Gamers vying for spot on University of Waterloo’s esports team

Gamers at the University of Waterloo have been competing since August for a chance to represent their school on a national and international stage.

As esports and gaming gains traction around the world, students at the university are aiming to be drafted to the first esports team under the UW banner.

“The tryouts that we’re currently doing now are for three different titles,” said Greg Mittler, coordinator of sports clubs and camps. “We’ve got Rocket League, League of Legends and Overwatch. So, those are three separate games and then we just have a variety of our undergrad and grad students all trying out for all those three titles.”

Mittler said drafting an official esports team at UW has been a process years in the making. He added some of the students on campus represent the best talent in North America.

“I think a lot of them are just excited to be acknowledged for the skill set that they have and show it off in a way they haven’t been able to before,” Mittler said.

Once a team is set, students will be able to participate in a variety of tournaments online, including provincial collegiate events with scholarships up for grabs.

“Getting opportunities to network with people in the pro scene or amateur scene based on what they’ve been in the collegiate, because that’s essentially one of the first steps to move your way up,” said Steven Quach, esports student manager for athletics.

The gaming world is also about staying connected.

“Especially with what’s going on right now, I find that gaming is one of the only activities people can do with almost no compromise going to an entirely online environment,” student gamer Nikolas Drakulovic said.

“If we compare to any of the other varsity teams we have, it’s building lifelong friendships, hopefully, while commuting doing something that you love,” Mittler said.

This weekend marks the end of tryouts, which began in late August. The official team will start competing in October.

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