Amid the allegations and investigation involving Patrick Kane, EA Sports announced Wednesday they will be removing the Chicago Blackhawks right winger from the cover of the latest instalment in their NHL video game series.
“In light of the ongoing investigation involving Patrick Kane, he will no longer be a spokesperson for the launch of EA Sports NHL 16,” the company said in a statement.
EA Sports adopted the slogan, “Play Together. Win Together,” for NHL 16, and as such the cover was originally slated to feature Kane and teammate Jonathan Toews hoisting the Stanley Cup following the Blackhawks 2015 victory. The announcement of Kane and Toews as cover athletes was made at the NHL Awards ceremony, but Wednesday's statement and release of a redesigned cover leaves Toews as the sole representative for the upcoming release.
The company also said Kane will not participate in any of the promotional activities.
This is not the first time the EA NHL series has had its cover athlete changed after the original announcement.
For the 2004 edition of the game, then-Boston Bruins captain Joe Thornton was selected as the cover athlete. However, after he was charged with assault and obstruction, charges which were eventually dropped, the cover honor was handed to then-Atlanta Thrasher’s young gun Dany Heatley. Heatley remained the cover athlete until four days after the game’s release, at which point he was involved in the car accident which resulted in the death of teammate Dan Snyder. Subsequently, EA changed the cover again, this time to Colorado Avalanche star Joe Sakic.
By being the sole cover athlete on the NHL 16, Toews become the first player to appear on the North American and worldwide release’s cover twice. Russia’s cover has twice featured Alex Ovechkin, while Teemu Selanne has graced Finland’s cover twice. However, Toews is the only two-time official cover athlete.
NHL 16 is set to be released in North America on Sept. 15.