Wednesday, May 26, 2010

NCAA Hockey Video Game on the Way

Ever wish you could guide the Boston College Eagles to a Beanpot tournament victory or the Wisconsin Badgers to a Frozen Four final? Well most of us can only dream of doing that in real life but through the magic of technology... gamers and NCAA hockey fans will soon have the chance to do exactly that.

Paul Kelly, Executive Director of College Hockey Inc., made another appearance on The Pipeline Show Tuesday night and talked about a variety of things including the plans for a video game.

Last week the Canadian Hockey League and EA Sports formally announced that the next edition of their NHL series would include teams and players from all three Canadian Major Junior leagues.

According to Paul Kelly, the NCAA and EA Sports are very close to announcing a similar agreement to bring the U.S. College game to the masses in the same format.

The bulk of our conversation covered far more serious ground and included the recent back-and-forth exchanges between College Hockey Inc. and the Western Hockey League in regards to the WHL Bantam Draft and the signing of those players to contracts that would nullify NCAA eligibility.

Kelly was also asked flat out whether the apparent strategy to "win the war" by continually attacking the CHL as opposed to promoting the NCAA might actually prove to be detrimental to his mandate.

Tapping into the European market to try and lure players to the NCAA ranks was also discussed as was the potential to allow 20-year-old un-drafted CHL grads to play in U.S. Colleges (like they do in Canada as opposed to the ECHL or Europe).

But we knew that the breaking news of the plans to have EA Sports and NCAA Hockey together at last would really capture the attention of many people who have longed for just such an announcement.

NCAA Basketball and NCAA Football have their own annual release from EA Sports so why not NCAA hockey, at least under the NHL umbrella?
"We've actually been in discussions with EA for a couple of weeks," Kelly began, "and while we don't have a formal announcement to make at this moment, we are certainly in discussions with EA Sports and they are very interested in having a college component to their game. We, the colleges, are very interested in having that happen and we are just currently in the process of figuring out what dimensions that aught to take. The answer to your question though is 'YES' just as there is going to be a CHL component to the video game, there will be a college hockey component as well."
As for the time frame for that release, I immediately asked Mr. Kelly if that would be in place for the NHL 2011 release due in mid-September.
"I'm hopeful. I don't know much about the development of video games... if we come to a finality here in the next couple of weeks and whether that would give them enough time to roll it out in time for September... I would hope so but I don't know the answer to that. As soon as they are able to do it, we'll be doing it."
Great news if you're a fan of EA Sports ongoing series of NHL games and especially if you've been waiting for NCAA hockey to be included.

Now, as my co-host Dean Millard wondered aloud last night, won't it be cool if you can play games between CHL and NCAA clubs??


candycanes99 said...

Interesting news! That would be very cool, but unless EA starts working on it unofficially now I don't think it will make NHL 11's release.

P.S. I made that cover! Didn't expect to see that when I opened the page, but glad to see it used, haha!

Guy Flaming said...

Nice work "candy cane"... I was hoping for one dated a little more recently but that was all I could find!

I too have to wonder if it's too late to get it into NHL 2011 but maybe it's not nearly as hard as I'm guessing.

candycanes99 said...

I did make some more recently, but only 09 covers.

They could sloppily through them in, but I'd rather that EA take their time and get at least the jersey designs approximately right. They're going to use generic arenas and fans of course, and we'll be lucky if there are unnamed players that are at least close in ratings to the real ones (they can't use NCAA player real names of course), but even that work could take time. Then again, the download age is upon us and they could easily patch it up after release.

Unknown said...

through the power of object-oriented programming, adding more teams and players to a game that has already been designed would take very little time.

surely the nhl teams and players will be ready to go well in advance of the september release date.

therefore, adding more teams and players would only involve uploading logos and likeness' to the game, naming the new objects and assigning the new player objects to the new team objects.

the only hang-up would be if they had to do some re-coding to account for differences in rules, but if they just went with nhl rules, then that wouldn't be an issue; that's something they could always tackle on future editions.

Guy Flaming said...

I'll take your word for it Krangodance... I have zero idea how hard it would be. I would like to think making the individual arenas feel right would take effort and that might take time.

Probably dreaming but it would be cool to hear some of the fight songs, marching bands, crowd chants (the PG rated ones) and stuff that make NCAA hockey unique.

Just slapping a Michigan logo down at center ice and calling in Yost Arena would be kinda of missing the point in my opinion.

Jstang17's Blog said...

Johnny Curry!!!