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The race for one of the most difficult trophies to win in all of sports is about to start, and you can play along at home thanks to publisher Electronic Arts

The company just announced that it is adding NHL 15 to its EA Access Vault. This means that anyone who is a member of the publisher’s premium subscription program on Xbox One will get instant access to the hockey game at no extra charge. So even if your favorite team stunk this year, you can still lead them through the digital playoffs and to the Stanley Cup.

This is a pretty big step for EA, which normally sees strong sales for its sports games through the end of the respective sport’s season. For example, the company didn’t add Madden NFL 15 to the Vault until after the Super Bowl — and that game continued to top the best-selling chart through January.

But EA has now added both NHL 15 and NBA 15 to the EA Access Vault before the NBA and NHL seasons have finished. The likely reason for this is that both of those titles were not well received by fans or critics. In the case of NHL 15, is missing many key features in its first outing on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. NBA 15, however, is far behind its NBA 2K competition in terms of quality.


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It’s possible that EA is hoping to salvage something from these releases by getting new EA Access subscribers and by hooking some fans this year to see if maybe they’ll jump on board for next season.

EA Access is still kind of a weird concept. For $5 a month or $30 a year on Xbox One (it’s not available on PS4), gamers can get early access to nearly every EA release. For example, Battlefield: Hardline was up five days early for anyone with a subscription, and you could play it for free for 10 hours. This feature is on top of Vault, which now has nearly a dozen games, including Battlefield 4, Peggle 2, and Need for Speed: Rivals.

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