The world of video games has seen its fair share of iconic covers. But when it comes to EA Sports’ NHL series, there’s a special level of excitement that comes from seeing which hockey superstar will grace the cover each year.
In this article, we’ll take a look back at the Top 5 EA Sports NHL covers, highlighting what made each one memorable and how they’ve contributed to the series’ legacy. So, lace up your skates and join us on a trip down memory lane!
Without further ado, here are our picks for the top five EA NHL covers.
5. NHL 21 – Honoring a Legend
The cover of NHL 21 features Washington Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin, one of the most dominant and beloved players in the league’s history. This cover holds a special place in the hearts of fans, as it pays homage to Ovechkin’s incredible career and his impact on the sport.
With a striking design that showcases Ovechkin in full stride, the NHL 21 cover perfectly captures the intensity and passion that define the legendary Russian forward. The game itself introduced the all-new Be A Pro mode, which allowed players to create and control their own NHL superstar, and the innovative HUT RUSH mode, which brought a fresh experience to the beloved Hockey Ultimate Team mode.
4. NHL 13 – The People’s Choice
NHL 13 is memorable not just for its cover athlete, then-Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux, but also for the way he was chosen. EA Sports held a fan vote to determine the cover athlete, marking the first time the series’ cover was determined by the fans themselves.
This engaging approach to selecting the cover athlete showed EA Sports’ commitment to its fanbase and set a precedent for future cover votes. The game itself introduced the True Performance Skating system and the revamped GM Connected mode, further solidifying its place in the series’ legacy.
3. NHL 09 – A Revolution in Controls
NHL 09 saw the series make significant strides in gameplay and presentation. Featuring then-Calgary Flames defenseman Dion Phaneuf on the cover, the game boasted a sleek, modern design that perfectly reflected the era.
The true revolution in NHL 09, however, came in the form of its controls. This installment introduced the Skill Stick system, which allowed players to control the puck with the right analog stick, offering a new level of precision and creativity on the ice. This control scheme has become the standard in the years since, making NHL 09 a pivotal moment in the series’ history.
2. NHL 2000 – A New Millennium
As we ushered in the new millennium, EA Sports released NHL 2000, featuring then-St. Louis Blues defenseman Chris Pronger on the cover. With Pronger’s intense stare and the fiery background, this cover marked a new era for the franchise.
NHL 2000 introduced several new features, including facial animations, player emotions, and the all-new Franchise Mode. The game also boasted an impressive soundtrack, which helped to create an immersive experience that fans still remember fondly today.
1. NHL Slapshot – Wayne Gretzky: The Great One
It’s impossible to discuss the best NHL covers without mentioning the legendary NHL Slapshot, which features none other than “The Great One,” Wayne Gretzky. As the most iconic figure in the history of the sport, Gretzky’s presence on the cover lends an air of reverence and awe to the game.
What makes this cover particularly memorable is the innovative gameplay that accompanied it. NHL Slapshot was designed specifically for the Nintendo Wii, and it utilized the Wii Remote and Nunchuk controllers to simulate the experience of playing hockey. With the introduction of the hockey stick-shaped Slapshot accessory, players could physically take shots, pass, and body-check their opponents, creating an immersive and interactive experience that brought hockey to life like never before.
From the classic simplicity of NHL Slapshot o the powerful intensity of NHL 21, EA Sports’ NHL series has consistently delivered iconic and memorable covers. These covers not only showcase the game’s biggest stars but also serve as a testament to the franchise’s ongoing commitment to innovation and its strong connection with its passionate fanbase.
As we eagerly await the next installment in the series, we can only imagine what new features and gameplay innovations EA Sports has in store for us. One thing is certain, though: the cover athlete will undoubtedly join the ranks of these unforgettable legends, further cementing the NHL series’ legacy of excellence.
So, what are your favorite NHL covers? Let us know in the comments below and join the conversation about the history and future of this iconic gaming franchise.