On Monday, over 60 NHL players will drop from the Battle Bus and compete in one of the most popular video game playgrounds: Fortnite.
The charity trios tournament includes a $200,000 prize pool, which will be distributed to charities of the players’ choices.
How do I watch the tournament?
The action takes place live on Monday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET on our ESPN Esports Twitch channel.
Who is playing?
The tournament is created by Toronto Maple Leafs forward Zach Hyman and Colorado Avalanche center J.T. Compher. Hyman is no stranger to esports and gaming, as he owns an esports organization, Eleven Gaming, as well as SoaR Gaming, which represent players and streamers. Both Hyman and Compher recently participated in the NHL Players Gaming Challenge, which pitted NHL players against each other in NHL 20.
NHL 20 skills are not very transferable to Fortnite, so we’ll have to wait and see how the NHL players do here. Hyman will provide color commentary for the event, and it’s unclear if he will also compete, but it would be hilarious to see him do both.
The players will represent their respective cities in the tournament. Here are the NHL players expected to participate:
The full rosters and rules of the tournament will be announced before the tournament starts Monday on nhlpa.com.
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Which players should I have an eye on?
My first pick is Marner. No. 16 for the Toronto Maple Leafs has been one of the most active NHL players on Twitch during the coronavirus pandemic, streaming regularly. Though he has been rockin’ Warzone lately, he definitely knows his way around Pleasant Park and Frenzy Farm; in fact, Marner even participated in Ninja New Years, playing Fortnite with Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, Benjamin “DrLupo” Lupo, Tim “Timthetatman” John Betar and Jack “CouRage” Dunlop in 2018.
Of course, this is trios, so comms will be very important: I like that the Colorado boys made an immediate statement, being the first full team publicly announced in the tournament. That’s a big-brain move — a show of solidarity. No mystery needed here. They are ready to play. You gotta respect the confidence.
You have to also keep an eye on Aho. When John Forslund, play-by-play announcer for Carolina, calls you the “King of Fortnite” during a game, you know your reputation in the game precedes you. That’s a boss move. Aho might just carry his team throughout the entire tournament — who knows?
Then there are the players who are very self-aware, such as Tuch. “I’m just going to try to go out there and bother people with grenades and a rocket launcher and a sniper from long range, because if it comes down to building, I probably won’t last very long,” he told ESPN.
Many of the announced players have more recently competed in the Twitch Rivals Super Games featuring Fortnite. Of the list above, Hyman’s team (which included Blackhawks winger Alex Nylander, streamers dylanhawk and thatdenverguy) placed second. McKinnon placed 25th. Konecny is down the list a bit at 84th. Not only is this tournament for a good cause, but for some of these players, it might just be an avenue for sweet revenge.