After their rather late and timid inclusion in NHL 22, women are making a big comeback in NHL 23. Sports understood that it was time. I actually spoke with Amanda Kessel, who is a world champion and gold medalist for Team USA, about the importance of women in NHL 23 and her new career behind the scenes with the Penguins. Pittsburgh.
Featured Image: Pittsburgh Penguins
Mario: First of all, what does it mean to you to see women appearing so prominently in NHL 23?
Amanda Kessel : I think it’s so important to show this equality between men and women and people from all walks of life. EA has taken this step. I think one day, I hope it won’t be so much a wow or a news. But for now, we are still in this place. It’s really important that people keep pushing it and eventually I think it will become the norm.
Mario: Are you a fan of the game? Do you play?
Amanda: I grew up playing a lot more than I play now. I still play from time to time, but I certainly don’t have the same time. I would say it was probably better when I was a kid.
Mario: Do you remember your first EA NHL game?
Amanda : I remember NHL 98, 99, 2000. Yeah, I think about it. I always took Colorado and the Red Wings. They were my teams growing up.
Mario: My first was NHL 94. When I asked Trevor Zegras what his first game was he said NHL 2007 and I felt old!
Amanda: Oh man. Yeah, that makes me feel old!
Mario: You were the first recruit in the Penguins management program. How was this experience for you?
Amanda: It was quite incredible. It was an opportunity I couldn’t really turn down. I have the unique opportunity to see an NHL team from a business perspective, which as a player you don’t really get exposed to very often.
So to be able to see behind the scenes what’s going on, and the people the players are interacting with don’t necessarily interact a lot. Just to see what kind of work is going on for them to be able to be the best they can be. It’s really cool to see that.
Then I get to meet all the different people in the organization and I look forward to working on the hockey side as well. In fact, in January, I will be joining the hockey operations team. But so far, it’s been a very, very good experience to be able to mix the two, business and hockey.
Credit: EA Sports
Mario: That’s great. Did you mention that you were going to continue with the Pittsburgh Penguins? So, what awaits you for now?
Amanda: Yeah right now I’m still training and competing and also starting to work a bit in the business world. It’s a unique opportunity to be able to do both. I’m lucky the Penguins are a great organization and they obviously know what’s going on in practice, competition and play too.
Mario: It’s awesome. What are your hopes for the future of women’s hockey?
Amanda: I hope there will be a league in which the best players in the world play, where everyone is their full-time job and the girls who grow up can know that it is a possibility, that there is has something after college to look forward to in the hockey world, to keep playing.
I never really had that. Besides, for the Olympics, you didn’t really know what you were going to do after college and how would you continue to train? It’s always a challenge. It’s gotten better, but I think that’s why you see women starting to play older, like a lot of men do in the NHL, because there are these opportunities and… The PWHPA that allows us to continue to train and keep this high level of play.
Mario: Do you think initiatives such as adding female players to NHL 23 and being able to play with them in all modes, not just as a secondary mode, are going to inspire kids, little girls who say, « Hey, I can also be a hockey player. I can be as good as any man. »
Amanda: Yeah, I think it is, just showing women and men side by side and they’re on the same level of play. I think it’s great for little girls. I think it’s great for little boys. Growing up kids don’t really know the difference, and when exposed to it this young, it becomes the norm. But unfortunately the norm has been to only see men, so that’s what people are getting used to. I think implementing this at a young age for kids will only help the sport and help women’s hockey grow as well.
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