The actual Toronto Maple Leafs might not be able to win a playoff series, but the virtual Toronto Maple Leafs are virtually unbeatable. That is when Enceki is at the controls of the team. Enceki, known as Erik Tammenpää, is the Finnish gaming sensation who won three of the past four NHL Gaming World Championship European titles.
While the North Division regular season champion Leafs squandered a 3-1 series lead and fell to the Montreal Canadiens in seven games during the opening round of the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs, Enceki drove his Leafs all the way to a title victory. That’s something the real Leafs haven’t accomplished since the spring of 1967, when there were only six teams.
Enceki is about the best bet to win a game of NHL, and yes, you can bet on NHL gaming competitions, as well as many other versions of eSports. Now, before you scoff at this notion, consider this – you can also bet on the annual Fourth of July Nathan’s hot dog eating contest. We’ll leave up to you to decide which of these two events would be considered a game of skill.
Enceki A Dominant Force
The NHL’s annual gaming event features the best EA Sports NHL 21 players across the globe, but almost all of them take a back seat to Enceki. Entering the June 19 European Final, the 22-year-old native of Helsinki, Finland ranked No. 1 in the Xbox seed. He lived up to that billing, winning the title in dominating fashion.
Enceki defeated fellow Finn, Niklas “NikkeDangles” Tukiainen, in two straight games to bring home the title and $12,000 USD grand prize. He won the first game by a 4-1 margin and took the second game by a 5-2 count to sweep the best-of-three series. Enceki played all of his matches representing the Toronto Maple Leafs. Tukiainen played as the Washington Capitals.
Theese two are no strangers to facing off against each other in NHL 21 competition. Enceki and Tukiainen also finished 1-2 in the Finnish championship. During the 2020-21 season, Finland’s SM-Liiga staged its first eLiiga competition. Enceki represented Tappara, while Tukiainen was playing as HIFK. Enceki also swept his semifinal against eken45j – 21-year-old Harold Eklund of Sweden, taking back-to-back 4-1 decisions. Eken45j played as the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Enceki’s toughest test came in the quarterfinals of the eight-player tournament. He required the
full three games to eliminate J--JamalTheMan – Jimi Ronkkonen of Hameenlinna,
Finland – 6-2, (2-4), 6-0. J--JamalTheMan played as the Vegas Golden Knights.
A full-time YouTube and Twitch content creator as well as being an EA Sports NHL 21 expert, Tammenpää is no stranger to the GWC main stage. He won the inaugural NHL Gaming World Championship in 2018. He also captured three European titles in 2018, 2019 and 2021.
North American Champion To Be Determined
The NHL Gaming North American Championship is just getting down to the nitty gritty. The MassMutual NHL East Division Club Championship is slated for June 26th. The Scotia NHL North Division Club Championship is up next on July 3rd. Next on tap will be the Discover NHL Central Division Club Championship on July 10th. That’s going to be followed by the Honda NHL West Division Club Championship on July 24th. One player from each of the teams in all four of these divisions won the right to play for the division title by winning their individual club championships.
Finally, the showdown will culminate with the four division winners clashing in the NHL
North American Club Championship on July 31st.
All of these tournaments get underway at 2 p.m. eastern time. All North American Club Finals matches are streamed live on the NHL’s Twitch channel. In addition, the NHL’s digital platforms will carry highlights with cut-down versions distributed by NHL global broadcast partners, NBC Sports in the U.S., Sportsnet in Canada, and Viaplay and NENT Group in Europe. Fans can follow the conversation using social hashtag #NHLGWC.
DreamHack Sports Games (DHSG), a global leader in producing eSports tournaments for traditional sports leagues and properties, is producing the 2021 NHL Gaming World Championship. As part of this multi year relationship, DHSG is handling all production aspects of hockey’s premier eSports events.