2K Sports reveals Rick Nash to be NHL 2K9 cover athlete

Hockey is a sport that, sadly, has completely fallen off the radar of most Americans. Out of the four major sports in America, it was already the least popular one, but losing the entire 2004-05 season due to that damn lockout dealt the sport a terrible blow. And when ESPN decided not to renew its broadcasting contract at the start of the 2005-06 season, hockey became hard to find on TV.

But it’s still the top dog in Canada — I’m sure our Canadian readers, such as DJDuffy and The GHost, can attest to that. And plenty of gamers around the world certainly enjoy the hockey videogames that come out each year. So tear yourself away from the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a moment and check this out: 2K Sports has just announced that Rick Nash of the Columbus Blue Jackets will grace the cover of NHL 2K9.

Nash is one of the NHL’s brightest young stars. At the NHL All-Star Game this January, he scored the quickest goal in All-Star history (just twelve seconds into the game), and finished the game with a hat trick (for those of you not hip to the hockey lingo, that means that he scored three goals in the game). Pretty impressive, no?

You’re going to have to wait a while to get your hands on the game, though; NHL 2K9 will be out this fall for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 2. For more info, hit up the press release after the jump.

2K Sports Signs NHL® All-Star Rick Nash of Columbus Blue Jackets® to be Cover Athlete for NHL 2K9

Visual Concepts to bring the fun and excitement back to hockey video games

New York, NY – May 15, 2008 – Millions of hockey fans continue to enjoy intense Stanley Cup Playoffs action, but it’s never too early to start looking forward to next year’s NHL season. 2K Sports, the sports publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO), today announced that three-time NHL All-Star and captain of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Rick Nash, will be featured as the cover athlete and spokesman for this year’s highly anticipated hockey video game, NHL 2K9. Visual Concepts has taken over the development duties for NHL 2K9 and are building a brand new experience from the ground up with the ultimate goal of creating an addictively fun sport simulation of the NHL that will be available this fall.

“I’ve been a longtime fan of the hockey games from 2K Sports. My idols have all been on the covers of video games as I was growing up, so to be on the cover of NHL 2K9 myself is truly incredible,” said Nash, who scored an impressive three goals in the 2008 NHL All-Star Game. “The set of new features they’re adding is really going to make this game special for hockey fans – I’m hoping they give me a couple extra points to my player rating this year!”

Nash was selected first overall in the 2002 NHL Draft and is one of the most exciting and dynamic young players in the NHL. In only his second season, at the age of 19, Nash became the youngest player in NHL history to win the “Rocket” Richard Trophy by co-leading the League with 41 goals scored. Now an established superstar in the NHL, Nash was also a member of Team Canada at the 2006 Olympics, and was named MVP of the 2007 World Championships. His deep level of involvement and work with Visual Concepts, alongside his background as an experienced gamer, provides an invaluable contribution and influence to the overall development process for creating the most fun hockey experience available.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to have Rick Nash be part of the 2K Sports family,” said Christoph Hartmann, president of 2K. “Nash is one of the marquee names in the NHL today. He is a true gamer and there is no player more fitting to represent NHL 2K9 as we bring high quality fun to hockey video games for another year.”

NHL 2K9 is being developed by Visual Concepts, a 2K Sports studio, and is not yet rated by the ESRB. NHL 2K9 will be available this fall for Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system, and PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system. For more information, please visit www.2ksports.com.

Samit Sarkar