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  1. NHLGamers, We've at this point already turned our looks towards coming things and put the past ECL 9 season in our rearview mirror, but let me just hold you up for a second for this recap at how great the ninth iteration of the most prestigious division in Europe actually was. First and foremost, let me extend a thank you to all of our gamers who once again, as before - have proven their skill and passion to make all of this possible. We kicked off in mid-November, shortly after an exciting IS Cup 4 had started the competitive season for us NHL gamers. It was an interesting season in the sense that we saw some new blood and old acquaintances at the top level, whereas a number of teams also changed colours even mid-season as the result of contract negotiations with various organisations coming to a close. Some of the new teams we were able to welcome were eSHL participants Linkoping HC, Farjestad BK, Lulea Hockey and Leksands IF but we also saw other organisations such as Roots and HAVU Gaming taking their first strides on the ECL ice. Regular season Indications before the season were that the usual suspects, HAVU Gaming and Linkoping HC (previously FILADELPHIA) would be the duo to keep an eye on for another iteration of virtual hockey. Based on recent showings in the IS Cup 4, also Butterfly Effect was in great form ahead of ECL 9 and were expected to show up to play come puck drop. Well, as the season progressed it quickly became rather clear as these three juggernauts quickly set sail for an excursion of their own and gathered point after point in a pace of their own. Especially Linkoping and HAVU Gaming set themselves apart from the competition with a suffocating offensive pressure that leaves no space for the opposition to generate viable offense of their own. Both teams finished the regular season with impressive goal differentials and extremely low goals against averages. Butterfly Effect carried on their strong performances to the ECL and proved that they were serious contenders this season, as a result they followed close behind the power duo of LHC and HAVU. Apart from the three top teams, Roots, Lulea Hockey and Unlucky Boys HC managed to crack the playoffs with some margin to the teams behind. These teams performed somewhere along the lines of what was expected from them, putting forth some very balanced efforts throughout the season and in that way justifying a playoff spot for themselves - a feat that must feel especially good for Unlucky Boys, who have been competing at the highest level for quite some time, but missed the playoffs narrowly for the past two seasons. Moving on to the middle of the pack, we see some of the tightest competition within the division is quite some time. Positions 7-13 are all within a four point range of each other meaning that just a win or loss in any direction could have drastically changed the outlook of the playoff picture. Consistent performer Symphony had a surprisingly hard time and making the playoffs was actually out of their hands - losing five straight wasn't the ideal way to cap off the regular season. Luckily for them, the Notes had some help along the way and their competition didn't manage to overtake them. The final two playoff teams by an extremely narrow margin were Miracle and Symphony. The bottom three teams held some surprises to be fair and managed to amass the biggest point totals for bottom teams since the introduction of the divisions framework. The final order was Almost Famous at 14th with a point total of 26, the previous seasons surprise playoff team BRAYCE Phantoms at 15th with 23 points and finally Leksands IF, who managed to avoid relegation in ECL 8, at 19 points. Eventually all teams in the relegation zone lost their relegation matchups, which infuses the division with a great amount of fresh skill for ECL 10. Playoffs As usual, the playoff contention in the ECL consists out of the eight best teams in the European scene - no exceptions on that part this season either. Going into the quarterfinals, some rather clear favourites existed for most of the series, barring the one between 4th seed Roots and 5th seed Lulea Hockey. This series finally ended up being the only one in which the lower seeded team managed to grab the win, with that also the only series of such variety for the duration of the playoffs. Roots did not play up to their potential and have since addressed their underlying issues with some personnel changes in the offseason. Linköping HC 4 Symphony 2 HAVU Gaming 4 Miracle 0 Butterfly Effect 4 Unlucky Boys HC 1 Roots 2 Lulea Hockey 4 Moving on to the semifinal stages, we were left with the absolute elite - three teams who have been very familiar with each other, battling at this stage of the tournament against one another in a bunch of various tournaments. Then we had Lulea, who managed to overpower Roots in their quarterfinal matchup and were looking to possibly cause an upset against heavy favourite Linkoping HC. The series finally didn't go Luleas way, as the score was kept close in some games, but there was really no doubt about the better team. Linkoping put forth an impressive effort and punched their ticket to the finals. The other series between dear rivals HAVU Gaming and Butterfly Effect was an exciting one indeed. Some time earlier, these two had went at it in the IS Cup 4 semifinals for the entire seven game series and this was going to be the one in which FLY comes back for redemption. Well, game seven it was once again, but no change in the end result as Butterfly Effect suffered a heartbreaking loss in the semifinals for the third time in the past year - all of these losses against HAVU. The tragedy has put captain @jergelii's faith to a test and the future of the team is currently unknown. Linköping HC 4 Lulea Hockey 0 HAVU Gaming 4 Butterfly Effect 3 Eventually there can be only one, and that's what we're determining each iteration in the finals. For the second time straight on ECL ice, the matchup was between the two giants Linkoping HC and HAVU Gaming. A great battle was expected and that was surely what these two teams provided. The finals were divided into two gamedays, where the first three games were played on the first day and the rest would be played on the second gameday. HAVU quickly took control by winning the first two games in the series, but luckily for Linkoping, they manage to snag a victory to end the first gameday, putting the series at 2-1 for the pause. One of the turning points of the series was seen with a mere 2 seconds left in game 3, where LHC was ahead by a goal and HAVU managed to generate an almost certain scoring chance, but @ICappeI in net shuts them down with potentially the biggest save of the season. See the save and games 1-3 of the finals below: (save sequence starts at around 1:45:00) As the series continue on the second gameday, HAVU is the more eager team to win as they grab the win in game 4, putting the series at a stranglehold. However, Linkoping quickly shows that they simply do not recognise the concept of giving up. The white lions mount a comeback for the ages consisting of three straight one goal games, including an overtime victory in game 6. All in all, it can be stated with certainty that this series solidifies this matchup as a definite classic within NHL gaming. Linkoping secures the championship and regains the title! Linköping HC 4 HAVU Gaming 3 🏆 AWARDS Playoff MVP: @Eki, Linkoping HC Most Points: @Eki, Linkoping HC, 44 Goals, 71 Assists, 115 Points in 47 games Most Goals: @Vilupoika, Butterfly Effect, 58 Goals, 29 Assists, 87 Points in 42 games Most Assists: @Eki, Linkoping HC, 44 Goals, 71 Assists, 115 Points in 47 games Most Hits by a Forward: @hpkfani, Lulea Hockey, 243 Hits in 40 games Best +/-: @PleeMaker , Linkoping HC, +75 in 47 games Most Points by a Defenseman: @xDoumi, Butterfly Effect, 2 Goals, 45 Assists, 47 Points in 42 games Most Goals by a Defenseman: @willekunq, HAVU Gaming, 10 Goals, 32 Assists, 42 Points in 46 games Most Assists by a Defenseman: @xDoumi, Butterfly Effect, 2 Goals, 45 Assists, 47 Points in 42 games Most Hits by a Defenseman: @FakiiR1, Miracle, 278 Hits in 34 games Best goaltender (SV%): @Hansulinho, HAVU Gaming, 247 saves on 288 shots, SV% 85.76% in 34 games Thank you all for yet another successful ECL season, we'll be back with more in the near future! In the mean time you can keep up with one of the ongoing leagues, such as eSHL, RCL or GCL. See you on the ice!
  2. NHLGamers, The eSHL playoffs are here! We've weeded out the best from the rest and with that, the eight remaining teams will start their journey towards the title today. First up on the agenda will be the quarterfinal series, out of which two will be played in their entirety today and the remaining two will be played on Friday. The regular season winner and most dominant team, Linköping HC will be going up against HV71 starting at 19:00 CET over at Sportbladet, whereas the second series of the night between Färjestad and Växjö will be airing over at the NHLGamer Twitch. Your very own @Tougie24 and @Cyn will be in the booth. Where/how to watch? Monday, 17th of February Quarterfinal 1: Linköping HC (1) - HV71 (8) (19:00 CET, Sportbladet) Quarterfinal 2: Färjestad BK (3) - Växjö Lakers HC (6) (19:30 CET, NHLGamer) Friday, 21st of February Quarterfinal 3: Malmö Redhawks (2) - Djurgården Hockey (7) (19:00, Sportbladet) Quarterfinal 4: Leksands IF (4) - Luleå Hockey (5) (19:30, NHLGamer) Friday, 28th of February Semifinal 1 & Semifinal 2 (Sportbladet) Saturday, 29th of February Final (Sportbladet) All series will be played in a best-of-5 format.
  3. NHLGamers, Tonight we've reached the pinnacle of what European NHL gaming is all about, two of the very best teams will be going head to head in determining who gets to raise the cup and take home a hefty amount of cash. The European Championship League is one of the longest running competitive leagues and is certainly the one to win in Europe. HAVU Gaming vs Linköping HC HAVU shows their efficient scoring in game one 4-1 Win for HAVU Gaming The two dear rivals have gone at it for three games already during Tuesday night. The night started off with a dominant game one effort by HAVU in which Ilmari @Buantso Lehkonen was the man to watch, recording two goals and two helpers to get the series started. Overall, the game was very even with not too many chances opening up. HAVU was just the way more effective team on the opportunities given. Dominointi provides overtime heroics in game two 2-3 OT win for HAVU Gaming As the night progressed, the results also started trending in another direction - game two was a tight battle, where once again the flow of play wasn't really controlled by either team, but chances were evenly distributed and both teams got their say on both sides of the puck. A vast majority of action in the game revolved around wingers Tuukka @FlyerKungen Kuha and Paul @PleeMaker Arontie, who are going head-to-head on the same wing. The two stars are not only great scorers and difference makers in both ends of the ice, but enjoy puck possession and can do great things when their confidence is high. Eventually game two was extended into overtime, where Risto @Dominointi Järvi provided the overtime heroics, grabbing the second win in the series for HAVU Gaming. Cappe with the biggest save of the night in game three 1-2 Win for Linköping HC Game three was something of a HAVU clinic, where the team looked to control the flow of the game and was the more dominant party but could not find a way to overcome Casper @ICappeI Lundgren in net for Linköping more than once. It's also due to an astonishing defensive team effort by LHC. The result was 1-2 for Linköping after 60 minutes with @ICappeI making a save glove to remember with just 2,5 seconds left in the game. Three tough bouts put the series standing at 2-1 in favor of the reigning champion HAVU Gaming. The series continue tonight with games 4-7 at 20:45 CET at twitch.tv/nhlgamer.
  4. NHLGamers, Starting tonight, we've reached the culmination point of the ECL 9 season. It's when the best of the best go at it in a best-of-seven series and eventually we crown a new European Champion. We've got an interesting setup for this one, as quite some time has passed since both HAVU Gaming and Linköping HC qualified for the finals, but due to time constraints and a number of various tournaments clashing for both the players and our NHLGamer staff, it was decided that postponing the finals would make for the best competitive setting and in that way highest possible level of play. That is something we're extremely eager to witness tonight when the puck drops at 20:00 CET. It's been a long time since the last playoff games in ECL 9 Elite were played (6th of January for HAVU, 5th of January for Linköping), so you can definitely not put too much weight on the teams performances earlier during the season. In general the postponing of the finals gives a bit of an extra twist to this matchup whereas it's unusual to see these long breaks in between tournaments. Although neither team might be in that ECL grind mindset anymore, the incentive here is certainly the biggest share of that 5000€ prize pool. Linköping HC Group stage record: 27-2-1 (1st) Quarterfinals: vs Symphony (8) 4-2 Semifinals: vs Luleå Hockey (5) 4-0 The strongest European team based on form across all tournaments recently. Apart from their opponents, LHC has been participating in the eSHL with the exact same roster that will take on HAVU in the ECL Finals starting tonight. Recent performances bode well for Linköping, as they've gone 9-1-0 in their last ten games and are currently at the top of the table by a three point margin. On the ECL side of things, the team also finished strong by sweeping fellow eSHL team Luleå Hockey. However, some questions have been raised whether this team is playing with the passion that we've seen before. Despite pushing from victory to another, the times of supreme reign are gone and this talent packed roster has proved to be human after all. It's not a statement based on poor performance, but based on the somewhat difficult games they've had where the offense hasn't been showing their usual flow and quick wits. Starting tonight, they'll be taking on a dear rival which in their last few meetings has proven to be the better team. Can we se a return to the throne? HAVU Gaming Group stage record: 26-2-2 (2nd) Quarterfinals: vs Miracle (7) 4-0 Semifinals: vs Butterfly Effect (3) 4-3 HAVU Gaming isn't a team that's been in the headlines of the community too much lately and that's simply for the reason that the team has been on a hiatus for the purpose of representing various teams in the eSHL. The forward line has been representing Malmö Redhawks and have absolutely obliterated the opposition in their last two matchups against Växjö Lakers HC and Färjestad BK - as expected. Defensemen @willekunq and @Nassustelija have been the backstops for Färjestad BK, which has been a strong and consistent performer throughout the season and to some extent have the two HAVU players to thank for that. A small cause for worry is the fact that these guys haven't played together too much as of late and goaltender @Hansulinho hasn't strapped on the pads for a good few weeks. These are the true elite of the NHL gaming scene, will they overcome the challenge and return to the ice in their old winning ways? Last 10 head-to-head games: ECL 9 Elite: 8.12.2019 Linköping HC - HAVU Gaming 2-1 OT ECL 9 Elite: 8.12.2019 HAVU Gaming - Linköping HC 2-1 OT FCL Finals: 3.8.2019 HAVU GAMING - FILADELPHIA 2-0 FCL Finals: 3.8.2019 FILADELPHIA - HAVU Gaming 1-2 FCL Finals: 3.8.2019 HAVU Gaming - FILADELPHIA 1-0 ECL 8 Finals: 3.1.2019 FILADELPHIA - Written In The Stars 2-0 ECL 8 Finals: 3.1.2019 Written In The Stars - FILADELPHIA 4-0 ECL 8 Finals: 3.1.2019 FILADELPHIA - Written In The Stars 0-1 ECL 8 Finals: 3.1.2019 Written In The Stars - FILADELPHIA 2-0 ECL 8 Finals: 3.1.2019 FILADELPHIA - Written In The Stars 0-1 OT *Written In The Stars is the previous name of HAVU Gaming, whereas FILADELPHIA is the previous name of Linköping HC. Regardless the outcome, this matchup has certainly become the grand rivalry of the NHL gaming scene. As seen from the list above, these classics don't come around all too often, but most of them have been in the finals, starting with the first ever European 6vs6 LAN at IS Cup 3, which was one for the ages as the teams battled long into the night and FILADELPHIA (now Linköping HC) eventually came out on top. When/where to watch? All of the games will be streamed on the NHLGamer Twitch channel. The beloved @Tougie24 and @Cyn will be providing commentary. Tuesday, February 4th Games 1-3 starting 20:00 CET Thursday, February 6th Games 4-7 starting 20:45 CET
  5. NHLGamers, The third championship of the ECL 9 season was crowned on Sunday when the two title contenders Sulkavan Sudet and Riven Johdolla clashed for games 4-7 of their final series. Going into the games, we were in an interesting position, where Sudet had the chance to complete a sweep and with that go undefeated through the playoffs, but luckily for the viewers - Riven Johdolla had different thoughts as they held off the eventual defeat for two very exciting games. After a tough series culminating in a convincing 7-2 win for Sudet, we were finally able to crown a champion! Sulkavan Sudet 🏆 Group stage record: 16-3-1 (7th) Round 1: vs DEG eSports (26) 4-0 Round 2: vs WEREWOLVES HC (15) 4-0 Quarterfinals: vs Rookie Mistakes (6) 4-0 Semifinals: vs Mockba (2) 4-0 Finals: vs Riven Johdolla (3) 4-2 GOALIES #44 P. Juurikkala @TeikDaun DEFENSEMEN #27 -. Ipana @Ipana27 #77 J. Sepalus @Jusaagi #92 -. Lope @Pirkkalope FORWARDS #13 U. Erkkilä @urkk1 #29 -. Luokkala @Luokkala_ #41 M. Aaltonen @Kemppane_ #55 N. Kyllikki @Oxdoggi #93 J. Musselwhite @Stapletone All in all, the Lite season once again provided some very exciting action and surely showed the amount of skill that runs deep throughout the divisions framework. Next season, both of these finalist teams will be seen at the Pro level - congratulations! The decisive games of the finals were broadcasted at the NHLGamer Twitch-channel. @Tougie24 and @Cyn once again blessed us with their presence and put forth a great effort in the commentator booth. If you missed that action, you can watch it again below:
  6. NHLGamers, The time has come to crown a champion in our Pro division and with that also determine the team that will gain a direct promotion to compete at the highest level in ECL 10. As usual, we kicked off the season with 32 total teams that were divided into two groups and to not that much of a surprise, the two we see in the finals were the eventual winners of both groups - Delusion and Vesa Pompa HC. Both teams have come a long way and are rather young both in terms of average age on their roster and in terms of the history of the team. Vesa Pompa has come a longer way as a group, the team first surfaced at NHLGamer when they participated in ECL 7 Lite under their previous name Lehmannens Badboyz. However, ECL 8 was their real breakout season as they finished their Lite division campaign as runner-ups and continued on that run into the SCL later that spring - you might know how that ended 🏆. Delusion is the ones we see on the other side of this battle, also an incredibly talented team that first surfaced in late 2019 before IS Cup 4. Some eyebrows were raised and there were a fair amount of doubters, but this group had set out on a mission to prove all those naysayers wrong. An impressive silver medal finish in IS Cup 4 launched the success story that is Delusion. Both teams are hungry for the direct promotion spot, as the runner-up will have to qualify against the German powerhouse BRAYCE Phantoms HC. Delusion The argument could certainly be made that Delusion is competing in the wrong division, but due to rules and all that the team did not qualify for competition at the Elite level for their inaugural season despite their skill. It surely goes to show that they are a force to be reckoned with even on a higher level when competition has been destroyed convincingly throughout this season. The top three in scoring for the regular season consists of three Delusion players, which would be the case in the playoffs too if the games played column would show equal amounts. There's one massive exception though - Delusion has lost their right winger @Tuukka.R for the playoffs as he is serving his military duties. In his place we can see @sannteri who has had some big boots to fill, but has done so in a sufficient way. There's still a difference compared to the original lineup, but having marched through the playoffs with only one loss, Delusion will be a favourite going into the final matchup. Vesa Pompa HC Vesa Pompa HC is experiencing somewhat turbulent times as the group is currently competing in the eSHL in the colour of Malmö Redhawks and doing so with a rather different roster. Trying to juggle between the two clubs must entail some challenges and has certainly had an effect on the level of play. Most recently Vesa Pompa clashed with Gotham Knights in the semifinals and played a series for the ages, where they ended up being down in the series but Gotham didn't manage to take the advantage. We ended up in a game seven in which Vesa Pompa came out on top in a scoring duel. The finals will be a hard challenge for the Swedes, who will need to find their prime form and execute at an Elite level in order to overcome Delusion. Much of the offense relies on @Nampa77 and @Eken45jr, who almost entirely by themselves have carried the team in that regard. Defensively the team will have to be on their toes constantly and @Thunborg5 in net will have his work cut out for him. Where/when to watch? The best-of-seven series will be starting tonight, Tuesday 28th of January at 21:30 CET and finished on Wednesday, 29th of January, 21:00 CET. All games will be broadcasted live at the NHLGamer Twitch-channel. In the booth: @Tougie24 and @Cyn!
  7. NHLGamers, The first championship of the 9th iteration of ECL was crowned last week and how suitable it is that this was done in our newest division - Neo. ECL 9 Neo is aimed to be a great stepping stone into competitive virtual hockey and we believe that it has served its purpose well during the inaugural season. The eventual champion ended up being Olympia, who had an outstanding campaign and remained one of the strongest teams of the division throughout the season. Olympia 🏆 Group stage record: 11-3-2 (8th) Round 1: vs KulmalaHengaus (9) 3-1 Quarterfinals: vs Eliel Kings (3) 3-1 Semifinals: vs Kuutamokiekko (1) 3-0 Finals: vs TanssiiTuhtienKansa (4) 3-1 GOALIES #66 B. Mess - @Bloodymess_666 DEFENSEMEN #6 P. Chantres - @Hendrixxxx (Gettoblaster80) #83 J. Tähti - @Teamplayer (BlazingKnight83) FORWARDS #2 S. Tjulin - @sonny (sonnys2profil) #4 P. Hägerström - @Hagerstrom_99 #18 C. Macaroni - @BeastBenn14 #21 A. Hags - alleftw #91 C. Karlsson - @SWE_KARLSSON16 The finals between Olympia and TanssiiTuhtienKansa were outstanding and hard fought games, which were broadcasted at the NHLGamer Twitch-channel. @Tougie24 and @Cyn blessed us with their presence and put forth a great effort in the commentator booth. If you missed that action, you can watch it again here: NHLGamer would like to extend a warm thank you to all participants and viewers, congratulations to Olympia on the first ever ECL Neo title!
  8. NHLGamers, We've come as far as to having only four teams left to compete for the championship title in our ECL 9 Pro division. The Pro championship is not just a title to hold, but it also signifies punching your ticket of participation in the ECL Elite division for the leagues next iteration. All of these semifinalists have earned an opportunity to play for a promotion in one way or another, now all that remains is determining the marching order. Here are the matchups for the Semifinals of the ECL 9 Pro Playoffs: (1) Delusion vs GHETTO FIREBIRDS (4) TOP SCORER (PLAYOFFS) @Beniittto - 8GP, 10+8=18 vs @Valluxet - 11GP, 15+18=33 GOALTENDING (PLAYOFFS) @uhNikke - 8GP, 8W, 89.23SV%, 0,88GAA, 3SO vs @Jeresti - 11GP, 8W, 84.8SV%, 1,73GAA, 1SO In this semifinal matchup we are seeing the clash of two very different types of teams. We all know the caliber of players that Delusions lineup holds - just imagine that all three of their forwards slot within the top 20 scorers at NHLGamer, of ALL TIME. Centerman @Beniittto even holds the top position on that list. Granted, these guys put up somewhere in the ballpark of 100 points plus each this season which might have inflated the statistics a bit, but it is a powerful statement regardless. GHETTO FIREBIRDS will have their work cut out for them as this is a challenge they are not used to facing. Don't get me wrong - the FIREBIRDS are a solid team that is built on a strong foundation with outstanding chemistry acquired over an extended period of time, but I think it's safe to say that this is going to be the biggest challenge of their careers yet. Bottom line: The ball here is with Delusion. They should be able to run over GHETTO with their offensive prowess alone. GHETTO will need to bring their very best in this challenge of a lifetime. (2) Vesa Pompa HC vs Gotham Knights (3) TOP SCORER (PLAYOFFS @Nampa77 - 9GP, 9+11=20 vs @Jimisebastian - 10GP, 11+5=16 GOALTENDING (PLAYOFFS) @Thunborg5 - 5GP, 4W, 82.61SV%, 1,6GAA, 0SO vs @PeeloJombb - 10GP, 8W, 90.51SV%, 1,3GAA, 4SO In advance, this should be the tighter semifinal matchup. Vesa Pompa HC is a tremendously strong team when they are in their zone, but with the eSHL going on and the fact that these guys are playing with a totally different roster on a nightly basis - that might throw things off. The eSHL started on January 13th and since then, we've seen some troubles in the horizon for Vesa Pompa. They played a difficult six game series in the quarterfinals against Reality Check but found a way to advance and will now be in for a challenge, when facing Gotham Knights, who are eager to get back to the highest tier of competition after spending their second consecutive season in Pro now. Statistically, both of these teams look very similar with the only major difference being Vesa Pompas scoring ability which is a category they have an advantage in. Over the course of the season, both teams have dropped points in matchups where they should have been favourites in advance, it shouldn't be too bold of a statement that the more consistent team will win this series. Bottom line: This should be en exciting and very even series, an eventual game 7 would not be a surprise. Where/when to watch? The series between Delusion and GHETTO FIREBIRDS will be starting today at 20:00 CET. The first three games will be played tonight and the series will continue on wednesday at 20:00 CET, follow the games at www.twitch.tv/sakkem95. Vesa Pompa and Gotham haven't scheduled their games yet, but according to latest comments, the series will start on Wednesday. As always, have fun and play hard! Who do you think will win?
  9. I understand your point and admit that my intent with the bolded comment was to challenge people that might have different opinions. The fact is that we want to produce content to the best of our ability and it's up for debate whether people think we have done so or not. If people feel otherwise, I warmly welcome them to discuss a possible contribution in order to better things. Constructive criticism is always welcome, but I'm sure no one appreciates getting flamed in the comments section when they're just trying to bring something to the table on their own free time.
  10. Guys, this article contains a bunch of subjective statements which seem to have triggered you in one way or another. I like that! Shows that you care about what you do and in turn I believe that was also the intention of the writer to stir the pot a little. Now it's up to you to prove these statements wrong in the upcoming games. However, if you have a problem with content that we put out, please shoot me a DM and we can discuss your contribution to the community on that part.
  11. NHLGamers, As advertised over the past month or so, Monday night was the start date for one of the most anticipated NHL esports tournaments yet, as we kicked off the eSHL with a full six game round, where Växjö Lakers and Färjestad BK stood for the main action in the eSHL studio at Sportbladet. A total of 12 (out of 14) SHL clubs have signed their own teams going into the eSHL. Some have been announced a longer time ago whereas others waited until the last weekend before puck drop, but all teams have in unison stated that the esports initiative that the SHL is taking is an exciting road to travel and holds a tremendous amount of potential. That surely goes to show based on the viewer numbers during the first night, which ranged between 800-100 viewers on the main channels, not included the Sportbladet broadcast. What is the eSHL? If you've followed the news section at NHLGamer within the past month, you should be up to speed with the concept, but if not - here's a recap. The eSHL is a virtual counterpart to the real world SHL, which is the Swedish elite league in ice hockey. The league consists of 14 teams out of which 12 are now participating in the eSHL. The points system is similar to what you're used to seeing in our other leagues and tournaments, meaning that teams are awarded two points for a victory in regular time or OT, one point for a loss in OT and zero points for a loss. Eight teams will be making the playoffs, which will culminate in a live-event between the 28th and 29th of February in Stockholm, Sweden. The prize pool of the league totals up to 150 000 SEK (~14 235 EUR), which will be divided among all participating teams in a following split: 1. 50 000 SEK 2. 25 000 SEK 3-4. 13 500 SEK 5-8. 8 000 SEK 9-12. 4 000 SEK Participating teams Djurgården Hockey Djurgården is the current pride of Stockholm when it comes to hockey and they will be looking to continue on that path in the virtual world too. Having signed a talented roster for this tournament, it shouldn't be out of the question for this team to finish in the top half of the standings. Check out our team announcement here. Farjestad BK Having been one of the first SHL teams to announce their roster, the boys representing Farjestad have had some time to adjust to their new surroundings already. The team hailing from Karlstad made some massive signings just prior to the season by bringing in HAVU Gaming defensive pari Kristian-Mikael @Nassustelija Katajisto and Wille @willekunq Juntunen. A top four finish should be expected. Team announcement here. HV71 eSHL HV71 is a team that's been in the works for quite some time during the past few months. Captain Daniel @Demski13 Gadd has handpicked a group of local players and is hoping to create a coherent unit that could go far in the tournament. It's an interesting approach and should do good for the esports interest in the Jonkoping region. Check out our team announcement here. IK Oskarshamn Oskarshamn also went with a local initiative in the signing of their roster. Tryouts were hosted in cooperation with the local esports team E-sport Hultsfred in order to recruit local talent to the roster. Time will tell if it pays off, but we're expecting a tough challenge for this team. Leksands IF A very experienced group of guys is what Leksand got when they signed the roster of former Synergy Hockey. It'll be interesting to see if they can find their stride again and get back to the glorious form that they once possessed. Expected to finish in the top half of the table. Check out our team announcement here. Linkoping HC Having signed the complete roster of former FILADELPHIA, Linkoping instantly made their way into the talks of championship contenders. Nothing but the cup will be enough for this team. Check out our team announcement here. Lulea Hockey Lulea announced their team quite early on and they've been performing very well in their new colors. The team has a very deep roster, which can be switched around into several different outlooks and should be dangerous in any given form. A top four finish is expected. Check out our team announcement here. Malmo Redhawks Championship potential definitely not lacking from the roster of Malmo Redhawks as all of their players are currently reigning champions of some form. Together with Linkoping HC, Malmö will form the duo that is most likely to take home the title in this inaugural season. Check out our team announcement here. Orebro Hockey Orebro signed an experienced bunch of players, who are looking to improve their performances after some difficult times as of late. Captained by Joakim @Nexhztah Stewart, the team has made some new signings and should be able to fight their way into the playoffs if all the pieces fall into place. Check out our team announcement here. Rogle BK One of the latest roster announcements came from Rogle BK as they signed the former Company of Geeks, which is one of the most long-lived EASHL clubs despite some short breaks in their history. The roster is experienced but hasn't shown much in terms of competitive success as of late. They should be able to fight for a playoff spot. Check out our team announcement here. Skelleftea AIK Much alike their SHL counterpart, Skelleftea is investing in local players to represent them. Players were mainly recruited by local tryouts. Captain Christoffer @Xence1 Kauppi has a massive task at hand in generating a competitive unit in a short period of time. Anything is possible, but most likely this team is out of the playoffs at the end of the regular season. Vaxjo Lakers HC Vaxjo was the very first SHL team to announce their roster and have been doing rather well in their new colors. The team has found a good balance in signing local players such as captain Fredric @EDHOLMINHO Edholm and defenseman Johannes @Hockeyjohannes Hultmark but simultaneously bringing in external talent such as highly touted Finnish goaltender Joona @Hullued Saarinen. Växjo should finish in the top half of the standings. Check out our team announcement here. How to watch? The league is played with a fixed schedule, which makes it easy to follow whichever games you want to. Every gameday consists of six matchups, out of which one will be the selected main matchup of the night. The main matchup will be streamed by Sportbladet, and will feature an eSHL studio with a commentary team consisting of Fredrik "JAEGARNS" Andersson and Adam @esdor Ericson. The Sportbladet broadcast will start at 19:00 CET, whereas other games will start at 20:00 CET. Fredrik "JAEGARNS" Andersson and Adam @esdor Ericson in the Sportbladet studio. Here is a list of all the main matchups during the season: Monday, 13th of January at 19:15 CET: Vaxjo Lakers vs Farjestad BK Friday, 17th of January at 19:15 CET: Malmo Redhawks vs Linkoping HC Monday, 20th of January at 19:15 CET: Leksands IF vs Djurgården Hockey Friday, 24th of January at 19:15 CET: Rogle BK vs Vaxjo Lakers Monday, 27th of January at 19:15 CET: Orebro Hockey vs HV71 Friday, 29th of January at 19:15 CET: Leksands IF vs Lulea Hockey Monday, 31st of January at 19:15 CET: Djurgarden Hockey vs HV71 Friday, 3rd of February at 19:15 CET: Rogle BK vs Orebro Hockey Monday, 7th of February at 19:15 CET: IK Oskarshamn vs Skelleftea AIK Friday, 10th of February at 19:15 CET: Farjestad BK vs Linkoping HC Monday, 14th of February at 19:15 CET: Lulea Hockey vs Malmo Redhawks Find the full schedule here. All of the games except the headline matchup of each gameday will be streamed on the teams respective Twitch-channels. Remember to follow the eSHL on all social media channels for information about the league! e.shl.se Twitter Instagram
  12. NHLGamers, We hope that many of you had the possibility to watch the opening round of the eSHL last night - at least the numbers suggest so! Streams of respective teams had and incredible viewer turnout varying between 800-100 viewers on the most popular channels. That is something we could not have expected and are very grateful! Although the league started last night, we haven't presented all teams to you guys yet, and with that we take the time to welcome the roster of Örebro Hockey to the league. Captain Joakim @Nexhztah Stewart has brought over the base of the former Nordic Lightning roster and made some interesting new signings in order to make this team as competitive as can be. Their first round games against an admittedly major underdog in IK Oskarshamn surely shows that their offense is running on all cylinders as they combined for a total of 15 goals in the two games played. "The team is based on players from the former Nordic Lightning, but we needed to replace some players who decided to move on after the latest ECL tournament. I feel like our recruitment process was successful as we've been able to create a nice mix of players and assign our guys to suitable positions where they will be able to utilise their respective strengths." - Captain @Nexhztah on the current roster and recruitment process. Nordic Lightning saw a disappointing finish to the ECL 9 season in which they competed in the Pro division. The team was rejuvenated after a short hiatus and going into play, things were looking good. 30 games later, however, the team found themselves on the outside looking in and in need of some new direction, which the eSHL so timely provided. "We're eager to redeem ourselves after a frustrating performance in the latest ECL season. We'll compete hard every night and when we get our game going, I know we're a tough team to beat. Playoffs should be a realistic goal for our team, but once we get there - anything could happen." - @Nexhztah on the team aspirations for the upcoming season. We are certainly just as excited as @Nexhztah and his team to get the eSHL started. Tune in on Friday at 19:00 CET to the Sportbladet broadcast for your next dose of eSHL action when contender teams Linkoping HC and Malmo Redhawks clash in a top-level battle!
  13. NHLGamers, We’re happy to announce that Rögle BK has secured a roster for the upcoming eSHL league that kicks off next week on Monday, January 13th 2020. For eSHL, Rögle has signed the roster of former Company of Geeks, which is a long lived franchise in the competitive NHL scene, having started their journey back in the early 2010’s in the days of EHL. There’s been some short breaks for the team, but they’ve remained a relevant piece of NHL gaming history and have since 2017 been back competing in the ECL. The team is currently on a playoff run in the Lite division. “We’re heading into an interesting challenge - nowadays a strong digital presence is required and I believe that this is a step in that direction for Rögle BK. By having a team represent us in the eSHL we’re excited to engage a new demographic that we potentially couldn’t reach otherwise. We recognize a large potential to expand our brand in a rapidly growing market.” - Rögle BK CEO Daniel Koch on their esports initiative For the upcoming season of eSHL, the team has revamped their roster a bit and made some additions in order to ensure the competitiveness of their team. Competition is hard, but long-time club member Simon @hammarjet Jönsson feels like they will be up for the challenge: “Naturally our goal is to perform to the best of our abilities and in that achieve a high finish. It’s all very new and it’ll be interesting to see how the eSHL clubs match up against each other. We’re proud to represent Rögle and will do our very best to do so in a successful way. Obviously Linköping, Luleå and Färjestad are the ones to beat, but as I said it’s all very new and you never know what is going to happen.” Rögle BK Originally, Rögle BK was founded as a bandy club in the village of Rögle in southwestern Sweden. Nowadays, Catena Arena in Ängelholm is where the team calls home. The hockey club was founded in 1950, and as a younger club from a rather small city, the history of the team holds some interesting tales. Since 1991, Rögle has spent time up and down between the two highest divisions in the Swedish league system, with their most recent promotion happening in 2015.
  14. NHLGamers, With less than a week left until the first gameday of the Swedish eSHL, announcements from teams are ramping up and with that, HV71 has released their roster for the upcoming season. That roster is comprised of some fairly unknown talents, led by captain and SCL 6vs6 bronze medalist Daniel @Demski13 Gadd, who will look to center the somewhat inexperienced bunch. The team was selected in a somewhat different way compared to other rosters that have been announced for the eSHL, as HV71 held online tryouts in order to select their participating squad, which in its final form consists of seven players (5 skaters + 2 goaltenders). "Our club meets the prospect of eSHL with open arms and we're excited about the initiative that the SHL is taking together with the teams. We believe that the timing is right and will see this as yet another tool for us to reach new audiences and increase the interest towards HV71." - HV71's Managing director Agne Bengtsson about their participation in the eSHL As said, the roster of the team consists of mostly new faces, out of which @Demski13 will be acting as the team captain. Most guys are local, which is something special and was an important part of the team building process from the very beginning. The team was hand picked through tryouts by the captain himself, so the project is of extremely high importance to the man himself. "It's a fun and inspiring project. We're a tremendously talented team and it's been a dream come true for me personally to be able to build this team in cooperation with HV71. I've been a fan of the club since childhood and I've seen every game for as long as I can remember. The statement that HV71 is the team my heart beats for doesn't even do this sentiment justice. The fact that we're a group of local guys just adds to the greatness of it all and surely makes us unique in comparison to the competition. The fact that we're such a tight knit group and have the physical ability to meet up for practices at Kinnarps Arena is something worth cherishing and I believe it'll play a big part for us down the line." - Captain @Demski13 on team building and representing the club he loves The inaugural season of the eSHL kicks off on Monday, 13th of January with a full round of games. Stay tuned for more news and the full schedule soon!
  15. NHLGamers, With the eSHL season closing in on us, it's time to take a look at some of the teams that will be participating, and as we've released information about most other teams, let's now take a look at Malmö Redhawks. The club from the very south of Sweden has signed a highly competitive roster that is looking to take the league by storm. The base of Malmös roster consists of players from the reigning SCL champions Vesa Pompa HC and the team is captained by 25 year-old defenseman Johan @Lehmannens Lehmann. On top of Vesa Pompa players, such as Henrik @Eken45jr Eklund, Anton @antoniomannen004 Svensander and [email protected] Thunborg, the club has signed a few players who are the very cream of the crop when it comes to competitive NHL 6's. The guys we're talking about is of course HAVU Gaming forwards Risto @Dominointi Järvi and Tuukka @FlyerKungen Kuha, who are no strangers to hoisting trophies and will surely be giving a welcomed boost to this already strong roster. Having a roster comprised of both Swedish and Finnish champions, Malmö puts themselves right into the contender discussion from the get go. "We got into contact with Malmö quite early on and realised that we had a shared understanding about the potential of NHL esports. Ever since our first contact, we've been convinced that the club is investing into this endeavor and have been met by nothing but top class attitude. It was honestly an easy decision to sign with Malmö and we're proud to be representing this club." - Captain @Lehmannens in an interview with Fragbite.se "I'm excited to get playing already! I'm very familiar with my teammates and know that there's tremendous potential that we possess. We've got a bunch of young players and are hungry for both progress and success. All of us want to take home that trophy and I'm confident we have all the tools to do so." - Right winger @FlyerKungen on malmoredhawks.com @Hansulinho will be serving as a backup for the team, which aims to play through the league with a tight set lineup. Malmö Redhawks Malmö is one of the largest Swedish cities and home to the southernmost team in the SHL. Having been founded in 1972, it is one of the younger clubs in the SHL. The club has won two Swedish championships (1992, 1994) and started their current run at the top level in 2015, when they gained their latest promotion.
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