With growing interest, a dedicated space on campus and an official adoption into Kodiaks Athletics, Lethbridge College’s esports program is ready to hit the ground running on its first full season in the 2022-23 academic year.
The founding squad of 15 players jumped into Canadian Collegiate Esports League competition during the Winter 2022 semester and also played exhibition games against fellow Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference institutions.
Now, the focus is on a new season and new growth.
Recent LC graduate Justin Garrick (Multimedia Production 2022) has signed on to coach Kodiaks in Rocket League, League of Legends and Super Smash Bros. He’s been involved in gaming most of his life and is eager to see the Kodiaks reach their full potential.
“I really want to help our players maximize their strengths and improve on their weaknesses in a positive and supportive way,” says Garrick, “not only for their personal growth, but for the growth and success of the team.”
Allyson Cikor, who served as coach during the shortened inaugural season, will be returning to the team, this year serving as program coordinator. As part of her new role, she’ll be responsible for league and tournament registration, setting schedules, organizing internal tournaments and events, and ensuring the esports team has everything it needs in terms of software and equipment, including state-of-the-art gaming PCs from Alienware.
“Last year, while we had a lot of fun, we were just getting things figured out,” Cikor says. “But this year, we’re starting off with a larger support team and a dedicated esports lab that will provide a great new atmosphere. It’s exciting to see that growth as we get set for our first full season.”
Another exciting development involves esports operating as an official Kodiaks Athletics team with jerseys, online player profiles and all the support that comes with the designation.
“The Kodiaks are among the first few recognized varsity esports teams in Alberta,” says Todd Caughlin, Athletics and Recreation Services manager. “The work of last year’s team helped us establish the direction we’re now taking, and with the support of the college, we’re excited to see where it leads us.”
Esports being part of the Kodiaks family is something Cikor admits is a little surreal. “I’ve been a gamer my whole life, and if this had been an opportunity when I was a kid, it’s not only something I would have pursued, but it may have changed the trajectory of where I wanted to go professionally,” she says. “We are very lucky to have the support of Lethbridge College and Kodiaks Athletics.”
Tryouts for the Kodiaks esports team will be held in late August and early September.
Gamers who aren’t interested in competing at the varsity level will still have opportunities to get involved, as the Lethbridge College Students’ Association will once again be organizing intramural tournaments and more casual play throughout the year.
For more information on Lethbridge College esports, email firstname.lastname@example.org.