collectors outside the usual, and photo ideas and photo selection are critical to the success of that process and of our products.”

Although many of the players expressed at least some preliminary trepidation about ascending to their temporary Plexiglas pedestal, they took solace in the fact that it was constructed to withstand 1,000 pounds. They took even more solace in the finished product.

“The photos are spectacular,” Cheung said. “We had several players asking how they could get the photos afterward because they were so unique and unlike anything they’d ever seen. We can’t wait to see how collectors react to the cards when 2013-14 Score Hockey releases in late July.”

We previewed the image of Yakupov above. Below is a complete gallery of the Future Team Score insert set and a few shots of the process in action. But before you get to the pics, take two minutes to check out this exclusive video showing how Yakupov and the Montreal Canadiens’ Alex Galchenyuk tackled the unique photo station during the 2012 NHLPA Rookie Showcase.


15 Comments leave one →
  1. Arnie permalink
    June 30, 2013 8:24 am

    Hahaha these cards are horrible

  2. Dan permalink
    June 30, 2013 8:37 am

    Very cool concept! Looking forward to the release of 13-14 Score Hockey!

  3. Andrew mckay permalink
    June 30, 2013 8:38 am

    These seem like a cool idea but I think I need to see the cards in hand before I can pass judgement on them fully. The video shoot looked awesome though.

  4. gregmalloy permalink
    June 30, 2013 8:45 am

    Cool cards you should do this with the NBA cards also!

  5. hudsonfan15 permalink
    June 30, 2013 9:39 am

    Definitely a unique angle for this kind of photography used in cards, i can see how this could be translated fairly easily into basketball with a behind the backboard glass sort of thing. Thanks for the preview and look inside the shoot Tracy!

  6. June 30, 2013 10:06 am

    This is awesome, what a day, first the tease of Score and then the Draft. Thank you for the Galchenyuk and Campbell shots. I can’t wait for the autos of the Hot Rookies from each, hopefully we will get get some teases of those later.
    Quick Question: Are you an Avs fan, if so MacKinnon or Jones today if it is up to you?

    • June 30, 2013 10:18 am

      If I had to pick a hockey team, it would be the Avs. Given the choice, I lean toward Jones not just because he’s extremely talented, but because I got to watch his dad play with the Mavericks.

  7. David panopoulos permalink
    June 30, 2013 11:51 am

    Well played panini … Well played!

  8. June 30, 2013 2:36 pm

    Very cool design. I hope we see more creative ideas like this in the future!

  9. Tony Romo's Cyst permalink
    June 30, 2013 3:51 pm

    Not going to suck up like everyone else on here so I think this design is by far the dumbest you’ve had in a while. Why don’t you call it NHL Crotch Shot series.

  10. June 30, 2013 4:50 pm

    I am a big fan of alternative angles and shots on cards! Very cool. Now we know what the surface underneath the NHL ice must feel. HAHAHA!

  11. July 1, 2013 7:44 am

    Very awesome Idea, love the angles you can get of the players. A frosted acetate card with the player image in the middle would be sweet ^_^

  12. Sport Card Collectors permalink
    July 1, 2013 9:39 am

    Wow these are so cool! This amazing angle is sort of like the Above The Rim angle for basketball. Really like these shots and cant wait to find them in packs


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