Monday, July 6, 2020 | News
OTTAWA, Ontario — A first-of-its-kind esports league is poised to rattle the Ontario post-secondary sports world. Ontario Post-Secondary Esports (OPSE) is set to launch in the Fall of 2020, opening up the opportunity for esports players from across the province to represent their school in competition.
While the league is in its early structural phases, OPSE League Commissioner James Fitzgerald is encouraged by the response from prospective schools so far.
“It is amazing to see the overwhelming positivity towards the league, by both colleges and universities! We are excited to be able to provide an opportunity that has never existed to schools within Ontario.”
Carleton University is the first founding member of the league, and will have a Ravens team compete in each of the four titles offered. Assistant Vice President of Recreation & Athletics Jennifer Brenning is looking forward to being part of OPSE as the new league takes flight.
“We are proud to partner with our talented student club, and are very excited to see this new opportunity develop across the province for our student athletes. OPSE will provide a mechanism for Ontario post-secondary students to participate in school rivalries and competition as we head into the 2020-2021 academic year.”
The inaugural OPSE seasons will begin at the start of the academic calendar with a brief preseason, before starting the regular competition season in October. League playoffs will begin in March with championships to be awarded near the end of the month. Schools will be able to compete in four different game titles:
With the university and college sports season cancelled for the fall, OPSE is primed to step into a major vacuum in the Ontario sports scene.
“From competition to career development,” Fitzgerald says, “the core of OPSE is to create opportunities for students to discover their potential, show off their skills, and represent their school at the highest level of collegiate esports.”
The league has been spearheaded by the Athletics Department at Carleton University in partnership with alumni of Tespa Carleton, Carleton’s student operated esports club. Sheryl Hunt, Assistant Director of Marketing & Brand Strategy for the department says the project has been a major collaborative effort.
“When we met with the Carleton esports club initially about a year and a half ago, we established two things for certain: we wanted to work with them and they likewise wanted to work with us. We didn’t know how exactly, but the club had full buy-in on exploring opportunities and I had the support of our department to start moving in that direction.”
“The work and leadership from this group of students has been nothing short of incredible,” Hunt added. “We are excited to assist them in their efforts for this inaugural year and witness their growth and progress in the years to come.”
The ongoing pandemic has left the province’s universities and colleges without traditional sports leagues in which to compete. “From there,” Hunt says, “we decided to build our own league from the ground up.”
The next major step for the league is to confirm which schools in Ontario will be participants in the inaugural season and founders of the new league.