NHL (series)

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Basic Information
EA Canada, Budcat Creations, EA Montreal, High Score Productions, Park Place Productions, Tiertex Design Studios, Visual Concepts, HB Studios
EA Sports
Ice Hockey
PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360

NHL is a series of professional ice hockey simulation video games developed by EA Canada and published yearly by Electronic Arts under the EA Sports brand. The game is developed under license from both the National Hockey League (NHL), which enable the use of team names and designs in the game, and the NHL Players' Association (NHLPA), which enables the use of player names and likenesses.[citation needed]

Features[edit | edit source]

File:NHL Hockey screenshot.png
NHL Hockey has NHL and NHLPA licenses, so player names and team logos are in use.

The Free-4-All mini-game was introduced in "NHL 2005," letting gamers compete with each other by scoring goals on one goaltender, either in a certain time limit, or until someone scores a certain number of goals. With appropriate settings, defensemen can be incorporated into the game, making it more challenging.

The NHL is not the only league in more recent games: A Nordic expansion of NHL 2001 was published by EA Sports Nordica introducing Finland's SM-Liiga and Sweden's Elitserien. Germany's Deutsche Eishockey Liga was introduced in 2004 and the two previous leagues made a return. The game has expanded to include the Czech Republic's Tipsport Extraliga in "NHL 07" and in "NHL 10" the Swiss NLA. Before "NHL 07," users could only use European teams for Exhibition and Season modes. Now, users can bring a European team into Dynasty mode.

A revamped Create-a-Player feature is available after being taken out of "NHL 2005." Gone are the pre-modeled faces to choose from and in comes facial sculpting, inspired by that of the Tiger Woods PGA Tour videogames. Create-a-Team has remained the same. Players have the ability to recreate defunct or vintage teams, or start new ones with plenty of logos and jersey designs to choose from. The Hartford Whalers logo is not included due to the fact that the city of Hartford owns the team's rights and has prohibited the team's inclusion in the game. However, in "NHL 2001", there is a Hartford jersey selectable for Carolina in any modes. Create-a-Team is unavailable for the "NHL 07" Xbox 360 game. A Shootout mode is introduced in "NHL 07," emulating a true-to-NHL shootout. It is used to get Xbox 360 players familiarized with the game's new Skill Stick, as well as a means to practice shooting. Users have the ability to turn shootout rules on or off. Note: Shootout options in actual games will always be on.

International play[edit | edit source]

The World Cup of Hockey was a feature in "NHL 2005", coinciding with said event featuring authentic rosters and uniforms. It has been relabeled as "EA Sports' World Tournament" from "NHL 06" onward with non-licensed jerseys due to the lack of the IIHF license. Rosters for international teams in "NHL 06" were based on the real rosters of the 2006 Winter Olympics. NHL 10 did not feature the Olympic rosters of the teams playing in the 2010 Winter Olympics upon release; a later roster update corrected many national teams.[1]

Installments[edit | edit source]


Title Year Platforms Cover athletes, worldwide Cover athletes, specific regions
NHL Hockey 1991 SMD
NHLPA Hockey '93 1992 SMD, SNES
NHL '94 1993 DOS, SCD, SMD, SNES
NHL 95 1994 DOS, GB, GG, SMD, SNES
NHL 96 1995 DOS, GB, SMD, SNES
NHL 97 1996 PS1, Sat, SMD, SNES, Win John Vanbiesbrouck (Florida)[2]
NHL 98 1997 PS1, Sat, SMD, SNES, Win Peter Forsberg (Colorado)[2]
NHL 99 1998 N64, PS1, Win Eric Lindros (Philadelphia)[2]
NHL 2000 1999 GBC, PS1, Win Chris Pronger (St. Louis)[2] EU Markus Näslund (Vancouver)[3][4]
NHL 2001 2000 PS1, PS2, Win Owen Nolan (San Jose)[2] EU Jere Lehtinen (Dallas)[3]
NHL 2002 2001 GBA, PS2, Win, Xbox Mario Lemieux (Pittsburgh)[2]
NHL 2003 2002 GCN, PS2, Win, Xbox Jarome Iginla (Calgary)[2]
NHL 2004 2003 GCN, PS2, Win, Xbox
NHL 2005 2004 GCN, PS2, Win, Xbox Markus Näslund (Vancouver)[2][4] EU Olli Jokinen (Florida)[3]
NHL 06 2005 GCN, PS2, Win, Xbox Vincent Lecavalier (Tampa Bay)[2] EU Tuomo Ruutu (Chicago)[3]
NHL 07 2006 PS2, PSP, Win, Xbox, X360 Alexander Ovechkin (Washington)[2]
NHL 08 2007 PS2, PS3, Win, X360 Eric Staal (Carolina)[2]
NHL 09 2008 PS2, PS3, Win, X360 Dion Phaneuf (Calgary)[2][5]
NHL 10 2009 PS3, X360 Patrick Kane (Chicago)[2][6]
NHL 11 2010 PS3, X360 Jonathan Toews (Chicago)[7]

^†as NHL Hockey
^‡Joe Thornton was originally chosen, but EA switched to Dany Heatley after Thornton was accused of assaulting two police officers. Thornton's cover was never produced. After the 2003–04 season had begun, Heatley was involved in a car crash that killed teammate Dan Snyder, prompting EA to switch covers to one featuring Joe Sakic.[3]
^EUin Europe; ^DENin Denmark; ^FINin Finland; ^RUSin Russia; ^SWEin Sweden; ^SUI in Switzerland

EA has also produced 3 on 3 NHL Arcade and NHL Slapshot using the NHL license.

Game covers[edit | edit source]

File:NHL95 MegaDrive.jpg
NHL 95 cover for the Mega Drive.

As is traditional with EA Sports, the NHL series boxes feature live action photos instead of drawings. As it lacked the NHLPA license, the early titles staged photos without real players. NHLPA Hockey 93, on the other hand, had the rights to use player images, but not of the teams. On this cover, the main action photo features the New York Rangers' Randy Moller checking the Philadelphia Flyers' Rod Brind'Amour while Rangers goaltender Mike Richter makes a save (in this photo there is the logo of the New York Rangers located on the bottom right of the goaltender's pants). This photo is surrounded by eight small portraits of players (Steve Yzerman, Andy Moog, Pat LaFontaine, Brian Leetch, Ray Bourque, Patrick Roy, Jeremy Roenick, and Rick Tocchet). This changed with NHL 94, which featured a goal situation for Tomas Sandstrom (LA Kings) against Andy Moog (Boston). NHL 95 featured an in-goal camera during a goal scored by Alexei Kovalev of the New York Rangers during the '94 Stanley Cup Finals against Kirk McLean of the Vancouver Canucks. NHL 96 featured New Jersey's Scott Stevens and Detroit's Steve Yzerman.

Commentary[edit | edit source]

In NHLPA '93 and NHL '94, Emmy award-winning sportscaster Ron Barr gives a pre-game scouting report prior to each game. In the Genesis version of NHL 95, KNBR radio sportscaster John Shrader replaced Ron Barr in that duty. Live play-by-play commentary was introduced in "NHL 97". Jim Hughson, currently play-by-play man for CBC's Hockey Night in Canada and also one of Canada's best-known hockey announcers, provided the play-by-play for much of the series, excluding the Xbox 360 version of "NHL 07" and the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of "NHL 08" and "NHL 09"; which is provided by Gary Thorne. Color commentary is provided by Daryl Reaugh (1998–99), Bill Clement (2000, 2001, and all Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions), Don Taylor (2002–03), and Craig Simpson (2004–...).

Soundtracks[edit | edit source]

"NHL '99" was the first game in the series to feature fully-licensed music from David Bowie. Since then, each game has had soundtracks of licensed music known as EA Sports Trax, with selections of punk, alternative, and rock music.

NHL series in popular culture[edit | edit source]

Swingers[edit | edit source]

The removal of fights in "NHL Hockey 94" was addressed in the 1996 movie Swingers:


However, this is not completely accurate, as bleeding players were also removed. They also were playing "NHLPA Hockey '93", which had blood and fighting; but the fighting was strategic and players like Gretzky would rarely, if at all, have fought. This was due to his low fighter and aggressiveness ratings; while higher profile enforcers such as Tie Domi, Bob Probert, Basil McRae and Tony Twist had very high ratings of each, making each more likely to be called for penalties including fighting, others such as Gretzky had low ratings of both, making the latter not only less likely to fight, but also less likely to draw any penalties at all. However, in the original "NHL Hockey", Gretzky was able to fight more often.

Mallrats[edit | edit source]

Kevin Smith's 1995 movie Mallrats featured Jason Lee as Brodie Bruce playing NHL All-Star Hockey for the Sega Saturn (in the DVD commentary, Kevin Smith admitted to loving the NHL series but having to use Sega's game for sponsor reasons.) However, the sound effects used were from EA Sports' NHL series.


See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]