Written by Quinn Nadu, Iconic Paintball
(Photo courtesy of PaintballPhotography.com) | Chicago Gaelic Park
Since the introduction of the event in 2017, the NXL Chicago event has been a flagship event that has connected the two sides of the country together to clash together. The NXL first made the decision to host an event in the Chicago area for a few reasons; the event is near a major landmark city, it’s close to one of the largest airports in the US, and it reignited a national event commitment to one of the most prestigious paintball communities in the country. For nearly 40 years, the Chicago area has been a hotbed of professional teams and players. With all-time great programs like Aftershock, and some of the top current pros in the league like Ronnie Dizon, Chad Bouchez, and LJ Woodley all coming from the region, the Chicago area is no stranger to elite paintball.
When the NXL announced in early 2017 that a major US NXL event would be returning to the historic city, players around the country were excited for a chance to compete for the Chicago Open Title. At the time, the NXL was in its third season as a competitive national league, and the advances they made in both event infrastructure and quality were notable. Now we will take a look back at some of the previous winners of the Chicago event and what it meant for the rest of the league during that time. The Chicago event seemingly is one of the best indicators of season-long success, as two of the last three event winners have gone on to win the season championship in the professional league.
(Photo courtesy of PaintballPhotography.com)
By the time Impact came into the 2017 season, they were coming off five event wins and two season championships during the 2015 and 2016 seasons. They were showing the world that they were the team to beat in the professional paintball landscape and looking like they were ready to dominate again in 2017. However, Impact started the first three events of the 2017 season slowly, losing to Dynasty and Heat in the finals during the first two events, and then not even making the finals in event three. This lit a fire under Impact and they came into Chicago motivated to prove themselves as the NXL’s top program. After coming out the first match and losing to Red Legion 6-2, Impact went undefeated the rest of the event, beating ac: Dallas to win the title.