The Toronto Sun reported today that EA Sports’ upcoming NHL game for the Wii will be called NHL Slapshot, and it will be completely different from the main game. It will also ship with a mini-hockey stick peripheral.
NHL Slapshot will get a huge marketing assist from hockey great Wayne Gretzky, who will appear on its cover. The game includes a “Peewees to Pros” career mode, which lets a player start as an 11-year-old kid and work his way from peewee hockey through the junior leagues and on to the professional game. The mode is meant to reflect the experience of thousands of Canadian youngsters, and try to teach them game fundamentals, such as how to avoid offsides, what type of shot to attempt, and situational checking.
2K Sports’ NHL 2K11 will release for the Wii only next year. The studio pointed to strong sales among Canadian families as a reason to keep its Wii version going while it places its Xbox 360 and PS3 development on hiatus. EA Sports, clearly, is going after 2K’s family market north of the border.