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.
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Had the honour of playing NHL 22 against 5th overall selection Cutter Gauthier while 1st overall pick Juraj Slavkovsky and 3rd overall pick Logan Cooley looked on (with the stud @jkhalil11 in the background)— SAPPY (@SAP_Alien) July 8, 2022
All 3 of them are Uber talented. Best of luck to them in their careers! pic.twitter.com/dKzGCduare
Thank you to the @NHL for sending me along with my #NHLGWC peers to the 2022 Draft!— SAPPY (@SAP_Alien) July 8, 2022
That was a hectic first round, and something I'll never ever forget.
Also.. Why does Shane Wright have to play in the Pacific Division 😭😭 pic.twitter.com/Z3Q1SsLQH0
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.