What’s up NHLGamers,
We’re in the last days of downtime before a new season and teams are gearing up for battle come January 7th and the first puckdrop of ECL 8. One team that has certainly been busy in the last months is Sjukstugan, who has decided to join forces with AIK Hockey to create a new NHL gaming franchise.
"It is with great pleasure we welcome the prestigious AIK Hockey organisation to NHLGamer and ECL Elite.” -NHLGamer founder Kenneth Lehtinen on AIK Hockey joining ECL
AIK Hockey will be obtaining the ECL 8 Elite spot of the long-lived Swedish juggernaut Sjukstugan, as the traditional sports club is making a grand exploration into the esports world. The Swedish club is one of the most followed European sports franchises and is certainly eager to take on this new challenge. Their hockey club is the second club worldwide to venture into NHL gaming.
- The growth of such esports as basketball, football or F1 hasn’t gone unnoticed. The NHL has already made indications that clubs are going to invest in NHL esports in the near future. We view this as an opportunity to step into an uncharted territory with massive potential. It’s nice to be the first Swedish player in this field but it’ll be important to have this step on our competition, states Sevve Saberi from AIK Hockey.
- AIK as an organisation is the epitome of passion, professionality and innovativity and we’re convinced that these exact traits will also be the trademark of their team in ECL Elite. I was welcomed to visit the AIK offices during the negotiation phase and was struck by their attitude and drive for this project, says NHLGamer founder @Kenu.
The eighth iteration of ECL kicks off in just a few days and the addition of AIK Hockey to our NHLGamer ranks is definitely a welcomed boost to start the season. Competition in all our division is expected to be ramping up as the stakes will only be increasing from now on. Last season, Sjukstugan finished in 5th place after being eliminated in the quarter finals against Dynasty. Now rebranded as AIK Hockey, captain @Bjono says the team is more motivated than ever:
- As soon as we heard about their interest, it was full throttle from there! We have an outstanding opportunity in a growing esports environment like NHL gaming. Our entire team is extremely thrilled about this. We’re all even happier about the team being AIK, as they’re one of the biggest clubs in Sweden.
Both Kenu and Bjono are praising the level of involvement and drive from AIK’s side, which really tells a lot about the organisation. When asked if the players were AIK fans prior to the acquisition, the team captain has a humble response:
- Our goaltender @Pippo is a hardcore fan! We were all extremely happy to have caught the attention of one of the biggest clubs in Sweden. Hopefully this is only the start and many more will follow.
What’s the outlook for AIK Hockey like in ECL 8?
- With the involvement of AIK, we’re more motivated than ever! The team has been working relentlessly and even focusing more on the tactical aspects of the game. We’ll be entering the new season well prepared and ready to put forth the best effort possible. Our long-term goal is obviously to bring the title to our side of the Baltic Sea, says captain Bjono.
AIK will enter ECL 8 with a very similar roster as their one for last season. The only change is in the goaltending department, where they have dropped the extremely skilled @Hullued, but added an equally competent @ICappeI. The main purpose of the move seems to have been going for an all-Swedish team identity.
AIK is a Swedish sports club based in Solna. The club was founded in 1891 and is one of the oldest and most prestigious clubs in Sweden. AIK is also known by the nickname Gnaget - Rodents. The nickname rumours to have been given in the 1920s, when the teams black jerseys were so worn out that they resembled a grey rat colour.
The ice hockey department of AIK has seen tremendous success during their long history. Currently the club competes at the second highest tier HockeyAllsvenskan, where they are in 2nd place a bit past the halfway point of the season.
You can read AIK's own story here: https://www.aikhockey.se/artikel/nwziajqhw-1bbi1/aik-blir-forst-i-sverige-att-starta-ett-e-hockeylag