An NHL 21 king has been crowned in Saskatchewan.
OWNTHEBLUE swept MJBENNY in the final of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Circuit Series NHL 21 tournament Sunday, earning $2,500 and the right to call himself the ‘Best in Sask’ in the process.
OWNTHEBLUE, whose real name is Declan, represented the Yorkton Terriers for the event, and recently defeated the NHL 21 world champion in exhibition play. As he is 15 years of age, he is still too young to be considered a “professional”, but he is a regular money winner and contender at National Hockey League-run tournaments.
“(Winning the tournament) is just awesome,” Declan said after the final.
“Great series to MJBENNY. I feel great about winning, it was a great tournament, it was really smoothly run, and I love how it was run for a month-long tournament. Every game was fun, and I went into every game and enjoyed it. I try to enter as many tournaments as I can, and every tournament I go into I try to win and do my best.”
The tournament began Apr. 16 with a field of 48 players, placed equally in 12 divisions representing all the clubs in the SJHL.
“The esports situation here in #sask clearly is in great shape with guys like this”@Neugsie on @OwnTheBlue, @mjbennyy, and @SHAW_BR0z. pic.twitter.com/xoT8Bqtd9X
— SJHL (@theSJHL) May 16, 2021
With entrants representing a wide range of ages, and from all over Saskatchewan, the potential for glitches, issues, and delays was many; but, according to league director of Content and Media Tanner Goetz, it all went off without a hitch.
It also likely paved the way for further Esports events run by the league, as the SJHL continues to seek out every possible avenue in the vein of its growth as a progressive brand within the Canadian Junior Hockey League.
“The Circuit Series was very successful,” Goetz said.
“The engagement we received from the gamer community was not only really cool to see but put the SJHL on the radar. It was a big building block for more Esports experiences that the league will offer. Hearing from players who also play in large NHL or Gaming world Championship tournaments, they say that this was right in line with them, which was cool to hear.”
The final four also included two high-ranked players in MJBENNY, SHAWBROs, and real-life Estevan Bruins’ goaltender Eric Clark.
Clark, 19, was one of nine real SJHL players from five different clubs to participate in the series.