We’ve started the NHL 20 season strong but it’s time to ramp up the heat.
We’ve been plotting behind the scenes for quite some time now and so, without further ado, we are extremely proud to announce that, in cooperation with the Swedish Hockey League (SHL), Aftonbladet and Area Academy, we will be launching the eSHL starting January 13th, 2020.
“This is truly an exciting venture for both us and our clubs as we’ll be expanding our product range while having the opportunity to reach a completely new audience”, says Michael Marchal, CEO of SHL.
The official broadcasting partner for the eSHL will be Aftonbladet, the biggest daily newspaper in Sweden with close to 4 million daily readers/viewers. A live studio broadcast will be hosted twice a week by Aftonbladet and all other games will be streamed on the Twitch channels of the respective teams, with the occasional matchup featured in an NHLGamer Twitch broadcast. Aftonbladet will also serve as one of the main news outlets for the eSHL for the duration of the season.
The eSHL will act as a virtual counterpart to the current SHL, where teams will play each other in a league format of 6v6 EASHL. The regular season will start on January 13th and end in February.
While other major professional hockey leagues around the world have slowly begun turning their eyes towards esports, the eSHL stands out in that it is a sanctioned, organized league played in the 6v6 format - something completely unparalleled in NHL esports up until this point.
“The most successful esports worldwide are already team-based, not to mention the strong synergy that exists between real hockey and the EASHL mode where all six players on the ice need to work as a unit in order to win”, says Linus @KAWAIIII Eklund, Project manager at SHL.
To Eklund, partnering with NHLGamer for eSHL was the obvious choice:
“With their many years of experience hosting leagues within the EA SPORTS NHL series, NHLGamer made for a perfect fit as our league partner as we set out to create the eSHL. I have plenty of experience when it comes to competitive gaming, including the NHL series, and could tell NHLGamer had built things the right way, developing a community and a professional environment within an esport that didn’t really exist a few years ago.“
“Kenneth (Lehtinen - @Kenu ) has been an incredible resource for us when setting up this league and we look forward to working with him and NHLGamer to make this league reach its full potential.”
As NHLGamer members have surely noticed, a number of SHL teams like Växjö Lakers, Färjestad BK and Luleå Hockey already announced their EA Sports NHL rosters in recent months - announcements that have all been leading up to this project. As things currently stand, a vast majority of the 14 current SHL clubs will be participating in the eSHL. Rögle BK and HV71 are currently openly recruiting teams and players, others have not spoken out about their situation yet. This is what the list of teams looks like currently:
- Färjestad BK
- IK Oskarshamn
- Leksands IF
- Linköping HC
- Luleå Hockey
- Malmö Redhawks
- Rögle BK
- Skellefteå AIK
- Växjö Lakers
- Örebro Hockey
All of the league action and standings can be followed at e.shl.se which will be going live in mid-December.
Svenska Hockeyligan or the Swedish Hockey League is the highest tier of professional hockey in Sweden and also regarded as one of the best European hockey leagues. It was formerly known as Elitserien but renamed in 2013. The league consists of 14 teams who are competing for the Le Mat Trophy.
Read SHL’s story in Swedish here