Fan voting for the EA Sports NHL 15 cover has reached the final stage, and it has now come down to either Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban or Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron.
Just one problem: That fan voting might be meaningless.
For weeks now, hockey fans have been flooding their Twitter timelines with #NHL15 hashtags including the player they want to see on the cover, under the impression that the player with the most mentions will win.
But here’s a closer look at the contest rules, courtesy EA:
That’s right. The powers that be “will not be obligated” to take the number of hashtags into account when selecting the winner.
This is apparently news to the Montreal Canadiens, who went to extreme lengths to stuff the figurative ballot box on Wednesday.
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) May 28, 2014
We’ll spare you all 76 pictures, but take our word for it…it happened.
This comes just two days after EA Sports defended the voting process to SB Nation and two weeks after the St. Louis Blues caught the ire of Hockey Twitter for replying to every single person who used the #NHL15Oshie hashtag to thank them and presumably inflate their total.
The obvious lesson here is to always read the fine print, and it’s not really a surprise that there is legal language put in place to give the company the final say. EA Sports doesn’t want another situation where they have Peyton Hillis on the cover of a major video game.
The issue is that the majority of fans, along with certain NHL teams with hundreds of thousands of followers, are either unaware or unconcerned.
Thankfully, Twitter just rolled out a new muting feature on its web and mobile platforms that will make it a lot easier to avoid the hashtag push until the cover vote officially ends on June 1.