Female characters playable for the first time in NHL ’13

Gamers will finally be able to play as a woman in NHL ’13.

EA announced Wednesday that for the first time ever in a professional sports video game, players can choose to play as a woman in NHL ’13.

Former team Canada superstar Hayley Wickenheiser and former U.S. great Angela Ruggiero are both playable characters in the latest installment of the wildly popular franchise. The two are both four-time Olympic medalists.

Women started getting phased into the game in NHL ’12’s “Be a Pro” mode, at the request  of a 14-year-old girl who felt she was underrepresented as a hockey and video game fan.

While players could create their own female characters in that game, this is the first professional league game to ever actually feature a real, playable female athlete (with apologies to female wrestlers).

“The EA Sports NHL franchise took a big step last year by including female characters to create a more inclusive experience for female hockey fans,” Wickenheiser said. “I’m excited to be a part of NHL ’13 and hope that the addition of women’s hockey legends will encourage greater participation in hockey from young women everywhere.”

“We are very excited to continue our effort of creating a more representative experience for female hockey fans by adding two of the greatest female athletes to ever play the game in Wickenheiser and Ruggiero to NHL 13,” said Dean Richards, the EA Sports NHL general manager.

Gamers will also get the chance to play as NHL greats Doug Gilmour, Jari Kurri, Dominik Hasek, Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux.

The NHL 13 demo is available for download now via Xbox Live and PlayStation Network. The game will be available on Sept. 11, 2012 in North America and Sept. 14, 2012 in Europe.

For more information, visit www.easports.com.

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