Wayne Gretzky and Alexander Ovechkin are two of the greatest hockey players to ever lace up skates, but just how good are they with a video game controller in their hands?
We’re about to find out.
The two legends announced in a joint press release on Thursday that they’ll be facing off virtually in EA Sports’ “NHL 20” to raise funds for two charities: the Edmonton Food Bank and MSE Foundation’s “Feeding the Frontlines” fund based in Washington, D.C.
Dubbed “The Great One vs. The Great Eight Showcase,” the matchup will pit the pair in a best-of-three series on Xbox with the games livestreamed on the Capitals’ Twitch channel starting at 8 p.m. ET on April 22.
The idea came when Gretzky saw a video of the Russian winger playing the game with his son, Sergei, on his Instagram story. He got in touch with a member of the Capitals’ communications team looking to arrange a friendly competition, with the goal of raising money for charity while the NHL season remains on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Little is known about the gaming experience of either player, however, Ovechkin is reportedly more of a “Call of Duty” and “Fortnite” fan. Gretzky has played “NHL 20” before but only a handful of times.
Luckily for them, they’ll have teammates there to help them out. Ovechkin will be partnering up with John “JohnWayne” Casagranda, a member of the Capitals esports team and the runner-up at the 2019 NHL Gaming World Championship, while Gretzky will team up with his 19-year-old son, Tristan.
“Obviously we’re a little better when we have our skates on and a hockey stick in our hands than we are when we have controllers, but it’s not about that,” Gretzky said in a phone call with reporters. “It’s more about the ability to help people that are less fortunate and for fans to enjoy a night of us not looking very talented at what we’re doing. It’ll be a fun night for a good cause.”
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