May 19th, 2024

E-sports championship hosted in Lethbridge

By Justin Seward - Lethbridge Herald on May 8, 2024.

Herald photo by Justin Seward ESports players focus on their games at the Alberts ESports championships held over the past weekend at the Agri-Food Hub and Trade Centre.

Lethbridge School Division along other community organizations hosted the inaugural Alberta E-sports Championship for students from across the province ages 12-18 at the Agri-Food Hub and Trade Centre over the weekend.

“It’s taking gaming to a next level,” said Allison Purcell, LSD board chair.

“It really is about taking kids that might be playing in a basement, they’re playing in the stands at their sibling’s football game and it is just really putting it into a team sport for them to be able to play together and often [it is] these kids’ first time that they ever played a team event. These kids come together and they learn about competition, they learn about strategy, they learn about team work and leadership, they build friendships and they just really learn about how do they balance what they love to do with life and really put it together into what you’re going to see when you go in there.”

Purcell said some students have never played on a team, and it’s the first time they’ve ever worn a team jersey and certainly the first time they’ve ever worn a jersey with their own name on it.

“It is really amazing for us to be able to have an opportunity to reach kids that we wouldn’t necessarily otherwise reach,” said Purcell.

Players were on teams that played Smash Bros, Rocket League, Omega Strikers, League of Legends and Valorant.

The E-sports concept has seen growth over the last number of years.

“Really over the last four or five years we’ve really seen it grow in our community and it’s just how do we get that to grow across the province and ensure that these kids have these opportunities to play competitively,” said Purcell.

Magrath Junior High School student, Noah Heaton was at the championship to have fun and be the best he could be in the Super Smash Bros arcade.

“I feel like there’s going to be a lot of fighters in the game and also a lot of challengers with it as well too,” said Heaton.

“So I’m excited to play against them and fight against them and maybe win.”

LCI’s Duncan Jacobs was a senior player at the championship and noticed the level of experience.

“Very experienced players here,” said Jacobs.

“I enter the building and I’m feeling very anxious already. There’s a lot of people here. So walking into it, it’s just almost a level of nerve that I never expected.”

There 250 student at the competition who were put into certain brackets and were challenging for trophies at the end.

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