Registration for 2019 NHL World Gaming Championship begins
Li Xiang

eSports is visiting the ice hockey world again as registration for the 2019 NHL World Gaming Championship began on Wednesday. Gamers from all over the world will compete for the 100,000-U.S. dollar cash prize in an NHL19 tournament.

19-year-old Erik "EKI" Tammenpaa from Finland won the event in 2018 and is ready to defend his champion throne. "The biggest motivation is that I just want to win at everything I do in general and prove to myself that I'm the best. I do so much work to be the best at chel so of course winning is my only goal and I wouldn't be satisfied with anything else," said EKI.

In the second year of the Championship, some notable changes were made to its rules. For example, the Online Qualification Round will consist of two phases and will happen in the Hockey Ultimate Team (HUT) mode of. In the first phase, Online Open Play, that will begin on March 13, gamers can choose from existing or newly-created HUT teams to control in competition.

Steve Campbell (L) and Ryan Russell, known as Olly Postanin and Jacob Ardown from 'On the Bench,' reveal the cover athlete for EA SPORTS' 'NHL 19' during the 2018 NHL Awards, June 20, 2018. /VCG Photo

Steve Campbell (L) and Ryan Russell, known as Olly Postanin and Jacob Ardown from 'On the Bench,' reveal the cover athlete for EA SPORTS' 'NHL 19' during the 2018 NHL Awards, June 20, 2018. /VCG Photo

In the second phase, Online Play-in Bracket hosted by Battlefy, players will be divided into three brackets - like they were last year: European Union, Canada and the United States. In each bracket, the competition will be head-to-head single-elimination. Gamers will play one game in the first five rounds and best-of-three series in the final two rounds.

Drafting will replace team-choosing in Live Regional Final and the World Final in Las Vegas. Each gamer will select unique rosters from a pool of available Hockey Ultimate Team Items featuring NHL players. Once a player is picked, he will cease to be available to others, making sure that everyone could have a team of their own.

"We've listened to the players and measured how the live events and content were received and are making changes this year that we think will make for a more competitive tournament and more engaged community," said Chris Golier, NHL Vice President of Business Development.

"The draft leading up to live events will be incredible, like being an actual GM, players will need to make tough decisions on when and where to draft certain players. We'll see some teams stack up on offense, while others favor defense, it should be interesting to see," said Nasher, who will serve as an analyst for the tournament.