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EZ-Regs Wins 2022 NHL Gaming World Championship

In front of a busy crowd in Montreal, EZ-Regs beat Gren-35 for the 2022 North American NHL Gaming World Championship, earning a nice payday in the process.
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MONTREAL - The greatest rivalry in NHL eSports -- Gren-35 vs. EZ-Regs -- was renewed at the 2022 Gaming World Championship, with Gren winning his second consecutive title in front of a full crowd on Wednesday.

And after losing it all in 2021, Regs was back bigger and better, winning the championship series 2-1 and taking home $26,000.

The top eight players in the world battled it out in a two-day championship event, with the final four players fighting for the title on Wednesday in front of a packed crowd next to the Bell Centre. The event was part of the kickoff for the NHL draft in Montreal, marking the return to in-person championship action after two years away due to COVID-19.

EZ-Regs, representing the New York Islanders, and Gren-35, representing the Dallas Stars, made it to the final for the third year in a row. Regs, 21, is a three-time NHL GWC finalist, finishing as runner-up in North America in 2021 and winning the Canadian title in 2020. Gren, 20, made it to a GWC final for the fifth straight year, winning the last championship in 2021.

Hosted by commentators Cameron ‘NoSleeves’ Halbert, Anthony ‘GrizGoal’ Scibilia III and NHL reporter Carrlyn Bathe, thousands tuned in online, with a peak of around 5,000 watching the main feed on the NHL's Twitch account. The event had multiple special guests, including a mix of NHL draft prospects, media, fans and other competitive players making it out to watch the fight. Even NHL commissioner Gary Bettman -- who said he doesn't consider himself much of a video gamer -- showed up to take in the action.

The Gaming World Championship qualification round was open to anyone on the four main video game consoles on the Playstation and Xbox sides. Through various events over the past few months, the final eight players qualified for the North American GWC series in Montreal. 

Game 1 of the grand final saw Gren take a 3-0 lead into the first intermission, but Regs fought back and forced overtime with a goal with just seven seconds left in regulation. Gren scored almost immediately in the overtime to secure the win.

Game 2 was all Regs, building on the momentum of a good second half in the first game to win 4-1. That set up a winner-takes-all final, where Regs won 6-2 in a dominant effort in Game 3 to take the title.

Enceki, also representing the Islanders, won the European championship last month for the second year in a row, marking a clean sweep for the New York Islanders' GWC efforts.

While the goal celebrations on Wednesday were certainly electric, the fast-paced nature of games in NHL 22 meant having total focus the whole time. Blinking might as well have been illegal. 

The goal-scorer would typically acknowledge their fans in the crowd -- both Regs and Gren had their fair share of hardcore supporters in attendance -- before immediately taking a quick drink of water and focusing on the next faceoff.

"I don't know if it's the years of experience, I've always been a calm person," Regs said after the game.

Regs, who has been playing competitively since he was 17, said he'll use part of the $26,000 to pay off school and invest in his future. One fan in attendance shouted "Drinks on Regs!" to a sea of laughter. And he made it clear that celebrations were in order in Montreal, a city that's known to have fun every once and a while.

"It's going to be a fun night."

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