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NHL Launching 2018 NHL Gaming World Championship

National Hockey League

The NHL is making a push into esports, as the league has announced details for the 2018 NHL Gaming World Championship.

Through the 2018 NHL Gaming World Championship, the league is taking an approach that offers some similarities with initiatives from the NBA and MLS. The global esports tournament will be held over the coming months, with the championship to take place in June at the new Esports Arena Las Vegas at Luxor Hotel.

Registration for the 2018 NHL Gaming World Championship was announced on Friday, building some anticipation for the NHL’s first foray into esports. More from The AP:

“You’re really both tapping into and expanding the existing fan base of the game,” said NBC Sports executive Rob Simmelkjaer, who got his introduction to hockey from playing “NHL 94” on Sega Genesis. “I think that’s something that the NHL can benefit from by putting esports front and center in the way that they market their sport.”

Players will be able to match up 1-on-1 in EA Sports NHL 18 qualification rounds. That will be followed by regional finals in the United States, Canada and Europe on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and then the June 19 championship at Esports Arena Las Vegas during the NHL Awards with a prize pool of $100,000.

The hope is to land new fans and connect with current fans in a different way.

“This is really at its embryonic stage,” NHL executive vice president and chief revenue officer Keith Wachtel said. “This is the most basic way for our fans to play. We’re also going to explore in the future the opportunity, and we’re going to test this with some of the guys at the regional tournaments and the final, maybe a two-versus-two or a three-versus-three.”

Additional details on tournament rules and scheduling can be found here.

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