All of us surely appreciate the progress our beloved NHLGamer platform has made. Recently, before the start of ECL 10, quite a few longtime squads got signed by team/Esports organizations, which obviously is a big step forward on that front. The battle at the top of Elite has been tremendous this season, with JYP Jyväskylä and hREDS challenging top teams Linköping HC and HAVU Gaming, but there are quite a lot of good teams and players in the shadow of those powerhouse clubs, creating a extremely tight playoff battle. Today, we want to take a closer look. Now it’s time to get to know the ECL’s Elite.
It’s been a while since the first time we did one of our Player Profile-articles, which had Lauri @Lamsa Lämsä in the starring role. The former Rusty Blades winger will now be succeeded by Simon @PlaymakerSJ Junker. You probably know that name already, and if not, that’s on you. Simon has been around since ECL1, where he played for UKnighted HC and finished Top Five in scoring with 66 points in 23 games. The left-handed Center then put up 34 points in 13 playoff contests, but UKnighted couldn’t get past well known Synergy Hockey in the quarterfinals. Simon didn’t participate in ECL2 and ECL3 due to scheduling issues, but then came back for the fourth season and he’s been active ever since. After having stints with Germany’s Finest and Inter Iceland, he ultimately joined Deadly Phantoms HC.
The german team formed by @Rayman just got promoted to ECL Pro at the time and Playmaker immediately raised the level of play. His calming presence lead the team to a playoff spot in their inaugural Pro season, where the team lost to powerhouse FILADELPHIA (now Linköping) in the second round of the postseason. The team made a couple new additions for ECL7, Playmaker stayed. He led his club in scoring once again and this time the Phantoms were actually deadly and secured the Pro title as well as the promotion to ECL Elite. He then cemented his status as the best german center in the scene, torching the national opposition in GCL3 with 120 points in only 23 matches. Especially in the german scene Simon created his special wraparound and well known move called "Der Junker“ – (Junker is his last name).
The Phantoms then became the first ever german team to participate in ECL Elite and surprised quite a lot of people with their fourth-place finish. This time around, Playmaker was the second best scorer on the Phantoms while maintaining his ridiculously strong Two-Way-Game. "I think that I have a good understanding of the game. I have been playing at a high level for a few years now and I demand a lot from myself. In addition, I have already played with many different wingers, which allows me to adapt to almost all types of players“, the 25 year-old explained his success. "...And I am very strong at the push-faceoff. Connor @MartindalexC Martindale can confirm that“, he added.
A while ago, as you may have noticed, the Deadly Phantoms became the BRAYCE Phantoms after agreeing to a cooperation with the sports merchandising company. PlaymakerSJ played a big role in that development with his consistent play over the last few years. Phantoms-Captain Mannheimer said: "Simon raised our level of play and our creativity. With his patience, he is an absloute weapon in the offensive zone and still great defensively.“
After a tough go in ECL 9, where the club actually got relegated in a hard-fought-series over seven games against Vesa Pompa, but later retained their Elite-spot in the qualification series, the roster has changed quite a bit. Long-time member Maximilian @gzell60 Käsmaier announced his retirement , which lead to Niklas @xXPsykoSkillsXx Schmitz stepping up in a bigger role. Also new addition Stephan @Krinke Krinke has emerged into a capable goalscorer in his inaugural season in Europes top division after a spot in the offense opened up. Simon is still there, leading the team to a solid bounce back season - right now, the Phantoms are fighting in the playoffs after reaching the playoffs for the second time in their third ECL Elite campaign. And after years of being disadvantaged, they finally have the servers on their side as well!
Personally, the Neuss-native is still living in that area, working in Dusseldorfs District Government of Market Surveillance. Unlike his stats on NHLGamer, that sounds extremely boring. With 350 goals, 516 assists and 866 points, Playmaker currently sits in sixth place of NHLGamers All-Time-Points list across all competitions, and there is still more to come.