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EA Games’ NHL Title Continues Trend of Including Women With Playable Female Hockey Stars
by Susana Polo | 10:46 am, August 30th, 2012
Almost a year ago, we reported on NHL 12, the 2011 release of EA’s NHL series of hockey video games, which was the first of its series to allow players to create female characters in the game’s career campaign. The change was made when the letter of one Lexi Peters, a fourteen-year-old fan of the game reached the desk of David Littman, pleading for a change in the game so that she and her friends on the Purple Eagles team could model their team in game with characters that actually looked like them, instead of giving a bunch of customizable male characters long “hockey hair” to make them look more like women. Littman was the lead producer on the NHL’s licensed video games, and so was in the position to make sure that NHL ’12 allowed the choice of female characters, and even made the default female character a likeness of Lexi.
So it’s exciting to hear that the NHL isn’t stopping at customizable female characters, but has actually increased the visibility of women in their game for NHL 13, which releases in just a couple of weeks.
NHL 12 featured nine playable characters representing nine greats of hockey like Wayne Gretsky. For this year’s installment, Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky, and Jeremy Roenick are still available, along with new additions Jari Kurri, Dominik Hasek and Doug Gilmour. But there are two more characters to go, and they are Hayley Wickenheiser and Angela Ruggiero, the first real female athletes to ever be playable characters in an NHL game. From Yahoo! News:
We selected Hayley Wickenheiser and Angela Ruggiero for their leadership qualities on the ice and within the community,” said EA Sports NHL general manager Dean Richards. “Both athletes are champions who have been a positive force in driving women’s hockey forward, and creating further opportunities for young women in the United States and Canada to participate in the sport, either competitively or recreationally.
Wickenheiser was the first woman to play professional hockey full time (in otherwise male leagues) in a position other than goalie, thus becoming the first woman to score a goal in a professional hockey league. She’s has captured four Olympic medals, is currently captain of the national Canadian women’s hockey team, and is “widely considered the greatest female ice hockey player in the world.” Ruggiero was a member of the gold medal-winning 1998 US women’s hockey team at the age of 18, which accounts for only one of her three olympic medals. She was the first woman to actively play in a regular season professional hockey game in the US in a position other than goalie, and scored the game-winning goal that allowed the US to claim its first gold medal in Women’s World Ice Hockey Championships.
I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say that this is a pretty cool development to come out of the efforts of one female fan.
(Yahoo! via tipster Jennifer.)
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