When NHL 15 was announced, fans were angry when they found out the popular EA Sports Hockey League (EASHL) wasn’t part of the game. But never fear, EASHL is coming to NHL 15, sort of.
EA Sports has announced that owners of the game will have the ability to play NHL 16’s EASHL before anyone else in the form of an open beta. The beta will start on July 30 and run until August 6, and requires initial access via NHL 15. Anyone who has NHL 15 on Xbox One or PlayStation 4 will automatically have access to the beta. Those who don’t have the game, but have the console can apply for a code if they had the game on Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3.
Jump into NHL 15 starting July 30 and you’ll see a new panel in the main menu hub to download the NHL 16 EASHL Beta. NHL 15 is required to access the beta initially, but is not required after you have successfully downloaded as the beta will be accessibly directly from your console hard drive.
Users in the beta will have full access to all 12 of the modes player classes that replace the typical attribute system from year’s past. They will also have the ability to fully customize their player’s appearance and equipment however they see fit.
In addition to customization, there will also be the return of EASHL seasons. Unlike previous seasons, these are more outlined in the same way Hockey Ultimate Team is set up in terms of progressing to higher divisions. Seasons progress based on the division a team is in after reaching either the game or points threshold to advance or be demoted.
In regards to playoffs, they will open up in almost the same way the HUT playoffs did in NHL 15, with certain cups available to teams based on division ranking.
The one feature of EASHL in NHL 16 that fans, unfortunately, won’t be able to utilize is the ability to create custom jerseys for your team. Instead, fans will have to select one of the hundreds of already in-game uniforms available to them. It’s a feature that will be added back in the future, but it’s unclear whether it will be in the form of a post-launch update a la the addition of the NHL Draft to NHL 15’s GM Mode or in NHL 17.
Teams and stats created in the NHL 16 EASHL beta will not carry over to the main game come its release in September. EA Sports is looking for player feedback on the mode in the form of a gameplay survey that fans can fill out after the beta is officially launched.
This will likely be the only opportunity to test out the new EASHL in NHL 16 before the game’s launch. So, if you really want to know if the changes to mode are worth it, make sure to get in on the action starting July 30.
Michael is a former Managing Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s covered the Buffalo Sabres, along with the NHL in general, for various outlets since 2009. His work has been featured on outlets such as Yahoo, Sports Illustrated and Fox Sports.