NHL Announces 2019 Gaming World Championship

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After the 2019 NHL Gaming World Championship (GWC) was teased earlier this year during the ‘House of Chel‘, the NHL has finally put all of the speculations surrounding the format of this year’s tournament to bed:

Hockey Ultimate Team
is the game-mode of choice for the
2019 NHL Gaming World Championship

That’s right. The NHL and EA Sports are working together on this year’s tournament, which will be played in the Hockey Ultimate Team, or “HUT”, game-mode. The news was shared by last year’s dynamic commentary duo – Arda Ocal and Andrew “Nasher” Telfer. They recorded a video chat where they discussed the 2019 NHL GWC and posted the three-part video series on Twitter last week.

Aside from the game-mode change, the tournament will be largely the same as last year’s. Players from Canada, the USA, and Europe will attempt to qualify for one of three Live Regional Finals. The Top 2 players from each regional qualifier will book their tickets to the grand finals in Las Vegas, Nevada. The twist here is that six players will travel to Vegas, but only four will end up competing in the Finals for a share of the $100,000 prize pool.

The winners of each Regional Final are guaranteed a spot in the Grand Finals. The fourth and final spot will be fought over by the three 2nd place finishers regional finalists in a mini round-robin tournament before the Grand Finals.

The Regional Finals will also be a slightly different format. Last year, they wer set up in a Best-of-1, double elimination bracket. This year, the format will be a Best-of-3, single elimination bracket. This should help make each game more exciting and may lead to some rivalries as each player will need to beat their opponent twice to move on.

The switch to HUT this year brings some new twists to the tournament. Players will be using their own HUT teams in the online qualifiers. However, at the Regionals and Finals, players will be building their teams from a fixed pool of 280 NHL players in a serpentine draft against their opponents. This setup allows for much more creativity and strategy in building your team, while continuing to provide the competitors with an even playing field.

Hopefully the revenue EA Sports generates through HUT during this tournament will be reinvested and used to grow the game and help legitimize NHL esports.

The competition will kick-off on March 13, 2019, and the full schedules for the online qualifiers, regional finals, and grand final are outlined below.

Tournament prizing can be found below as well.

It is expected that the NHL will be broadcasting the three regional qualifiers and the grand finals live on their official Twitch channel. Each regional qualifier and the Grand Finals will likely also be broadcasted as few days after each event on national TV through their broadcasting partners – Viasat, Sportsnet and NBC Sports, as was done last year.

Players can register for the Online Open Play now, which will be hosted and played directly within EA Sports NHL 19. The second phase of online qualification will be hosted by the third-party esports company Battlefy, whose platform integrates directly with EA Sports.

Are you ready to play? Click below to register for the 2019 NHL Gaming World Championship.

Key Information

Online Open Play Schedule

Week 1March 13 to 1712 AMNHL 19 HUT Leaderboard
Week 2March 20 - 2412 AMNHL 19 HUT Leaderboard
Week 3March 27 - 3112 AMNHL 19 HUT Leaderboard
Week 4April 3 - 712 AMNHL 19 HUT Leaderboard
(all Online Open Play will be played within NHL 19 in a HUT Champions-style leaderboard)

Online Play-In Schedule

EuropeDay 1April 13, 20198 AMSingle Elim (Bo1)
EuropeDay 2April 20, 20198 AMSingle Elim (Bo3)
CanadaDay 1April 20, 20194 PMSingle Elim (Bo1)
CanadaDay 2April 27, 20194 PMSingle Elim (Bo3)
USADay 1April 27, 20194 PMSingle Elim (Bo1)
USADay 2May 4, 20194 PMSingle Elim (Bo3)
(the first five [5] rounds of the Online Play-In bracket will be a single-elimination, Best-of-1 format and the last two [2] rounds will be a single-elimination, Best-of-3 format)

Regional Final Draft Schedule

EuropeApril 27, 2019TBDSerpentine
CanadaMay 4, 2019TBDSerpentine
USAMay 11, 2019TBDSerpentine

Regional Final Schedule

EuropeStockholm, SwedenMay 18, 2019TBDSingle Elimination (Bo3)
CanadaToronto, CanadaMay 25, 2019TBDSingle Elimination (Bo3)
USANew York, USAMay 30, 2019TBDSingle Elimination (Bo3)
(all regional finals will be run using a Best-of-3, single elimination format)

Grand Final Schedule

HUT Team DraftOnlineJune 5, 201912:00 PMSerpentine
Grand FinalsLas Vegas, NevadaJune 18, 2019TBDRound Robin + Single Elim (Bo3)
(the Grand Finals will consist of a mini round-robin tournament between the 2nd place regional finalists, from which the winner will move on to play in a four-person, single elimination, Best-of-3 bracket for the championship)

Tournament Prizing

(the winner of each regional qualifier will also win $5,000 in addition to their winnings from the Grand Finals above)

Qualification Process

Players will begin by competing in ‘Online Open Play’ starting on March 13, 2019. There are four weeks that a player can attempt to qualify for the ‘Online Play-In’ bracket that corresponds to their respective region and console. Online Open Play will be played in a specific tournament that will be hosted in NHL 19’s HUT game mode. Players can play a maximum of 25 games each week, and the Top 32 players on each console’s leaderboard at the end of each week will earn a ‘Qualification Collectible’. A Qualification Collectible earns a player a spot in the ‘Online Play-In’ bracket. Once qualified for the Online Play-In bracket, a player may not attempt to qualify for it again. Players may attempt to qualify for their Online Play-In bracket on both consoles, but will only qualify for one.

At the end of Online Open Play, 768 total players will qualify for the Online Play-In brackets. There will be six (6) brackets of 128 players – one per console, per region. Players will be seeded into these brackets based on their results from Online Open Play in the following order:

  1. Total wins during the week of qualification
  2. Skill Rating (ie. points, like those that are awarded in NHL 19 HUT Competitive Seasons and HUT Champions)
  3. Goal differential during the week of qualification
  4. Earliest qualification
  5. Coin flip

Each Online Play-In bracket will be played over the course of two days. Day 1 will consist of the first five rounds of the bracket. Day 2 will be the final two rounds of the bracket, plus the consolation final. Players will qualify for the regional finals of the 2019 NHL Gaming World Championship by placing in the Top 4 of an ‘Online Play-In’ bracket (one Online Play-In bracket per console per region).

Day 1 will determine the four players that qualify for the Live Regional Finals. Day 2 will determine the seeding of the Regional Finalists.

Each regional finalist (8 per region) will be flown to their local regional qualifier and will compete for a spot in the Grand Final. The winner of each regional qualifier will win $5,000 USD and will earn a spot in the Grand Final that will take place on June 18, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. The fourth spot in the Final will be earned by one of the three players who finished 2nd in their regional qualifier, who will play each other in a mini round-robin tournament before the main event.

All tournament games will be played in the Hockey Ultimate Team mode in EA Sports NHL 19.

Tournament Format

Online Open Play will be run using a leaderboard format, using the ranking/seeding scheme as noted above. Players can play up to 25 games each week. Players are matched randomly with their opponents during Open Online Play.

Online Play-In brackets will be seeded and single elimination. The first five rounds (Day 1) will be Best-of-1 series. The final two rounds (Day 2) will be Best-of-3 series. Players are seeded into the bracket and matchups will be displayed on the Battlefy website.

The Live Regional Finals will consist of a seeded, Best-of-3, single-elimination bracket.

The Grand Finals will begin with a mini round-robin tournament between the three 2nd place regional finalists to determine the fourth player that will compete in the Grand Final . Once decided, the four Finalists will play through a Best-of-3, single elimination bracket to determine the grand champion of the 2019 NHL Gaming World Championship.

Key Eligibility Requirements

  • Must be 16 years of age or older to participate
  • Must be a legal resident of Canada, the USA, or Europe
  • You may attempt to qualify for an Online Play-In bracket on both consoles
  • You cannot qualify for more than one Online Play-In bracket
  • All travel and accommodations required for players during the Regional and Grand Finals will be paid for by the NHL and its Sponsors

Click below to read the official tournament rules.

Have questions? Ask us anything in the comment section below.