Anaheim Duck forward Trevor Zegras and Team Canada forward Sarah Nurse is the cover athlete for NHL 23, EA Sports announced Wednesday, noting that Nurse is the first female hockey player to grace the cover of her NHL video game.

“This is something I never even thought of in terms of possibility,” Nurse, who starred in Canada’s dominant gold medal race at the 2022 Beijing Olympics, told ESPN. “I never even dreamed of being in it. So I think it’s huge, and I think it just talks about where women’s hockey is now, the visibility and value people see in women’s hockey.”

Clem Kwong, lead producer for the EA Sports NHL series, said there had been discussion in recent years about featuring a female hockey star on the cover. The timing is perfect for this edition after EA Sports added the women’s national team roster from the IIHF world championships to NHL 22 late last year, marking the first time female players can be selected in the game.

“When we started going through the process and looked at the short list of athletes, we looked for the athlete who was on the biggest stage. He was also a pioneer in inclusivity and diversity in sports,” Kwong said of Nurse.

Zegras made his stellar debut with the Ducks in 2021-22 thanks to several highlight goals. The bravest saw Zegras lift the puck on his stick behind the Buffalo Sabers net and pass it into the net to his team-mates Sonny Milano for scores.

Gamers are trying to recreate the move, dubbed “The Zegras,” in NHL 22.

“I see a lot of videos of kids trying to make it,” Zegras, who finished second in last season’s Rookie of the Year voting, told ESPN. “It’s almost like throwing a ball into the net, which is really cool to see.”

Programmers have created a way for players to execute passes over-the-net in the game, making “The Zegras” an official part of the franchise.

Mike Inglehart, creative director at EA Sports, sees Zegras as the face of a generation of players who made the “video game move” in the NHL.

“They do things where you say, ‘That should be in the video games first and in the NHL second,'” Inglehart said. “Who knows where it went? Maybe something ended up in NHL 24 that we don’t even think about now.”

NHL 23 will be released on all platforms October 14th. Additional information about the new features will be disclosed later this week.

By Blanca

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *