Skip to content

Surrey ‘NHL’ gamer finishes top-8 in Montreal, returns home with hockey-draft memories of trip

‘Lots to be encouraged about going into next year,’ says the player known as SAP Alien
Surrey resident Edward Nicol-McCabe, known as SAP Alien in the video game world, took in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft at Montreal’s Bell Centre. (Photo:

Surrey’s “SAP Alien” didn’t win the 2022 NHL Gaming World Championship in Montreal, but the trip to Quebec proved to be a hockey-filled fantasy for him.

Early this month Edward Nicol-McCabe lost in the quarter-finals of the EA Sports game competition, meaning a top-eight finish among “NHL” gamers in North America.

The Whalley-area resident, known as SAP Alien on the competitive gaming scene, was hoping to score the contest’s $26,000 grand prize, but didn’t.

The elimination game “was very close,” Nicol-McCabe reported, “and my opponent told me he thought I should have won. Lots to be encouraged about going into next year. The worst thing that can happen is you lose and not figure out why. I know exactly what I need to improve, therefore it’s easy to fix, improve, and perfect.”

While in Montreal, the gamers were invited to witness the NHL Entry Draft in person at the Bell Centre.

“That was a hectic first round, and something I’ll never ever forget,” Nicol-McCabe tweeted from his SAP_Alien account.

During the week he also got to play “NHL 22” against fifth-overall draft selection Cutter Gauthier while first-overall pick Juraj Slavkovsky and third-overall pick Logan Cooley looked on.


RELATED: Surrey’s ‘SAP Alien’ wants to score $26K ‘NHL’ game championship by out-clicking competition.

Nicol-McCabe, 21, has played “Chel” competitively for three years, since 2019, but has adored the video game for as long as he can remember.

“I spent a lot of time in the foster care system,” he revealed in a recent interview. “I’ve been playing the game for a very long time and used the game to help get me through some issues.”

His SAP Alien handle is an homage to Vancouver Canucks forward Elias Pettersson, who used the phrase “speed, agility, power” (SAP) in a car commercial in his rookie season, and is sometimes known as the Alien.

In Montreal, Nicol-McCabe represented the Ottawa Senators, not his beloved Canucks, due to a ranking system that assigned him a random team during qualifying.

Away from the video game world, Nicol-McCabe does youth-advocacy work with Ministry of Children and Family Development and is studying at BCIT to become a sports broadcaster.

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
Read more