(Orange County, CA - January 14, 2020) - The thrill of hockey now extends from the ice to the computer, and the 2020 Chel Invitational offers hockey fans and esports players a chance to compete for scholarships and team prizes. NASEF, the North America Scholastic Esports Federation, is teaming up with the Anaheim Ducks, LA Kings, Vegas Golden Knights and Florida Panthers for this exciting event.
Each team will each host a qualifying regional esports competition for youth and adults. Winners of those local events will receive a trip to Southern California to compete on-stage in a live finals event at DreamHack Anaheim. Scholarships, grants, and team prizes totaling more than $50,000 will be awarded.
"Scoring a goal or blocking a shot is always exciting, whether it happens in the chill of a rink or in a competitive on-screen battle. We're thrilled at the increased number of fans playing NHL online. This Chel Invitational takes the next logical step to have players from different teams play in a live tournament just like in real life," said Mark Deppe, commissioner, NASEF. "The youth focus is fantastic - this is a great way to connect with fans of all ages, encouraging their love of hockey and showing them how they can have related career paths on and off the ice."
"We are thrilled to provide an avenue for the Anaheim Ducks to expand its presence into the esports universe," said Roy Edmondson, executive director, Orange County Sports Commission. "Allowing local youth the opportunity to compete for scholarships within the evolving esports community is a source of great pride. The Invitational is a great way to connect the NHL and NASEF and we are excited to be on the ground floor of the competition."
NASEF leverages massive youth interest in esports by teaching students about career options that exist in esports, professional sports, and other industries. Students may develop gaming abilities, but the focus is on learning and practicing skills in related careers like shoutcasting, marketing, artwork and design, and more. In the Chel Invitational, high schoolers can win scholarships up to $2,000 for their own college education, plus grants up to $2,500 for their high schools. In addition to those given to NHL 20 gameplay winners, additional scholarships will be given to students who win analytic and creative "Beyond the Game" competitions with a hockey theme.
The 2020 Chel Invitational will use EA Sports NHL 20 for concurrent Swiss-style brackets divided by region and platform (Xbox, Playstation). Each of the participating NHL teams will manage its local event for participants age 18 and up. Tournament opt-in closes January 31, with the Live Finals at DreamHack Anaheim on February 22. Links and details follow.
The Florida Panthers begin their collaboration with esports and the avid gamers in South Florida and are excited to host their first-ever tournament. Working with local gaming centers and high schools in South Florida, the ultimate Panthers fan-gamer will win a trip to Dreamhack 2020 in Anaheim to represent the Club. Fans interested in participating or learning more about the Florida Panthers esports opportunities can sign up at FloridaPanthers.com/CHEL.
High school students opt-in for the Invitational through the NASEF club at their high school or community-based organization. There are hundreds across North America; establish a club for free if there isn't one in your area yet. An additional bracket has been established to enable students to participate in this exciting tournament even if they live outside the four regions. NASEF never wants cost to be a factor in student participation, so it will provide the game and 3-month membership to the platform of choice (Xbox Live Gold or Playstation Plus) to the first 100 clubs that register.
"We're stoked to see the partnerships developing between NHL franchises and their communities, including youth, as a result of this esports Invitational. Participating in an online hockey tournament with your favorite NHL team, possibly winning prizes and scholarships - plus the chance to play on the spotlight stage at DreamHack Anaheim - this is a dream opportunity!" said Deppe.
About the North America Scholastic Esports Federation
The North America Scholastic Esports Federation is working to ensure that ALL students possess the knowledge and skills needed to be society's game changers: educated, productive, and empathetic individuals. NASEF is on a mission to provide opportunities for ALL students to use esports as a platform to acquire critical communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills needed to thrive in work and in life. The Federation's core values are intertwined through all aspects of education and play: learning, opportunity, community, diversity, and respect.
Learn more at www.esportsfed.org. Members of the press can find videos, infographics, and leadership profiles in the online press room. See matches streamed live on our Twitch channel, and join online conversations on Twitter @NASEFedu, or at "Scholastic Esports" on Facebook and Instagram.