NHL 09 Game Poster Image

NHL 09



Rich hockey simulation with clever career options.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

As in real hockey, players misbehave by taking their frustration out by hitting other players.


The game itself is rather physical. You can check opponents for big hits, and even get into fights. No blood is involved, and players earn stiff penalties.

Not applicable
Not applicable

Most ads are visible along the boards of the ice rink. The majority of sponsors are hockey-related, including Koho.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this hockey sim closely mirrors real professional hockey, right down to the violent hits and fighting, and the ads displayed all around the rink. While engaging in mid-game scraps is pretty easy to pull off, you're always punished by a 5-minute penalty. The game is playable online, a feature Common Sense Media doesn't recommend for kids under age 12.

What's it about?

Electronic Arts drops the puck on another hockey season with the release of NHL 09, a great sports simulation with an inventive approach to career modes. The two biggest advances this season are Be a Pro and the EA Sports Hockey League.

In Be a Pro, you can create your own hockey player and guide him to stardom in the National Hockey League. The type of player you select determines the experience traits he will inherit. For example, playmakers tend to have high ratings for passing and stickhandling, but may rate lower on strength of power. As you navigate the minor leagues, your player is tasked with specific statistical goals he must achieve before entering the next level of experience. The better you perform, the more experience points you earn toward upgrading ratings. During games, you'll only control your created player. Be a Pro is not only available offline. You can create players for use in the EA Sports Hockey League, an MMO-style career mode where you play on teams and complete seasons with human players. As your skills improve, your player's experience level increases. You can sign contracts, scout players and even demand trades.

Is it any good?


In terms of on-ice gameplay, NHL 09 feels very similar to previous releases. Stickhandling has been tweaked for better control on defense. Players can now use their stick to block shots or passes. If the controls prove too complex, players can now use a simpler layout consisting of only two buttons and the analog stick.

As usual, the presentation is phenomenal. Lights reflect off the ice, while the surface gradually dulls as players zip back and forth around the rink. Players move so fluidly you could swear you were watching a real game of hockey. NHL 09 is an impressive simulation that uses creative career options to take a big leap in authenticity.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the game compares to its real-life counterpart. How close is this to the real thing? In terms of the fun factor, how does hockey compare to other sports like football or baseball?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows, PlayStation 2
Available online?Available online
Developer:EA Sports
Release date:September 9, 2008
Topics:Sports and martial arts
ESRB rating:E10+ for Mild Violence

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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About Our Rating System

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byoilerfan December 14, 2008

Worth every penny!

NHL 09 is an excellent game. The graphics are unbelievable and the gameplay is realistic.
Teen, 15 years old Written bykajo1 November 24, 2008


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