In 1995, speaking to the future of hockey in the U.S., NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said: “The interest level is huge among kids, but we won’t really see it for 10 years. We are now where the NBA was in the ’80s.”
While he couldn’t predict the coming of Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and other top performers, Bettman’s timing was right on target. A decade later, interest in hockey with young fans is taking off.
Riding the new wave of young talent in the NHL – companies are now more than ever leveraging this passion for the puck among preteens and teens. A prime example: 15-year league partner Upper Deck, who will launch its “Backstage Pass” promotion on Nov. 5 in conjunction with the retail release of its Power Play product. The “Backstage Pass” promotion invites youngsters, 17-and-under, to win the chance of-a-lifetime of being named stick boy or stick girl during the NHL Young Stars Game – the stick boy is the person who makes sure each player has a stick at the ready during the on-ice action.
Upper Deck’s Power Play (MSRP $2.99 a pack) includes an insert set called Power Play Prospects which highlights first and second-year players that entered the league the second half of last season.
Upper Deck’s “Backstage Pass” sweepstakes’ awards monthly prizes along with the grand prize – giving one fan 17-or-under the chance to be a stick boy or girl at the NHL Young Stars Game, held during NHL All-Star Weekend.
To enter the Backstage Pass sweepstakes, kids can enter the alphanumeric number found on each Power Play Prospects card at www.upperdeckkkids.com , registering their cards to win one of the three monthly prizes and collect points toward prizes like iTunes songs, video games or Upper Deck Authenticated hockey products.
The contest’s grand prize will be awarded in January.