Last week EA Sports declined comment on a rumour that NHL 11 ld include all top-flight juniors teams from the Canadian Hockey League. The Canadian Broadcasting Company is now reporting the inclusion as fact.
Quoting a team official, the CBC says all teams from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League have been asked to supply images of their rinks and sweaters to EA Sports Vancouver. The QMJHL, with the Ontario Hockey League and Western Hockey League, form the Canadian Hockey League.
Again, that level of hockey is completely different from minor league hockey elsewhere in North America. The players are 16 to 20 years old, come from all over the world and are considered the game’s top prospects. So the inclusion of Major Junior Hockey will deepen the game’s franchise and singleplayer modes, if those clubs figure into personnel decisions, or are stops along your player’s path to the NHL.
The CBC story assumes without quoting EA that the real-life rosters of all teams will be used; I don’t know the terms of the CHL’s licensing agreement for the use of its players’ likenesses. Minor leaguers in North American baseball, for example, are not eligible to appear in video games. Canadian Major Junior hockey is recognised as professional by some entities (such as the American NCAA) but their earnings hardly compare to minor league hockey. This detail I’d leave up in the air for now.
Video game to Include Q-League Teams [CBC via Operation Sports]