On the advice of her father, Lexi Peters, a 14-year-old hockey fan in Buffalo, typed a letter to the executives at Electronic Arts asking them to add women players to its NHL video game.
"It is unfair to women and girl hockey players around the world," Lexi wrote, "many of them who play and enjoy your game. I have created a character of myself, except I have to be represented by a male and that’s not fun."
The Globe and Mail of Toronto reports EA responded to Peters a few weeks later, saying it was impossible because it had to go through the NHL. Lexi was disappointed but unaware that her letter had already been passed on to David Littman, the lead producer of the EA Sports NHL Game. He liked the idea a lot.
Littman, in the business of selling video games, found the money and received permission from the NHL and EA's lawyers to build 14-year-old Lexi Peters into the game.
EA Sports contacted Lexi to let her know it wanted her to be the game's "default" female player that gamers would then be able to customize.
"I was so excited," Lexi told the Globe and Mail. "My dad called my grandpa immediately, who called my Uncle Chris, like a chain reaction."
EA Sports NHL 12 video game is set to be released on Tuesday. Its decision to include Lexi makes good business sense. The global market for video games is valued in the billions, and female participation in hockey continues to grow.
Hockey Canada says that in 1990, there were about 5,000 women and girls playing the sport and today there are more than 100,000, according to the Globe and Mail report.
Goalie Manon Rheaume was a pioneer in women's hockey when she played two exhibition games in the NHL for the Tampa Bay Lightning in 1992.
"I think we're at a place where women in hockey are more accepted," Rheaume told the Globe and Mail. "People are putting more money into girls' hockey and the growth we're seeing in the sport is mainly from girls, not boys."
Lexi is one of them. The Globe and Mail describes her as a 4-foot-11 left winger on the Purple Eagles, an all-girls team.
"My younger brother got to create a character that looked just like him," she told the Globe and Mail. "I had never been able to experience that."
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