A scene from EA Sports’ “NHL 19” video game. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, EA Sports)

Outdoor hockey grows in latest version of NHL video game

The slogan for NHL 19 is, “From the pond to the pros”

While the NHL turns its attentions to the outdoor Winter Classic, video gamers have been playing outdoors for some time.

In fact the “NHL 19” slogan is “From the pond to the pros.”

“We’re inspired by a number of things: Growing up on the pond, learning how to skate, learning how to play hockey outdoors,” said William Ho, creative director for the made-in-Vancouver EA Sports game.

“NHL 19,” in addition to standard modes involving NHL teams, offers several ways to play shinny outdoors including “Ones,” an online pond hockey tournament that features three skaters taking on each other and a computer-controlled goalkeeper.

“We’ve taken a mode that is actually no rules, half-rink, one versus one versus one against a single goalie,” said Ho. “Very very casual, very easy to learn. But then, through competition, we’ve made it into this daily tournament that’s actually quite challenging.”

READ MORE: Bobby Orr shares life in and out of hockey in new book

As you win matches, you move up the rankings and play in more elaborate venues. A champion is crowned daily depending on results.

Game developers initially designed it as a way for novice NHL gamers to go online and practise. But beta play showed it could also be a highly competitive experience for veterans of the game.

EA introduced NHL Threes in “NHL 18,” a 3-on-3 arcade-like mode that promised “bigger hits, faster action and more open-ice to create big plays, beautiful dangles and more goals.”

For EA Sports, such modes are a chance to offer players a framework within which they can develop and show off individual skills.

Ones and Threes game are part of “The World of CHEL” — (CHEL is a play on the pronunciation of NHL). It includes the EA Sports Hockey League (team online play) and a Pro-Am mode that helps players learn skills particular to a position (like faceoffs) through challenges.

You can personalize your player from gear and size to skills. You may opt for a booming slapshot, but know that power comes at the expense of accuracy.

“Choices matter here,” said Ho.

The game allows you to save multiple profiles for use in different modes. As you improve in the game, you earn rewards to develop your player.

“This is away from the NHL realm where we have to stick to standard NHL: team colours and team logos and venues. This is really about your fantasy of hockey,” said Ho.

“NHL 19” also features more than 200 legends like Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Clarke, Bernie (Boom-Boom) Geoffrion and Jacques Plante in various modes.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Under new ownership, Cowichan’s Isles prepare for 2020-21

The Isles have gone through some ups and downs in recent seasons

Cowichan Valley Regional District will reopen three arenas in August

Ice will go back in at Lake Cowichan, Cowichan Community Centre and Kerry Park

Business notes: Salt Spring Therapeutic Riding Association launches program for front-line workers

A sample of what’s happening in Cowichan’s business community

UPDATE: RCMP use spike belts to end car chase — man in custody

The driver was arrested at the scene a short distance from his vehicle

Motorcyclist airlifted after collision in Cobble Hill

Residents describe intersection of Telegraph and Hutchinson as “dangerous” and “problematic”

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

RCMP looking for missing teen in Comox Valley

Jenessa Shacter was last seen going for a walk in downtown Courtenay

B.C. wildfire crews have battled 111 blazes in the last seven days

Twenty-nine fires remain active, as of Friday (Aug 7)

‘We don’t make the rules’: Okanagan pub owner says staff harassed over pandemic precautions

‘If you have six people plus a baby, guess what? That’s seven’ - West Kelowna Kelly O’Bryan’s owner

T-Rex earns big bids at B.C. dino auction

Over 500 dino-themed lots sold to buyers from across North America

Remembering Brent Carver: A legend of Broadway who kept his B.C. roots strong

Over the years, the Cranbrook thespian earned his place as one of Canada’s greatest actors

Statistics Canada says country gained 419,000 jobs in July

National unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July, down from the 12.3 per cent recorded in June

Canada plans $3.6 billion in retaliatory tariffs on U.S. in aluminium dispute

The new Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement that replaced NAFTA went into force on July 1

Canada ‘profoundly concerned’ over China death sentence for citizen in drug case

Police later confiscated more than 120 kilograms of the drug from Xu Weihong’s home

Most Read