Kane lands on EA SPORTS NHL 10 cover

Monday, 06.22.2009 / 1:59 PM / NHL Insider
By Rocky Bonanno  - NHL.com Staff Writer
You know you've made it when you're the first pick in the Entry Draft, you win the Calder Trophy, and you're chosen for the cover of an award-winning NHL video game.

The latter became reality for Chicago's Patrick Kane Monday when British Columbia-based EA SPORTS unveiled the cover of NHL 10 in downtown Toronto. The Blackhawks' forward follows in the footsteps of such stars as Dion Phaneuf, Eric Staal, Alexander Ovechkin, Vincent Lecavalier and Jarome Iginla.

"It's a pretty special group to be a part of. You look at the list up and down and to be in the same category with those guys is great," Kane said. "So many of the players that are on the cover are special players, and its fun to be on that cover.

"I played this game as little kid, and you hope that one day it can happen that you're a part of it. It's like being in the Draft, not every one can be a part of it. Only a select few guys are named."

"When you take a look at the history of all our cover athletes, typically the people we try to go with are the core-essence of the EA SPORTS brand," said David Le, senior product manager of the NHL franchise. "By that I mean youth, passion, competitive spirit, people who perform at an extremely high level. These are the players who are ambassadors for the NHL.

"We also select cover athletes based on their appeal to our relatively younger and extremely knowledgeable fan base. We pride ourselves on being ahead of the curve and associating our EA SPORTS NHL franchise with the hottest up-and-comers, and those that are savvy about our video games. Patrick fits that bill.  He's had a tremendous breakout season and playoff run, and he's a big-time gamer."

The Buffalo-born Kane, 20, is the youngest and the second U.S.-born cover athlete in the EA NHL franchise. Goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck graced the cover in 1997.

"To be a young American kid in an American city ... the team is so young and we're recapturing hockey in Chicago. This just adds to it," Kane said. "We had a great year as a team, and this is pretty special in its own regard. You hear things like second American on the cover, youngest player ... you take a few steps back and it humbles you."

"NHL 10 is building off momentum from NHL 09, and we never had a stronger year as a product than we had last year," Le said, alluding to NHL 09's sweep of 12 major "Sports Video Game of the Year Awards."

 "From a North American perspective, we continue to have a strong following and loyalty in Canada.  However, last year we made significant growth strides in the United States.  This year, we made a conscious decision to partner with a player we thought would resonate well both in Canada and in the U.S. market. We think the Chicago Blackhawks are a tremendous organization with a lot of positive momentum behind them.  We're also crossing our fingers for Patrick and hope that he is a big part of the U.S. Olympic team next year. He's an elite player and a franchise guy in a fantastic U.S. city with a rich hockey history."

NHL 10 features more than 200 gameplay refinements that replicate the skill and finesse of hockey, spectacular new ways to score, and improved goaltender intelligence.

Also at the Toronto unveiling was John Tavares, projected to be the first pick at the upcoming Entry Draft, who has signed an endorsement deal to promote NHL 10.

"John is perceived as a high-impact player," said Steve Frost, EA senior publicist. "We're bringing in somebody who is a good match with our brand, and is a great fit as a future spokesperson for the NHL."

As part of the media event in Toronto, Kane and Tavares played NHL 10 head-to-head, and Kane boasted of scoring on a breakaway.

"I thought my player was brutal ... just kidding," he said. "But seriously, the cover player is usually one of the best in the game. I thought my player was stronger on the puck than last year, so that's good too see. The graphics are unbelievable. Seeing pictures of yourself in the video game, its crazy."

NHL 10 is expected to be in retail stores by mid September and will also be available on shop.nhl.com.

Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom was earlier named a cover athlete on NHL 10 packaging in Sweden. Additional regional cover athletes for Finland, Denmark and Switzerland will be named at a later date. NHL 10 will be in retail stores across Europe on Sept. 18.

The EA SPORTS NHL franchise has won 19 Sports Game of the Year awards over the past two years.

Contact Rocky Bonanno at rbonanno@nhl.com


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