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NAIT hosts eSports tournament

By Zachary Flynn

The first eSports invitational at NAIT brought students from around the city to the HP Centre. Games included Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, League of Legends and Super Smash Bros. tournaments among other casual gaming stations.

Curtis Dell, the Student Recreation Coordinator at NAIT was excited to see the eSports tournament come together.

“It’s hard to try and scale for your first event. But with the number of people that came our for the [Super Smash Bros.] tournament and for [CS: GO] and [League of Legends], we’re very happy with how it’s running,” said Dell.

Dell hopes to see the eSports community at NAIT and in the city of Edmonton continue to grow and he wants to see NAIT play a big factor in that.

“Hopefully further down the road, 5 years and beyond, we would like to try and help represent some of these student beyond NAIT, so if they are going to participate in tournaments outside of NAIT or outside of Edmonton, NAIT wants to try and find a way we’re able to support them and try to engage them in activities at that level… and most importantly find a space here on campus here they are able to do that in-house,” said Dell.

Currently, there is no dedicated space for eSports players on campus. Students and clubs are left to find their own space to bring people together.

“Right now a lot the feedback we’re getting from students and student clubs is that here’s no great spaces here on campus that are able to facilitate these kinds of activities so we want to champion something like that,” said Dell. “Whether it’s repurposing an old space and trying to improve that and getting the specifications and technical requirements to support this type of environment would be an undertaking and the alternative is trying to find a new space in some of the Blatchford lands.”

Building an eSports community at NAIT will take time. Currently, NAITSA hosts pop-up gaming events every two weeks, but bigger events like the eSports invitational are likely to only happen at NAIT once per semester.

Dell says that currently, they are testing the waters with events like this to see what student engagement is like. He says that if the movement grows within NAIT and Edmonton, he would love to see eSports teams supported by NAIT, wearing Ooks colours when they compete.

“If you are able to make that an athletics or a NAIT representation, that would be a fantastic opportunity and another way to support some of those competitive sports,” said Dell.

As for a new facility, while NAIT secured a land deal with the City of Edmonton for Batchford lands, there haven’t been any announcements of any eSports venues to be built on the land.

Photo courtesy: Sean Do, Unsplash

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