These times of confinement are heartbreaking for sports fans. The competitions were in full swing and almost all had to stop at the same time. Some sports keep hoping to finish, but the more time passes, the more complicated it becomes. Others have really decided to stop for this year and resume when the health situation allows.

A real audience card

Therefore, how to conclude these already well-started seasons by designating a champion and his dolphins. Some will freeze the ranking, including the choice that operated the Ligue 1 football and that many others will probably imitate. The Finnish Hockey League (Liiga) has proposed an unusual idea to end the year. She partnered with Telia Esport and decided to play playoff games using NHL 20, the EA Sports game.

Concretely, each qualified team was represented by a single player throughout these qualifiers. The model is approaching what should have happened in the real world with best-of-five duels.

These oppositions were broadcast live on the Internet but also on television with the usual commentators, which further reinforced the immersion. The whole thing worked very well since the matches attracted 160,000 spectators on average, a significant figure for a country of 5.5 million people.

On the participant side, there were some seasoned Finnish esports players as well as some local stars, including a baseball champion, as well as Joni Tuulolan, a former Liiga player, who currently plays in the American Hockey League.

On a sporting level, the simulation is closer to reality since the team Oulun Kärpät won. It has been one of the most successful in the league in recent years.

If social distancing measures continue, there is no doubt that this Finnish experiment could be imitated. Other friendly simulations have taken place, especially on Fifa, but none has simulated reality as much as the Liiga.