‘Gren’ Wins EA SPORTS NHL 23 All-Star Open

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Matthew “Gren” Grenier returned to the winner’s circle after the EA SPORTS NHL 23 NHL All-Star Open, held at the Truly Hard Seltzer NHL All-Star Beach Festival in Fort Lauderdale Beach on Thursday.

Grenier, who represented the Dallas Stars, defeated Ben “uninsta1l” Thomson 2-0 in a best-of-3 series. Thomson, who represented the Edmonton Oilers and was the No. 4 seed in the tournament, lost 6-5 in Game 1, after Grenier scored with 17 seconds remaining, and 7-2 in Game 2.

The All-Star Open is the first event of EA SPORTS NHL World Championship 23 esports season as part of the Gaming World Championship.

Among those attending the event was the captain of the Florida Panthers Alexander Barkovwho said that he has been playing the EA SPORTS NHL series game since he was a child, although he did not claim to be among the best players in the NHL.

“I think I’m fine, but I haven’t played a lot of the other guys,” Barkov said. “I played [Jonathan] huberdeau once and they crushed me.”

Also in attendance were Olympians Emily Clark and Sarah Nurse from Canada, and Alex Carpenter and Hilary Knight from the United States. The four played in a USA vs. Canada 3 on 3 which Canada won in overtime.

Clark, who said she grew up playing NHL games with her four older brothers, is excited that the women’s national hockey teams have been included in the game for the second year in a row.

“I would have killed for the chance to play as a girls’ hockey player growing up,” Clark said. “I grew up pretending to be Jarome Iginla and Joe Sakic, so for the girls to have the opportunity to play as us is huge and even more so for the boys to see us on the same level as the men is just as good.”

It was a sweet victory for Grenier, who won the NHL/GWC North American Club championship in 2021 but lost in the finals last year.

“I guess it’s been a while since I won my last [tournament] and it’s been eating me away mentally,” Grenier said. “It feels great to win this one and get back on top.”

Grenier advanced to the finals after defeating Ethan “Polgz” Kerr-Polgarm, who played with the Washington Capitals, in three games. Thomson defeated Ben “Dunkin deli” Pasqua, who played for the New Jersey Devils, in the other semifinal.

Grenier, 22, of Tomball, Texas, will now enjoy the rest of the 2023 Honda NHL All-Star weekend, starting with the 2023 NHL All-Star Skills presented by DraftKings Sportsbook at FLA Live Arena on Friday (7 p.m. ET, ESPN, ESPN+, SN, TVAS).

He will also attend the 2023 NHL All-Star Game, also at FLA Live Arena, on Saturday. The Pacific Division will play the Central Division in the first All-Star semifinal, followed by the Atlantic Division against the Metro Division (3 pm ET, ABC, ESPN+, CBC, SN, TVAS).

“I’m going to relax, I’m very excited for the All-Star Game and the Skills competition,” Grenier said, “I’ve never been before, so I know it’s going to be a good time.”