Tag: Cammi Granato


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.]

Don Granato named head coach of USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program


When people talk about former NHL player and current Pittsburgh Penguins assistant coach Tony Granato, it’s common for the discussion to shift to one of his siblings as well. In most cases, they end up talking about his well-known hockey playing sister Cammi, who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010.

This time around, Tony’s brother Don is the focus. Don Granato was named the head coach of USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program (or USNTDP) today. Granato will become one of the two head coaches employed by the program, serving as the head coach of the Under-17 Team. The Penguins Web site points out that this was the same job that John Hynes – head coach of their AHL affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton – once held for six years.

Don Granato has enjoyed plenty of success in his 15 years of coaching at various levels of hockey, as you can see from this mini-resume from the Penguins site.

Granato, 44, began coaching in 1993. The Downers Grove, Ill., native was the first-ever coach and general manager of the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League (USHL), where he twice led the team to two Anderson Cup titles as regular season champions and also coached them to a Clark Cup as playoff champion.

After spending three seasons in the ECHL – winning a Kelly Cup with the Peoria Rivermen in 2000 – Granato moved to the American Hockey League (AHL), where he won the Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award as the most outstanding coach in 2001 with the Worcester IceCats.

He spent four seasons with the IceCats, the minor-league affiliate of the St. Louis Blues, from 2000-05, becoming the winningest coach in franchise history with a 191-130-45-14 record.

After serving as an assistant coach for St. Louis in 2005-06, Granato was head coach of the Chicago Wolves, then the minor-league affilate of the Atlanta Thrashers, from 2008-10. He spent last season as a scout with the Vancouver Canucks.

(Photo credit: Ross Dettman of the Chicago Wolves via USA Hockey.com.)

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.