Ever wish you could guide the Boston College Eagles to a Beanpot tournament victory or the Wisconsin Badgers to a Frozen Four final? Well most of us can only dream of doing that in real life but through the magic of technology... gamers and NCAA hockey fans will soon have the chance to do exactly that.
Paul Kelly, Executive Director of College Hockey Inc., made another appearance on The Pipeline Show Tuesday night and talked about a variety of things including the plans for a video game.
Last week the Canadian Hockey League and EA Sports formally announced that the next edition of their NHL series would include teams and players from all three Canadian Major Junior leagues.
According to Paul Kelly, the NCAA and EA Sports are very close to announcing a similar agreement to bring the U.S. College game to the masses in the same format.
The bulk of our conversation covered far more serious ground and included the recent back-and-forth exchanges between College Hockey Inc. and the Western Hockey League in regards to the WHL Bantam Draft and the signing of those players to contracts that would nullify NCAA eligibility.
Kelly was also asked flat out whether the apparent strategy to "win the war" by continually attacking the CHL as opposed to promoting the NCAA might actually prove to be detrimental to his mandate.
Tapping into the European market to try and lure players to the NCAA ranks was also discussed as was the potential to allow 20-year-old un-drafted CHL grads to play in U.S. Colleges (like they do in Canada as opposed to the ECHL or Europe).
But we knew that the breaking news of the plans to have EA Sports and NCAA Hockey together at last would really capture the attention of many people who have longed for just such an announcement.
NCAA Basketball and NCAA Football have their own annual release from EA Sports so why not NCAA hockey, at least under the NHL umbrella?
"We've actually been in discussions with EA for a couple of weeks," Kelly began, "and while we don't have a formal announcement to make at this moment, we are certainly in discussions with EA Sports and they are very interested in having a college component to their game. We, the colleges, are very interested in having that happen and we are just currently in the process of figuring out what dimensions that aught to take. The answer to your question though is 'YES' just as there is going to be a CHL component to the video game, there will be a college hockey component as well."As for the time frame for that release, I immediately asked Mr. Kelly if that would be in place for the NHL 2011 release due in mid-September.
"I'm hopeful. I don't know much about the development of video games... if we come to a finality here in the next couple of weeks and whether that would give them enough time to roll it out in time for September... I would hope so but I don't know the answer to that. As soon as they are able to do it, we'll be doing it."Great news if you're a fan of EA Sports ongoing series of NHL games and especially if you've been waiting for NCAA hockey to be included.
Now, as my co-host Dean Millard wondered aloud last night, won't it be cool if you can play games between CHL and NCAA clubs??