The NHL’s future in esports

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was standing in the back of the recently opened Esports Arena inside Kenneth Acker Jersey of the Luxor Hotel & Casino with his 11-year-old grandson, Matthew, watching the first NHL Gaming World Championship.
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It was perhaps the first time in his tenure as commissioner that Bettman might have been inclined to lean on the advice of his grandson.

A lot of kids my age are really into esports, Matthew said. They’re playing the games, watching it on Twitch, and they’re getting engaged. I think it’s only going to get bigger and bigger.

The winner and runner-up from the U.S., Canada and Europe flew to Las Vegas for a round-robin style tournament between the six regional finalists, with the top two players squaring off in a best-of-three final to determine the first NHL Gaming World Champion. Erik Eki Tammenpaa, an 18-year-old native of Espoo, Finland, won the $50,000 grand prize out of a total of purse of $100,000 awarded to the finalists.

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When you think of some of the teams that had great shooting besides Golden State, all those teams really got beat. But then you look at a team like Boston who had, again, multiple ball handlers, guys that can put it down on the ground and get their own shot, they advanced all the way to the Eastern Conference finals.

I watched every series and had to say OK, the game is played different. Then I talked to him, he felt the same way, so now let’s get guys that can handle the basketball, get their own shots, also are tough on defense, tough-minded. And that’s how Rob and I decided to build the roster. So we’re really happy with the additions that we have and LeBron is really happy.