Hood College's esports program was accepted last week as an associate member of East Coast Conference. The announcement was made Thursday by Dr. Robert Dranoff, commissioner of the East Coast Conference, and Dr. Susan Kolb, Hood's director of athletics.

Hood became the second associate member to join ECC esports last week, following the announcement of Chestnut Hill College's acceptance.

The addition of Hood brings to 10 the number of institutions participating in ECC esports. Hood becomes the league's fifth associate member joining Chestnut Hill, Farmingdale State College, Southern New Hampshire University, and St. Joseph's College (Long Island). Full-time members of the conference that sponsor teams include Daemen College, Mercy College, Molloy College, New York Institute of Technology, and St. Thomas Aquinas.

"Joining the East Coast Conference is a unique and exciting opportunity for Hood College," said Chris Leonard, Hood's esports head coach. "The ECC allows us to significantly expand our impact and reach. It is a strong Division II conference. Under the direction of Commissioner Dr. Dranoff, the conference has grown in strength and success over the past several years."

During its first season in 2019-20, the Blazers won 27 times while competing in Overwatch, Rocket League, Apex Legends, Fortnite and Super Smash Bros. The ability to compete remotely allowed the team to continue to play after Hood's other spring sports were canceled due to COVID-19 in March. The Blazers competed as a club in 2019-20 but will be a varsity offering in 2020-21.

ECC esports heads into its third season during the 2020-21 academic year. The league has offered championships in Overwatch, League of Legends, and Rocket League, and continues to explore adding new games.

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