Centre Ice: Eastside Hockey Manager Released

If the Mighty Ducks trilogy taught me nothing else growing up, it’s that ice hockey movies love a good comeback story. As far as videogame comebacks go, Eastside Hockey Manager [official site] has a similar story to tell: it was a boxed retail game in 2004 and 2006, went on indefinite hiatus thereafter, and then came out of early retirement and onto Steam’s Early Access initiative in March of this year. Only now has it made its way back to centre ice and launched as a full release.

The makers of Eastside Hockey Manager, Sports Interactive, are also the guys behind Football Manager, thus you can expect a similarly realistic, stat-heavy simulation of the dugout, the dressing room and the boardroom as you take control of either club or country in search of silverware. If digging deep into the management of squads, tactics, systems and formations is your thing, then EHM might be for you. I get this in relation to football, but how this relates to the idiosyncrasies of ice hockey? You’re probably best asking native Canadian Emily.

To mark its full release, Eastside Hockey Manager has been treated to a host of new and updated features such as new leagues and cup competitions, Steam Workshop integration and a multiplayer option that allows up to 30 players to compete on the rink. These patch notes detailed what changed in the final update taking it out of Early Access.

In reference to the journey so far, Sports Interactive studio director Miles Jacobson said:

With Eastside having been in hiatus for such a long time, Steam’s Early Access programme provided exactly the platform we needed to get it up and running again and test it out on a global audience. Now, with nine months of invaluable user feedback and extra development time under our belts we’re ready to launch a game that we’re really very proud of. We hope the world’s hockey fans like it as much as we do.

Eastside Hockey Manager is on Steam for £14.99.

12 Comments

  1. imperialus says:

    Pity it’s only on Steam. My Father In Law would be all over this. The strange and scary world of digital downloads is almost beyond his comprehension though.

    • imperialus says:

      Oh, and because… Well hockey.

      • Cyrus says:

        That song is the theme of a hockey podcast I’m listening to.
        Didn’t like it first, but it has grown on me.

      • Canadave says:

        If you really want to get into the hockey arena mood, you have to throw some Tragically Hip on.

        • Johnny Go-Time says:

          Correct! We also would have accepted ‘Fireworks’:
          link to youtube.com

          “You said you didn’t give a fuck about hockey, and I’d never heard someone say *that* before” :)

          • Canadave says:

            Yup, I was considering “Fireworks,” too. Along with “The Lonely End of the Rink.” But as I’m a long-suffering Maple Leafs fan, there’s really only one proper choice, in the end.

      • Premium User Badge

        teije says:

        Classic! Stomping Tom was a Canadian treasure, and his albums were the perfect soundtrack for a big driving trip out to the Maritimes some years ago.

  2. Zankman says:

    I waited so long for this!

    Then started playing it.

    Then I was like, meh… Hockey is still somewhat foreign to me and in fact uninteresting, simulation is kinda slow-ish…

    I think I like management games yet simultaneously am too lazy to play them, lol.

  3. Cederic says:

    Oh. Ice hockey. Sorry, misled by the name.

    • Premium User Badge

      teije says:

      Us Canadians have the exact opposite reaction. Real hockey can only be the shinny on the ice with the small black disc. The other thing we call field hockey, or “glorified broomball”.

  4. Canadave says:

    I bought this when it came out in EA, but since it was basically just the 2007 version of the game with no updates, I didn’t really touch it at all. I just put in an hour or so with it, enough time to get my local junior team through the off-season and to their first exhibition game. We got thrashed, 7-4, but I do like the looks of the simulation. There are a few wonky moves, like seeing players dump the puck with plenty of space around them, but overall things played out fairly realistically.

    My biggest complaint, on first blush, is that compared to Football Manager and Out of the Park Baseball, there’s not very much character to things right now. It could definitely stand to have more flavour text for news stories and the like.

    • Canadave says:

      I should clarify to say that I just put in an hour or so with it now that it’s been released. Stupid lack of edit functions…