NHL Slapshot Stick Accessory UPDATE

Miss my initial comments on the Wii NHL Slapshot hockey stick accessory? Catch them here.

Wow, what a week. After our original NHL Slapshot article was linked to from Yahoo’s Puck Daddy, tons of readers commented and e-mailed with some locations where the stick can be found. Unfortunately, none of the correspondence said “They’re available everywhere like every other Wii accessory, so don’t even worry about having to look too hard or call ahead,” and none of them were from EA Sports clarifying the mind-boggling decision to not release the official stick separately alongside the game on Day One. But that’s OK, because we have some great readers who added their two cents to the comment section of the original post or through our contact page. Here’s a summary:

  • Reader “Johngo Fett” wins the reader of the week title after pointing out the availability of an NHL Slapshot stick at Bestbuy.com. I pointed out that the image-less ad was a bit suspect, but Johngo ordered it and confirmed upon its arrival yesterday that it is indeed the official EA Sports NHL Slapshot stick. Johngo says: “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.” Now, be warned: this does not mean that the stick is available in all Best Buy stores. As of last Wednesday, it wasn’t for sale at my local store in NH. But if you’re willing to wait for the stick to ship, then click here to order.
  • Someone using the moniker “EA Sports” points out that the stick is available in all US KMart stores. I have been unable to verify this, mainly because most of the KMart stores near me closed down years ago. Has anyone else been able to confirm this?
  • Another reader, Chris, comments that the stick is available at all US-based Toys “R” Us stores. There’s no way for me to verify that statement, and the stick is not available on its website, so best to call before venturing out to the land of screaming children and Legos. (Update – the stick is now available on their website, click here)

I won’t proclaim to have any insight on what it’s like to work for a video game producer like Electronic Arts. But I would like to think that the suits in that company would throw up in their mouths a little if they knew that their target demographic was having to read pond hockey blogs and Google for directions to KMart in order to play the game as it was designed. I would say it’s like a bizarro Where’s Waldo?, but at least with our striped friend, you know he’s SOMEWHERE on the page. These sticks are more like Carmen Sandiego.

And that stinks, because I really want to see this game succeed.  It would be great to see EA put out a Wii-based hockey game annually and integrate some of the features found in their flagship NHL 11 product, such as online play. But the fact that we’re even talking about how difficult it is to get a hold of extra sticks (for a system that thrives on multiplayer, party-esque use) does not bode well.

Surely we’re not the only ones who are annoyed, right? I would like to think that someone at EA is listening, and that I’ll get an e-mail full of retailer links momentarily. Then again, I have heard nothing that will convince me that they’re not off somewhere coordinating the rollout of their latest NBA game exclusively at Anchorage-area Baskin-Robbins. At any rate, stick around and I’ll keep you up to date as best I can.

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