By Jason Parker
November 12, 2019
There is no shortage of esports that focus on shooters, card games, and fighting games. Monumental Sports & Entertainment revealed a new initiative: Caps Gaming. This is an esports-focused sub-brand of the Washington Capitals aimed at NHL esports on the Xbox One.
The Caps Gaming Showcase is a 32-team contest that will begin in early December. The teams will be featured in 6vs6 matches, courtesy of EA Sports. The top 16 teams will move on at the end of the season, to do battle in a single-elimination tournament. Washington, DC is the next stop where the top four squads will meet up.
The semifinals and finals will be held in late February in Washington, DC, to compete for the $15,000 prize pool. This Xbox One tournament should create more visibility for the budding hockey esports scene. Those interested in the Caps Gaming Showcase need to keep their eyes open. Signups begin later this month.
I’ve never really been a big sports buff, but one of the sports games I did own as a kid was NHL ‘96. I love watching hockey when I get a chance, so seeing a major NHL esports initiative is exciting.
John “JohnWayne” Casagranda makes history with the announcement of the Caps Gaming Showcase. He is the first NHL esports pro signed to an NHL organization. JohnWayne will regularly be streaming on the official Caps Gaming Twitch, starting in mid-November.
THIS JUST IN!— Monumental Sports (@MSE) November 12, 2019
Introducing @capsgaming! 🎮 @MSE has announced a new esports-focused sub-brand aiming to foster the growth of the @NHL competitive gaming community and create visibility for the 🏒 esports scene. #BeMonumental #ALLCAPS
Read more: https://t.co/VFIIaXHfTu pic.twitter.com/gPp6TMmBaC
He will be streaming there until the end of June. If this gaming initiative takes off, perhaps he will be re-signed. Regardless, this is major news, with an esports pro signed to a real sports org.
Andrew McNeill, Director of Esports at Monumental Sports & Entertainment said:
“We believe that we’re signing the top NHL 20 player in the world and the perfect representative to help spearhead the professionalization of NHL esports for the community. JohnWayne has been one of the top performers at the first two NHL Gaming World Championships and is poised to compete for the title again in 2020. We couldn’t be happier to have him representing Caps Gaming in a new era for NHL esports.”
Since there is no word on any franchising yet, it will be interesting to see if any major esports orgs jump on the bandwagon. This tournament could also offer some cross-promotion, and get more eyes on the NHL, as well as the NHL video games. Fans that might not be big gamers could at least try out the games once they see how exciting they can be.