There have been updates to this situation since this website was officially launched (November 5, 2015)
December 15, 2015
Dr. Brian H. Price posted the following message on Hobby Insider, describing parts of the liquidation process and the relationship between ITG and ebay Seller north-of-7
My better judgement tells me not to write this post but so much for my better judgement. Here it goes:
Firstly, there was no "back door" sale to SteelCity and Dave and Adam. Like it or not, the sale was right through the "front door" as the customer service inventory which were an asset on the books of the company had to be sold. The company had creditors and the assets had to be liquidated to pay off the creditors. That was simply business. Again there was no "back door" sale to Dave and Adam and and SteelCity.
Once the company paid off its obligations and bases on the hobby reaction, I worked diligently to repurchase the offending cards from Dave and Adam and SteelCity and that is how the Final Vault was born. I thank Dave and Adam and SteelCity for their co-operation and understanding in this transaction.
As I said in an earlier blog, the milk was already spilled so the best I could do was mop it up and pour it back in the bottle. I have done my best to do so.
With respect to North-of-Seven. They were NOT part of the sale of the customer service inventory. North-of-Seven is the online arm of ITG's second largest distributor, the Hockey Connection.
Over ITG's history, the Hockey Connection purchased millions of dollars of product from us on release date and many hundreds of thousands of dollars in close-outs. Some of this product was sold to their retail customers but most of it was broken and sold online through their North-of-Seven division. It was their choice to keep the two businesses separate and that was their decision which as a supplier, I had to respect.
When ITG was closed down, it was the Hockey Connection that bought most of the unsold product in our warehouse on the condition that they could not sell boxes and impact the market price of products, the product they bought had to be broken. They have lived up to their part of the bargain and that is why you see so many cards continuing to be for sale today.
At every Expo the Hockey Connection broke tons of product with their staff at our booth much of the show breaking products for redemptions. That's why they had so many redemption cards. In addition, they brought us large cartons full of HSHS redemptions over the years from products that they have broken.
Daniel Naiman the owner of the Hockey Connection and North-of-Seven is not my son-in-law, he is not my nephew, he is very, very good and loyal customer and has been since the 1998-99 Be A Player Signature Series.
Those that want to hate the old ITG have spread these stories over the years so much that they have taken a life of their own. That does not make them the truth, as they are NOT.
The funny thing is that none of these detractors have purchased 1/100'th of what the Hockey Connection/North-of-Seven has purchased but they are surprised that the Hockey Connection/North-of Seven has 100x's more inserts than they have.
I have now responded and I am sure the haters will make up their own stories to refute the truth, I guess that's part of the new society that we live in. Hide behind your computer and make up stories.
I came out of retirement to do what I thought was right and repurchase the offending cards and make the Final Vault. I am glad I did and will try to make this last product the best I can to deliver value to the consumer. That's the best I can do.
I will not engage in an online battle with posters with different agendas. I have the list of customer service issues that go back to 1998 by name, believe me, most the ITG haters were born from collectors who tried to get their way in a customer service issue and failed. If I wanted to stoop to their level, I would name names and post emails but I WON'T.
I have tried to explain the North-of-Seven situation as I obtained Daniel Naiman's permission to do so. He was gracious in allowing me to discuss his business in this post.
Sorry for the long reply but this is rather upsetting to me, especially since during my 20+ years in our hobby, I tried to put the collector first.
November 14, 2015
Dr. Brian H. Price posted the following message on his blog page
I would like to offer an update on my previous blog.
I spent three days talking with collectors at the Fall Expo in Toronto. The dialogue was both very civil and informative. I understand the collectors’ point of view and I will continue to strive to satisfy their needs.
Negotiations have been finalized to reacquire the assets described in my previous blog. Once they are in my hands they will be organized and the Final Vault product will be configured. You can be assured that the Final Vault will give collectors a great “bang for their buck”.
In addition, a portion of the profits from The Final Vault will be donated to the Make A Wish Foundation.
As soon as I have a final configuration, I will blog the information to all my followers. In addition, I will send the information out to our distributors.
This week I am working on restoring firstname.lastname@example.org so that collectors will be able to communicate directly with me. I will blog when the email address is fully functional.
The analogy has been made that sometimes it’s too late to get the milk back in the bottle once it has been spilt. I understand that, but I am trying to sponge up the milk and empty the sponge back into the bottle. That’s the best I can do.
Hopefully, I will be successful.
November 9, 2015
Beckett Hockey reports the In The Game Controversy in Issue #278, October 2015:
Unissued In The Game cards create hobby confusion
In recent months, collectors have been quietly buzzing about the sudden appearance of cards that were not released by In The Game while it was owned and operated by Dr. Brian Price. Certified autograph cards featuring Patrick Roy and Curtis Joseph from 2001-02 Be A Player Signature Series have popped up for sale online along with a 2012-13 Motown Madness Autograph of Mike Vernon. A 2006-07 International Ice Quad Patch featuring Ryan Miller, Al Montoya, Mike Richter, and John Vanbiesbrouck has been spotted as well.
It should be noted that all manufacturers have created cards that, for one reason or another, do not end up making it into the products they were created for and are not destroyed due to the cost of the autographs and production. In the case of the autographed cards above, they likely would have been received after the release date and were kept out of circulation until now.
In the past, excess inventory or unproduced cards from manufacturers such as Pinnacle, Fleer, and Pacific Trading Cards made they way to the secondary market after they shut their doors and, in some cases, had an impact on the amount of certain cards that were then available in the marketplace. Since it appears that some major retailers did end up with some of the In The Game leftover stock and some previously challenging cards to find are now surfacing, the impact of this influx of cards could have a potential impact on their values over time since there is evidence of additional quantities of some cards existing above the amount that were seeded into the product.
Requests to Price for comment on the matter were not returned at press time. If a collector sees a previously unissued card for sale, they are encouraged to submit any relevant information to Beckett Hockey so it may be added to our database.
November 6, 2015
I took the opportunity to talk to Dr Price at Expo on Friday and we met in a private area within the corporate zone. There were no fisticuffs. No security guards were required. It was a cordial and informative conversation between 2 hobbyists. We talked for at least 30 minutes.
It's hard to put the genie back in the bottle after this situation but I believe Dr Price's intentions are legit. After all, the legacy of his name and the original ITG reputation are at stake.
Dr Price says he will be announcing more formal plans on how to work towards resolution. Based on our discussion, he will definitely have his work cut out for himself. It won't be easy. I believe transparency is the key to regaining confidence and I truly hope he will share as much as he can publicly. Time will tell and I wish him the best of luck.
If any other concerned collectors are attending the Expo this weekend, I encourage you to take Dr Price up on his offer to discuss this situation. Become more than a mere "keyboard warrior".
November 5, 2015:
Dr. Brian H. Price posted the following message on his blog page:
When the In The Game brands were sold and the company ceased operations, the company had assets and liabilities. In business, when winding down a company, the assets must be sold to pay all debts to the creditors and this was the case with In The Game.
Some of the assets sold caused issues with collectors, this was unintentional.
During my twenty plus years in the hobby it has always been a top priority of mine to put the collector first and I want to continue to do so in my retirement.
For that reason, I am negotiating in an attempt to reacquire the assets that caused these issues with collectors. If my negotiations are successful, those assets will be used in a Final Vault product so that cards in question will not be confused with any cards issued in In The Game products.
With respect to individual situations that have already occurred with collectors, I will be prepared to deal with them in order to hopefully satisfy the collectors’ needs.
I certainly will try my best to do so.
More information about how to contact me directly and the Final Vault product will be available in the near future. In the interim, I will be available at the Sportcard and Memorabilia Expo this weekend at the International Centre in Toronto