Inaugural event to take place May 29th.
A group of Canadian post-secondary institutions is dipping their toes into the world of eSports.
The Canadian Collegiate Esports League (CCEL) was formed by more than a dozen colleges and universities spanning the nation.
“This is a great opportunity to engage [our[ students through an alternative type of competitive expression,” notes Tanya Angus, director of Recreation Services at the University of Manitoba, one of the League’s founding members, in a press release.
The league will debut with a Rocket League tournament this weekend. Participants don’t need to be among the post-secondary students enrolled at a founding institution either as the league is permitting “free agents” to participate. It’s not clear yet how those agents will be governed.
While much of the minutiae surrounding league rules, eligibility, and otherwise haven’t been released yet, the organization says it understands what’s necessary to succeed in Canada.
“The CCEL origins come from a simple fact, we are Canadian Schools and we know there is a unique Canadian voice and a unique Canadian perspective….we think the best we can give to esports is ourselves,” said Joni Richardson, CCEL Commissioner and Intramural Programmer at the University of Victoria.
“We’ve gained 300 new-to-us students who would not normally use any of our services,” Richardson told Victoria News. “eSports is an opportunity to share the Vikes values with more students on and off campus and a way for us to connect and engage these athletes in a different way.”
Member institutions appear to be at varying stages in integrating eSports into their programming or otherwise connecting their participants into the league GYO Score portal. The University of Lethbridge has 22 members registered while 11 other organizations have memberships in the single digits. Most post-secondary students will have been off-campus for the past month or longer as the spring semester typically ends in April.
While Rocket League will get the honours of launching the league, the Discord channel for the league seems to indicate Fortnite and Valorant will soon see competition.
The league certainly appears to be more oriented towards growing eSports in Canada than it does serious competition in these early stages. Material on its website notes they will “host events catering to individuals belonging to a wide range of skill levels, with opportunities for everyone from beginners to experts in a given title“. Membership is restricted to those with an affiliation to a post-secondary institution including alumni.
To that, I say, “Go Horns!”
The Canadian Collegiate Esports League (CCEL) will host its first event this Saturday. The Rocket League Open will begin at 12 PM Pacific (3 PM Eastern).