NHL series: Wikis



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NHL series
NHL Series Logo.png
The current NHL series logo
Publisher(s) EA Sports
Platform(s) Current platforms:
PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2 (NHL 09), Windows (NHL 09)
Past platforms:
DOS, Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Color, Nintendo GameCube, Game Gear, Nintendo 64, Mega Drive/Genesis, PlayStation, PlayStation Portable, Saturn, Sega CD, Super NES, Xbox
Release date(s) 1991-present
Genre(s) Sports (Ice hockey)
Mode(s) Single player, Multiplayer

The National Hockey League (NHL) series, is a professional ice hockey video game developed by EA Canada and published yearly by Electronic Arts under the EA Sports brand.



The NHL series has introduced brand-new features for years. 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." 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.

The World Cup of Hockey was a feature in "NHL 2005", coinciding with said event featuring authentic rosters and uniforms. Infamously, it has been relabeled as EA Sports' World Tournament from "NHL 06" onward with fantasy jerseys, which were modified by substituting the team logos with flags and randomizing the jersey designs because of the lack of the IIHF license. Rosters in "NHL 06" were based on the Olympic rosters of the year.


NHL Hockey has NHL and NHLPA licenses, so player names and team logos are in use.
Title Year Platforms
NHL Hockey 1991 Mega Drive/Genesis
NHLPA Hockey 93 1992 Mega Drive/Genesis, Super NES
NHL '94 1993 Mega Drive/Genesis, Sega CD, Super NES, DOS (as "NHL Hockey")
NHL 95 1994 DOS, Mega Drive/Genesis, Super NES, Game Boy, Game Gear (as "NHL Hockey")
NHL 96 1995 DOS, Mega Drive/Genesis, Super NES, Game Boy
NHL 97 1996 Mega Drive/Genesis, PlayStation, Saturn, Super NES, Windows
NHL 98 1997 Mega Drive/Genesis, PlayStation, Saturn, Super NES, Windows
NHL 99 1998 Nintendo 64, PlayStation, Windows
NHL 2000 1999 Game Boy Color, PlayStation, Windows
NHL 2001 2000 PlayStation 2, PlayStation, Windows
NHL 2002 2001 Game Boy Advance, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Windows
NHL 2003 2002 Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Windows
NHL 2004 2003 Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Windows
NHL 2005 2004 Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Windows
NHL 06 2005 Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Windows
NHL 07 2006 Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Xbox, Windows
NHL 08 2007 PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, Windows
NHL 09 2008 PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, Windows
NHL 10 2009 PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Game covers

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. NHL 96 featured New Jersey's Scott Stevens and Detroit's Steve Yzerman.

Since NHL 97, each cover features only one player. The following table gives the players and their teams.

Year Player (US/Canada Edition) Player (Europe Edition)
1994 Tomas Sandström (Los Angeles), Andy Moog (Boston) -
1995 Alexei Kovalev (New York Rangers), Kirk McLean (Vancouver) -
1996 Scott Stevens (New Jersey), Steve Yzerman (Detroit) -
1997 John Vanbiesbrouck (Florida) -
1998 Peter Forsberg (Colorado) -
1999 Eric Lindros (Philadelphia) -
2000 Chris Pronger (St. Louis) Markus Näslund (Vancouver) in Nordic countries
2001 Owen Nolan (San Jose) Jere Lehtinen (Dallas) in Nordic countries Pavel Bure (Florida) in Russia
2002 Mario Lemieux (Pittsburgh) -
2003 Jarome Iginla (Calgary) Saku Koivu (Montreal) in Finland, Patrik Elias (New Jersey) in Czech Republic
2004 Dany Heatley (Atlanta) and Joe Sakic (Colorado) -
2005 Markus Näslund (Vancouver) Olli Jokinen (Florida) in Finland
2006 Vincent Lecavalier (Tampa Bay) Tuomo Ruutu (Chicago) in Finland
2007 Alexander Ovechkin (Washington) Henrik Lundqvist (New York Rangers) in Sweden, Teemu Selänne (Anaheim) in Finland
2008 Eric Staal (Carolina) Henrik Zetterberg (Detroit) in Sweden, Teemu Selänne (Anaheim) in Finland, Jaromír Jágr (New York Rangers) in the Czech Republic & Slovakia, Mark Streit (Montreal) in Switzerland
2009 Dion Phaneuf (Calgary) Alexander Ovechkin (Washington) in Russia, Daniel Alfredsson (Ottawa) in Sweden, Patrik Eliáš (New Jersey) in the Czech Republic & Slovakia, Mark Streit (Islanders) in Switzerland
2010 Patrick Kane (Chicago) Mikko Koivu (Minnesota) in Finland, Nicklas Bäckström (Washington) in Sweden & Norway, Mark Streit (New York Islanders) in Switzerland, Mikkel Boedker (Phoenix) in Denmark


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–...).


"NHL '99" was the first game in the series to feature fully-licensed music from David Bowie. This was followed by "NHL 2000", which featured bands such as Garbage, Überzone and Gearwhore. Later versions feature names like Deftones, Sum 41, Treble Charger, Enter Shikari, Ash, The Tea Party, Franz Ferdinand, Billy Talent, Fall Out Boy, NOFX, Mobile, Collective Soul, Anti-Flag, Brand New, Papa Roach, Barenaked Ladies, Protest the Hero, The Ataris, Autopilot Off, Gob, Jimmy Eat World, Default, Jupiter One, Priestess, Avenged Sevenfold, and Queens of the Stone Age. The in-game soundtrack has been titled EA Sports Trax since 2002.

Windows version controversy

EA confirmed that the latest iteration of this series of games, NHL 10, would not be produced for PC or PlayStation 2[1], instead opted to focus on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the game.

NHL series in popular culture


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

Trent: "I wish they still had fights in this game, so I could bitch slap Wayne."
Mike: "What! They don't have fighting anymore?"
Trent: "Doesn't that suck?"
Mike: "Why'd they get rid of the fighting? It was the best part of the old version."
Sue: "I think kids were hittin' each other or somethin', man."
Trent: "Yeah, but you know what, Mike? You can make their heads bleed in this one."
Mike: "Make somebody's head bleed... "
Sue: "No man, we're in the playoffs."
Trent: "I'm gonna make Wayne Gretzky's head bleed for super-fan #99 over here."

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.


Kevin Smith's 1995 movie Mallrats featured Jason Lee as Brodie Bruce playing NHL All-Star Hockey for the Sega Genesis (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.

[Game audience cheering]
Rene: "What the hell are you doing?"
Brodie: "Finishing my game..."
Rene: "No, no, no! You promised me breakfast."
Brodie: "Breakfast? Breakfast, schmrekfest. Look at the score. I'm only in the middle of the second, and I'm winning 12 to 2. Breakfasts come and go, Rene. Now, Hartford—the whale—hey, they only beat Vancouver once... maybe twice in a lifetime."

Chasing Amy

Kevin Smith's 1997 movie Chasing Amy featured Banky and Holden playing NHL 96.

See also


External links

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