(Photo courtesy of EA Sports)

For the first time ever, women’s hockey will be a part of EA SPORTS’ NHL video game, with women’s national teams becoming playable in “NHL 22” as part of the latest update.

Gamers will be able to play as International Ice Hockey Federation women’s national teams from the IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championships. In early 2022, superstars like Team USA’s Hilary Knight and Hockey Canada’s Marie-Philip Poulin will grace gamers’ screens.

“The introduction of women’s national teams to NHL 22 as part of the upcoming IIHF content will be an important moment for the franchise in its continued effort to reflect the diversity of the hockey community,” said Sean Ramjagsingh, VP and GM, EA SPORTS. “We are proud to feature playable women’s teams for the first time in NHL 22, alongside the rising stars on the World Juniors teams.”

The introduction of women’s teams into NHL 22 will allow players and fans to experience the storied USA-Canada rivalry in a new way.

Over the course of the teams’ history, the U.S. women have won two Olympic golds to Canada’s four, while the Canadians have won 11 world championships to Team USA’s nine. At this year’s world championships, Philip-Poulin scored in overtime to lift Canada to the gold-medal win on Aug. 31.

Through four games of the Rivalry Series, the tune-up tournament for the Beijing Winter Olympics, Canada and the U.S. are tied with two wins each. The final matchups of the nine-game series will take place in January following the announcement of Olympic rosters before the Games begin in February.

While fans will have to wait to see who wins Olympic gold in real life, they can play along on their own terms starting Thursday.