First, ITG announced an autograph deal with Gordie Howe last week. This signing left many of us, including yours truly, wondering if Gordie Howe would sign anywhere else, specifically Panini, now that his exclusive contract was up. I even Tweeted Panini yesterday asking if Panini was going to sign an autograph deal with Gordie Howe.
Well today, that question has been answered. Gordie Howe will now be signing for Panini hockey products. This creates a great boost in value to Panini’s hockey product line and will definitely be a great selling point for products.
Prior to this season, Upper Deck had a stranglehold on possibly the 3 best hockey players of all-time with their exclusive deals with Gretzky, Howe, and Orr. With Howe now moving on and signing with the 3 major hockey companies, that leaves just two exclusives with Upper Deck remaining.
Will “The Great One” and “Number 4, Bobby Orr” be joining “Mr. Hockey” any time soon? Only time will tell, but I am happy to have more options when I would love to pull a Mr. Hockey autograph, especially in a Whalers uniform. (Take note Panini/Upper Deck)