The director of the NCAA's hockey marketing operation told a Canadian radio station that his organization has been in talks with EA Sports about bringing collegiate teams to EA's NHL title.
Paul Kelly, the executive director of College Hockey, Inc., the marketing initiative begun by NCAA's Division I ice hockey commissioners, told CFRN-AM 1260's "The Pipeline" show last night that his organization has been in discussions with EA Sports "for a couple of weeks."
"While we don't have a formal announcement to make at this moment, we are certainly in discussions with EA Sports and they are very interested in having a college component to their game," Kelly told the show. "We, the colleges, are very interested in having that happen and we are just currently in the process of figuring out what dimensions that ought to take. [But] just as there is going to be a CHL component to the video game, there will be a college hockey component as well."
That doesn't necessarily mean for NHL 11 due in September, Kelly said.
"I'm hopeful. I don't know much about the development of video games," he told the show. ""If we come to a finality here in the next couple of weeks and whether that would give them enough time to roll it out in time for September ... I would hope so but I don't know the answer to that."
I've emailed EA Sports for comment. Update: An EA Sports spokesman contacted Kotaku with this comment: "No comment on that one."
It must be noted that a video game using an American university's symbols or likenesses in a video game must go through the Collegiate Licensing Clearinghouse, and such deals are not cheap. While EA Sports already has a relationship with that authority through its NCAA Football franchise, the defunct NCAA Basketball and MVP College Baseball show the challenges of making a collegiate sport other than football sustainable.
That said, both of those titles were standalone; presumably Kelly means NCAA teams would, like the FIFA series, be included in the array of professional, amateur and world teams offered by NHL 11, which just struck an agreement with the major-junior Canadian Hockey League.