Atlanta Thrashers: The Revisionist History Of EA Sports NHL 15


 Remember the Atlanta Thrashers? EA Sports apparently doesn’t. 

In case you forgot, the current incarnation of the Winnipeg Jets is not the same team that dates back to the WHA. The franchise leading scorer for the current incarnation is Ilya Kovalchuk, not Dale Hawerchuk. Common knowledge, right? Apparently not if you are EA Sports.

I finally bit the bullet and got an Xbox One last month and one of my first purchases was a copy of NHL 15 – the latest and greatest in that storied video game franchise. EA prides itself on its attention to detail – both in game play and the history of the teams portrayed in the game. Select the Dallas Stars and you can pick several uniforms from the Stars history – including the Minnesota North Stars and the Cleveland Barons (who merged with Minnesota after the 1978 season).

That is why I was surprised to see that the Atlanta Thrashers uniforms are not a playable option for the Winnipeg Jets. You can select the current home and away jerseys for Winnipeg, as well as the original Winnipeg Jets 1.0 jerseys. The original uniforms are also a playable option for the Arizona Coyotes. I understand why the original jerseys are included for both the “real” original Jets (Arizona) and the current incarnation, but why leave out the Thrashers?

Looking at this video from 2012, it appears that the Trashers uniforms disappeared the first year the Jets made their return to the game:

I’d say EA Sports forgot the team existed, but then I heard an interesting bit of commentary in NHL 15, when I took on the Jets as the Carolina Hurricanes. Both virtual Doc Emrick and virtual Eddie Olczyk mentioned the “heated rivalry between these two teams” several times throughout the game. With the Jets currently in the Western Conference and the Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference, it’s hardly the makings of a rivalry anymore. In fact, if you base it solely on the number of fighting majors (as Hockey does), the Jets come in at 27th for the Hurricanes rivalry list.

So that leaves us with these potential reasons it is marked as a rivalry in NHL 15:

1. NHL 15 is going full on revisionist history and pretending that Winnipeg Jets 2.0 are the same Winnipeg Jets that played against the Carolina Hurricanes when they were the Hartford Whalers and in the WHA.

2. NHL 15 is referring the the Winnipeg Jets 2.0 brief stint in the Southeast Division, prior to re-alignment

3. NHL 15 is actually acknowledging the existence of the Atlanta Thrashers  and was just too lazy to include their uniforms.

Maybe I am reading too much into this, but it is one of the major side-effects when a team moves / returns and uses a legacy name. We see it in football with the Cleveland Browns / Baltimore Ravens and I won’t event try to dissect the insanity that is the NBA. But, as someone who still owns some Atlanta Thrashers gear, I would like it if EA Sports gave them the same recognition to the Thrashers as they do the Cleveland Barons and the Minnesota North Stars.

Next: Ranking All 18 NHL Third Jerseys

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