The National Hockey League (NHL) has announced an extensive format change to the programming calendar for its annual esports initiatives played on the EA SPORTS NHL game title. The tournament, now in its sixth season, has been rebranded as the EA SPORTS NHL 23 World Championship. The annual global tournament showcases a new creative vision and an expanded calendar of events that aligns with the NHL season.
Players and fans will have the opportunity to engage with more NHL esports content than ever before under the tournament umbrella – including live Twitch streams, Club tournaments, in-person events, and NHL player content, with an official World Championship making its triumphant return in June coinciding with the 2023 NHL Awards and 2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft.
“Expanded programming in NHL markets and participation from all 32 Clubs has always been our ultimate objective as we continue to grow the NHL gaming ecosystem. As we head into the EA SPORTS NHL 23 World Championship season, we are excited to provide more global opportunities for players to compete at the highest level, more consistent social engagement across NHL platforms and the culmination of funnel tournaments at NHL signature events to showcase the skills of our players to our enthusiastic CHEL community,” Chris Golier, NHL Group Vice President of Business Development and Technology Partnerships, said.
Registration for the EA SPORTS NHL 23 World Championship and ancillary events begin on Thursday, December 8. Players and fans can stay up-to-date and follow all the action on the official tournament website, www.nhl.com/NHL23, and on social platforms using the #NHL23WC hashtag.
The Club Championship component of the tournament will add 32 prominent events to the calendar and allow NHL Clubs to expand their gaming presence, engage a younger audience, and crown an EA SPORTS NHL 23 Club Champion. All NHL Clubs will host an esports tournament where the winner will receive prize money and an automatic bid into the EA SPORTS NHL 23 North American Championship knockout round.
EA SPORTS’ new cross-platform matchmaking ability will enable players to square off against opponents on the same console generation, creating larger player pools and shortening queue times to ensure players have more options to face off and spend less time waiting to take the ice. Each ancillary event will produce two winners – one from each respective console generation (one from PlayStation 4 / Xbox One and one from PlayStation 5 / Xbox Series X|S) – who will then continue play in the EA SPORTS NHL 23 World Championship draw. This will give players more chances to play, qualify and win, and fans more touchpoints to the CHEL community.
The new tournament structure will see the NHL also host a new slate of online open tournaments in North America and Europe with finalists having the chance to attend an in-person final event during NHL North American signature events, including the 2023 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend and 2023 Navy Federal Credit Union NHL Stadium Series.