For the last few years the EA SPORTS NHL team has unofficially kicked off their yearly campaign inviting some of the most vocal members of its community to EA Canada to provide feedback collected from their respective communities, and to get a sneak peak at the upcoming iteration from the NHL franchise. This year is no exception and we’re enthused to invite 14 hockey enthusiasts from coast-to-coast to the studio for our two-day NHL 11 Community Event on May 20th and 21st.
As in previous years the group will have the opportunity to report on their impressions on new features over the summer, however, make sure you tune in to their sites on May 21st for some exclusive news from the group. Here’s a rundown of the hockey enthusiasts who will be in the studio later this month.
Representing OperationSports.com is one of the moderators from the site, Steve Shaulis, otherwise known as Qb on the forums. Residing out of Bridgeville, PA, Steve’s allegiance lies with the Penguins as they look to make a run at back-to-back Stanley Cups. The first NHL video game he’s ever played was NHL 93 on the Genesis and you can find him online playing NHL 10 on his X360 EASHL team, The Corporation or just chillin’ playing offline on his PS3. Check him out here making the nice slap-pass from his own end setting up a goal during OTP play.
From the EASHL Forums on Operation Sports is Jordan Patricio who moderates the league-specific forum and is a regular contributor in the community. Being local in Vancouver, Jordan has taken part in focus testing for the franchise and brings feedback from a very vocal PS3 fanbase.
It’s a pleasure to welcome Matt Elliott and The Target Demographic to the NHL 11 Community Event. The podcast lives on Platform Nation and besides being a big hockey fan, Matt’s also a teacher from Fresno, California. (I wonder if he games with his students?) A fan of the San Jose Sharks, Matt’s most likely pretty enthused about the team’s current 3-1 series lead over Detroit who look to continue to stay alive after a big win last night. Check out Matt’s compilation of Sharks highlights here.
From HFBoards.com comes IrishSniper87 aka Ed O’Malley from Glen Mills, Pennsylvania. Another NHL 93 Genesis gamer, Ed’s a big time Flyers fan and a proud supporter of the USA team as can be seen from his highlight goal here scoring one over the Russians. Ed represents an extremely vocal hockey community from HFBoards and will be counted on to provide valuable feedback for the development team.
Known as The Dean on PlayStation University, Dave Wells joins us from Dallas, Texas and will be covering the event from a PS3 perspective. Born and raised in Cornwall, Ontario he’s a huge Habs fan and is still celebrating their big first-round upset victory over the Caps along with last night’s series tying win over the Penguins.
A regular to the community event, Luc Wolfe joins us for a fourth year and covers the event for his site, crashthenet.ca, which is devoted to covering all things video-game hockey related. A Sens fan, Luc has been a hardcore hockey gamer since NHL 94 and will be making his way to Vancouver from Ottawa, Ontario.
Making the longest trip to the West Coast of Canada is Mandy Paez, otherwise known as ladyluck34 on Gamertag Radio. Flying in from Valrico, Florida, Mandy is a second year community invite and a gaming fan of all genres. Mandy’s first NHL game was NHL 99 and she’s been a huge fan of the franchise since NHL 09. Though the team is on the other side of the continent, she can found up late tweeting and watching Canucks games and cheering on the blue and green as they make another playoff run this year.
Also representing the lady hockey fans is Amanda Farough from the Gaming Angels community. A Canucks fan from Vancouver, Amanda has enjoyed the NHL franchise since NHL 99 and gets on the sticks with her husband, Michael, who will also be joining her at the event. On her website violetminded Design, she describes herself as designer, a developer, a writer, and a geek who may or may not be Batman. (Btw, she couldn’t be…because, I’m Batman!)
Representing the EA SPORTS NHL Forums is Game Changer and forum moderator, Stephen Boraske, aka luger33. As this year’s selection from the NHL Mod Squad, Stephen carries a large load on his back full of feedback from the hardcore and rabid fans that frequent the forums each and every day. Not to be outdone by IrishSniper83, here’s luger33’s goal from the knees in super slo-mo as well as his EA SPORTS Replay of NHL 10 great saves.
Joining Stephen from the NHL forums is Nick “Shake N Baco” Wilson from Whitehorse, Yukon. Nick earned an invitation after being selected from a number of community members who were invited to provide a reason why he or she should be invited to the NHL 11 Community Event. A fan of video game hockey since he was three years old playing on the SNES, he’s played the sport since he was 10, and calls himself a hockey fan first and Toronto fan second. (As a Canucks fan myself, I can appreciate that
Another returnee to this year’s Community Event is Jake Reardon, the XBOX Canada Community Manager from Toronto, Ontario. Better known as JakenBear to the gaming community, Jake’s a Leafs’ fan who’s played video game hockey since NHL 93 on the SNES. Check out his first goal in the AHL here as he makes the nice give-and-go for the score. Look for Jake’s videos in the XBOX Live Community section of the dashboard.
Also hailing from the province of Ontario is another Leafs’ fan, Ayaz Karim from The Breakaway, a vibrant community of close to 20,000 users who live and breathe hockey. A returning invite, Ayaz is a hardcore NHL fan dating back to NHL 93 and will be sure to bring plenty of feedback for our dev team as he has in years passed.
Last but not least, making his way in by ferry from Port Alberni on Vancouver Island is Graeme Huysmans, a frequent poster on the IGN Forums and a hardcore hockey gamer. Another fan of the series since NHL 93, Graeme’s favorite team is the Colorado Avalanche. With close to 6500 posts on the IGN Forums, he’s provided advice for hockey fans in the community since NHL 07.
With two weeks to the event, the development team has picked up the conversation with the community with a couple of Live Chats along with blogs around some of the fixes they have implemented for NHL 11. With the game still in development, they will be looking to this group to get feedback on their work so far.
Be on the lookout for news from the NHL 11 Community Event by the invites and I on the 21st, and be extra tuned in to the EA SPORTS NHL Twitter feed and EA SPORTS NHL Facebook Fan Page for a little something from the team next weekend!