Mario Lemieux, one of the greatest hockey players in history, is teaming up with one of the greatest sports video games in history for a good cause.
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The Mario Lemieux Foundation, which is dedicated to cancer research and patient care, in partnership with community-driven website NHL94.com, will present a NHL '94 online tournament across two weekends in June. A $19.94 donation to the Foundation serves as an entry fee.
"The Mario Lemieux Foundation had been looking for ways to raise money since a lot of their live events had been cancelled due to COVID-19," said NHL '94 Tournament organizer Darrell Sampson, who is part of the team presenting this event. "They reached out to Evan Eldredge [creator of NHL94.com] asking him if he'd be open to doing an online tournament to help support MLF. Evan tagged me in to the email chain because we were already planning an online tournament anyways. So the timing couldn't have worked out any better."
During the 1992-93 NHL season, Lemieux led the NHL in scoring with 160 points. Midway through the year, Lemieux discovered that he had Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Despite missing two months of play due to treatments, Lemieux returned to action before the start of the playoffs and ended up notching the highest points per game season total in NHL history for someone not named Wayne Gretzky. As a result of this remarkable season, Lemieux is the No. 1- rated player in NHL '94.
"His passing, shooting, skating and awareness ratings make him a 99 overall," explained Raphael Frydman, the current NHL '94 world champion on Sega Genesis. "A weight bug in the Sega Genesis version (in which lighter- weight players in the game are immovable and heavier players are easily body checked) makes him less effective as he's 220 pounds in the game, and why you always hear about Jeremy Roenick, who is 172 pounds. However, on Super Nintendo there is no doubt that he is No. 1."
The tournament will run its first two rounds on Saturday, June 6, with the remaining rounds being played Saturday, June 13. Registration begins May 8 and closes on May 30. The tournament will be played on a special PC version of the original SEGA Genesis and Super Nintendo game, which allows for online play. A cap of 64 entrants per console is in place. Prizing has yet to be determined.