While there are many tournaments every year for NHL on PS4 and Xbox, this year is the first time that NHL will host a tournament that will be officially branded as an eSports Championship.
The National Hockey League is offering $100,000 in cash and other rewards to 24 contestants who prove themselves to be the best at EA Sports NHL ‘18.
Three different regions will have qualifications – the United States, Canada, and Europe – and single-elimination tournaments will be underway starting on Saturday, March 24th. Each region will be responsible for seeding 8 players, who will compete in their own studios, live, within their area in May. Finalists who come out victorious from there will be invited to the Luxor Hotel’s Esports Arena in Las Vegas, where they will compete in a round-robin style tournament on Tuesday, June 19th.
The winner will come away with an undisclosed percentage of the winnings, a NHL Esports Championship trophy, and an invitation to the 2018 NHL Awards, which are yet to be scheduled, but are usually after the Stanley Cup Finals.
You can currently register for the tournament via FaceIt which is the tournament’s overseer. Qualifying rounds will be divided between both PS4 and Xbox in all three regions and take place in the four weekends following March 24th. Qualifying pools are capped at 1,024 competitors to start.
You can follow along the action of the tournament on the NHL’s Twitch Channel at Twitch.TV. The regionals will be televised May 6th on Viasat in Europe, May 11 on Sportsnet in Canada, and May 20 on NBCSN in the United States.
The NHL’s announcement of a Gaming Championship comes a week after the first inaugural draft for the NBA 2K combine, which will help teams choose their players for the upcoming Esports season, which is the first for the National Basketball Association. Their season starts in May which will be around the same time the NHL is wrapping up their Esports event. Major League Soccer has also decided to join the Esports scene with their eMLS Cup, which will take place at PAX East 2018 in April.
The NHL is different in the way any single player can join the tournaments if they make it through qualifications, as opposed to how the NBA and MLS have their Esports tournaments as a team-based league. It does show the growth that the Gaming Community has had in previous years and the professional leagues realizing the potential for growth.
Picture Credit: NHL.NBCSports.Com; SBNation.Com; SportingNews.Com;