6 Best Hockey Games Bring Fast NHL Action to Your PC

Hockey and video games. Like sticks and pucks, the two seem made for each other. The fast pace, hard hits, and competitive intensity of hockey beautifully match the quick reflexes, adrenaline surges, and escalating rivalries of gaming.

And while hockey games thrive on consoles, PC players have long enjoyed hockey titles tailored to mouse and keyboard controls. With the precision of a wrist shot, the top hockey video games for PC knock it out of the park by bringing the speed, skill, and aggression of pro hockey straight to your desktop.

Hockey video games

Yet major developers like EA Sports have kept PC gamers sitting uncomfortably on the bench for years when it comes to new hockey titles. Luckily, a roster of retro greats and scrappy indie talents are here to fill this vacancy in the hockey gaming arena.

In this guide, we highlight six must-play hockey video games that keep the action brisk and boards crashing on PC. From fanatical simulations to arcade escapades, these hockey games unleash some intensely fun puck play.

1. NHL 09 – Best Hockey Simulation

The NHL franchise stands as a perennial all-star franchise in the video game hockey pantheon. For many gamers, it is hockey video gaming. And NHL 09 stands out as a defining entry in the series for just how accurately and excitingly it captures the contemporary NHL experience.

Developer EA Canada nails every detail – from accurately modeled arenas to broadcast-quality commentary – to make each match feel like watching a real NHL telecast. Choose from over 700 playable NHL stars across all 30 teams. Guide franchise icons like Ovechkin and Crosby to elite status through a variety of game modes catered for hockey nuts and casual fans alike.

The breakout Be A Pro mode generates an authentic NHL career as you take a customized player from amateur prospect to Stanley Cup champion. Advance through juniors and the minors before reaching the big league. Regional match commentary clues you into how team personnel assess your performance across multiple seasons spent with a single squad. Alternatively, call the shots from the front office in Franchise Mode by managing line changes, trades, ticket sales and promotions.

Upon release, IGN praised NHL 09 as "the deepest and most feature rich hockey game I‘ve ever played" while GamesRadar enjoyed how Be A Pro mode "does a great job of making you feel like part of the team."

Key Features

  • Official NHL/AHL licenses: authentic teams, players, stadiums
  • Be A Pro career mode
  • Franchise mode covering business/coach decisions
  • Broadcast quality presentation w/ analytics

Though now hard to come by at retail, tracking down disc copies of NHL 09 rewards with the most realistically satisfying virtual hockey ever achieved — and my top recommendation for hockey diehards seeking their annual NHL gaming fix on PC.

Gameplay/graphics still hold up remarkably wellNo longer available via digital download
The deepest franchise and Be A Pro career modes everDoesn‘t have current official rosters
Broadcast presentation still outpaces recent NHL titlesMay encounter compatibility issues on modern systems

nhl 09 rating
NHL 09 earned high review scores for its realism and depth upon launch

2. Slapshot: Rebound – Most Intense Hockey Action

If hockey games usually seem a little too slippery and effortless for your tastes, Slapshot: Rebound expertly addresses this issue through revolutionary physics-based gameplay.

checking, stickhandling and even skating the puck down the ice becomes a monumental challenge. Prepare for the ice and boards to thwart you at every turn — launching passes astray, deflecting shots inches from the goalmouth, sending your player flailing horizontal from the slightest collision. Only through repeated trial-and-error will you adapt touch and precision essential for survival in this mercilessly difficult yet rewarding hockey environment.

Slapshot: Rebound focuses purely on gameplay fundamentals rather than official licensing and presentational flash like other hockey titles. Roster lineups of fictional created players afford endless customization for showcasing your unique identity on the ice across various game modes. Take on friends locally or find worthy opponents through seamless online matchmaking.

Early Access reviews praise addictive gameplay but warn of frustrating difficulty spikes, though regular updates from developer Offshoot Games continue polishing accessibility concerns. If you desire a uniquely demanding and chaotic hockey challenge unlike anything else with a blade, get acquainted with your new favorite rival in Slapshot.

Key Features

  • Physics-driven gameplay with true-to-life puck and player handling
  • Online and local multiplayer modes
  • Create and customize your own players with unique styles/sizes
  • No rules/penalties – fast free-flowing gameplay
Innovative physics system provides fresh hockey gameplay challengeOnly playable in Early Access — lacks some standard features
Easy to pick up core gameplay mechanicsTrue difficulty will frustrate many players
Vibrant, exaggerated art styleCurrently PC exclusive

slapshot steam reviews
Steam players praise tough-as-nails gameplay but cite difficulty concerns

3. Super Blood Hockey – Best Retro Hockey Fun

Pixelated carnage commences through this uproarious arcade tribute to old-school hockey classics. Beyond a bloody coat of paint, Super Blood Hockey bleeds passion for the 16-bit era in every manic detail.

Retro chiptune melodies set the tone as prison escapees face off on the ice, the frozen surface soon slick with blood and teeth after mass brawls erupt. Swift, hard-hitting gameplay makes Super Blood ideal for friends to inflict damage through riotous local multiplayer sessions. Sharpen your suspect disciplinary tactics in Franchise mode by managing a cellar-dwelling expansion team from prison conscripts into champions.

Daily challenges, survival gauntlets and more creative game variants offer plenty incentive for regular return visits. Effusive Steam reviews applaud fun gameplay, silly tone and gruesome style. I similarly found Super Blood Hockey an immediate return to my childhood of NHL ‘94 marathons on Genesis. If you crave modernizing the arcade greatness of hockey’s golden age into a bloodsoaked brawler, enter this murderbox with glee.

Key Features

  • Retro pixel graphics/chiptune music in classic 16-bit style
  • 4 player local/online multiplayer
  • Franchise mode – draft convicts & manage a misfit roster
  • Survival challenges, minigames and competitive rankings
Perfectly captures spirit of iconic 16-bit hockey classicsNot for the squeamish – extremely violent!
Accessible controls picks up quickly for casual playersSolo modes lack depth compared to multiplayer
Killer heavy metal/chiptune soundtrackNHL licensing restricts team customization

super blood hockey steam
Super Blood Hockey modernizes the classic 16-bit hockey experience via outrageous violence and humor

4. Backyard Hockey series – Best Kids Hockey Fun

Hockey games often emphasize brute force over nuance in appealing to adults. But Backyard Hockey keeps the competition family-friendly through colorful neighborhood playground escapades.

Adorably exaggerated kid characters like Annie Frazier and Achmed Khan lead teams of youthful misfits with unique special abilities taken from Backyard Sports lore. Playful power shots send grass blades flying from backyards and tennis courts repurposed as makeshift rinks. Upbeat music, silly animations and lighthearted commentary make for easily accessible ice play for young ones unfamiliar with hardcore hockey.

Various game modes, unlockable player/gear rewards and online stat tracking give kids plenty incentive to dive deeper into Backyard Hockey beyond just casual exhibition matches. As both a father and hockey gamer, I consider the series second only to NHL ‘94 for delivering supreme family hockey enjoyment. Guide your tiny terrors to the coveted Backyard Championship, secure in knowing that kids won‘t adopt any objectionable conduct from this safe, zany hockey escapade.

Key Features

  • Kid-friendly graphics and gameplay
  • 30+ comical kid characters with special abilities
  • Various game modes with rewards/incentives
  • Global online leaderboards and stat-tracking
Perfect introduction to hockey gaming for young kidsLacks complex rules/mechanics to satisfy most adults
Goofy kid characters and abilities add varietyNo longer available via digital purchase
Global stat tracking and unlockables encourage replay valuePotential compatibility issues on modern hardware

Backyard hockey
Wacky abilities and playground locales make Backyard Hockey an accessible family-friendly intro to video game hockey

5. Bush Hockey League – Best Retro Hockey Personality

While lacking an official license, Bush Hockey League oozes more charisma than most officially-branded efforts could ever hope to match.

A vibrant Saturday morning cartoon aesthetic blasts past expectations for a modern hockey game. Teams of pirates, robots and construction workers talk smack and brawl across scenic ponds and beaches. Moose awkwardly wander across serene forest rinks. Play through Championship mode as an aspiring rookie guiding minor league tomato farmers to bush league glory through nearly 100 story-driven matches. Character dialogue and commentary brims with folksy Canadian wit.

Presentation strongly evokes hockey classics of the 32-bit era, but Bush Hockey League performs like a contemporary 3-on-3 arcade revelry thanks to silky animations and intuitive controls. Piling up goals through blistering one-timers and dirty dangles comes easily with a few practice rounds against endearingly quirky rosters. Approachable mechanics make it an ideal party pick for hockey gamers and neophytes alike.

Key Features

  • Story-driven Championship single player mode
  • Silly created characters/teams with unique arena locales
  • Accessible controls optimized for gamepad
  • Local multiplayer for competitive/cooperative play
Beautiful 3D visuals with smooth animationsCurrently does not support online multiplayer
Charming bush league concept with quirky charactersSome bugs/glitches reported at launch
Easy to pick up gameplay for all skill levelsStory commentary unavoidably repeats across modes

If you desire recapturing the fast-paced NHL action of childhood through a quirky lens, Bush Hockey League is a late round steal.

bush hockey
Wacky characters and locales highlight Bush Hockey League‘s vibrant personality

6. Eastside Hockey Manager – Best Hockey Management Sim

Beyond the physicality and finesse demonstrated by players on the ice, the cerebral decisions made behind the scenes can make or break NHL franchises. Eastside Hockey Manager puts you in the hot seat as team GM to guide your favorite club to glory through trades, signings, roster moves and in-game tactics.

An insanely accurate database with over 3,000 real hockey personalities ensures unrivaled realism. Play out a full season while balancing player morale, financial budgets and fan expectations. Will you call out an underperforming superstar in a press conference tirade or instead offer words of encouragement? As an armchair Toronto Maple Leafs GM, I navigated 12 consecutive playoff-less seasons by savvily-developing prospects into all-stars and maintaining positive fan enthusiasm through public outreach efforts.

Procedural news reports respond dynamically to major events, keeping the saga alive daily in this thriving virtual world. With unlimited customization allowing imported fan art and rosters, the hockey reality simulation proves endlessly playable so long as you enjoy evaluating stat spreads and depth charts instead of on-ice action. For diehard hockey managers seeking ultimate control in guiding their favorite club back to relevance, this simulation can’t be beat.

Key Features

  • 3000+ accurately modeled real hockey personalities
  • Simulate coaching strategies, roster decisions and contract negotiations
  • Dynamic news feed responding to user actions
  • Fully customizable via imported graphics/rosters
Incredibly detailed franchise management simulationNot an actual hockey video game
Must-play title for aspiring NHL executives and personnelSlow, stats-driven gameplay lacks action
Fully customizable via imported mods/user dataDated interface and visuals

If enjoying the thrill of victory through savvy general managing, rather than skillful goal scoring sounds enticing, plant yourself firmly in the home office swivel chair with Eastside Hockey Manager.

eastside hockey manager
With over 3000 real personalities, Eastside Hockey Manager delivers unrivaled NHL management simulation

So while hockey games may seem periodically absent on PC launch lineups, these brilliant bites above hold hungry fans over until the next officially licensed faceoff arrives.

From fanatical franchise simulation to wacky arcade escapades, score big by lacing up (or picking up a phone) with any of my top recommended hockey games for PC. Stick taps all around for the scrappy indie devs continuing to push the genre forward.

Now drop the puck and start throwing hits with your newest rivals on the digital ice!

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