NHL 12 to feature female players thanks to girl’s letter to EA Sports

A letter from 14-year-old hockey fan Lexi Peters to EA Sports inspired the addition of female custom characters to the latest installment of their NHL franchise, NHL12.

As reported by The Globe and Mail, Peters was disappointed that she couldn’t create a custom character that looked like her. The teenager is not only a big fan of the sport, but has played on an all-girls team for more than four years now. When she complained about the inability to create female characters in the game, her father told her to write a letter to the game’s developer.

And that’s exactly what she did.

While the initial response she received from EA was less than optimistic — indicating that any changes of that nature would have to be approved by the NHL – her letter managed to reach the desk of David Littman, the lead producer on NHL12.

“Lexi’s letter was a wake-up call,” he said. “Here’s a growing audience playing our NHL game and we hadn’t done anything to capture them.”

Littman then proceeded to get permission from the NHL and EA Sports to add a new model for custom characters, and informed Peters that not only would the game feature female players, but they’d like to base the default female model on her likeness.

That means that when NHL12 hits shelves this week, users will now be able to create and modify female characters just like they would male players, and also change the character’s hair, eye colour, and jersey name if they want.

And with more than 100,000 women playing hockey in Canada, the move certainly makes sense — and the sole female player to appear in the NHL, Manon Rhéaume, would seem to agree.

“It’s a big change and it’s exciting to see, because so many girls pay hockey now,” said Rhéaume, who was signed to the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1992 as a goalie. She went on to play in two exhibition games, and now runs a scholarship foundation for young women in sports.

“I think we’re at a place where women in hockey are more accepted,” she added. “People are putting more money into girls’ hockey and the growth we’re seeing in the sport is mainly from girls, not boys.”

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