The implementation of females in hockey videogames; why it’s a step in the right direction

14-year old Lexi Peters of Buffalo made a request to EA to implement female players, and she got much more. EA included an avatar of Lexi, so she can finally feel like she's playing in the NHL

14-year old Lexi Peters of Buffalo made a request to EA to implement female players, and she got much more. EA included an avatar of Lexi, so she can finally feel like she’s playing in the NHL

Let’s face it. Professional sports appear to be heavily full of testosterone a lot of the time. However, when EA dropped NHL 12 two years ago in the NHL gaming franchise, we finally saw the implementation of female players onto the ice alongside a sea of men.

There’s no doubt in my mind that the recent installment, NHL 13, is one of the largest hockey video games on the planet right now, but to widen its audience even further to include the demographic of women (yet again) is definitely a step in the right direction for sports games.

So where did this all begin? It all started with a simple e-mail.

14-year old Lexi Peters of Buffalo was frustrated with the lack of female representation in the NHL franchise. Thanks to the advice of her father, she started writing angry, demanding letters to the COO of EA Sports Peter Moore, whom eventually passed the letters on to the franchise’s executive producer David Littman.

Littman was so inspired by her request and took the letters to the production team, with this request.

“We gotta get this girl in the game, and there are probably other girls like her that want to create their own female players,” said Littman. “Lexi may or may not ever play in the NHL. But here she gets to play in the NHL, in the virtual world. And that’s really important to us,”

From her request, two female faces were added to the create-a-player feature, one of them being Lexi’s.

Hayley Wickenheiser is one of two professional female hockey players to be included in NHL 13.

Hayley Wickenheiser is one of two professional female hockey players to be included in NHL 13.

And the NHL game franchise expanded even more come NHL 13, with the inclusion of two female hockey stars: Hayley Wickenheiser and Angela Ruggiero.

Wickenheiser was thrilled at the inclusion of females in hockey video games.

“The EA SPORTS NHL franchise took a big step last year by including female characters to create a more inclusive experience for female hockey fans,” said Hayley Wickenheiser. “I’m excited to be a part of NHL 13 and hope that the addition of women’s hockey legends will encourage greater participation in hockey from young women everywhere.”

I recently picked up NHL 13, and my brother and I both made fully custom teams with our own unique players, both female and male. Now for the first time since our years of NHL 99, we finally get to feel that we are actually playing with both male and female players, and not having to pretend one gender is non-existent.

NHL 13 currently has two playable professional female hockey players as well as 3 players skins (two white and one black), but chances are possibilities going forward will continue to expand and become more inclusive.

Here’s hoping for an all-female hockey team coming our way?: Perhaps Team Canada to start.

With files from Globe and Mail and EA

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