Overwatch League announced its season awards during the playoffs. Scott “Custa” Kennedy took the Dennis Hawelka Award, Hyo-Jong “Haksal” Kim was recognized as the Rookie of the Year, and Jay “sinatraa” Won was awarded as this season’s MVP. These players were all deserving of the awards. Let’s take a look and who I thought deserved these awards.
Positivity is Awarded
The Dennis Hawelka Award could have gone to Young-jin "Gamsu" Noh. Gamsu was an integral part of the Dragons’ success due to his in-game leadership and knowledge. Not only that, the experienced veteran from two different esports, League of Legends and Overwatch, sends his maturity and positivity onto his Shanghai Dragons’ teammates and other Overwatch League players.
Whether it is going out on hikes, hanging with his trusty companion Uni, or hanging out with other players, Gamsu makes sure to pass his “Dad energy” wherever he is. For this, he is deserving of the Dennis Hawelka Award.
Rookie of the Year
Rookie of the Year should no doubt be awarded to Haksal. However, you can argue any player from the Vancouver Titans. They have been a force to be reckoned with whether it is Haksal, Jooseok "Twilight" Lee, Min-soo "SeoMinSoo" Seo, or Sang-beom "Bumper" Park. You can make a case for any of those players because of their relentless playstyle or extraordinary individual skill in their specified roles.
For Haksal, however, he’s played at an exceptional level from using Brigitte in the GOATS meta to being a pesky Pharah in the current meta. He is constantly playing at a high level, even in the playoffs with Doomfist. Overwatch League players and fans need to keep an eye on Haksal at all times.
Most Valuable Player
This season’s MVP deserves to go to a player who’s leadership, maturity, and skill affected not only themselves, also their teammates. This player is sinatraa. Last year, sinatraa was still growing as a player and a person, with so much weight on his shoulders being called “Mr. 150k” by the community.
He proved to be more worth than 150k this season carrying the San Francisco Shock on his back playing Zarya and flexing onto DPS heroes, if necessary. After Stage 1 this season, sinatraa marched the Shock to the Stage 2 and 3 finals, and continued that momentum towards the end of the season. You can count on sinatraa to raise not only his stock but also the Shock’s.
Other Awards to Consider
“Most Improved Player” should be a category that Overwatch League could have focused on, but understandable due to the number of expansion teams this season. If the award was given this season, Grant "moth" Espe definitely justifies this award. He has stayed under the spotlight, while sinatraa and Matthew "super" DeLisi were front and center.
With his spectacular Lucio plays, moth was able to set up plays for his other teammates, while being a pest to his opponents. Given the Shock’s disappointing season last year and their success this season, moth made strides to improve and it paid off for the Shock.
One last award that Overwatch League could focus on is “Coach of the Year”. Last season, no doubt it would have gone to New York Excelsior’s Hyeong-seok "WizardHyeong" Kim due to their season-long dominance. For this season, though, it is undoubtedly Dae-hee "Crusty" Park. Last season, Crusty coached the Boston Uprising to a dominating Stage 3, getting them to the Stage 3 finals where they fell against NYXL. Crusty was appointed Head Coach for the Shock in Stage 4. While he could not turn the team around immediately, he was planning long-term.
During the offseason, Crusty made decisions to change this roster, picking up players like Minki "Viol2t" Park and Dong-jun "Rascal" Kim. Additionally, with his fierce coaching, Crusty nurtured sinatraa to be the team leader and led his team to huge success. Anything short of a championship meant failure. For Crusty, he is hoping to take home the season championship for San Francisco.
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