In what’s become a trend among major sport leagues, the National Hockey League today announced plans to launch a players-only tournament featuring NHL athletes from all 31 teams.
NHL Player Gaming Challenge
The event, titled the ‘NHL Player Gaming Challenge’, is in conjunction with ESL Gaming, and will see select players from all 31 teams participating in the event. The event, as part of the NHL’s #HockeyAtHome Initiative, will begin on April 30 and is sponsored by Honda. Each club will be represented by either one two current players, and will be featured in a one-time matchup against in NHL 20 against an opposing team.
In a press release, NHL Vice President of Business Development and Innovation Chris Golier stated, “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.” He added, “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.”
As mentioned previously, all 31 teams in the NHL will be represented, as will the NHL Seattle expansion team. Former NFL tight end Luke Willson, who played hockey while growing up in Ontario, will represent the Seattle team.
Here is a full list of all the players participating in the event:
Anaheim Ducks: Cam Fowler
Arizona Coyotes: Conor Garland, Clayton Keller
Boston Bruins: Jake DeBrusk, Charlie McAvoy
Buffalo Sabres: Brandon Montour
Calgary Flames: Noah Hanifin, Matthew Tkachuk
Carolina Hurricanes: Warren Foegele
Chicago Blackhawks: Drake Caggiula, Alex DeBrincat
Columbus Blue Jackets: Elvis Merzlikins, Zach Werenski
Colorado Avalanche: J.T. Compher
Dallas Stars: Stephen Johns, Jamie Oleksiak
Detroit Redwings: Madison Bowey, Anthony Mantha
Edmonton Oilers: Caleb Jones, Darnell Nurse
Florida Panthers: Jonathan Huberdeau
Los Angeles Kings: Michael Amadio, Blake Lizotte
Minnesota Wild: Devan Dubnyk, Jordan Greenway
Montreal Canadiens: Victor Mete, Nick Suzuki
Nashville Predators: Filip Forsberg
New Jersey Devils: Mackenzie Blackwood
New York Islanders: Matt Martin
New York Rangers: Chris Kreider
NHL Seattle: Luke Willson, Seattle Seahawks (NFL)
Ottawa Senators: Brady Tkachuk, Chris Tierney
Philadelphia Flyers: James van Riemsdyk
Pittsburgh Penguins: Zach Aston-Reese, Bryan Rust
San Jose Sharks: Evander Kane, Marcus Sorensen
St Louis Blues: Colton Parayko, Robert Thomas
Tampa Bay Lightning: Tyler Johnson
Toronto Maple Leafs: Zach Hyman
Vancouver Canucks: Thatcher Demko, Adam Gaudette
Vegas Golden Knights: Ryan Reaves, Alex Tuch
Washington Capitals: Evgeny Kuznetsov
Winnipeg Jets: Anthony Bitetto, Kyle Connor
In conjunction with the event, the NHL also announced that the National Hockey League Foundation and EA will donate a combined $100,000 to the CDC Foundation’s coronavirus relief efforts.
The event will begin on April 30 with the first series of games, including Calgary vs. Winnipeg and Ottawa vs. Columbus, and those game will air on NBCSN in the United States at 5 PM EST. Games will be aired every Thursday and Saturday in the U.S. on NBCSN throughout the duration of the event. In Canada, hockey fans can check out the action on Sportsnet ONE, as select games will be aired over consecutive weeks, starting on May 1 at 4 PM EST. Games from the event will also be aired on the NHL Network and Twitch.