Calgary Flames defenceman Dion Phaneuf, gaining notices on and off the ice, has expanded his presence to the gaming world.
Phaneuf will be on the cover and act as a spokerperson for NHL 09, game maker Electronic Arts announced on Monday.
Phaneuf is one of three nominees for the James Norris Trophy as top defenceman in the NHL, to be announced at the NHL Awards in Toronto on Thursday night (CBC, CBCSports.ca).
"It is an incredible honour to be named to the cover of NHL 09," said Phaneuf. "I’ve been a really big fan of the franchise for as long as I can remember and am looking forward to being the face of the game this year, particularly because of the significant improvements that have been made to the defensive game and the new checking engine."
Phaneuf scored 17 goals and 43 assists for 60 points this season, his third in the NHL. He set career highs in points and assists, as well as penalty minutes (182). Phaneuf continued to rattle opponents with his notable bodychecks.
Phaneuf, 23, is up for the Norris along with six-time winner Nicklas Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings and Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins.
Soon after Calgary was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, Phaneuf attracted attention when photos captured beachside in Hawaii with actress Elisha Cuthbert ran in magazines and on the internet.
EA said that Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals and Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson will be on the cover for the game in their native countries of Russia and Sweden, respectively.
The game will be released in September.