James van Riemsdyk will be the Philadelphia Flyers representative in the NHL’s Player Gaming Challenge. He will face off against other players from around the league.
We’ll take what we can get at this point. Over a month into the pause of the NHL season, fans are willing to do whatever it takes to get their fix of hockey. Many teams have moved towards NHL 20 as a means to satisfy that. Simulating games from the season or just any game has become popular. The Philadelphia Flyers have dived into that world as well. They most recently completed a virtual overtime victory over the Oilers.
They will now take to NHL 20 again as the league has announced it will be taking to the video game at a part of its #HockeyAtHome initiative. We won’t know the weekly matchups or where to watch specific games until the beginning of each week. However, we do know the teams that will open up the tournament.
The 31 team tournament will kick off on April 30th. The first group of games includes Calgary vs. Ottawa who are represented by Noah Hanifin, Matthew Tkachuk, Brady Tkachuk, and Chris Tierney. The other game will be Columbus vs. Winnipeg. They are represented by Elvis Merzlikins, Zach Werenski, Anthony Bitetto, and Kyle Connor.
The full list of participants can be found below. Of note, the new Seattle franchise will be represented by Luke Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks.
It will be hosted by Los Angeles Kings play-by-play announcer Alex Faust. It will air first on NBC Sports beginning at 5.p.m ET. Games will be released on Thursdays and Saturdays. All matches will also be available on the NHL Network or its Twitch channel. Streams will be made available for fans on social media platforms as well.
NHL Vice President of Business Development and Innovation had this to say about the tournament.
"“Over the past several weeks, the NHL, its Clubs and player community have been very active with gaming initiatives in an effort to connect with fans while social distancing – such as charity tournaments, simulated games and nightly streams. The NHL Player Gaming Challenge presented by Honda will take gaming to another level. We know how competitive our players are, and coupled with the interaction between players, these series of competitions will be extremely fun to watch.”"
James van Riemsdyk will be representing the Flyers for however many games he is a part of. With the team boasting a fairly deep roster, he has a good chance in the tournament. That all depends on how he is at video games, though. It is a good thing his broken finger is all healed up before this got underway.
This could be the closest we get to hockey and player interactions for quite some time. It will be interesting to see how teams with only one player do as opposed to those with two participating. Overall, it should be a fun tournament to watch.