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Coyotes Compete at EA Sports NHL '19 Release Party

by Arizona Coyotes @ArizonaCoyotes / Arizona Coyotes

PHOENIX - Coyotes forwards Brendan Perlini and Christian Fischer met their match on Wednesday night when they played video hockey vs. local college players at an EA Sports NHL '19 release party staged at The Park restaurant.

Two hockey players from Grand Canyon University's men's division II team defeated Fischer and Perlini, 10-3, to capture the $1,000 bonus prize at the event, which the Coyotes staged and financed in an effort to help grow the game of hockey. The GCU team won a grand total of $4,000.

"We thought this was a great kick-off to the season and just another way to really engage with the youth hockey community and the collegiate hockey community here," said Ahron Cohen, the team's President and CEO. "We take a lot of pride in being innovative and cutting edge, and we want to really push the envelope with different things. We don't like to sit still and do the same old things. We want to keep on doing creative things and we saw this as a really fun way to engage with our fans and promote hockey."

The GCU team advanced to play Fischer and Perlini by winning an eight-team tournament that featured other men's and women's college players from Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University, winning $3,000 in the process.

Video: Coyotes Get Into the Esports Game

To be fair, Fischer and Perlini are EA Sports novices who competed vs. skilled gamers. At one point, after being shut out through two periods, Fischer decided to recruit well-known gamer John Wayne Casagranda from the audience to replace him in third period. Casagranda promptly scored three goals, but it wasn't enough to complete the comeback for the Coyotes forwards.

After the game, Fischer was gracious in defeat.

"This is just a cool way for us to come out and interact and just be normal people," Fischer said. "This is what everyone does. Video games, as weird as it sounds, is how people connect nowadays."

Coyotes In-Arena Host Kristen Keogh emceed the event with help form broadcaster/team ambassador Paul Bissonnette, who posed for photos and signed autographs with those who turned out for the event.

Each team that participated received a cash prize from the Coyotes ranging from $3,000 to $1,000. The team is planning to stage similar events throughout the 2018-19 season.

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