Ice hockey, next to soccer, is one of the least scoring sports in the world – meaning that a regulation 2.5 hour NHL hockey game (including intermissions) has an average of 3 goals per game. A measly average of 3 goals in a 2.5 time period! On paper, that sounds incredibly boring, watching men skate around for 2 hours and just passing the puck around.
However, ice hockey has one definitively awesome tradition that other sports do not – I’m talking about ice hockey fighting. Hockey is literally the only official sport where fistfighting is allowed, and while there are certain rules and etiquette around ice hockey fighting, it is certainly a huge part of ice hockey culture.
The fistfighting, along with some rather brutal checks where players have even been slammed through glass pane windows, make it one of the most enjoyable sports for the bloodthirsty sports fan.
With all of that said, let’s check out some of the best ice hockey games you can play this winter.
EA NHL 19
EA’s NHL 19 is the latest title in their NHL franchise, and it is packed with an abundance of awesome features. For starters, the gameplay is immediately accessible to veterans and beginners alike, as the game will ask you to rate your skill-level and adjust the controls for you accordingly. The beginner control scheme is highly simplified, while veterans can enjoy realistic and detailed puck-handling with a more elaborate setup.
There are numerous game modes, both online and offline. You can play highly realistic sim Franchise modes, or some crazy arcade modes like EA Sports Ones, which pits 3 individual players against each other in a free-for-all, all against the same goalie. You can do some hilarious things like waiting for the other two players to tie-up, then go crashing into both of them in outrageous checks that would get you kicked off the ice during a normal game. This needs to be a game in real life. Do it, NHL!
EA has also fine-tuned all of the physics and graphics in this game, introducing RPM (Real Player Motion) technology for highly realistic animations. Checks look amazing and are physics-based, drawing on your player’s stats and overall fatigue. Overall, EA NHL 19 is the official videogame of NHL, and it’s simply amazing.
Break Away Deluxe
Break Away Deluxe is a hockey-themed online slot game, developed by Microgaming. It is played on a 5 by 5 grid, with between 18 to 88 paylines. It includes Rolling Reels, free spins, Growing Wilds, Smashing Wild and multiplier trails up to 8x.
The wild is the Break Away Deluxe logo and can appear on reels 3, 4, and 5 in the base game, and reels 2, 3, 4, and 5 in the Free Spins feature. With the Rolling Reels feature, popular in other Microgaming slots, winning symbols are removed from the reels to create new ones, allowing you to form multiple consecutive wins in a row.
With the Free Spins feature, you can really stack up the multipliers, allowing you to nail up to 60 free spins, with a payout up to 3,181x your bet. It’s an awesome slot game for fans of ice hockey, and you can check it out and other great slot games on Casumo online casino.
Bush Hockey League
Available for Windows, Sony PS4, and Xbox One, Bush Hockey League is a retro throwback to the ice hockey bush leagues of the 70s, when hockey players didn’t wear helmets, veterans were toothless, and defense was dirty. Oh, and the fights, good lord the fights.
Bush Hockey League attempts to recapture this insanity on ice, and it’s a very different experience from EA NHL 19. The rule book is pretty much thrown out the window, and strategy boils down to hooking, slashing, and checking the heck out of the other team.
Bush Hockey League is definitely an arcade game, and even offers a “Beer Mode”, which gives you a one-handed controller setup so that you can hold your beer in the other hand while playing. If you score enough goals in a row, your team gets powered up with “On Fire” abilities, similar to the old NBA JAM games.
Overall, Bush Hockey League is the perfect game for hockey fans who just want to drink, fight, and swing sticks around their head like a barbarian horde charging into battle.