Sports Interactive today released the beta demo of the much anticipated NHL Eastside Hockey Manager, its first project since the company's highly publicised split from Eidos earlier this year.

The file is available exclusively through Eurofiles, Eurogamer's BitTorrent-based file-serving, um, service. Download the demo right here, right now.

The release marks the first break for the company away from soccer and into the realms of other sports after the gigantic success of the Championship Manager series on PC and, most recently, Xbox, as well as a step towards the super-lucrative American sports market. The Sports Interactive football dream will be continued with the newly named Football Manager 2005, released by Sega this Christmas.

The beta demo trundles in 52MB and includes everything you need to get started with managing your very own ice hockey team. The demo is a fully featured version of the game that lasts for six months of game time. Not real time. Because that would be daft.

Sports Interactive is very keen to point out that this is a beta version of the demo,. If you do encounter any bugs while playing, please report them here.

True to form, the game includes an absolutely stupefying level of detail, including 20 playable leagues, 10,000 players and staff members and more than 1,000 teams.

Look, if you're into ice hockey, you need this demo. Then you'll need to buy the full game on July 2nd. Like the thought of big men kicking the shit out of each other with bits of metal strapped to their feet? Right here, baby. Get it right now.

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Patrick Garratt

Patrick Garratt

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