Behind-the-Scenes: Inside the NHL 13 Cover Reveal in Las Vegas
The EA SPORTS NHL Cover Vote campaign was over. Only a select few at EA SPORTS, the NHL and the NHLPA knew the result.
With nearly 26 million votes cast and 60 NHL players involved, the EA SPORTS NHL Cover Vote narrowed to two players – Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne and Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux. The plan was to reveal the NHL 13 cover vote winner during the live broadcast of the 2012 NHL Awards. Not even finalists Pekka Rinne or Claude Giroux knew who had won until it was unveiled. Everyone was anxious, but excited.
The illustrious ‘Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas’ sign
This is the behind-the-scenes story of the NHL 13 cover reveal – Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas!
The Las Vegas strip as you enter from the airport
Ever been to Vegas? There’s a lot of…let’s say “fun”, to be had, and that’s putting it mildly. As we rolled into town, having fun wasn’t exactly top priority. There was a lot of work to do; fun would have to wait until later.
The Wynn Resort
Day 1: The Wynn Resort hosted all the 2012 NHL Awards festivities and this is where we set up shop. We checked into our rooms and set up the EA SPORTS suite.
Pekka Rinne meeting EA SPORTS NHL GM Dean Richards
First order of business? Meet Claude and Pekka. Meeting NHL players for the first time is always funny. You see these guys on TV and have this expectation of what they’re like in real-life. Guess what, when the camera is off them they’re more willing to cut loose, crack a joke and have a good time.
Claude Giroux playing NHL 13 against EA SPORTS NHL GM Dean Richards
Once the initial meet and greets were over, it was game time. Pekka and Claude both got a chance to take on EA SPORTS NHL General Manager Dean Richards in NHL 13. Both had some skills, but Pekka took Dean to town beating him 4-2.
EA SPORTS hardwood case
Pekka and Claude were both excited about how true-to-life NHL 13 felt. Claude loved True Performance Skating, while Pekka commented on how the goalies’ desperation saves “looked awesome”. They were also very excited about what was in the EA SPORTS box.
Custom NHL 13 Claude Giroux & Pekka Rinne PS3s
Custom NHL 13 Claude Giroux & Pekka Rinne PS3s. Pekka even had his shipped to Finland so that he could play with his buddies when he was at home.
Claude Giroux & Pekka Rinne during media hour
After the fun was had, it was back to business. Claude and Pekka attended the NHL Awards media hour where they talked about the cover vote and what fans had done to get them here.
Steven Stamkos during NHL media hour
Recognize this face? NHL 12 cover athlete Steven Stamkos was also speaking to media and he would play a pretty cool role in revealing the NHL 13 winner, but that comes later.
Pekka Rinne and Claude Giroux laughing during a media interview
Day 2 – The Day of the Awards: Pekka and Claude meet for the first time in the EA SPORTS suite. Two men enter, only one can emerge victorious. In all honesty, the guys weren’t competitive with each other at all and it wasn’t long before they were talking and laughing together.
Giroux & Rinne being mic’d up for TSN interviews
Five hours until the Awards broadcast begins: TSN had set up to film Pekka and Claude for OTR, SportsCentre and That’s Hockey. Pekka and Claude are being mic’d up for the day’s interviews.
Giroux working with the EA SPORTS team
In the back room of the EA SPORTS suite, Claude and Pekka film some intros for NHL 13 trailers with green-screen in the back. Like I said, it’s not all fun but the guys seemed to enjoy it.
NHL fans waiting for the 2012 NHL Awards to begin
30 minutes until Awards broadcast: The fans are in line, hoping to catch a glimpse of their favorite NHL star. Some snapping photos, some looking for autographs.
2012 NHL Awards live from the Encore Theatre
Showtime: A few of us from EA SPORTS were lucky enough to have seats in the Encore Theatre. Nothing like taking in the NHL 13 cover reveal live. We were nervous, hoping that the reveal went smoothly.
NHL 12 pack art on-stage prior to reveal
Surprise of the show: Stamkos rolls out a 14-ft NHL 12 cover and cracks a joke about how “it’s been difficult getting this thing through airport security all season”. The 60-goal man definitely has some comedic delivery.
The reveal: NHL 13 Claude Giroux cover
The moment of truth arrives. Stamkos pulls open the NHL 12 cover to reveal the winner of the first-ever EA SPORTS NHL Cover Vote and the NHL 13 cover athlete – Claude Giroux.
Giroux backstage after winning the NHL 13 cover vote
Giroux is all smiles back stage as he answers questions with his cover behind him. He said that it was a “dream come true”. He was excited to be on the cover and excited for next season, where he wants to achieve another dream.
Every kid’s dream
And what was that dream? Giroux wants to hoist this guy – Lord Stanley’s Cup. Kane did it while he was on the NHL 10 cover, maybe Giroux can too