Your inaugural eSHL champions have been crowned! Twelve eSHL teams entered, eight progressed to the playoffs, and eventually, we were left with a somewhat familiar-looking matchup in Linköping HC vs. Malmö Redhawks. Both teams are no strangers to winning, with LHC featuring their exact same roster from their most recent ECL Elite victory, and Malmö boasting two players from HAVU as well as four from the Vesa Pompa HC team who won the SCL last Spring. Despite the final series resulting in a BO5 sweep, two of the three games were decided by one goal, and each game felt like it was on a knife's edge.
Once the dust had settled LHC emerged as your eSHL champions, continuing their impressive form over the past few tournaments they have competed in.
Your new eSHL Champions - Linköping HC / Photo credit: Elias Gammelgård
Group stage record: 21-1-0 (1st)
Round 1: vs HV71 (8) 3-0
Semifinals: vs Leksands IF (4) 3-1
Finals: vs Malmö Redhawks (2) 3-0
#72 C. Lundgren @ICappeI
#27 A. Loimuvirta @loimmu
#40 J. Torro @jtorro1233
#88 J. Virta @SUPERVIRTA
#23 N. Tukiainen @NikkeDangles
#25 E. Tammenpaa @Eki
#44 P. Arontie @PleeMaker
#86 J. Paatiala @Juunas
You've now managed to secure two titles within a short span of time, what do you have to say about your run as of late?
"Obviously a championship always feels great, Cappe did an amazing job setting this up for us so it feels especially great to be able to play for him."
Malmo was your expected final opponent for quite some time, did you prepare for that ahead of time?
"We expected to meet Malmö in an eventual final. They have a very strong roster and we know their players well, so we didn't actually prepare too much per se since we've obviously met them before and had time to think things over."
The eSHL differs quite heavily in character from the ECL for example, what did you think were the biggest differences?
"Well, there's quite many but especially the heavily varying level of competition is different. Some clubs went with local talent and it's respectable, but they didn't fare too well in the end. It's obviously a bit of a different mindset going into the game when you're meeting a contender like Malmo versus when you're going up against a team you know you will beat with ease."
Finally, how did you like representing Linköping HC in this tournament and what does the future hold for you?
"It's been absolutely awesome and the support has been second to none. Linköping is a first-class organization that has really taken care of us players and seen to it that we can perform at our highest level. About the future - our contract term is for the remainder of NHL 20, no talks about extensions have been had yet so that's something that remains to be seen."
Eki and all of Linköping HC were all smiles all weekend / Photo credit: Elias Gammelgård
NHLGamer would like to congratulate Linköping HC for their championship and thank all of the teams, players and organizations for an amazing first season of the eSHL! Stay tuned for a more detailed season recap later this week.