BOSTON (CBS) — Following a successful formula created by the Madden franchise, EA Sports is opening up the cover athlete for NHL 13 to a fan vote.
The vote, in its first round of 60, starts with two players from each team. Fans pick one player from each team between March 29 and April 11, with the 30 winners (plus two wild-card winners, selected by EA Sports) moving on to the next round. That group of 32 will be voted on from April 12-22, and 16 players will move on to the next round, which will be a playoff-style bracket from April 24-June 4.
“Being the EA SPORTS NHL cover athlete is an honor that is coveted by many NHL players,” said Adam Larry, NHLPA director of licensing, in a statement. “With the EA Sports NHL 13 cover athlete being selected by the fans, the honor is now even greater. This vote campaign will be exciting for both the players and the fans, as they will be engaging online, and through social media, while the bracket narrows towards the fans’ selection for the cover of NHL 13.”
For the Bruins, their first-round participants will be Tyler Seguin and Tuukka Rask. The inclusion of Rask is peculiar, as he’s been the backup goaltender the past two seasons, while Tim Thomas became a Conn Smythe, Vezina and Stanley Cup winner last season.
Here’s a look at some of the Bruins’ rivals and other notable players who will be in the cover vote:
Toronto Maple Leafs
New York Rangers
The list of athletes to have graced the cover in recent years includes Steven Stamkos, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Dion Phaneuf, Eric Staal and Alexander Ovechkin. Of that group, only Stamkos and Staal are included in this year’s vote.
Fans can vote at NHL.com/covervote.