On Thursday, the NHL announced that it will launch the "NHL Player Gaming Challenge" where NHL players will play the "NHL 20" video game in order to raise money for COVID-19 relief efforts. Each NHL club will be represented by one or two current players in one-time matchups against one another, and even the not-yet-named Seattle NHL club will have a representative.. The announcement comes on the heels of the Alexander Ovechkin - Wayne Gretzky matchup .
The matchups will be unveiled at the beginning of each week.
The NHL and Electronic Acts, who produce the video game, will donate $100,000 "in support of the CDC Foundation's COVID-19 relief efforts," according to a press release. Among the participants are Filip Forsberg (Nashville Predators), Evgeny Kuznetsov (Washington Capitals), Jake DeBrusk and Charlie McAvoy (Boston Bruins), Tyler Johnson (Tampa Bay Lightning), Brady Tkachuk (Ottawa Senators), and Matthew Tkachuk (Calgary Flames).
In addition, the Seattle franchise will be represented by Seattle Seahawks tight end Luke Willson, who played hockey when he was growing up in LaSalle, Ontario.
"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," NHL Vice President of Business Development and Innovation Chris Golier said. "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."
Los Angeles Kings play-by-play announcer Alex Faust will host the weekly matchups, which are going to be released on Thursdays and Sundays. NBC Sports will be broadcasting a few of the opening round of games, which will include the Calgary Flames taking on the Ottawa Senators and the Columbus Blue Jackets facing the Winnipeg Jets.