WINTER PARK – An 18-year-old Montreal Canadiens fan took home the top prize in an NHL 20 esports tournament hosted by the Tampa Bay Lightning at Full Sail University on Saturday.
Samuel Landry, playing under the handle Canadiens27, swept a best-of-three series from one of the best players in the world to nab the $2,500 top prize.
He defeated Erik Tammenpää of Finland, the top-ranked-player in the world last summer, 6-3 and and 7-3 in consecutive games.
It was the second year for the tournament, which represents the Tampa Bay Lightning’s and the NHL’s push into competitive gaming.
Lightning director of consumer and digital marketing Patrick Abts said the move to Full Sail’s esports venue “The Fortress” was an effort to bring more flash to the event.
“The league is starting to take more of an initiative with esports with their gaming world championships,” said Patrick Abts, the team’s director of consumer and digital marketing. ‘Taking it here to Full Sail has just been a huge step up in production value and everything we are doing.”
It was the latest video game event hosted by Full Sail, which last summer brought esports teams related to 21 of the NBA’s franchises for a high-profile in-season tournament.
David Roebuck Jr. of Avalon, Penn., Hans Henrik Eklund of Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, Landry and Tammenpää beat out the field to advance to the final tournament.
More than 4,000 people tuned in to the event’s live stream on the Twitch platform.
Bennett Newsome of Full Sail said the event show the breadth of video game competitions as the sport emerges.
“It’s really important for Full Sail but also for the general public to realize there is more to esports than just one category,” he said. “It’s exciting to see a bunch of different games get their moment.”
The region has seen a growth in esports, with more venues being developed to host tournaments and events.
Schools like Full Sail University and University of Central Florida have clubs, which grows the number of potentially successful esports professionals in the region.
An esports division focused on the NHL game came natural, Abts said.
“There is a big difference between a traditional sports game and a traditional sport,” he said. “But the game translates well because it already has that broadcast quality.”
“It’s a smaller community but it’s a really passionate community,” he said.
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