NHL Announces NHL 20 Player Gaming Challenge; League Starts April 30

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistApril 23, 2020

ST LOUIS, MISSOURI - JANUARY 25: Brady Tkachuk #7 of the Ottawa Senators and Matthew Tkachuk #19 of the Calgary Flames pose for a photo prior to the 2020 Honda NHL All-Star Game at Enterprise Center on January 25, 2020 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The NHL announced Thursday that players from all 31 NHL teams will take part in the NHL Player Gaming Challenge beginning next week in conjunction with EA Sports NHL 20 and ESL Gaming.Ā 

The NHL Player Gaming Challenge will commence April 30 and run for four weeks with one or two players from each NHL team competing in one head-to-head matchup with one or two players from another NHL team in NHL 20. In all, there will be 16 games played.

Some of the top players who will be participating are Matthew Tkachuk of the Calgary Flames, Alex DeBrincat of the Chicago Blackhawks, Jonathan Huberdeau of the Florida Panthers, Filip Forsberg of the Nashville Predators, Chris Kreider of the New York Rangers, Brady Tkachuk of the Ottawa Senators, Evander Kane of the San Jose Sharks, Evgeny Kuznetsov of the Washington Capitals and Kyle Connor of the Winnipeg Jets.

Also, the upcoming Seattle expansion franchise will be represented by Seattle Seahawks tight end Luke Willson because of his background playing hockey while growing up in Canada.

NHL Vice President of Business Development and InnovationĀ Chris Golier provided a statement on the competition:

"Over the past several weeks, the NHL, its Clubs and player community have been very active with gaming initiatives in an effort to connect with fans while social distancingā€”such as charity tournaments, simulated games and nightly streams. The NHL Player Gaming Challenge presented by Honda will take gaming to another level. We know how competitive our players are, and coupled with the interaction between players, these series of competitions will be extremely fun to watch."

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Games will be played on Thursdays and Saturdays with the first series of games featuring Calgary vs. Ottawa and the Columbus Blue Jackets vs. the Jets airing on NBCSN at 5 p.m. ET on April 30. All eyes will be on the Flames vs. Ottawa matchup since it will be a clash of Tkachuk brothers.

Matchups will also air on Sportsnet and all games will be available either on NHL Network or the NHL Network Twitch channel.

Fans can watch the games on the NHL's Twitter, YouTube, Twitch and Facebook Premiere as well, plus NHL.com.

The 2019-20 NHL season has been suspended since last month because of the coronavirus pandemic, but the NHL Player Gaming Challenge will finally give hockey-starved fans something to watch.

The NHL Player Gaming Challenge will also benefit a good cause with theĀ National Hockey League Foundation and Electronic Arts donating a combined $100,000 toward COVID-19 relief efforts.

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