Greg WyshynskiESPN2 minute read
The NHL launches its first fan experience on online gaming platform Roblox, bringing hockey-inspired games and customizable team jerseys to the metaverse.
NHL Blast, which the league announced Thursday, “allows hockey fans and the Roblox community to hang out and play in a new online space that incorporates many elements of NHL fandom,” said David Lehanski, NHL executive vice president for business development and innovation.
The league announced that NHL Blast will be available on computers and mobile devices.
Roblox features include:
• Teams of five will play hockey in “awesome, obstacle-filled environments,” including one inspired by the NHL’s street hockey initiative.
• Running and shooting mechanics that mimic the movements of real NHL players.
• Users can wear any NHL jersey with their Roblox username and custom number. There are also customizable goalie masks.
• At the Upper Deck Selfie Station, users can take photos of their digital avatars acting out hockey poses commonly seen on NHL trading cards.
• Updates sync NHL Blast with important events. These include 3D goal replicas from the 2023 Stanley Cup Finals using the league’s NHL EDGE puck and player tracking technology – the same technology used in the development of this season’s Disney XD game Big City Greens.
NHL Blast was developed by Metaverse development studio The Gang.
“We appreciate the NHL’s focus and boldness in delivering fun, innovative gameplay and rewarding users with great customization options that make them feel like pros,” said Marcus Holmstrom, CEO of The Gang.
Under Commissioner Gary Bettman, the NHL made its first forays into esports, forming a youth advisory board in 2019 called the NHL Power Players.
Bettman has indicated that reaching younger fans is a priority for the league. According to Statista, 23% of Roblox game users worldwide were 9-12 years old in December.