The athletes featured on EA Sports’ NHL 23 were officially unveiled on Wednesday as Anaheim Ducks forward Trevor Zegras and Team Canada forward Sarah Nurse.
The selection of Zegras has been met with little surprise considering the young center is coming off a very hot year with the Ducks.
Selected ninth overall by the team in the 2019 NHL Draft, Zegras eventually made his league debut during the 2020-21 season, appearing in 24 games and collecting 13 points. Coming into the 2021-22 season still qualifying as a rookie, Zegras tallied 23 goals and 38 assists for 61 points in 75 games played. His performance earned him the title of the Ducks’ all-time rookie single-season scoring leader, passing Bobby Ryan’s previous record of 57 points, in addition to a second-place finish in the 2022 Calder Trophy vote.
Zegras’ achievements however, were not limited to his ability to get on the scoresheet. The 21-year-old also happened to capture attention across the league several times throughout this past year, due to his proclivity for making highlight-reel plays and scoring lacrosse-style ‘Michigan’ goals. His infamous alley-oop assist on Sonny Milano’s goal back in December went viral and has reportedly been added by EA Sports into NHL 23.
The selection of Nurse to be featured on the cover alongside Zegras marks the first time a women’s hockey player has ever graced the front of EA Sports’ NHL video game.
It was only in their most recent edition (NHL 22) that women’s players even became a part of the game, after EA Sports added the national team rosters from the IIHF world championships. While long overdue, these additions have reinforced the undeniable talent that exists in women’s hockey.
And who better to be a representative of that then Nurse, 27, who recently showed off her exceptional skill on the world stage. Winning gold with Team Canada in Beijing at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Nurse recorded five goals and 13 assists for 18 points in just seven games.
Nurse has had an overall incredible career so far, ranging from her university days to playing at the professional level to representing her country (and winning medals doing so). She is set to play for Canada in the 2022 IIHF Women’s World Championship in Denmark, which begins its qualifying round Thursday.
NHL 23 will be released on Oct. 14, with more details and features about the newest edition set to be announced later this week.