Upper Deck, the Californian trading card company, has announced an exclusive licensing deal with ice hockey’s newly launched Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL).

Under the terms of the tie-up, Upper Deck will be the first exclusive licensed producer of physical and digital trading cards for the PWHL.

To kick off the license and celebrate International Women's Day, Upper Deck has released a free digital trading card set for fans to start their collection with on the online service e-Pack.

McKenzie Young, marketing lead at Upper Deck, has said: "This collaboration represents a shared commitment to advancing hockey and providing opportunities for all athletes to excel on and off the ice. We're enthusiastic about championing the growth of women's hockey and inspiring the next generation of both athletes and collectors."

Amy Scheer, senior vice president of business operations for PWHL, added: "Upper Deck's unparalleled expertise in sports collectibles makes them an ideal partner as we continue to build our community. Together, we will elevate the visibility of the PWHL, inspiring fans around the world to embrace the passion of our game and connect with stars of our league."

Upper Deck also has a long-term trading card licensing deal in place with the male NHL.

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The PWHL’s inaugural regular season started on January 1 and will feature 72 games through May 5, followed by the playoffs.

The league features three teams in the US – Boston, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and the New York City area – and three teams in Canada – Montreal, Toronto, and Ottawa.

The league managed to secured several commercial partners for its inaugural season, including regional airline Air Canada, equipment manufacturer CCM Hockey, and Canadian Tire Corporation. 

The PWHL also set an attendance record for a professional women’s hockey match with 8,318 fans at the opener between Ottawa and Montreal at The Arena at TD Place, stripping the previous record of 7,765 people attending the championship game of the 2021-22 Svenska Damhockeyligan, the Swedish Women's Hockey League, between Brynäs and Luleå.