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With NHL Season On Ice, League Launches Esports Challenge: 'Extremely Fun To Watch'

With NHL Season On Ice, League Launches Esports Challenge: 'Extremely Fun To Watch'

The National Hockey League is one of the latest sports organizations to develop a league inside the esports universe in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The organization said Thursday that it's partnering with ESL Gaming and the National Hockey League Players' Association to develop the "NHL Player Gaming Challenge," which will include player representatives from all 31 NHL teams.

The players include Cam Fowler of the Anaheim Ducks, Evgeny Kuznetsov of the Washington Capitals, Brady Tkachuk of the Ottawa Senators and Filip Forsberg of the Nashville Predators. 

The competition begins on April 30. Players from each NHL team will play matches on EA Sports' "NHL 20" on Sony's (NYSE: SNE) PlayStation 4 console.

Where The NHL Challenge Will Be Streamed 

The league will last over a four-week period, and will be broadcast on Amazon's (NASDAQ: AMZN) Twitch, Alphabet's (NASDAQ: GOOG) YouTube, Twitter (NYSE: TWTR) and Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) NHL platforms. Select matches will air on NBC Sports in the United States and Sportsnet in Canada. 

"Over the past several weeks, the NHL, its clubs and player community have been very active with gaming initiatives in an effort to connect with fans while social distancing — such as charity tournaments, simulated games and nightly streams," Chris Golier, NHL vice president of business development and innovation, said in a press release.

"The 'NHL Player Gaming Challenge presented by Honda' will take gaming to another level. We know how competitive our players are, and coupled with the interaction between players, these series of competitions will be extremely fun to watch." 

NHL Gives Back To Fight Pandemic 

Charity is one of the main focuses of the league. The NHL Foundation and Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: EA) will donate a combined $100,000 in support of the CDC Foundation's COVID-19 relief efforts.

Earlier, NHL figures Wayne Gretzky and Alex Ovechkin faced off in an "NHL 20" matchup to raise $41,000 for COVID-19 relief. More than 280,000 fans tuned in to the event on the Washington Capitals' Twitch channel. 

While the NHL plans to restart in the summer, the uncertainty of the global health crisis still remains. For now, virtual esports leagues hope to fill the competitive void.

Courtesy photo. 


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