The San Jose Sharks provided hockey fans with one of the most memorable moments of the season when they signed super fan, Sam Tageson, to a one-day deal with the team.
Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area and the Sharks Foundation worked in unison to make this dream come true for Tageson, who suffers from hypoplastic left heart syndrome and was told he should never ride a bike, let alone play hockey. Fans fought back tears as they watched Sam skate out of the Shark Head, an honor that until now has been reserved only for San Jose Sharks players. Sam was announced along with the rest of the team roster and a larger than life headshot of Sam was shown on the Jumbotron for all to see.
While that moment was extremely special for Sam, it couldn’t last forever, or at least not until Upper Deck got involved. Upper Deck surprised Sam at a charity event at Stevens Creek Sports Cards recently, with his very own Upper Deck Rookie card featuring Tageson adjacent to the famous San Jose shark head. Tageson was also surprised when San Jose Sharks defenseman Jason Demers and San Jose Sharks Radio play-by-play announcer Dan Rusanowsky showed up at the unveiling and were first in line to have Sam sign his new cards. The memorable event was captured on video and can be seen on YouTube.
“I came to get your autograph,” said Jason Demers to Sam Tageson. After the card was unveiled, Demers said, “Oh wow, that’s awesome. That’s better than my card!”
The event provided Sam with the opportunity to give back to the charities that gave such an amazing opportunity to him. Sam signed items for fans, with all the proceeds going to Make-A-Wish and the Sharks Foundation. Several thousand dollars were raised at the event and with more coming in as fans donate to these organizations in order to obtain one of Tageson’s Upper Deck Rookie cards.
“This whole experience feels like a dream I don’t want to wake up from,” said Sam Tageson. “To arrive and see over a hundred people waiting in line for my autograph was an unbelievable feeling. And now knowing people will be able to actually find my rookie card in regular packs of Upper Deck hockey cards is an incredible thrill.”
Upper Deck will be inserting a limited amount of Sam’s Upper Deck rookie cards in the company’s 2014-15 NHL® MVP set which is scheduled to release in early August.
“Sam’s story was a natural fit for Upper Deck’s ‘Heroic Inspirations’ campaign, which leverages the power of the Upper Deck brand by helping build awareness and support for sports-related charity organizations,” said Jason Masherah, president of Upper Deck. “We are happy to help shine a light on Sam’s story while providing fans with a very special collectible commemorating this incredible hockey moment.”