*** EDITOR’S NOTE – THIS ARTICLE IS FROM TOBY SMITH – WHO IS OUR NEWEST WRITER ON EYES ON ISLES. WE WELCOME TOBY TO THE CREW ***
To state that NHL ’94, a video game created by EA Sports almost 20 years ago, changed my life would be overstating things; but not by much. Shoot, you may even agree with me if you’re a hardcore gamer, puckhead, or even a casual fan anywhere in the midst of your mid-20’s to mid-40’s. One thing is certain; I may have earned my bachelor’s degree a little sooner had not it been for NHL ’94. Moving on . . .
If you haven’t heard by now, and chances are you have if you follow the Islanders through their website and various social media outlets, the powerhouse game developer EA Sports has opened up voting to fans around the world to select an NHL star to grace the cover of the ’13 version of the video game. If you haven’t voted for JT yet, I’d like to urge you to do so, for reasons one could argue may be more important than last years 8/1 referendum vote. Hey now.
Allow me to postulate. As of May 5, according to www.vgchartz.com, the NHL ’12 version of the game has sold nearly half million units. Small potatoes compared to the game developer’s other more popular franchise Madden ’12 but what makes this a big deal, especially for the smaller market teams around the league, is the worldwide publicity profile-raising that goes along with having your team’s stud on the cover of the game. Having John Tavares on the cover, sporting that big, bad, and beloved NYI logo, would do wonders for the team in terms of ‘street cred’. There are a lot of gamers, casual fans, impressionable young people, and parents out there that peruse the various retail outlets that sell video games. Visualize for a moment, for every time their eyes scan the racks at these stores, they see JT91.
Would John being on the cover of NHL ’13 get the team into the playoffs next year? Heck no. We all know that the team has needs beyond being featured on a game cover (stud blue-liner or two and a scoring power forward anyone?). But it doesn’t take a marketing major to understand that this team has long lacked the nation-wide branding, the strong public image, and the overall respect of the league. All, or some, of which could possibly be aided by having our boy on the cover of the gaming industry’s best selling ice hockey game.
You can vote as many times as you like until May 23rd for #91 to advance to the next round at: http://covervote.nhl.com/
Sidenote: I want to thank Gary and the other exceptional writers on this site, as well as the folks at www.fansided.com, for letting me join the team. Looking forward! You can follow me on Twitter: @tobysmithny.