The story of SapphireKelownaDotCom
Back in 2012, a group of Counter-Strike players teamed up with hopes to produce one of the top teams in North America. They studied the industry, and realised what was missing from their business plan.
Besides a handful of committed players, Kyle "OCEAN" O'Brien was left without a sponsorship. After practicing for weeks on end, OCEAN went on a hunt for a deal to produce numbers for the masses. Through strong connections with a nightclub owner in Kelowna, OCEAN and the rest of his team earned a sponsorship. Due to the nice deed, each player agreed to name themselves after their one and only investor.
All of this came down to the lineup which is currently known as SapphireKelownaDotCom. Their team name was an easy plug for the nightclub’s website, but it eventually turned into a catchy title. SKDC has been going strong for eight years now, and they’re currently on track to better themselves within events hosted by ESEA.
THE MAN BEHIND SKDC
Team captain OCEAN has been around the scene since the rise of SKDC. The Canadian rifler has acted as both an entry fragger and IGL across multiple teams including his very own. From 2012 to 2015, OCEAN spent a majority of his time with his personal creation.
During that time, SKDC had won nearly five show matches and were on track to become the online kings of North American Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO).
During their peak years of playing, SKDC only attended two offline events, but they continued to carry their weight online. They ventured out in 2015 to attend Clutch Con which was holding a grand-prize of $8,000. The entire event was made up of sixteen different teams, most of which were invited to the event. SKDC, on the other hand, had to fight their way to participate by placing first in the online qualifiers.
After going undefeated and winning eight matches in a row, SKDC went on to compete at their very first LAN event. SKDC faced three teams consisting of Cloud9, Team Liquid, and Karma.
Since Liquid and Cloud9 had the upper hand with their years of experience, OCEAN alongside SKDC was sent back home to practice. Their roster at the time even consisted of Peter "stanislaw" Jarguz, who went on to become one of the top players in CS:GO.
A LONG AWAITED JOURNEY
As months passed by following their treacherous defeat at Clutch Con, SKDC built up their reputation in the world of competitive forums. SKDC slowly became a well-known name within the amateur world through word-of-mouth online. Their savvy marketing tactic began to work while they won event after event online. SKDC dominated the CS Select Showmatch Series by winning a total of $1800 across five matches. They went on to the end of the year with another LAN trip which would eventually become one of their last ventures.
SKDC was invited to the event which contained a prize pool made up of a whopping $30,000. With money like that, bigger teams such as CLG and Complexity Gaming also entered the tournament. They made a great effort that year, but SKDC fell short at the RGN Pro Series which resulted in a partial disband.
OCEAN'S PERSONAL CAREER
During 2016 and 2017, SKDC began falling back from competitions by limiting themselves to a small handful of events. They participated at the RGN Winter Classic before disbanding once again. OCEAN went on to play with four different teams that year, which resulted in a lot of personal growth for him. He received multiple opportunities, including main roster slots with Team AGG, KKona, subtLe, and even Team Kaliber.
While playing for TK seemed like the strongest career choice, OCEAN went on to play with subtLe for roughly two years. Even though his journey with Team AGG and KKona didn’t end well, OCEAN’s time with both TK and subtLe was a completely different story.
He went on to produce multiple top three placements including the runner-up spot against Selfless Gaming at the WESG American Finals. After playing with subtLe up until 2019, OCEAN dusted off SKDC to participate throughout online events.
TIME FOR A COMEBACK
Last year, they spent most of their time competing in tournaments hosted by ESEA in the Advanced DIvision. They mostly lost to pick-up teams, with their biggest opponent being Depth Esports.
After a not-so dominant year, SKDC decided to stay together for another season. They’re currently competing in the Premier Division which has a prize pool of $50,000. With money like that, SKDC will be able to make a name for themselves once again. Players are constantly looking for ways to revive the North American scene which is why SKDC has so many supporters.
They definitely have a one-of-a-kind story, which is why every fan should know about their historic past within the CS:GO scene. Despite the amount of losses and disbands, SKDC is still going strong - with plans to achieve greater milestones.
Images via ESEA | Liquipedia