NHL 11 is an ice hockey video game celebrating the twentieth year of the NHL series.[1] It was developed by EA Canada, published by EA Sports, and released in North America on September 7, 2010, with all other regions receiving the game within a month.[2]

The game features a number of improvements and gameplay additions over its predecessor, NHL 10, and was received with generally favourable reviews upon its release.

Game covers

On June 21, 2010, Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks was announced as the cover athlete for NHL 11 in North America, marking the first time teammates were selected in consecutive years. (Chicago winger Patrick Kane was the cover athlete for NHL 10 in North America.)[1]

Toews won a gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics and the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP. He captained the Blackhawks to their first Stanley Cup win since 1961, all in 2010.[1]

On June 23, 2010, identical twins Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks were announced as the cover athletes for the Swedish cover of NHL 11.[3] Mark Streit is on the Swiss cover of NHL 11 for the third consecutive year.[4]


As an ice hockey simulation, the game attempts to emulate the rules and play of the sport as closely as possible.[5] Goals, for example, may be scored from all areas of the ice through a variety of different methods, mirroring play in the real game.[6]

The right analog stick is used to simulate the movement of the in-game player's hockey stick, performing actions such as dekeing and shooting.[7]



New clubs in the game are AIK Ishockey in Elitserien, which managed to qualify for the 2010–11 Elitserien season, replacing Rögle BK, who were relegated as well as the Oklahoma City Barons in the American Hockey League, the recently reactivated minor league franchise of the Edmonton Oilers. Also included for the first time are the sixty teams from the Canadian Hockey League (CHL).[6] The CHL teams are also part of the Be A Pro and Be A GM modes, rather than simply being playable in "Play Now" games, like some of the European leagues.[8]

On May 3, 2010, a FAQ was released on the EA Sports website regarding questions users will (or may) ask regarding the gameplay of the game before the game is released.[9]

The game, like its predecessor NHL 10, will include "over 200 gameplay refinements"[10] and other new features, including:

  • Broken sticks and the ability to retain control of a stick-less player. The player will be able to kick or grab the puck, and teammates may offer their own stick as a replacement. Alternatively, the player may return to the bench for another stick.[11]
  • A new physics-based engine, unlike the previous engine, which was animation-based. This ensures that each bodycheck is unique, adding to the realism of the game.[11]
  • A revamped face-off system, which introduces the ability to switch between standard or reversed grips, and to push or block the faceoff opponent. Timing will remain an important part of the faceoff process.[12]
  • Changes to the passing system in which passes are now triggered at the release of the trigger button, instead of the initial pull. The longer the button is held, the stronger the pass will be.[12]
  • An all-new Hit Stick feature, allowing players to control the location of their hit on the opposing player. Whether a player gets hit high or low, each hit will have a different outcome, including penalties and injuries.[13]
  • The new Hockey Ultimate Team (HUT) mode, where the players receives a pack of cards and uses them to build up their own team and make it the best they can. The players will earn "EA Pucks" after each game they've played in the HUT mode, whether they win or lose.[14][15]
  • A new control button, the Hustle button, similar to the speed burst button of previous NHL games, but now, in NHL 11, players can use the Hustle button if they're racing for the puck, to stop the icing or to get a breakaway.[16]
  • Restricted and Unrestricted Free Agents in Be a Pro mode and Be a GM Mode.

Other additions include user-controlled goal celebrations, disallowed goals, playoff beards[17] and the ability to jump over a prone player.[10]

Be a GM mode additions

  • Restricted free agency, including qualifying offers, offer sheets and compensation draft picks.[18]
  • Six seasons worth of draft picks available for trades and as RFA compensation (rather than only one season's worth of picks available in the previous games).[18]
  • A revamped "Rookie Generation" system.[18]



The songs featured in NHL 11 were chosen to replicate the "feel of a live NHL experience".[19]

Song title Artist
Here I Stand In Whispers
Bottom of the Well Airbourne
Your Betrayal Bullet for My Valentine
Dialectic Chaos Megadeth
Walk Pantera
Full of Regret Danko Jones
Twilight Zone 2 Unlimited
Strike It Up Black Box
Mama Taught Me Better Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
¡Olé! The Bouncing Souls
Sandstorm Darude
I'm Shipping Up to Boston (Live) Dropkick Murphys
The Final Countdown Europe
Unstoppable Foxy Shazam
Blitzkrieg Bop Ramones
Howlin' for You The Black Keys


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 91.14%[20]
Metacritic 91/100[21]
Review scores
Publication Score B+[22]
Game Informer 9.0/10[23]
GameSpot 9.0/10[6]
IGN 8.5/10[7]

NHL 11 was critically received with "universal acclaim", with the Xbox 360 version garnering aggregated reviews of 91% on both GameRankings and Metacritic.[20][21]

The new physics-based gameplay was well received, with Game Informer describing it as "steady progress" over previous games,[23] and IGN noting it "isn't perfect... but when it works properly the results can be awesome".[7]

The game's artificial intelligence received mixed reviews. takes issue with the offensive AI, criticizing teammates that do not join the puck carrier on a breakaway, yet remarking they show "flashes of brilliance in the defensive zone.[22] GameSpot mentions that the AI has been "noticeably ramped up", with "smart teammates" and "players [who] seem to know what they're doing", while lamenting the fact that "computer players still hold onto the puck a little too long".[6]


The demo was released on August 17, 2010 in North America and on August 18, 2010 in Europe, on both the Xbox Live Marketplace and PlayStation Store. The demo includes a first look at the new Hockey Ultimate Team (HUT) feature, which includes a "Starter Pack" of player cards and a HUT tournament where the users have to win their games in order to win the tournament; the Battle for the Cup mode with a 5 minute third period of Game 7 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Chicago Blackhawks; and interactive tutorials which also include the new features in face-offs. Players can win new cards by either playing the demo, winning the HUT tournament or inviting friends to download the NHL 11 demo.[24][15]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 EA Sports. Stanley Cup Champion Jonathan Toews the New Face of EA SPORTS NHL 11 [press release]. 21 June 2010 [cited 21 June 2010].
  3. Jonas Elfving (23 June 2010). Sedin-bröderna på NHL 11-omslag (Swedish, Svenska). EA Sports. GameReactor. Retrieved on 24 June 2010
  4. Owen Good (24 June 2010). The Swiss And The Swedes Get Their Own NHL 11. Kotaku Australia. Retrieved on 4 August 2010
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2
  8. Eddie Makuch (24 May 2010). "NHL 11 scores CHL teams". GameSpot. Retrieved 09 June 2010. 
  9. Alain Quinto (03 May 2010). Gameplay Fixes Addressed for NHL 11. Retrieved on 30 May 2010
  10. 10.0 10.1 Sean Leahy (14 June 2010). "From Conn Smythe to NHL 11 cover boy for Jonathan Toews". Yahoo! Sports.,248357. Retrieved 14 June 2010. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 Brian Ekberg (07 June 2010). "NHL 11: Hands On". GameSpot. Retrieved 09 June 2010. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 Brian Ekberg (16 June 2010). "E3 2010: NHL 11 Hands On". GameSpot. Retrieved 16 June 2010. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 NHL 11 Demo Now Available on PSN and XBL!. EA Sports (17 August, 2010). Retrieved on 18 August, 2010
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 James O'Brien (24, August 2010). NHL '11 news: GM Mode will feature restricted free agency, offer sheets, qualifying offers. NBC Sports. Pro Hockey Talk. Retrieved on 24 August, 2010
  20. 20.0 20.1
  21. 21.0 21.1
  22. 22.0 22.1
  23. 23.0 23.1
  24. Live Chat: Hockey Ultimate Team and Demo Details. EA Sports (12 August, 2010). Retrieved on 12 August, 2010

External links

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