Game history

“NHL 22” to include women’s teams, first time in video game history

American hockey player Hilary Knight played a lot of video games with her three younger brothers when she was little.

“We kind of lived on ‘NHL 98’,” Knight said. “I always wanted to play the goalie.

Specifically, Knight enjoyed playing as a Czech goalkeeper Dominik hasek. She even inspired her to support her own club team when their starting goalie got injured.

Brianna deckerThe player of choice was more predictable.

Wayne gretzky, obviously, ”said the two-time Olympic medalist.

For Knight and Decker – two of the best players in history – there was no option to play as women, even after the American team won the first Olympic gold in 1998.

That will change in January when the long-running NHL video game by EA Sports adds playable women’s teams for the first time. The addition is due to a new partnership between EA Sports and the International Hockey Federation (IIHF) which will also see Junior World Championship and Men’s World Championship content added to the video game.

“It’s pretty amazing that young girls can play like us,” Decker said. “I think this is an opportunity for us to be very visible to young girls.”

In 2012, EA added generic players to “NHL 12” after a 14-year-old girl emailed the company ask for better representation. The following year EA included legends Hayley wickenheiser and Angela Ruggiero in “NHL 13”.

But the addition of playable women’s teams is a big step forward.

While Knight and Decker are both eager to see how they will be rated in the video game, they are also excited to play with some of their teammates.

“To be able to dress like Kendall Coyne (Schofield) and fly on the ice and pretend I can skate that fast, that will be really exciting for me, ”said Knight.

Decker, meanwhile, is looking forward to playing the role of her longtime friend and current teammate. Amanda kessel.

“She’s super smart over there, she can pass the puck in small spaces,” Decker said. “[She’s] such a playmaker.

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Knight also hopes the developers pay attention to some details specific to individual players, like making sure she and Coyne Schofield are able to sport a braided hairstyle.

“People put a lot of work into game day routines,” Knight said. “I hope [the developers] get makeup and all set.

Follow Alex Azzi on Twitter @AlexAzziNBC