Time to hit the ice: Curtain rises for Belarus
by Niklas Aßfalg/Christian Bellinger
Belarus has been a permanent guest at the Ice Hockey World Championships for years, and in 2020 Belarusian ice hockey fans will be able to represent their national colours virtually at the IIHF Esports Fan Championship.
A fourth place at the 2002 Winter Olympics, a sixth place at the 2006 World Championship - the Belarusian trophy cabinet may be empty, but the passion for this team is real. In NHL™ 20, Belarus’ supporters will be able to bring home a title for their national team. The two qualifying tournaments for the IIHF Esports Fan Championship 2020 start today at 7pm (UTC+3), with the respective winners on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One representing Belarus in the playoffs.
For the national qualification tournament, all participants will play with the Belarusian national team to ensure equal opportunities. Registration requires a minimum age of 16 years and Belarusian citizenship. In addition, players must own NHL™ 20 and have a membership for PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live.
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The tournament schedule provides for the knockout system, a defeat means immediate elimination from the competition. Players will compete in 1vs1 duels, with the final representative duo consisting of the winners of the two qualifiers. The qualifiers will form a team of two for the main round starting on 29th May 2020 and challenge the best fans of the remaining 15 nations.
In addition to earning a trip to the playoffs and having the honour of representing their country, other prizes await the Belarus national champion: The winners will receive a IIHF Esports Fan Championship Puck, two tickets to a 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship game and 100 euros or the equivalent in local currency. Registration is possible until shortly before the start of the qualification tournaments. At the IIHF Esports Fan Championship, Belarusian fans can follow in the virtual footsteps of Mikhail Grabovski, Andrei Kostitsyn & Co.