“I have always been into ice hockey, in real life or virtually. When there was no opportunity to get on the ice, it was to play a video game.”

Captain of NHL team Kimi “ZipPlayer” Nordberg, 31, has been playing NHL games since NHL94. It was a great way to spend time when there was no ice hockey practice.

– It didn’t take much to get excited about the video game when I was already in real life interested in hockey, he smiles.

At first Nordberg played 1v1 tournaments during NHL07. He remembers one tournament where he got to the finals and then suffered a bitter defeat. Much later, in 2015, he started playing 6v6 game mode competitively. At the time of NHL15 Nordberg was playing in “Finnish national team”, where played the best players from different platforms.

– We played against the Swedish team which was made in the same way. The event was very cool; first we flew to Sweden and played there and the next day they came here, Nordberg recalls.

NHL games aren’t the first video games that Nordberg has been playing competitively. At first, the NHL was always a second choice.

– I took different COD series very seriously. One year we won every tournament held in Finland. I played it a lot, but lack of time became a problem.

After the release of the team, there have been some roster changes. Nordberg is satisfied with the current team: All players like to play together and they are having a good time, which is important to the captain.

– Playfully we are quite a defensive team. I could say we don’t score a lot of goals, but we won’t let them in either, Nordberg describes his team.

As a game, NHL is very different from Counter:Strike or LoL. In those games teams can make strategies and plans, but in the NHL you have to think fast and react to what the opponent is doing.

– For example, if I’m a free player and I call it out, it’s too late, Nordberg notes.

Even though it’s not so simple to make clear strategies for the games, KOVA’s team has some tactics in their pockets. The best way to surprise the opponent is to have creativity.We don’t have one strategy we would use all the time. Everyone can build the game with their own skills.

– There are some teams always using the same tactics. I could stand at one spot and I would know where the puck goes next, Nordberg describes.

According to Nordberg, the Finnish Championship league which they are playing right now is a test for the team which has gone through a lot of changes. Even though there are many new players in the team, they are going for a block win.

– The block victory is a realistic goal for us as long as we play our own game. It would be cool to get in the top four, but it would take a little luck. There are many great teams against us and they have played together for a long time, Nordberg ponders.

Later NHL team will play in the new ECL Elite season. It will be played with new NHL21, so it brings many changes. Every team has to learn new things.

– Elite is a very hard series. Losing one game can cost a lot. As long as you steal some points from top four teams and win those who you think are not as good as your team, you should be doing quite well, Nordberg describes.