NHL 20 Tournament Featuring Real Players Begins Soon, Here's Everything You Need To Know

With major professional sports currently shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the leagues are adapting by bringing their sport to fans in different ways, including through video games. The NHL has announced a new series called NHL Player Gaming Challenge, which will see some of the sport’s biggest names compete in the video game NHL 20.

All 31 NHL teams, including the new Seattle expansion club, will partake in the competition series, which begins on April 30 as part of the NHL’s new “Hockey at Home” campaign. The tournament will span four weeks, and each team will have one or two of its current players competing.

The NHL is conducting the tournament with the help of the ESL Gaming organization, and also through a sponsorship by Honda. Matches will be played on PS4. As part of the competition, the NHL and developer EA Sports will donate a combined $100,000 to the CDC Foundation for COVID-19 relief.

Some of the competitors confirmed so far included brothers Brady (Ottawa Senators) and Matthew Tkachuk (Calgary Flames), along with Jake DeBrusk and Charlie McAvoy representing the Boston Bruins. Other competitors include Evander Kane (San Jose Sharks), Evgeny Kuznetsov (Washington Capitals), Alex DeBrincat (Chicago Blackhawks), Tyler Johnson (Tampa Bay Lightning), Darnell Nurse (Edmonton Oilers). Zach Hyman (Toronto Maple Leafs) and Filip Forsberg (Nashville Predators) will also compete.

As for the new Seattle NHL team, which doesn’t have a name yet but is scheduled to debut in the 2021-2022 season, football player Luke Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks will stand in to compete for the expansion team. Wilson played hockey growing up.

Los Angeles Kings TV commentator Alex Faust will call the games, which will be played on broadcast on Thursdays and Saturdays. The first series, Calgary vs. Ottawa and Columbus vs. Winnipeg, will air on NBCSN. Sportsnet One will cover the other games, starting May 1, through Sportsnet.ca and Sportsnet NOW. For those without a subscription to any of these services, the NHL will broadcast the games on Twitch, YouTube, Twitter, and other digital sources.

The announcement of this NHL 20 tournament comes just after NHL legends Wayne Gretzky and Alexander Ovechkin faced off head-to-head in their own best-of-three match-up.

The NHL is not alone in organizing a video game tournament featuring some of its biggest stars. The NBA held a similar tournament, and it donated $100,000 as well to COVID-19 relief efforts.

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