WINDSOR, Ontario —St. Clair College is proud to announce the launch of Saints Gaming, a competitive eSports team, in September 2017. Saints Gaming will mark the introduction of an eSports program in a Canadian post-secondary institution, becoming the first of its kind north of the border.
“St. Clair College continues to set the standard by adapting to the changing needs of our students,” said Tristan Bouchat, President of the Student Athletic Association at St. Clair College. “It’s a matter of inclusivity here at St Clair.”
“The popularity of eSports is continually growing, and this niche program will appeal to students who may not have previously thought about going to St. Clair College or pursuing college in general,” said Bouchat.
The introduction of an eSports team is a crucial step in keeping up with an evolving campus atmosphere, and St. Clair College recognizes this need. In recent years, the college has seen an increase in the popularity of programs such as Networking, Web Development, Mobile Applications Development and Robotics, reinforcing the change in campus culture.
“Technology is such a huge component of any student’s life, so incorporating this aspect into a competitive gaming environment is a huge step forward for St. Clair, all the while offering students another avenue to engage in extracurricular activities,” said Student Representative Council President, Jeff Rousseau.
Local eSports consultant and Windsor-Essex County native Shaun Byrne has been selected to spearhead the program as “eSports Coordinator”. Byrne will oversee the planning and implementation of the program, along with campus tournaments.
“Since entering the industry, it has been my goal to bring eSports to a mainstream audience,” said Byrne. “Having eSports officially recognized alongside traditional varsity sports is a big step in making that a reality.”
Try-outs for the team will take place at the college-hosted tournament, Saints Gaming Live, which will occur in St. Clair College’s SportsPlex, June 10 and 11. It is expected to be attended by 2,000 people. The event will feature live gaming competitions, casual free-play gaming areas, celebrity gaming personalities, a cosplay contest, and a vendor and artists alley.
The Information Technology Club has played an integral role in bringing eSports tournaments to the St. Clair College campus, with yearly staples such as Xmas LAN and No Man’s LAN. “Saints Gaming Live is an opportunity to expand on past success, help kick off a competitive eSports scene here at St. Clair College, and give local eSports an opportunity to rise to new heights,” said Dean Hayes, current President of the Information Technology Club.
In addition to try-outs and tournament prizing, any new incoming high school student to St. Clair College in September 2017, who participates in the tournament, will receive a $500 tuition bursary. St. Clair College has also designated $250,000 for this endeavor with the hope of developing a scholarship program to support the eSports team.
The Saints eSports team will consist of players who specialize in specific PC and console games such as: League of Legends, Overwatch, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Hearthstone, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Super Smash Bros. Melee and Street Fighter V.
The Saints eSports team is expected to begin participating in tournaments this September.
For information about the upcoming tournament at St. Clair College and how to register, visit www.saintsgaming.ca.