The Sights & Sounds: Panini America’s First Day at the 2011 NHLPA Rookie Showcase

TORONTO, Ontario -- Reason No. 6,347 to love the annual hockey-card extravaganza known as the NHLPA Rookie Showcase? Stories like this right here:

TORONTO, Ontario — Reason No. 6,347 to love the annual hockey-card extravaganza known as the NHLPA Rookie Showcase? Stories like this right here:

Ryan Strome, the fifth overall pick of the New York Islanders in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, is busy signing a healthy batch of the Pen Pals duals that he shares with new superstar teammate John Tavares. Strome pauses briefly to snap a picture of one of the cards with his smart phone camera and continues signing.

Minutes later, Strome is notified of an incoming text, which he reads with a chuckle. Turns out he texted the Pen Pals pic to Tavares, whose one-sentence reply was priceless: “Why are you on top?”

Indeed, Day One at the 2011 NHLPA Rookie Showcase was absolutely brimming with quality stories, quality signatures and quality time spent with 26 of the top rookie prospects in the NHL. The youngsters arrived early and in good spirits, ready to sign the patches and cards that will soon become some of the most collected artifacts in the sport.

The highlights were plentiful and included, among other things, an extremely cooperative No. 1 overall pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (who likely signed more than any other player in the Panini America studio) to the completion of the first quad Pen Pals card, featuring Zack Kassian, Greg Nemisz, Ryan Ellis and Adam Henrique.

And you can see many of the Day One highlights in the video and gallery that follow. While today was reserved primarily for autograph acquisition, tomorrow will be focused on photography and interviews and will unfold on the ice and in studio at Toronto’s MasterCard Centre. We’ll have complete coverage of Day Two tomorrow.

Until then, enjoy the sights and sounds from an extremely productive Day One at the 2011 NHLPA Rookie Showcase.

And now, to the pictures:

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18 Replies to “The Sights & Sounds: Panini America’s First Day at the 2011 NHLPA Rookie Showcase”

  1. Silly question… let’s say player X gets hurt in training camp, misses the pre-season games and gets sent back down to junior without ever taking a shift with the big club. Can he still have NHL cards in 2011/12?

  2. Love the Tavares quote all to funny…..great job guys…….Panini shoots …….they Score! Et le but incroyable!

  3. I always wanted to ask….how do you decide which player goes on top or first when you do dual signed (or more) signed cards? Very funny text though. Love the behind the scenes.

  4. Tracy,
    What is happening with the signed hats? Will there be redemptions in 2011-12 product or can we get those sooner? You aren’t going to make us wait till the National next year will you?

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