Actua Ice Hockey 2 is the follow-up of the official game of the Nagano 1998 Winter Olympics ice hockey tournament, Actua Ice Hockey. Focused on a fictional North American league, with GHL (Gremlin Hockey League) club teams, the game enhances the graphics and gameplay of the previous version. While the game is unlicensed, all teams were inspired by their real NHL counterparts, from team logos to player names (using the classic trick of changing one letter from the name to other phonetically close).
Features include three speeds of play, a three-on-three arcade mode with smaller ring, network play and advanced body collision physics. Like NHL Championship (released around the same time), the game adds a coloured track to the puck named "GremTrax". Slower shots and passes are coloured green, and faster red (opposite to the blue/red combination used by Fox). Tactics were not forgotten, and the player is able to select the lines, select how and how fast teams build up the attack and are expected to shoot on goal and how to defend. If the player does not feel like controlling everything, tactical decisions can be left to the computer. It's also possible to trade players to balance or keep rosters up to date.
Actua Ice Hockey 2 was originally intended to be Fox Sports Hockey, with Gremlin developing the title for Fox Interactive, who had obtained an NHL license. Fox pulled out within the first year of the project, and the decision was made (much to the chagrin of some of its developers) to carry on without an NHL license. For this reason, the league became the Gremlin Hockey League, player names were changed by substituting vowels and player faces were selected at random.
If you carefully look at some of the managers' suits, some of them have real NHL team logos in them, and more: all photos belong to real NHL players - look in the "Editing the lines" screenshot: Karolev (Korolev) is Shawn McEachern and Borezin (Berezin) is Theo Fleury.