Humber esports success goes beyond past expectations

Apr 3, 2024 | Sports

Humber Esports as a team has grown exponentially since the start of the 2023-2024 school year.

When Senior Administrator Bernard Mafei came into the job, he already had experience competing in Street Fighter and Super Smash Bros. in Canada.

From the esports events to team competitions, Humber Esports fans have come together and shown out for each event. Humber Esports has evolved faster than anyone anticipated and it is just the start, Mafei said.

He said he hopes to bring new varsity teams like Rocket League to Humber. The esports team has gained about 180 new followers on their Twitch channel and has had even more participants at their “Humber Hitfest” Super Smash Bros events.

When building the team, Mafei said he wanted people who could compete and weren’t worried about winning.

“I wasn’t worried about winning so much as I wanted to show the model works and that they get along and make sure that they felt supported, and that was making sure that it was taking care of their needs,” he said.

Mafei said he wasn’t planning to have four varsity teams at the same time but was impressed by the progress of one of the club teams

someone with a trophy celebrating a win

Bernard Mafei leads the Humber Esports team. Photo credit: Courtesy/Bernard Mafei

“Originally I was going to (create) three teams and a (student-run) club team,” he said. A Call of Duty team was formed on the club side and Mafei said they found a coach who was a pre-COVID grad of the Humber Esports award-winning COD team.

Since there was competition in the game, it became a varsity squad, he said.

Mafei complimented the other varsity teams as they had exceeded his expectations.

He said the Valorant team competes in charity events and does scrims — simulated games or practices, against other schools.

“They do well and they’re just a tight-knit team,” Mafei said. The team’s manager Alyssa Gray, whose gaming name is Clickayyy, is a Humber grad.

“She’s super sick, I love advocating for women in gaming, she’s just really good at her job,” he said.

Arthur Gaudio, a varsity Valorant team member whose gaming handle is foxstylee, said that he felt the growth has been quick for him.

“It’s kind of shocking since everything’s happening fast, I’m happy we’re going the right way,” he said. “I’m really excited about what’s to come now and hopefully we can have good runs in the tournaments that we have for this year.”

Humber Esports faced many tough teams in many different games, especially during a match against the student-run St. Clair Saints Academy team last Jan. 27.

It was a significant day for Mafei, a St. Clair College grad, as his newly formed team faced off against his alma mater.

“That was a big day, like imagine for me like going from playing games when I was a kid to … going to school at St. Clair, graduating with an esports diploma and now running my own program,” he said.

Humber lost 2-1 to St. Clair in that face-off.

Chris Funston, assistant director of St. Clair Saints Esports, congratulated Mafei on his recent successes.

“Bernard is awesome, we love seeing people from St. Clair branch out and start their programs, so Bernard being one of them, it’s awesome,” he said. “I’m very excited to see the growth.”