Barrett CTI gaming zone

After winning the College Call of Duty League (CCL) - Black Ops 4 Tournament, the esports team at Humber is making its mark in competitive sports. With the opening of the Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation (Barrett CTI) in April 2019, the esports initiative now has additional space where students can train to become the best players they can be, says Geoffrey Lachapelle, esports coordinator and game programming instructor.

The Barrett CTI space is a second phase in the Humber esports initiative. The area is equipped with sophisticated computers, which provide higher visibility and also gives players an opportunity to invite teams from other institutions to practice. The idea is to showcase esports as more than playing video games, “its parallel to varsity sports. It’s about player growth more than anything, in a way that it is supportive and additive to their academic studies at Humber,” says Lachapelle.

The Humber esports initiative promotes the industry to a wider audience and plans to train players at a varsity level. “What we are looking to do with the Humber esports initiative is to create employment opportunities for those who are interested in support, leadership, or training roles in college level esports who then to go on to professional level,” says Lachapelle. 

“We are trying to create high-end and premier training spaces for the players, who want to learn to play competitively at the national and international level,” says Lachapelle. He adds, “the CTI provides us with really exciting new avenues and opportunities for training in esports initiatives. It allows us space for players to practice, opportunities for external competitions to bring people in to see the amazing Barrett CTI space,” says Lachapelle.

Players spend more than 30 hours per week practicing for the tournaments, along with other work and school commitments. "Playing for Humber allowed the Humber Call of Duty team and I the opportunity to train hard resulting in us winning the College COD [Call of Duty] League, in addition to helping us with our academics," says Dante, coach for the Call of Duty and first-year student of Sports Management program at Humber. “We are trying to establish a consistent system for player growth and we need to do it right,” says Lachapelle.

The esports initiative began in November 2018 to foster competition and teaching ways of capitalizing on the rather new industry. “It’s more than playing a game. It’s a growing system for legitimacy and the goal of being an addition to students’ studies. In the same way, varsity is adding to students’ studies,” says Lachapelle. 

The faculty, staff and coach at Humber are rigorously working to regulate esports and turn it into a credited program. “This is a major industry that most groups are just waking up to. It’s our goal to be the people on the front end who are adapting to and fostering this industry,” says Lachapelle.