NHL 97

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NHL 97
NHL 97 Coverart.png
Cover art featuring John Vanbiesbrouck
Developer(s) High Score Productions (Genesis)
Ceris Software (SNES)
EA Canada (PC)
Visual Concepts (PS, Saturn)
Publisher(s) EA Sports
Series NHL series
Platform(s) PlayStation
PC (DOS/Windows)
Mega Drive/Genesis
Release date(s)

PC‹See Tfd›

  • NA: August 31, 1996
PlayStation‹See Tfd›
  • JP: July 24, 1997
  • NA: November 12, 1996
  • EU: November 1996
Saturn‹See Tfd›
  • JP: July 11, 1997
  • NA: 1996
  • EU: 1996
Genesis‹See Tfd› SNES‹See Tfd›
  • NA: October 1996
  • EU: November 28, 1996
Genre(s) Sports - Ice Hockey Sim
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer, multiplayer online

NHL 97 is an ice hockey video game by EA Sports. It was released on October 31, 1996 and was the successor to NHL 96. It is the sixth installment of the NHL series and the first to be released on both PlayStation and Saturn.


NHL 97 took the graphics even further ahead, using a full 3D engine, with motion captured polygonal players (PC/PlayStation/Saturn versions only, the Mega Drive and SNES versions retained similar graphical values to previous games, but with further enhanced animations). Each goaltender has his own custom-painted mask and the original artwork can be seen inside the game with a special "Goalie Mask Viewer". NHL 97 also introduces play-by-play commentary, provided by well-known announcer Jim Hughson.

For the first time since EA Hockey, national teams were added, but only Canada, the United States, and Russia have their own teams while the other two are selections of the best European players. NHL 97 introduced a skills competition, allowing the user to pick players to compete in drills such as hardest shot, goalie 2 on 0, and accuracy shooting, among others.

This was the first year of the "Third Jersey." Teams that had available third jerseys for NHL 97 were, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Boston Bruins, Los Angeles Kings, Pittsburgh Penguins & Vancouver Canucks. These were the first teams to try out the third jersey. To activate the alternate uniform left click on the teams banner in the controller setup.

In addition, each team in the game had one player with a special skill. Examples are Joe Sakic's (Colorado Avalanche) "wrong-footed wrist shot" and Rob Ray's (Buffalo Sabres) ability to check an opposing player while still controlling the puck. A major flaw in the game was the glitch that allowed players to score 100% of the time when shooting down by taking a shot against the boards at the hash marks of the left circle in the bottom zone.

Along with the PC, Mega Drive/Genesis and SNES versions, both the Sega Saturn and PlayStation version made their debut, although they were rushed and buggy. For instance, the shot speed in the PlayStation and Saturn versions was so slow that some skaters could beat a slapshot down the ice. The cover of the game features Florida Panthers goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck.


The cover of the game features goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck, who played for the Florida Panthers between 1993–98. NHL 97 was the most recent game of the NHL series to feature a goaltender on the cover until Martin Brodeur was chosen for the cover of NHL 14.


The game received favorable reviews. GameSpot gave the game a 7.2/10 praising its visuals and realism but some criticism aimed at the handful of glitches.[1] Allgame gave the game a rating of 3.5/5 stars with closing comments stating, "All in all, NHL 97 is still a fun game to play based on the quality of the graphics and presentation, but a few key issues keep it from being the definitive PlayStation hockey experience."[2] The game was honored with a Game of the Year award for Best Sports Game by PC Gamer.[3]


  1. ^ December 1, 1996 12:00AM PST (1996-10-31). "NHL 97 Review". GameSpot.com. Retrieved 2012-05-29. 
  2. ^ Alan, Scott (2010-10-03). "NHL 97 - Review". allgame. Retrieved 2012-05-29. 
  3. ^ "PC Gamer reveals its 1997 award winners. - Free Online Library". Thefreelibrary.com. 1997-02-06. Retrieved 2012-05-29.