Tag: Angela James


Teenage girl finds herself in NHL 12 after asking EA Sports why its games lacked female players


While manners-obsessed people might lean toward “Please,” the most important word in a young person’s vocabulary might just be “Why?” As an individual goes from simply absorbing the ideas of friends and family to developing a world view of their own, asking that simple question can often unravel something that once seemed like a great mystery. In one instance, asking why eventually allowed a teenage girl to appear in the most popular hockey video game on the market.

Fourteen-year-old Lexi Peters spent hours playing around with the custom team features in one of EA Sports’ NHL titles, as she hoped to recreate the Purple Eagles (an all-girls team Peters plays for). Unfortunately, the budding hockey fan ran into a significant issue: the games’ player creation options did not include a female character build.

The Buffalo native asked her father why there aren’t any women in the game, which prompted some great advice: why not send EA Sports a letter to find out? Peters did just that.

She sent a typewritten letter to the executives of one the largest video game makers in the world, asking them to add women players.

She wrote: “It is unfair to women and girl hockey players around the world, many of them who play and enjoy your game. I have created a character of myself, except I have to be represented by a male and that’s not fun.”

At first, it seemed like a lost cause, as Peters received a letter from EA saying that it couldn’t happen because such a decision would have to go through the NHL. The buck didn’t stop there, however, as NHL 12’s lead producer David Littman viewed the letter as a “wake-up call” about the game’s growing female audience.

“Lexi’s letter was a wake-up call,” Mr. Littman told the Globe and Mail. “Here’s a growing audience playing our NHL game and we hadn’t done anything to capture them.”

Mr. Littman then did some stick handling of his own: finding the budget to build her into the game, as well as getting permission from the NHL and EA’s legal department.

Then EA Sports gave Lexi the news. Not only were they adding a female character option, but they wanted Lexi to play the part of the “default” female player that gamers would then be able to customize.

“I was so excited,” says Lexi. “My dad called my grandpa immediately, who called my Uncle Chris, like a chain reaction.”

Bravo to EA Sports for listening to their customers, taking the steps to make that change and then giving Peters credit for the idea in a very clever and charming way. (This post’s main image features a screenshot of Lexi’s appearance in the game.)

The Globe & Mail article elaborates on that interesting story, as they discussed the notion that this is another sign of hockey’s growing popularity with women. The story caught up with Manon Rhéaume , a female goaltender who famously played two exhibition games for the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1992.

“It’s a big change and it’s exciting to see, because so many girls pay hockey now,” said Manon Rhéaume, the only woman to ever play in the real-world NHL.

With all of this in mind, I cannot help but wonder if female Hockey Hall of Famers Cammi Granato and Angela James might appear as legends in an NHL title in the future. Either way, this is a really cool move by EA and an example of the power of a little bit of inquisitiveness.

(That being said, I’m still holding a grudge on the Mars candy company for ignoring my 15-year-old idea to release more holiday-themed M & Ms. Maybe that cold war will melt away like those thick candy shells one of these days, though.)

[Image via The Globe & Mail.]

2010 Hockey Hall of Fame profiles: Ciccarelli, James and Granato (the players)


Five people will be officially inducted as the 2010 class of the Hockey Hall of Fame. In the “players” category, the inductees are: Dino Ciccarelli, Angela James and Cammi Granato. Meanwhile, the “builders” who will be inducted are Jimmy Devellano and Daryl “Doc” Seaman.

In these two posts, we’ll provide a quick summary of the accomplishments of the inductees from each group. Keep in mind these aren’t meant to be comprehensive. Instead, these write-ups will provide a snapshot of five great careers. Each individual is listed in alphabetical order.

To read about the two team builders, click here.

Dino Ciccarelli

Talking points/numbers

  • His 608 career goals have been brought into (mostly comical/sarcastic) question lately, but the bottom line is that he scored a ton in his career.
  • That goal total might be more important for keeping his points total even; according to hockey-reference.com, he finished his 19-year career with exactly 1,200 career points in 1,232 games played.
  • In 141 playoff games played, Ciccarelli scored 73 goals and 45 assists for 118 points and registered 211 PIM.
  • To call Ciccarelli a tenacious competitor is an understatement; he finished his regular season career with 1,425 PIM.

A few other things

Ciccarelli played more than 1,200 games with five different teams and accomplished a ton, although his off-ice issues and lack of a Stanley Cup victory kept him from earning an induction until this year. He is one of just 18 players to eclipse 600 goals and 45 players to pass 1,200 career points. Ciccarelli made four All-Star teams in his career.

Angela James

Talking points/numbers

  • Frequently represented Team Canada in women’s hockey competitions … including in roller hockey.
  • Joins fellow inductee Cammi Granato as the first women to be inducted into to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
  • Won four world hockey championship gold medals: in 1990, 92, 94 and 97.
  • Won a medal in 12 world championships overall, with a whopping eight MVP awards.
  • MVP of the now-defunct COWHL in 1991.
  • Other Hall of Fame inductions include: IIHF Hall of Fame, Canadian Sports Hall of Fame and Black Hockey and Sports Hall of Fame.

A few other things

She was compared to NHL players as such: “the aggressiveness of Mark Messier with the goal-scoring ability of Mike Bossy.” I guess she wasn’t half-bad, eh? It’s also been noted that she played every position, including goalie.

Cammi Granato

Talking points/numbers

  • Earned a gold medal (1998) and silver medal (2002) in the Olympics as a part of Team USA.
  • Won one gold and eight silver medals at the IIHF World Women Championships.
  • Will join Angela James as the only women to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
  • Was also inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame at the same time as James.
  • Won the 1996 USA Hockey Women’s Player of the Year award.

A few other things

Granato is the sister of current Pittsburgh Penguins assistant coach and former NHL player Tony Granato. She even earned an invitation to the New York Islanders’ training camp by then-GM Mike Milbury in 1997, although she declined it.

2010 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees share bonds while Dino Ciccarelli admits he stole a few goals

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Aside from Dino Ciccarelli, the 2010 Hockey Hall of Fame inductees were a bit of a surprise to the PHT staff and hockey blogosphere as a whole. In case you don’t remember, the real-life inductees included Ciccarelli, Cammi Granato and Angela James as players along with Jimmy Devellano and Daryl “Doc” Seaman as team-builders. Contrast that list with the one we came up with by combining our choices with 10 respected hockey bloggers: we chose Ciccarelli, Joe Nieuwendyk, Adam Oates and Doug Gilmour.

Ciccarelli earned widespread acclaim for his attitude (Pat Verbeek might have been the “Little Ball of Hate” but Ciccarelli would have earned that nickname too) and his impressive 608-goal career.

Well, now that Ciccarelli is about to enter the Hall of Fame, the scrappy goal scorer admits that his total goals might be one or two lower. Apparently he took credit for a couple goals scored by his former teammate Ron Wilson, according to a story in the Globe and Mail.

“He stole a couple of goals I scored,” Wilson explained. “I know it. … That’s the days before you had replay, you know? And you’re arguing, you shot from the point and the guy’s not within 15 feet and he’s saying, `that went off my stick.“’

During his playing days, Ciccarelli could often be found battling in front of the net. Listed generously at five-foot-10, the native of Sarnia, Ont., was willing to do just about anything to score.

Sometimes he would do anything to bolster his stats, too. All kidding aside, Ciccarelli earned the respect of Wilson and many others by playing way over his not-so-tall head.

The story details the bonds formed between two groups entering the 2010 HOF: Ciccarelli and team-builder Devellano comprise one while James and Granato share memories both as rivals and as champions (literally and figuratively) of women’s hockey.

Devellano can tease Ciccarelli a bit about a decision he made that was very much out of Ciccarelli’s hands.

Devellano has spent nearly 30 years working as an executive for the Detroit Red Wings. One of his first moves as general manager was drafting Steve Yzerman with the fourth overall pick in 1983 — a surprise to Ciccarelli at the time because he thought the North Stars intended to take Yzerman with the No. 1 selection (they drafted Brian Lawton instead).

“If that happened, maybe the North Stars wouldn’t have ended up in Dallas,” said Devellano. “With you and Steve playing together, you might have saved the North Stars.”

Ouch, who knows what kind of career Ciccarelli might have enjoyed playing alongside Stevie Y? (Then again, there might have been less goals to go around.)

The James-Granato bond is more direct, as the two played against each other as respective leaders of the U.S. and Canadian women’s national hockey teams.

As they discussed the honour of becoming the first women to enter the Hall, they couldn’t help but reflect back on the first ever world women’s championship in 1990. James and the Canadian women beat Granato’s U.S. squad 5-2 in the gold medal game before a sellout crowd at Ottawa’s Civic Centre.

It was unlike anything either of them had ever seen. With the Canadian fans singing in the dying moments, Granato found herself smiling on the bench even though her team was about to lose.

“At that point, I was just so happy women’s hockey was being viewed that way,” said Granato.

While I admit that it was a bit surprising to see some of the inductees, that doesn’t mean that they lack the requisite accomplishments to justify inclusion. Congratulations to all of the inductees. We’ll have more on them tomorrow, as the group will be officially enshrined on Monday.