CLAS­SIC KING

The Hockey News - - NHL ’94 -

There can be only one cham­pion of NHL ’94

“OUR TOUR­NA­MENT IS DIF­FER­ENT than most other video-game tour­na­ments,” said Dar­rell Samp­son, or­ga­nizer of the NHL ’94 com­pe­ti­tion called King of ’94. “We’re guys in our 30s and 40s, so you can say that most of the testos­terone is not there any­more like when we were teenagers.”

King of ’94 de­buted in 2015 with 128 con­tes­tants at Toronto’s Real Sports Bar & Grill. The tour­na­ment went on hia­tus in 2016, then re­turned in 2017, with 63 play­ers at a Las Ve­gas ho­tel. This year, it will be held on Oct. 28 at the Cana­dian Brew­house in Van­cou­ver, B.C. – not far from EA Canada’s head­quar­ters. There are two di­vi­sions: one for Gen­e­sis play­ers and the other for Su­per Nin­tendo play­ers. The num­ber of play­ers for each con­sole was pretty much even the first two years. Samp­son an­tic­i­pates about 100 con­tes­tants this year. The en­try fee is $49.94, and all money after ex­penses goes into the prize pool. “We don’t make any money off of this,” Samp­son said. “We just try to keep as much money as we can for the win­ners. The first-place win­ners might come out ahead. The oth­ers prob­a­bly don’t be­cause of flight and ho­tel. I tell peo­ple, if you’re in­ter­ested in money, you’re mak­ing the wrong de­ci­sion. Come be­cause it’s a fun week­end.”

This year, the Su­per Nin­tendo and Sega Gen­e­sis win­ners face off in a best-of-three se­ries to crown an ul­ti­mate champ. No money on the line here. And like

NHL ’94 it­self, no fight­ing, either. “For the last two years we’ve done this, I was ex­pect­ing to run into at least one prob­lem,” Samp­son said. “But I’ve never had any is­sues of any­one be­ing out of con­trol, or throw­ing a con­troller, or get­ting out of hand, which I’ve wit­nessed at other gam­ing tour­na­ments. Ev­ery­one wants to win, but it’s ac­tu­ally pretty chill.”

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