The season in our ECL 10 Pro Division ended recently as Black Horse managed to win the Pro Division title and with that gain direct promotion to Elite for next season. With all of the skill level and excitement involved, the finals were the best possible PR for console hockey and our beloved 6v6 game mode and most of all - the ECL and it's players. The ECL 10 Pro finals had a bit of everything: tight games, great goals, great defending, tactical and disciplined play and a very dramatic game seven conclusion. All in all a very worthy series to conclude our 10th season. The winner overcame tough phases during the series and Enigma´s title would not have been a major injustice. Black Horse held up against the opponents momentum in critical phases of the games and at the most important moment, scored the winner in overtime.
The best team definitely won the Pro title although there were several good teams in contention throughout the season. Over the course of the regular season, Enigma was obviously one of them and the youngsters of Riven Johdolla also made an impressive run in their first Pro season. Växjö Lakers HC had a slow start but improved their record as the season progressed. Another great showing by a newcomer was seen from HanaaHC, who also played well in the regular season and eventually continued their form into the postseason.
In the regular season, Kaupallinen Yhteistyö had to fight hard for their playoff position, it's a bit surprising for a team that after all participated in the Elite Qualification series before the ECL. Also, Blackdawgs was a minor surprise for finishing 6th in their regular season group. The team is generally strong but improved the longer the season progressed. Exen Esports (former Alliance HT) I would have expected to finish a little higher at the end of the regular season, due to the sheer amount of experience in the team. Leksands IF won Group 1 with a tight margin but faced immediate elimination in a major upset against HanaaHC in the first round. The Swedes have to go back to the drawing board after an impressive eSHL run that did not continue in the ECL.
In the playoffs the most impressive contribution was made by Enigma and HanaaHC, who also left off where they ended their regular season - top form. Växjö Lakers HC improved from below average to their high standard level just in time for the playoffs but ended up running into Enigma in the second round whereas Reality Check also was a team that seemed to peak at the end of the regular season, in time for the playoffs. Riven Johdolla played a tremendous regular season but faced quick elimination and disappointment in the playoffs.
Blackdawgs caused a minor surprise by knocking TIKI TALK out in the first round. The bigger surprise was Hanaa HC knocking out the Group 1 winner Leksands IF - rumbling heard throughout the division as the newcomers were gunning for bigger opponents now. Kaupallinen Yhteistyö played against Black Horse in the first round - the future champion to be - and fought bravely taking the series into a seventh game.
Notable players in the regular season
The forward trio of Riven Johdolla were one of the most dominant collectives in recent Pro history throughout the regular season, continuing into the playoffs. Their playoff performance was slightly weaker than in the regular season but still significant - one of the biggest reasons for the newcomers faring well in their first Pro season.
@Nieppii transferred to Enigma for this season and instantly made a great contribution to his new team. He was one of the most impactful players in the regular season and a big factor to Enigma´s great performance in the playoffs and that fact they were able to challenge Black Horse as well as they did in the finals.
Notable Players in the playoffs
As previously mentioned, @Nieppii was arguably one of the most visible individual players that made a huge performance in the playoffs and had a major effect in Enigma´s journey to the finals. Black Horses @Tapparafan and @PCJP were also other great names in the playoffs and there's no doubt about the fact that both of them had an instrumental role in the fact that their team eventually won the championship. The solid star players combined with competent backup led to the victory of BH. Especially in Game 7 @PCJP kept the team alive saving the crucial penalty shot at the later part of the third period.
Vaxjö Lakers HC star @EDHOLMINHO also deserves a shoutout for being one of the key factors in elevating his teams play. @EDHOLMINHO boosted his own standard of play significantly and helped his team to upgrade their level.
The top 6 of ECL 10 Pro
These "top 6"-lists are always controversial and that's something to love in itself. Playoff performances and consistency was valued highly in these selections and that's why you'll see many finalists among the selections, but also a player like @Raikkoneeh was selected due to a high level of play throughout the season. This season it seemed like the competition at the LW spot was extremely tough, players such as @Nieppii and @EDHOLMINHO were left out due to the extreme scoring power of @Tapparafan.
Which players would our NHLGamers pick? Please comment below.