By RYAN MCCRACKEN on November 21, 2020.
Lukas Svejkovsky may be known best for his skill with a stick, but his thumbs might be as quick as his hands.
The Medicine Hat Tigers centre has been selected to represent his Tabbies at the Canadian Hockey League’s Memorial eCup – a 64-team e-sports hockey tournament featuring a player from all 60 CHL franchises.
It may not be real hockey, but Svejkovsky says he’s looking forward to dropping the virtual puck on Nov. 28.
“I’m kind of nervous but it should be fun. I’m proud to represent Medicine Hat,” Svejkovsky said in a phone call with the News. “I wouldn’t say I’m a huge gamer or anything, but I lived with Cyle McNabb last year and I had an Xbox in my room and had NHL, so we played quite a bit against each other. I haven’t really done too much online stuff really, but we play each other a fair amount and we’ve had some good battles. Throughout the year I think I played just about everyone and I don’t think I’ve lost too many games, so I’d say I’m pretty ready.”
The fourth-round Pittsburgh Penguins draft pick says he expects the tournament will feature a camera feed in his home so fans can watch him work through live streams on Facebook and Twitch.
The only obstacle will be obtaining a Playstation 4. Thankfully, says Svejkovsky, a friend has stepped up to lend him a console on game days.
“I think it’s only like once a week,” he said. “I’ve never really played PS4 but from what I’ve heard it’s not too different. I’ll just be borrowing one from my friend every week whenever I have to play for us, and I’ll probably run over to Walmart pretty soon to get whatever I need for it.”
The Point Roberts, Wash., product has been riding out the pandemic in Tsawwassen. While it’s put him away from home and over the border, he’s been able to sharpen his skills with a controller against some Tabby teammates, as well as some future competition in Trevor Longo – who was traded to the Giants in the deal that landed Svejkovsky in Medicine Hat, and will represent Vancouver at the eCup.
“I played against him (Thursday) at Cyle’s house, a couple games just to get warm,” said Svejkovsky, who put up 18 goals and 20 assists over 52 games last season. “I took him 2-0.”
The Memorial eCup runs Nov. 28 to Dec. 17, which could create a scheduling issue for Svejkovsky – but one he’d welcome. The 5-foot-10, 165-pound centre recently returned from Team USA’s junior team evaluation camp and he’s hoping to get a call to selection camp in the coming weeks. If his country calls, Svejkovsky says he’d be happy to hand the controller over to another teammate.
“I haven’t really thought about that yet, but if that happens I’d probably have to pass it off to someone else. I’d probably pass it off to (Ryan Chyzowski) or Daniel Baker’s pretty good too. I’ve had some close ones with him,” he said. “I’m just kind of focusing on myself and waiting. Whatever happens, happens, but if my name gets called, to be able to represent that team it would obviously be a tremendous honour.”