NHL 06 is a hockey-simulation video game that was released in September 2005 with a North America-wide TV campaign proclaiming, "The Rush is Back!". The game features a slight graphics improvement and the return of the Create-a-Player feature, which was notably absent from NHL 2005. The complete redesign of this feature was based on EA Sports' Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004 and subsequent installments, allowing for much more complex changes in a player's appearance than simply eye or hair color. This is the first NHL game to be rated ESRB E10+ and PEGI 16+, and the last game featured on GameCube.
The game also includes HC Davos from Switzerland to go along with the European Elite Leagues. Due to the lack of the IIHF license, the game does not include real team jerseys for national teams or the World Cup of Hockey. Instead, the World Cup of Hockey is now known as the "EA Sports World Tournament". This also means that the national team jerseys were modified by substituting the team logos with flags and randomizing jersey designs. However, there are two backgrounds in the menus showing a bench with Canada in their real jerseys and a goaltender in the real Finland jersey, even though the USA logo is still visible on the USA helmets and Russia's jersey script logo can be also seen on Russia's ice rink.
The game was met with slightly positive reception upon release. GameRankings and Metacritic gave it a score of 79.67% and 78 out of 100 for the PlayStation 2 version; 78.85% and 79 out of 100 for the Xbox version; 78.68% and 78 out of 100 for the GameCube version; and 76.82% and 77 out of 100 for the PC version.