NHL 20 esports tournaments will be hosted by NHL teams

Sports games don’t get as much attention in the esports world as other genres do – between MOBAs and shooters, they often don’t make front-page news, despite having huge fanbases and dedicated and skilled pro players.

There’s something else that sports games boast that other titles can’t – a connection to real-world teams. An example of this is the upcoming 2020 Chel Invitational. Several NHL teams will be hosting the NHL 20 esports tournaments that are part of the competition.

NHL 20 Esports Tournaments - 2020 Chel Invitational

© EA Sports

Teaming Up

With the finals taking place at the DreamHack in Anaheim, it’s no surprise that the Anaheim Ducks will be one of the teams that is hosting a tournament. Others include the LA Kings, Vegas Golden Knights, and Florida Panthers.

Across the entire series, a total of $50k in prize money, grants and scholarships will be awarded to the best competitors – in order to facilitate this, the hockey teams are partnering up with the NASEF or North America Scholastic Esports Federation.

Mark Deppe, the commissioner of the NASEF spoke quite enthusiastically about this new partnership:

“Scoring a goal or blocking a shot is always exciting, whether it happens in the chill of a rink or in a competitive on-screen battle. We’re thrilled at the increased number of fans playing NHL online. This Chel Invitational takes the next logical step to have players from different teams play in a live tournament just like in real life.”

Engaging audiences

The focus of the partnership is, among other things, youth – the idea is to bring sports and esports fans of all ages together, and to engage with younger audiences that may not be that interested in the NHL itself… yet.

Another aspect of this focus is the rewards of the competitions – the players are competing, amongst other things, for scholarships and grants. Such activity in the esports world isn’t that uncommon now – as a matter of fact, esports scholarships have become fairly popular both in the US and overseas in countries like the UK.

The tournament

As part of the series, each of the teams mentioned above is going to hold one of the esports tournaments before the 2020 Chel Invitational finale. Eligible are all high schools and community-based organisations in the US, Canada, and Mexico, as well as overseas US territories. The tournament will take place on both Xbox and PS4, so either platform is fine. Players will compete 1v1, however, schools and organisations can enroll as many players as they would like. Of course, games will use the standard NHL rule set including Penalties and without position locks.

The competitions themselves will be a 2-round, Bo3, Swiss-style format. The winners of each of the regional tournaments will play each other in the finale which will be taking place on February 22nd. Up until then, the matches will take place on Tuesdays between 3.30 pm and 5 pm between February 2nd and February 15th. Be sure to check out the streams for these events!

Read also: What is HSEL and How It’s Helping High School Esports