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NEW YORK – The National Hockey League today announced that registration for the 2021 NHL Gaming World Championship™ – featuring the best EA SPORTS™ NHL® 21 players in the world – is now open. Xbox and PlayStation gamers can expect some exciting changes to the annual event, including separate tournaments for the European and North American regions and a chance to see the best Chel gamers from Canada and the United States play head-to-head from the start.
The European and North American tournaments will begin gameplay on Wednesday, April 7, with the Online Open Play round. Following four weeks of qualification, the European tournament will follow the traditional format through the crowning of a European Champion, while the North American tournament will incorporate a Club Championship model (Club Finals & Club Championship) to encourage rivalries through Divisional play and give gaming fans a chance to represent their favorite NHL Club. All matches beyond the Online Open Play are single-elimination, best-of-three.
All gameplay for the 2021 NHL Gaming World Championship™ will be contested remotely.
Now in its fourth year, the 2021 NHL Gaming World Championship™ will have more content, livestreams and highlights than ever before, and even a unique fan vote component that will let hockey and gaming fans decide the name of a 32nd esports-themed “Club” competing in the North American competition in order to create a balanced bracket. Fans can follow the conversation using social hashtag #NHLGWC.
“Our goal has always been to incorporate our Clubs into the NHL Gaming World Championship tournament and with the introduction of the Club Championship this year, we are closer to connecting the virtual game with our on-ice product,” said Chris Golier, NHL VP of Business Development and Innovation. “Despite not hosting in-person events this year, we are appreciative of the tremendous support our amazing partners provide to host a world-class event for our passionate global gaming community.”
* Full rules, regulations, prize pool, tournament schedules and results can be found here.
• Europe and North America will host separate tournaments to crown a 2021 Champion in each region. Both regions will start the competition in an Online Open Play round similar to past NHL GWC seasons.
• All matches played after the Online Open Play round will be single-elimination, best-of-three.
North American Club Finals & Championship:
• To better align with the uniqueness of the 2020-21 NHL Season, the North American tournament will convert to a Club Championship model following Online Open Play.
• Throughout the four weeks of Online Open Play, 256 players (128 from each console) will qualify for the Club Finals. Based on weekly Online Open Play standings, players will be assigned to represent 32 Clubs (31 NHL Clubs + 1 yet-to-be-named esports-themed “Club”). The top player for each console who selects an individual Club as his/her favorite will get the chance to compete wearing their favorite Club’s jersey.
• The Club Finals and Club Championship will be aligned under the 2020-21 NHL season Divisions: MassMutual NHL® East Division, Scotia NHL® North Division, Discover NHL® Central Division and Honda NHL® West Division.
• The eight players who represent each NHL Club will face off to determine the one player to represent that NHL Club in the Club Championship.
• All 32 Club Final winners will move on to compete in the Club Championship bracket. Similar to the 2020-21 NHL season playoff format, Clubs will first compete within their own Division (1v8, 2v7, 3v6, 4v5) to determine a winner for each Division.
• The four Divisional winners then will compete to crown the 2021 Champion for the North American region.
Fan Vote to Name 32nd Club:
• Hockey and gaming fans will have the opportunity to vote for the name of the “32nd Club” in a Twitter poll. This Club will become the eighth Club representing the Scotia NHL® North Division. More information about the “Scotiabank Fan Vote” will be made in the coming weeks.
Content Hub and Tournament Information (nhl.com/gaming):
• Fans will be able to follow all stages of the 2021 NHL GWC on the tournament’s newly created website. Weekly winners, bracket play, Club representatives, UGC highlights and HUT teams (once drafted) all will be available for easy viewing in one place for the first time.
• Fans can follow the conversation using social hashtag #NHLGWC.
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 the final round of each tournament. Participants will draft their unique rosters from a pool of available Hockey Ultimate Team Items featuring NHL players.
• Draft dates and specific details can be found here.
• The NHL GWC is supported by the NHL’s corporate partners — North American partners Honda and Great Clips, Canadian exclusive partner Scotiabank, and U.S. partners Dunkin’ and Navy Federal Credit Union.
• As announced in February, the NHL has partnered with DreamHack Sports Games (DHSG), the global leader in organizing and producing sports gaming tournaments and live events. DHSG will produce all NHL Gaming World Championship™ content including, but not limited to, weekly shows during June and July; game highlight packages for the Club Finals, European Championship and Club Championship; and all live broadcasts.
• Battlefy will serve as the official tournament platform and administrator for the competition, providing seamless registration in multiple languages and a new content hub that will allow fans to follow along with both tournaments in real-time. Battlefy’s digital platform is home to over 250,000 esports tournaments and leagues, created and run by brands, game publishers, sports organizations colleges/high schools, communities, streamers, and fans.
Where to Watch:
• Twitch: Livestreams, tournament highlights and weekly shows will be available here and on-demand.
• Tournament content also will be available on the NHL’s digital platforms.
• The 2021 NHL Gaming World Championship™ will be distributed by NHL global broadcast partners NBC Sports, Sportsnet, Viaplay and NENT Group. Tournament content will also be available on the digital platforms of these broadcast partners.
2020 NHL Gaming World Champions:
Shout out to last year’s winners. Do they have what it takes to repeat as Champions?
• Canadian Champion Justin ‘Regs_84’ Reguly
• U.S. Champion Josh ‘OFs_HK’ Fuss
• European Champion Arttu ‘ArtuzioFIN’ Mustila
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