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NFL 97 is a hockey sim and the annual title in EA Sport's NHL franchise for the 1996/97 season. It was the first game in the series to be released on the fifth generation of consoles, specifically the Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation. These versions of the game (along with the PC version) featured 3D graphics and motion-captured models, also a first for the series.

Other features include:

  • Play By Play commentary is provided by Vancouver Canuck's announcer Jim Hughson.
  • National teams added: USA, Canada, Russia and Europe.
  • For the first time, the game includes NHL Skills Competition and players participate in the Hardest Shot, 2 on 0 Goalie Drills, Accuracy Shooting, Fastest Skater and other well known competitions.
  • Each team has one player that had a "special skill" (15 different skills), such examples would by Buffalo Sabre Rob Ray being able to "body check anyone while having control of the puck" and Joe Sakic (and Mark Messier) being able to pull off a "wrong footed wrist shot", Mike Modano's "deke", Doug Gilmour's / Sergei Fedorov "drop pass", Jeremy Roenick's "backhand spin", Peter Forsberg's "deke", Mario Lemiuex's "behind the back shot" and Teemu Selanne's "quick stop shot".
  • Games start with either the American or Canadian National Anthem, depending on which arena is being played in.
  • All Time User Stats are saved to battery (up to 8 different users) to keep track of personal records and "all time records" and can have 4 concurrent Franchise Seasons.
  • Over 650 different NHL Players featured.
  • All the rosters and teams from the 1996-97 NHL Season.
  • "Goalie Mask View" provides a detailed look at 30 different NHL Goalie mask designs.
  • Up to eight people can play at once (depending on system, not available on Sega Genesis/SNES versions).
  • Players display their name and number on the enhanced versions on PC, Saturn and PlayStation (even the created players).
  • Online matching making available using phone modem with local players.

Penalties in NHL 97

  • Charging (2 min MINOR) : Applying a body check after taking more then two deliberate strides toward the opponent.
  • Cross Check (2 min MINOR): Hitting an opponent with both hands on the stick and no part of the stick on the ice.
  • Fighting (5 min MAJOR): A fight is initiated the moment the gloves are dropped.
  • High Sticking (2 min MINOR): Carrying the stick above shoulder level when skating towards an opponent.
  • Holding (2 min MINOR): Using the hands to grab either an opponent or his stick.
  • Interference (2 min MINOR): Any contact with the opponent's goalie while he is in possession of the puck and within the crease.
  • Roughing (2 min MINOR): A particularly ruthless Charging infraction.
  • Slashing (2 min MINOR): Using the stick to hit, or attempt to hit, an opposing player.
  • Tripping (2 min MINOR): Toppling the opponent by means of either the stick, knee, foot, arm, hand, or elbow.

Team Rankings

TeamsEven StrengthPower PlayPen KillingGoaltending
Anahiem Mighty Ducks18th 25th17th 10th
Boston Bruins8th11th 20th 17th
Buffalo Sabres20th 20th 6th 16th
Calgary Flames15th 12th 22nd 8th
Chicago Blackhawks6th15th 3rd 5th
Colorado Avalanche2nd 2nd 7th 9th
Dallas Stars22nd23rd 21st 19th
Detroit Red Wings1st3rd 1st 1st
Edmonton Oilers21st21st 18th 24th
Florida Panthers 7th16th 9th 6th
Hartford Whalers 19th13th 14th 15th
Los Angeles Kings 23rd14th 10th 23rd
Montreal Canadians 9th8th 13th 12th
New Jersey Devils 12th24th 4th 2nd
New York Islanders 24th10th 24th 25th
New York Rangers 5th5th 14th 7th
Ottawa Senators 26th26th 25th 21st
Philadelphia Flyers 3rd6th 2nd 4th
Phoenix Coyotes 17th7th 23rd 22nd
Pittsburgh Penguins 4th1st 8th 20th
San Jose Sharks 25th19th 26th 26th
St. Louis Blues14th18th 10th 11th
Tampa Bay Lightning 11th4th 5th 13th
Toronto Maple Leafs13th9th 11th 14th
Vancouver Canucks16th 17th 15th 18th
Washington Capitals 10th22nd 12th 3rd

Cover Athlete

John Vanbiesbrock, Goaltender of the Florida Pantthers

System Requirements for PC Release

  • Minimum CPU Type: Pentium
  • Minimum CPU Speed: 75 MHz
  • Minimum RAM Required: 8 MB
  • Minimum Hard Disk Space: 25 MB
  • Minimum OS Version 95.0
  • Graphics Type: SVGA
  • Graphics Resolution: Multiple Resolutions
  • Color Depth: 256 Colors


  • First NHL game from EA Sports to only feature one athlete on the cover, every cover since has only had one cover athlete.

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