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Taking U of R Esports to the next level

By University Advancement and Communications Posted: January 5, 2022 5:00 a.m.

Play against students from the U of R or across Canada with U of R Intramurals Esports.
Play against students from the U of R or across Canada with U of R Intramurals Esports. Photo: stock

Professional Esports has become a billion dollar industry and events across the world have been selling out stadiums and offering up millions of dollars in prizes to professional gamers. While the prizes at the University of Regina’s Esports events aren’t quite in the millions (yet), U of R Intramurals has plenty of opportunities for students to get involved with Esports. 

While some may struggle to see how playing video games fits with the athletic nature of intramurals, U of R Intramurals Coordinator Alison Fisher likens it to the shift that has occurred with professional golfers and curlers. 

“When you think about golfers or curlers thirty years ago, some didn’t look like your typical athlete," said Fisher. “But now, these sports have some of the most in-shape athletes in the world and I think it’s similar to what’s happening with Esports.” 

Today’s professional Esports athletes often have strict physical and mental fitness regimens, which include nutrition plans and personal trainers. These are some of the areas in which the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies can support and educate students pursuing Esports as either a hobby or profession. 

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The Canadian Collegiate Esports
League consists of 12 member
universities from across Canada.
Photo: Canadian Collegiate
Esports League

Fisher believes Esports presents more than just an opportunity to play video games for fun. There are many areas of professional Esports that could influence educational offerings at the U of R. For example, programs focused on game coding, streaming, or broadcasting can give students training and experience to prepare them for careers in the rapidly growing Esports industry. 

Some schools in the United States and Canada are offering scholarships and building venues specifically for Esports. While it may be some time until Esports reaches this level at the U of R, Fisher thinks a good first step would be getting enough students interested to form an official Varsity Club, which would represent the U of R at a competitive level. 

“Esports at the U of R is completely driven by student interest,” said Fisher. “If enough students come to us and say they want to play a certain game, organize a tournament, or create a club, we’ll do everything we can to make it happen for our students.” 

Another important step is forming partnerships with schools across the country, which is already underway. The U of R is one of the founding institutions that helped create the Canadian Collegiate Esports League (CCEL), which now consists of 12 member universities from across Canada. Fisher sits on the CCEL Board as Vice-Chair and is proud of the contributions the U of R has made to lay the foundation of this exciting new league. 

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U of R Intramurals looks forward
to hosting in-person Esports
tournaments and events.
Photo: U of R Smash Club

The CCEL provides opportunities for players of all skill levels to take part and play against other collegiate Esports groups from across the country. While events have been virtual during the pandemic, U of R Intramurals hopes to return to in-person tournaments and events on campus in 2022. 

U of R student and Intramural Esports coordinator Zach Jerkovits, an experienced Esports competitor who has recently started working for U of R Intramurals, encourages both new and experienced gamers to sign-up. 

“There’s no need to worry about your skill level,” said Jerkovits. “Video games are meant to be enjoyed by everyone, so try it out and I guarantee you’ll have fun and probably make some new friends while you’re at it.”  

If you want to be part of the Esports community at the U of R and compete in CCEL events, head to the U of R Intramurals website or reach out to intramurals@uregina.ca.