Hi there NHLGamers!
You might have spotted some social media posts some weeks back about founder @Kenu being interviewed for a broadcast on Aito Hitti – A Finnish radio station, part of a network that according to their website has around 800 000 frequent listeners. Unfortunately, the interview was done only in Finnish and we felt that we shouldn’t exclude our international audience from learning what our founder had to say. Therefore, in this article I’ll briefly be recapping some of the main points discussed in the almost 20 minute segment about NHLGamer.
The interview focused on some basic things about NHLGamer, such as the conception of the community and the idea behind it and the ECL. Besides that, also some of the hottest topics in the community were discussed - such as money tournaments in the scene and the evolution of these.
Some of our community members have been with NHLGamer all the way since late 2015 when the site was released to the public. However, the idea was conceived already in 2009, when EA Sports discontinued their NHL-series for PC. Kenu had been creating popular mods (SM-liiga Pack, later FHR) for the PC version of the NHL-series for around 10 years together with a small group of people. When the possibility to create such mods was suddenly missing, there was a need to start doing something else. After creating the Finnish Cup's and taking a brief stint at the EHL-series at ConsoleHockey, Kenu and @Lurkins decided to combine forces in creating what we now know as NHLGamer.com. This domain wasn't always theirs, though - a guy called Petri Wathén, PW, had a platform for organising NHL tournaments at the start of the century, but as his interest faded, some of the remaining staff decided to acquire the domain.
In recent years, NHL gaming has come a long way and as mentioned above, one of the topics discussed was the introduction of money tournaments into the NHL gaming scene. A good example of this is the NHL Gaming World Championship, which was introduced this spring. The qualifiers for this tournament are currently in progress, with community members @Hansulinho and @FlyerKungen already advancing to the regional qualifiers in Stockholm, Sweden. (After the interview took place, also @Erkki, @plee999, @Kane and @Nieppii have secured their spots in Stockholm. That's 6/6 for our community. Keep it up!) Currently, the EASHL community hasn't seen major money tournaments, but rest assured - they will be coming right here on NHLGamer.
- For those of you that are able to understand the interview without a translation, you'll find the interview above.
The current ECL season was also discussed. Kenu mentions the increase in teams within the last few seasons and the fact that games are tighter than ever. All of the divisions hold very talented teams and the divisions framework introduced in ECL 4 has worked very well in assigning teams to appropriate skill levels - creating tighter matchups and more interesting and exciting seasons. It's been great to see the growth of our community with new members joining every day. It's also been great to witness how people are coming together and building lasting friendships. A beautiful sense of belonging was present at the recent IS Cup (November 2017), where we saw some tough competition but also how close our community members actually are.
An interesting question briefly discussed was wether the Finnish Liiga has shown any interest in NHLGamer. At this stage there have been no talks, says Kenu, but it's absolutely not out of the question. Professional ice hockey teams such as Ässät, HIFK and Pelicans - to name a few - are active in the gaming scene. No teams are currently represented in virtual ice hockey, but as money is starting to be discussed in the scene, interest might spark. The consensus at the end of the interview was that the future for NHLGamer and virtual ice hockey is bright. As sponsors and organisations are getting the smell of money, it will create more interest. It's now up to us to show what we as a community can do in order to make this bright future happen.