The sticks are now available! Find them at Amazon.com:
Last week saw the hockey gaming community abuzz with excitement surrounding the simultaneous release of EA Sports’sÂ NHL 11 and NHL Slapshot titles, and 2k Sports’sÂ NHL 2K11. Wanting to experience the outdoor hockey component of NHL Slapshot for the Wii, I scooped up the only copy left at my local Target early on September 7th. As advertised (and blogged), the game comes with both the disc and a hockey stick controller accessory, the latter being one of the coolest Wii accessories to hit the market. However, it seems that in EA’s pre-launch haste, they were unable to address a seemingly obvious need: that gamers would require more than one stick accessory to play with friends.
It seemedÂ implausible that one of the world’s leading sports gaming companies would miss such an important step, particularly for a revolutionary game like NHL Slapshot. But the more I looked, the more it seemed like the stick only came with the game and not separately. Amazon didn’t have it. Best Buy didn’t have it. EB didn’t have it. And whomever runs EA’s NHL Twitter stream didn’t appear to realize that you could use your 140-character text blocks to respond to repeated questions from money-in-hand consumers (ahem…cough…hack). I stopped looking late last week, annoyed that the attendees for the Saturday night party I was throwing would be relegated to playing semi-intoxicated Rock Band and not full-contact, lamp-shattering, semi-intoxicated Wii hockey. I wanted the Detroit Red Wings. I got Detroit Rock City. And it was as ugly as you can imagine.
Then today, thanks to an email from my buddy Jeff, the search is heating back up. He pointed me here, to an innocuous page on EA Sports’sÂ NHL Slapshot site directing would-be stick purchasers to four separate retailers. Only problem? They’re all in Canada. I have no idea if they will ship to a foreign address, but really, EA? Your distribution model for one of the Wii’s breakthrough accessory items, and a must-have for multiplayer hockey action, is a single page with four links? Remind me never to let you make posters for my yard sales.
So I spent some time today to do more digging. Here’s what I found:
- An employee at a local (US-based) GameStop who told me that they do not yet have the stick available separately. Apparently the manufacturer of the stick (not EA) does not yet have exclusive rights to sell the stick. The GameStop guy also told me that his EA rep didn’t know the name of this mysterious other company, nor did he know when they’d have the sticks in stock.
- This page on the American version of Amazon.com showing a really cool “Team Canada” version of a Wii NHL Slapshot stick. Clearly this is not the same stick that comes packaged with the game, but it’s the closest approximation I’ve seen. It’s made by a company called ICON, and looks like it retails for $14.99. Only problem is it’s “Temporarily out of stock.”
- Further googling (and another message from Jeff) uncovered these two items on Amazon.ca (here and here). The Team Canada stick is in stock in Canada, but the plain blue one is not. Both are made by ICON.
- This adÂ on eBay for the Team Canada stick. Not surprisingly, the seller is based in Winnipeg.
- Finally, this item on eBay. This looks very similar to the stick that comes with the game, and even has the EA logo on the packaging. It’s made by a company called SAKAR. This seller is based in Toronto.
So that’s where we’re at. More than a week after the release of one of the most anticipated sports games to hit the market, and those of us south of the border are left challenging the system AI. If you’re in Canada, congrats, you have several outlets at which you can purchase the stick accessory. But we Americans pining for a game of two-on-two will have to wait — or take a stab at Ebay. Is this an oversight due to the frenzy of pre-releases in today’s gaming world? A red-tape issue between megacorporations, with gamers playing the role of the victim? Or a more calculated kick in the shins of those of us who cried tears of sorrow when Crosby potted that overtime game-winner? Who knows.Â But c’mon EA: if you want your foray into the Wii hockey world to be realistic, we need to be able to slash each other in the back of the knees with your foam stick blade. Help us out!
**Update thanks to reader ‘Johngo’: Best Buy has a mysterious new image-less NHL Slapshot stick for sale. Order at your own risk here.
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I see an additional stick available at BestBuy.com in the US: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/JACK+OF+ALL+GAMES+ENTERTAIN+-+NHL+SLAPSHOT+HOCKEY+STICK/1275993.p?id=1218245854724&skuId=1275993&st=nhl%20slapshot&cp=1&lp=2
I ordered one yesterday.
Thanks Johngo. I kinda wish they’d toss a picture up there to prove that it’s not an old Koho and a roll of duct tape, but let me know what shows up at your house.
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The iCon stick doesn’t work. The blade of the stick blocks the controller signal and makes the whole thing useless. I don’t know how the SlapShot one works with the controller totally enclosed but it does. ToysRUs in Canada had the second stick on for 1/2 price if purchased with the game.
Thanks for the input Philip. I actually have the ‘signal blocking’ issue with my OEM stick. I have to take the wiimote out of the stick to access the game on the Wii home screen. Maybe ICON makes the OEM version? Who knows? Nobody in the US, that’s who. 🙂
I got a second stick for $13.99 in Denver at Best Buy, the Saturday after the game came out. EA approved stick, with official stickers [but hidden inside the box]. Neither Target [where I got the game] nor GameStop had additional sticks, and the GameStop people were fairly irritated about it; apparently I wasn’t the only one asking for them.
it’s about time the tables are reversed. so many items come out in the States first and take weeks/months before they trickle into Canada
You can get them in store at any K-mart in the US for $14.95.
Same exact sticks that are packaged with the game.
Thanks Cliff. Read this on my phone at the mall, walked into Best Buy, and they said they didn’t have ’em and didn’t know when they were getting them. So strange. Thanks for reading and commenting!
K-mart, huh? I’ll check it out tomorrow. You know, because when I think of the latest in video games and accessories, I think of the giant red K! (Kidding…thanks for the tip).
The Best Buy on Wadsworth just south of Belleview. Then again, this was last saturday.
At least you get the game. No sight of it in Europe so far…
I’m still waiting for my game which my wife claims she “pre-ordered for me”. I think it was all a move to get me not to go buy it right away like I did with Madden. NH has no extra sticks in my search – guess this warm weather, non-hockey loving climate isn’t interested, oh wait, that was a little frost on the windshield this morning?
My mystery Best Buy Stick should be at my apartment on Monday – I will see if it’s a legitimate one with the EA logo and such or a POS.
Thanks Johngo. I wonder if EA just got in over their heads trying to release two games at once. Clearly NHL 11 is their darling (in the hockey genre), but they’re leaving people hanging with NHL Slapshot. How many people would play Rock Band or Guitar Hero if you could only use the instruments that came with the disc?
Agreed about the Big K not being a usual source, but they at least have them.
They actually come partially pre-assembled.
All you have to do is join the two halves.
Got my Best Buy Stick today – I don’t even need to take pictures, because it is the official stick. Looks like it’s produced by “Sakar International” and “Vivitar”, but it’s got the nice fancy EA Sports hologram, the game branding, etc.
Thanks Johngo, I appreciate you sticking around and keeping us up to date.
American Toys-r-Us have it. Nothing is listed on the web as carrying it but they do have it in stores. Picked mine up on Friday. As Jongo said, the one I got is also official one made by Sakar. Instead of black it is blue and comes with official NHL Slapshot/EA stickers to put on it.
What do you actually mean by that the iCon stick does not work? Do you refer to the same signal blocking as with the original game (only affects usage in Wii home screen) or are there also some issues in within the NHL Slapshot game? Is it as responsive as the original stick?
I ask because I am tempted of buying it just in case EA releases a Motion Plus featured version of NHL Slapshot sometime in the future 🙂
First, thanks to the above posts I was able to get an extra stick just before Christmas so that both my kids will have one to use when they open up the game (packaged with one stick) on Christmas morning. So thank you to everyone who contributed!!
Like Chris, I found mine at a Toys R Us (I’m in Minnesota), it was the last one on the rack! It’s blue, but otherwise looks exactly the same as the black one sold at Best Buy.
Sorry for the very late reply. I could never get the icon stick to work at the start up screen. I never tried it into the game. The EA ones are great.
Hi I live in Sweden and there the stores don’t have a clue when the sticks arrive… Quite irritating but I did a few searches on google and apparently they are sold for
$11.29 at http://www.cduniverse.com/productinfo.asp?pid=8310427&style=games.
Lookes at the webpage again now and apparently the item is “Backordered”…