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Upper Deck CEO McWilliam passes away at age 59

Posted on 7th January 2013 by hockeymedia in Cards,Hobby News,The Want List,Tribute | Tags:

NHLRichard McWilliam, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Upper Deck Company, has passed away. McWilliam had served as the company’s first and only CEO until his death at age 59 on Jan. 5, 2013.

His company was best known for producing popular trading cards cards, starting with the 1989 release of Upper Deck baseball cards. Over the course of the company’s 25-year history, McWilliam’s big-league sport licences included Major League Baseball, National Hockey League, National Football League, National Basketball Association, NASCAR, FIFA World Cup, Major League Soccer and National Collegiate Athletic Association.

The Upper Deck Company’s first hockey card set was produced in 1990-91, a season after which O-Pee-Chee & Topps relinquished their strangle hold on the hockey-card marketplace. For 26 years, O-Pee-Chee (in Canada) and Topps (in USA) were the only manufacturers on licensed NHL trading cards. Starting in 1990-91, Pro Set, Score and Upper Deck were added to the mix.

Incidentally, UDC’s Upper Deck hockey brand is now the longest-running NHL card series in the marketplace. Including this year, the annual Upper Deck series has been produced in 23 consecutive seasons.

McWilliam is survived by his wife and their three kids. The family has asked that donations be made to Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, CA, USA.

At the Upper Deck Company, Jason Masherah was promoted to UDC president on Jan. 7, 2013. Said Masherah to the collecting hobby, “our entire company is heartbroken and grieving his death today.”

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