Returning for a third-straight year, the NHL Gaming World Championship™ will feature new enhancements, including a larger total prize pool of $150,000+ USD, prizes awarded during Round 2, and an expanded World Final that will see three finalists from each Region advance to battle it out -- in the first two years, two finalists from each Region advanced to the World Final. Also, based on gaming community feedback, the entire Online Play-in Bracket Round has adopted a best-of-three format to give competitors a fair chance at advancing to each Regional Final. And after two years in Stockholm, Sweden, Viaplay and NENT Group will bring the NHL Gaming World Championship™ European Regional Final to its studio in Copenhagen, Denmark to expand the Tournaments' European presence in the Nordics.
"As seen most recently with our Chel Gaming Challenge during NHL All-Star Weekend in St. Louis, online gaming is a force -- and the NHL gaming community is more engaged and enthusiastic than ever," said Chris Golier, NHL Vice President of Business Development. "The NHL Gaming World Championship™ allows us to interact with the hockey community in authentic ways that help extend the reach of the NHL brand to a younger, gaming-savvy demographic. The platform continues to attract a number of blue-chip NHL corporate partners who have experienced increased visibility across the global stage."
Video: The NHL Gaming World Championship is BACK!
Matthew 'Top Shelf Cookie' Gutkoski, a native of Lewis Center, Ohio, was crowned the 2019 NHL Gaming World Champion and collected a $50,000 first prize check last June in Las Vegas. European champion, Erik 'Eki' Tammenpää, took home the grand prize in 2018. Could this be Canada's year to take the global stage by storm?
Hockey Ultimate Team™ ("HUT") mode will once again be the game mode for the entire Tournament, with standard competitive settings for all games. During Rounds 1 and 2, players may participate using an existing or newly created HUT team. The HUT Draft also returns for each Regional Final and again for the NHL Gaming World Championship™ World Final. Participants will draft their unique rosters from a pool of available Hockey Ultimate Team Items featuring NHL players. Once a player is drafted, that player is no longer available, resulting in squads with no duplicate players or duplicate clubs. Draft dates and specific details can be found in the Tournament Rules.
The 2020 NHL Gaming World Championship™ will consist of four rounds:
Round 1: Online Open Play
• Open to all eligible participants.
• Round 1 will take place over a four-week period beginning on Wednesday, March 11.
• Players will compete using an existing or newly created Hockey Ultimate Team (HUT).
• Each week, the top 32 players from each region on each of the Xbox®One and PlayStation®4 consoles (based on wins in up to 25 games and their in-game Skill Rating) will advance to Round 2.
• An in-game leaderboard will keep players apprised of their standing.
• Players who do not advance at the end of each weekly play period do not need to re-register and are eligible to play in the remaining qualification opportunities.
• The last chance to register for the final weekly play period is Sunday, March 29.
• This round is hosted by Electronic Arts and administered by FACEIT.
Round 2: Online Play-in Bracket
• Players who qualify for the European Union Online Play-in Bracket will play April 11 and April 18; for United States Online Play-in Bracket, April 18 and April 25; and Canadian Online Play-in Bracket, April 25 and May 2.
• NEW: Each round of the Online Play-in Bracket will be head-to-head, best-of-three (BO3).
• NEW: Players who advance to rounds 4-7 of the Online Play-in Bracket will collect cash prizes of between $200-$1,000 USD. Specific prizing listed in the Tournament Rules.
• This round is hosted by Electronic Arts and administered by FACEIT.
Round 3: Regional Final
• Each Regional Final will be an in-person tournament consisting of the top eight players from Round 2 for each Region (four per console).
• NEW: After hosting the Regional Final at its Stockholm studio for the first two years, Viaplay and NENT Group will bring the European Regional Final to Copenhagen, Denmark on Saturday, May 16.
• U.S. Regional Finalists will compete at NBC Sports studios in Stamford, CT., on Friday, May 22 and Canadian Regional Finalists will compete at Sportsnet studios in Toronto, Ont., on Saturday, May 30.
• Players will draft their unique HUT rosters from a pool of available Hockey Ultimate Team Items featuring NHL players. Once a player is drafted, that player is no longer available, resulting in squads with no duplicate players or duplicate clubs.
• All series will be single-elimination best-of-three. The top two finishers automatically qualify for the World Final.
• NEW: Players who finish in the third and fourth positions will play each other in a consolation round (best-of-three), with the winner also qualifying for the 2020 NHL Gaming World Championship Final™.
Round 4: NHL Gaming World Championship™ Final
• The World Final be played during the week of the 2020 NHL Awards™.
• Players will redraft unique HUT rosters from a pool of available Hockey Ultimate Team Items featuring NHL players.
• NEW: The 2020 NHL Gaming World Champion will take home a check for an NHL GWC record $60,000 USD.
• NEW: The World Final will feature nine players in a two-stage event. The first stage will feature a head-to-head round robin best-of-three series between the three third place Regional Finalists with the top two advancing to an eight-person bracket.
• NEW: The World Final will be played with the top eight competitors in a single elimination bracket consisting of head-to-head best-of-three series (1vs8, 2vs7, 3vs6, 4vs5, etc.).
Where to Watch & Follow Along:
The 2020 NHL Gaming World Championship™ is a venture with NHL global broadcast partners NBC Sports, Sportsnet and Viaplay and NENT Group. Each broadcaster will host a Regional Final and produce unique content throughout the various stages of the competition. The content will be available on NHL digital platforms, the digital platforms of the League's broadcast partners and on the NHL's Twitch channel.
The three Regional Finals and the 2020 NHL Gaming World Championship™ Final will be streamed live on Twitch with extensive community activation, including giveaways and promotions. Weekly community and lifestyle content will be integrated into live broadcasts. Packaged content created at the Chel Gaming Challenge, an NHL activation that took place during the 2020 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend in St. Louis, will provide a fun and authentic look into the gaming community.
Fans can follow the conversation using social hashtag #NHLGWC and by visiting www.nhl.com/gaming.
The 2020 NHL Gaming World Championship™ is supported by the NHL's corporate partners. Both North American partner Honda and Canadian exclusive partner Scotiabank will return for a third-straight term, while North American partner Great Clips enters its sophomore year.
FACEIT returns for year three as the official tournament platform and administrator for the competition. FACEIT will also provide live event management and engagement tools for the viewing audience through a series of NHL-specific rewards.
Engine Shop returns as co-executive producer of the Regional and Final broadcasts, creating engaging esports programming for gamers and viewers.
Full rules, regulations, prize pool allocations, tournament schedules and results can be found here.