The Homefront Supporter Series returns this weekend, where local OWL supporter groups will compete against each other and raise money for their chosen causes. Watchpoint: Lobby connected with Richard “GreatRootBear” Ng of Toronto Alpha Flight to get the inside scoop on the Toronto event, their charity of choice, and the team of local Defiant fans they’ll be fielding for Sunday’s tournament.
Homefront is an initiative led by OWL supporter groups – founded by community members, supported by fans and industry leaders, and 100% focused on city-based charities. Each team’s mission is to make a positive impact on the community by addressing locally identified needs.
“I like to believe that localization doesn’t just mean a team with a city name,” said GreatRootBear. “It means that those that support [the team] are neighbours, friends, and peers, and that we can stand together to make a real difference in our hometown.” As the founder of NYXL supporter group 5 Deadly Venoms, and currently the Captain of Toronto Alpha Flight, GreatRootBear is no stranger to community involvement, striving to, “above all else, hold true to the notion to never accept the world as it appears to be. Dare to see it for what it can be.”
This year, Toronto AF will be supporting the St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation. The goal is to raise enough to build, install, and maintain two hospital-approved power charging stations in the waiting rooms of the St. Michael’s Trauma Unit.
For GreatRootBear, the cause is personal. “This time last year, my folks were in a serious car crash, and I ended up camping out in the waiting room for 10 days straight. You notice a few things when you’re in a trauma unit for that long,” he shared. “A lot of folks come to the hospital in a panic and can have little to no phone charge, meaning they cannot reach out to friends and loved ones.”
The team aims to rally the community to raise the $3,500 necessary for this project. “Hopefully, with our help and the help of our fellow Torontonians, no one will have to face these kinds of situations isolated or alone for want of battery power,” said GreatRootBear. “St. Michael’s was established as a hospital to support the homeless and at-risk. There is a tremendous heritage of helping those in need built into the hospital’s culture, and it resonates with the spirit of Toronto AF.”
In addition to fundraising, Toronto AF will be fielding an Overwatch team to compete against three other OWL supporter groups – New York’s 5 Deadly Venoms, the Atlanta Royal Family, and Houston’s Lone Star Vanguard.
Members of the Toronto AF team had to meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Each player has attended a Toronto AF meetup in the last year (local meetup participation is a rule across the board for all teams); and
- The team has a combined Overwatch Competitive Skill Rating not exceeding 20,000 for six players.
GreatRootBear confirmed that the roster contains a blend of Toronto AF meetup regulars, Toronto Overwatch Beer League competitors, and Defiant Discord regulars.
As to who made the cut, he couldn’t reveal that just yet. A roster reveal video is currently being edited, and GreatRootBear anticipates it will be released sometime later today, December 20. “There will definitely be some names people will recognize and a few gems that I think people are about to discover.” (Keep an eye on @alphaflight_TO for the video reveal!)
Toronto AF has been lucky enough to get some professionals on board to help them strategize on a tight schedule. The team reached out to Defiant General Manager Jaesun “Jae” Won. Jae offered them a strategy briefing to help with a foundation for building up map-specific and situational tactics. Former Revival coach Rhys “Cynic” Lambourne lent his expertise in the form of scrim VOD reviews. “We’re incredibly thankful for the support we’ve received,” said GreatRootBear. “Hopefully we can digest all the information we’ve been given.”
The games will be streamed live on the official NYXL Twitch channel, twitch.tv/NYXL. Local Toronto fans can pop down to Invictus Game Station this Sunday, December 22 at 1:00 PM EST, where the Homefront team will be playing live. (Free registration is available on Eventbrite.) Donations can be made at www.torontoaf.ca, and full team and charity information can be accessed at https://homefront.5dv.nyc/. As of when this article is being written, Toronto AF has raised $1,185 of their $3,500 goal. Come out to support a great cause and some offseason Overwatch fun!
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Featured image courtesy of Toronto Alpha Flight (@alphaflight_TO).