I should confess I haven’t played an EA NHL game since NHL 09, which is odd for me as I played just about every iteration of that series religiously prior to that. Instead, I dabble with some SNES NHL 94 now and again. There is nothing wrong with the recent EA games, but I find myself more often than not dreaming up other hockey video games I’d rather play. And here they are:
1. Stylus-based hockey game for the Nintendo DS/3DS. If I could open a bank account in the U.S.A. this would be my Kickstarter project. Basically you do all your passing and shooting with the stylus, and you’d control the player with the D-pad or thumbstick. You’d swap players automatically or hit the bumper button to do so.
Passing and shooting would be drag and release motions with the stylus. You could execute some fancy dekes within your puck range (the blue circle on the bottom screen), or try to intercept passes with an active stick. One interesting play mechanic is fighting for the puck in the corners with the opponent, or trying to fish the puck out from a scrum.
The top screen layout would be friendlier to the NES Ice Hockey/Blades Of Steel side-to-side play, rather than the EA NHL 16-bit games which had an up-and-down orientation.
This game would also be ideal for the Wii U, which also has a stylus.
2. Lego Hockey. This game would be a traditional hockey game like the EA NHL series, but the players (minifigs) would explode into several pieces when hit. There would also be a powerup system where you strategically build brick walls to aid your team/fluster the opponent. Read more about it here.
3. Nintendo Ice Hockey 2. Another game I touched on before, however this could be done in the style of the stylus game I mentioned above. One thing that I would like to add is that when a fight occurs, it would launch into a Smash Bros. style of game.
I was going to say an iPad table hockey game, but that was attempted with mixed results.
Above: Tim Thomas (left) and Alexander Ovechkin. I chose Thomas because he always appears to be smiling like that.
As you know I love LEGO about as much as I love hockey. Oddly enough, I only have one LEGO item in my possession: a hockey player minifig from a few years back. As you can see, that figure looks more like a football player, with the cage mask and shoulder pads.
LEGO could’ve done better with that minifig. It just needed a simple helmet and clear plastic visor, like LEGOvechkin up there. It would be like a car racer or astronaut helmet sans chin strap. In LEGO’s defense, they probably felt compelled to add accessories, hence the football shoulder pads.
Saying that, I feel a line of minifigs based on NHL players would be awesome. Of all the sports, hockey would translate best to LEGO. Because at a passing glance, a minifig with a helmet and stick is so readily identifiable as a hockey player.
I’m sure you are currently saying something along the lines “What are you rambling on for, Dave? WANT. Gimme gimme gimme!” I would love nothing more than to make these toys a reality for you. While you could probably make a skater easily enough with existing parts, a goalie would require many unique parts:
Unique hand pieces, stick, helmet, and pads. So LEGO or a third party company would have to make these molds.
One thing I should mention, is that actual LEGO NHL minifigs wouldn’t look this detailed. They usually just apply a decal to the front and back of the torso, and that’s it. No wraparound graphics. At least you’d have the team logo on the front, and name/number on the back. Additional decals could be added to the arms and legs.
Also if you check out that goalie stick, I made a bend so the hand can grasp it. An actual NHL goalie did this as well (just 2 bends not 3, looked like this), which was genius because he didn’t have to turn his wrist to hold onto the stick. This was an 80’s/90’s goalie. Anyone recall who?
So how can we get these made? Write a letter to LEGO? The NHL? The NHLPA? I’d say none of the above. I believe the answer is McDonald’s Canada, which has done many promotions with LEGO toys and released numerous NHL collectibles over the years. Sadly they don’t have an e-mail contact but you can call them or send snail-mail. Details here.
Here is hoping these see the light of day eventually.