The Finland ice hockey club IFK Helsinki announced that it has created a team for Blizzard’s team-based shooter Overwatch. This is the first foray into the world of esports. This is another example of a traditional sports group getting in the competitive gaming scene, a business that’s worth $493 million. Earlier this year, the NBA team Philadelphia 76ers also entered the esports arena, while owners of other NBA teams also get into the competitive gaming court.
IFK Helsinki plays in Finland’s Liiga, the country’s top ice hockey league. The group is calling the new esports club the Helsinki Reds. The roster includes:
- Roope “Ruape” Kurkela (Captain)
- Eemeli “Woomera” Ikonen
- Miika “BBR” Tekoniemi
- Toni “Effix” Hurme
- Jani “Exceed” Kosonen
- Ville “prettyWise” Mikkonen
Overwatch esports is growing with Blizzard’s announcement of the Overwatch League during BlizzCon last week, although this new team isn’t a part of that. The Overwatch League will have a combine where team owners can recruit players. Also at BlizzCon, South Korea won the Overwatch World Cup at the event. The Finnish team took fouth, although none of the new Helsinki Reds players were on that roster.
“Building the team with a relatively fast pace was a challenge, but with the lead of our team captain Roope Kurkela, we were able to obtain four of the core players relatively fast,” said Christer Kasurinen, team manager of the Helsinki Reds, in a press release sent to GamesBeat. “We took our time with the last member and found our team’s youngest player Toni ‘Effix’ Hurme, who is certainly going to turn some heads in the coming months. The ‘Original Six’ is everything we could expect from a top-tier team and I am really looking forward to our cooperation for the upcoming future.”