Earlier in the week, Washington Capitals prospect Tom Wilson participated in the NHLPA’s Rookie Showcase. The two-day event, held in Wilson’s hometown of Toronto, Ontario, brought dozens of the NHL’s most talented prospects together so that NHLPA partners Panini and Upper Deck could take photos and collect signatures for future trading cards. Big names at the event included 2013 first overall pick Nathan MacKinnon, third overall pick Jonathan Drouin, and that one Subban who plays goalie.
On day one, the players were split into groups and led through a series of sessions with Upper Deck and Panini. The uber-talented prospects signed helmets, sticks, and jerseys that will be sliced up and put into cards. Above, you can see that Wilson signed some cards with “Go Caps!”
Once the prospects were done signing and their hands were sufficiently cramped, handlers herded them into a room hosted by EA Sports, which probably did not help their sore hands. The players took 3D headshots (to be used in the NHL15) and then tried out the unreleased NHL14. Later, the players had a pretty intense tournament on the upcoming new release and Wilson– in the words of the NHLPA — won, “fearlessly dominating the entire group.” ‘Atta boiiii.
Way back in the eighties when trading cards were still packaged with a stick of bubble gum, a young, bright-eyed right-wing by the name of Craig Laughlin was featured on his first ever card. O-Pee-Chee, a Canadian candy company, produced the 1983-84 season set which also featured rookie cards for Scott Stevens, Phil Housley, and Brian Bellows.
Fast forward 28 years, Laughlin can now be found in the Capitals broadcast booth alongside play-by-play man Joe Beninati. The broadcast duo has been calling Capitals games together for 17 years. While the two took completely different paths to get to their current jobs, The Panini Group has now distinguished Joe B. with the same honor Laughlin received in his playing days. Yes, Joe B. now has an official trading card too. And it comes signed!