Anaheim Dax forward Trevor Zegras On Wednesday, EA Sports announced Canada forward Sarah Norris as its 23rd NHL cover champion, noting that Nurse is the first women’s hockey player to grace the cover of an NHL video game.
“It’s something I didn’t think was in the realm of possibilities,” a nurse, who starred in Canada’s winning gold at the 2022 Beijing Olympics, told ESPN. “I’ve never dreamed of being in it. And so I think it’s huge, and I think it just talks about where women’s hockey is now, and the vision and value that people see in women’s hockey.”
Clem Kwong, lead producer for the EA Sports NHL series, said there have been discussions in recent years about featuring the hockey star on the cover. The timing was opportune for this edition after EA Sports added the women’s national team rosters from the IIHF World Championship to the NHL 22 late last year, the first time a women’s players could be selected for the game.
“When we started going through the process and looking at the shortlist of athletes, we were looking for the athletes who were on the bigger stage,” Kwong said of a nurse. “She’s a pioneer in inclusion and diversity within the sport as well.”
Zegras had made his duck debut in 2021-22 thanks to several notable goals. The most daring saw Zegras raise a puck on his stick behind the Buffalo Sabers net and pass it over the goal cage to his teammate Sony Milano to get a result.
Players tried to recreate this move called “The Zegras” in NHL 22.
“I saw a bunch of videos of kids trying to make it,” Zegras, who finished second in the Rookie of the Year vote last season, told ESPN. “Almost like a disk glitch over the network, it was great to see.”
The programmers have devised a way for players to implement a pass over the net in the game, making “The Zegras” an official part of the franchise.
Mike Engelhart, EA Sports’ creative director, sees Zegras as the face of a generation of players taking off from the “video game moves” of the NHL.
“They do things where you say, ‘It has to be in a video game first and in the NHL second,'” Englehart said. Maybe there’s something that ends up in NHL 24 that we don’t think about yet.”
NHL 23 will be released on all platforms October 14. Additional information about the new features will be revealed later this week.
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