This weekend in Toronto, Team SoloMid defeated Cloud9 in the 2016 Summer NA LCS Finals three games to one. While the result was important, one other aspect of the weekend stood above the rest: Canada was all about it.
Long ignored in favor of the United States, this was the first major League event in Canadian history, and the fans were absolutely here for it. They literally filled up the Air Canada Centre, home of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and the NBA’s Toronto Raptors, selling the arena out with 15,000 screaming fans in attendance.
The Spring Finals in Vegas were also very loud, so much so that players had a hard time hearing each other, but as someone who was at both events, Toronto’s crowd was even better. The energy was palpable even in the third-place series, and the finals were absolutely electric.
After the finals, TSM’s Yiliang “Doublelift” Peng joked that the few times that he messed up in-game were due to how loud the crowd was (he joked about it again in the post-game presser).
But the best part of the weekend was undoubtedly the reception given to the three Canadian players this weekend: Immortals AD Carry Jason “WildTurtle” Tran, from Toronto; TSM support Vincent “Biofrost” Wang, who went to the University of Toronto; and Cloud9 support Andy “Smoothie” Ta, from Edmonton.
Even though he was in the third-place match while the other two Canadians were in the final, hometown hero WildTurtle got the warmest welcome of all, repeatedly chanting his name during pauses and even the next day while the European games were being played on the big screen.
The Canadian crowd went NUTS for native son WildTurtle during the pause pic.twitter.com/xXoxVZPPaG— Pete @ NA LCS Finals (@Pete_Volk) August 27, 2016
All three players came out draped in the Canadian flag, a nice touch Riot does for international events. H2K’s Polish duo of Marcin “Jankos” Jankowski and Oskar “Vander” Bogdan did the same for the EU third-place match in Krakow.
And when WildTurtle was introduced, well, the crowd went ballistic.
After the series, a thrilling 3-2 win for WildTurtle’s Immortals, he said “It felt amazing playing for the home crowd, I love Toronto, I love my fans.”
And after winning the finals against Cloud9, Biofrost summed it all up with one tweet.
Today was a day that you dream for.— Vincent (@Biofrostlol) August 29, 2016
I’ll add to Biofrost’s sentiment — this weekend was one to dream for League esports and for Canadian fans, and I hope there will be plenty more major events in Canada in the near future.