EA Sports adding international women’s teams to ‘NHL 22’
In a move U.S. national team player and 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics gold medal winner Kendall Coyne Schofield hailed as an “instrumental” moment for women’s hockey, EA Sports announced this week that international women’s teams will be added to “NHL 22.”
Slated for introduction early next year, International Ice Hockey Federation women’s national teams and the IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship will be featured in the current iteration of the iconic hockey video game series’ “Play Now” mode.
“The introduction of women’s national teams to ‘NHL 22’ as part of the upcoming IIHF content will be an important moment for the franchise in its continued effort to reflect the diversity of the hockey community,” said Sean Ramjagsingh, VP and GM, EA SPORTS, via the IIHF’s official site. “We are proud to feature playable women’s teams for the first time in ‘NHL 22,’ alongside the rising stars on the World Juniors teams.”
EA Sports also announced that upcoming IIHF content for men’s teams, including IIHF World Junior Championship and the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, will also be added to “NHL 22” in early 2022.
“The IIHF and its member national associations are excited to be a part of the world’s top ice hockey video game,” said IIHF President Luc Tardif. “We are even more pleased that the game will give players the chance to compete as both their favorite men’s and women’s World Championship players.”
A total of 10 women’s teams are featured in the upcoming update. Coyne Schofield, who grew up playing video games with her brother but had to of course play with men’s NHL teams, stressed how important inclusion will be for young girls who play hockey.
“A lot of us grew up without seeing role models on a consistent basis. We’d go to NHL games and never see anyone that looked like us,” Coyne Schofield said, via ESPN. “I’m so excited to see what kind of effect this is going to have on the next generations, seeing women and men in the same game, knowing that they can be either one of us.”
The news that women’s teams will be added to “NHL 22” follows the similarly significant announcement in 2019 that all 12 WNBA teams, along with their complete rosters, were added to “Play Now” and “Season” game modes in “NBA 2K20.”