With the BCHL playoffs cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the league has partnered with its players and teams to create a simulation of the remainder of the postseason using EA Sports NHL 20.
The video game action features Round 2 games, including Surrey Eagles’ forward Hassan Akl facing off against Coquitlam Express foe Joe Howe.
In all, eight BCHL playoff teams were created in the game, and each club selected a player rep to go head-to-head in an online contest to decide the winner of their would-be series.
“Rather than live-streaming a full series, the league has compiled highlights of the games using calls from the BCHL broadcasters as well as videos submitted by the player reps,” says a news release from league operators.
The two-minute video for the first matchup, between Surrey and Coquitlam, was released Thursday afternoon (March 26) and posted to Youtube.
The remaining three second-round games will be published in the coming days, and Round 3 will start next week.
The other Round 2 matchups and their player reps are Nanaimo Clippers (Josh Kagan) vs. Cowichan Valley Capitals (Nolan Barrett), Penticton Vees (Conner Hutchison) vs. Vernon Vipers (Trey Taylor) and Trail Smoke Eaters (Kent Johnson) vs. Salmon Arm Silverbacks (Ethan Langenegger).
“We were looking for a way to keep our fans engaged during this unfortunate downtime and we think this initiative accomplishes just that,” said BCHL Commissioner Chris Hebb.
“By involving our players and our broadcasters in the project and creating our teams in the NHL 20 video game, we’ve tried to make it a fun and unique BCHL experience for everyone to enjoy.”
In real life, on March 8 Surrey Eagles beat Chilliwack Chiefs in Game 7 of the first-round series and advanced to play Coquitlam.