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University of Denver to offer hockey-hungry fan base an alternative

The University of Denver Athletics Department announced plans to drop the puck on DU NHL 21 Winter Faceoff, a free-to-enter NHL 21 tournament beginning with qualifying gameplay on Saturday, Dec. 5. DU is partnering with CSL Esports, the world’s largest on-campus esports provider, to engage Pioneer hockey fans during this hockey drought, and generate new fans nationwide through gaming.

The DU NHL 21 Winter Faceoff is made possible through the support of DU Athletics, University of Denver Esports Club, Denver Sports Properties and Mountain Dew Game Fuel. Registration for both Xbox One and PS4 participants ends today at

The best of three semifinal and final games are on Sunday, Dec. 19, with the championship matches streamed on with broadcast production support from students of the DU Esports Club. To bring more Pioneer Hockey tradition to the tournament, the voice of Pioneers Hockey, Jay Stickney, will call the play-by-play final matches as players compete for a DU Hockey souvenir prize package, a Canvas Credit Union Prize Pack, and a headset and controller courtesy of Pepsi.

“In these challenging and unpredictable times, it’s important to create unique experiences to engage our fan base as well as our student body,” says Denver Sports Properties general manager Jon Boos. “We are grateful for the support and guidance of CSL Esports, and the participation of the University of Denver’s Esports Club in helping us connect with our fans and leveraging gaming to attract new fans to the University of Denver.”

The University of Denver has the capability to this new medium of programming from the support of top-tier management of multimedia rights, Playfly Sports. The full-service sport marketing company serves to assist schools, teams, athletic departments and other properties across the United States, including CSL Esports.

CSL Esports offers online league operations and administrative support, content creation and distribution, on-campus events (live and online), intramural leagues, and esports advisory services to support programs, team formation, and curriculum development. CSL Esports was named “Best Collegiate Esports Series” two years in a row (2019-20) by Esports Business Summit.

“One of the core missions of CSL Esports is to bridge any digital gap that may exist between schools and their students,” said Rob Johnson, CEO of CSL Esports. “We help schools create opportunities that enrich their relationship and reputation to their students and audiences. The NHL 21 DU Winter Faceoff event will engage both DU fans and gamers and showcase educational and career opportunities in the emerging esports industry.”

“Additionally, as a Playfly Sports Properties client, we can help schools like DU find new ways to engage their fan base and connect them through esports,” added Johnson. “CSL Esports offers the unique ability to provide outstanding opportunities, necessary resources, and career development for aspiring esports competitors, as well as a platform that makes campuses like DU’s more attractive to potential students, increases alumni participation and becomes a revenue generator for the institution.”