EA Sports has decided to add women’s ice hockey teams to its National Hockey League(NHL) video game series for the first time. The publisher has inked a licensing deal with the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) to include the officially licensed men’s and women’s national teams in their respective world championships.
The arrangement would consist of player names, kits, and branding and cover the IIHF Junior World Championship, which explicitly holds a high profile in Canada.
This partnership uplifts the IIHF’s profile, having video games as a virtual channel of engagement for sports organizations, especially among the younger generations.
“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.”
“Looking forward, the IIHF and its partners are also excited to create more opportunities to promote ice hockey through future esports offerings.”
“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,” added Sean Ramjagsingh, vice president and general manager at EA Sports.
“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,” Ramjagsingh concluded.
Generally and traditionally, women’s sports have been underrepresented in video games, but recent attempts have improved the situation. EA Sports has included international soccer teams in the FIFA series for an extended period, while the Women’s National Basketball Association(WNBA) has been added to the NBA 2K series.