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

Members of the Sipekne’katik First Nation load lobster traps on the wharf in Saulnierville, N.S., after launching its own self-regulated fishery on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. When Jaime Battiste was in his early 20s, cable news channels were full of images of Mi’kmaq fishermen in New Brunswick battling federal fisheries officers over seized lobster traps. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan)
Nisga’a Lisims Government calls on Prime Minister to act in N.S. fisheries dispute

NLG President: “We are shocked by what’s happening in Nova Scotia”

A nurse prepares a flu shot. The public vaccine for the 2020-2021 flu season is now in pharmacies in Terrace. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)
Private flu vaccines scarce at Terrace pharmacies

Public flu vaccines still available for those with greatest need

“We have to make a call out to address this now so our people don’t have to feel fearful,” said Tribal Chief Mina Holmes. (Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Facebook photo)
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council seeks Indigenous-led task force in northern B.C. hospitals

Request made in an open letter to federal minister Carolyn Bennett

Ellis Ross (left), BC Liberal party, celebrated with his wife, Tracey after being named the preliminary winner of the 2020 snap provincial election.
Ross presumptive Skeena winner in snap B.C. election

Election outcome will not be official until mail-in ballots are counted

Voting has officially closed throughout B.C. for the 2020 snap provincial election. (Clare Rayment)
Map of Skeena polling stations

Watch the updates on the map below as polling stations are counted throughout Skeena riding

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Never before seen painting by famed B.C. artist Emily Carr gifted to Victoria gallery

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

The duffel bags were found to contain 84 pounds of cocaine, valued at approximately $1.2 million and 198 pounds of methamphetamine, valued at approximately $960,000. Photo courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
2 men accused of fleeing border agents near U.S.-B.C. border with $2M in drugs

Cocaine and methamphetamine seized by U.S. law enforcement in remote Idaho area near Canadian border

Most Read