Have you ever second-guessed a trade, signing or coaching change made by your favourite NHL team? If you have, than Sports Interactive’s NHL Eastside Hockey Manager 2007 is for you.
This game allows you to be the general manager of your team, and has tons of leagues to choose from. You can start working in the NHL right away, or you could work your way up from the minor leagues (AHL, ECHL and Central Hockey League), from junior (Canadian Hockey League) or even from Europe (the game includes leagues from Sweden, Germany and even Great Britain and Slovenia). There are also leagues that are not licensed but still playable with similar team names and players with their names changed. Included in that list is the Russian Elite league, Finnish leagues and others.
The game really allows you to make all hockey-related decisions like are made in real life. You can give your star player a no-trade clause, invite your prospects to training camp, and my favourite part of the game: draft.
You can send your scouts to watch players at key International tournaments, send them to watch players eligible for upcoming drafts and send them to watch opposing teams so you can get reports on players you wish to acquire by trade.
The salary cap is also included in the NHL part of the game, and other leagues with salary caps, and your boss also gives you a budget. If you start losing, either on the ice or financially, you will be losing one other thing: your job.
In my latest attempt at the game, I started off in the Swedish second division. After a year and a half, I decided to move to North America, and applied for the job of the Rimouski Oceanic in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. My ultimate goal is to get to the NHL, and I apply for every NHL job that becomes available even though there are tons of more qualified GMs available. The way the game works in terms of hiring you is based on reputation. If you make good acquisitions, either by trade or free agency, and more importantly if you win games, qualify for the playoffs and win playoff rounds and championships, your reputation will grow, and jobs will be headed your way.
The realism is also there. Players will decide to hold out, the media will expect you to comment on their praise or criticism of certain players and your boss will tell you to get rid of certain player who is performing below expectations.
They also have outstanding customer service, and it is not uncommon to see them release five patches and updates to any of their games. There are also numerous sites for all three games that have add-ons to make your game look prettier, as well as roster updates released throughout the year.
For more information on NHL: EHM 2007, visit www.eastsidehockeymanager.net, and for more information on Sports Interactive, visit www.sigames.com