With 38 million people, Canada has a smaller population than California but has managed to make its mark in shaping the Esports industry almost as much as their neighbors to the south.
There have been plenty of professional players that have scooped up huge tournament winnings and produced jaw-dropping moments inside the server. With that in mind, here are some of the biggest Canadian Esports pros from across the industry.
Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken
Known for his striking array of hairstyles and killer reaction speed, Russel “Twistzz” Van Dulken is one of CS:GO’s most famous faces. Having been an ever-present in the scene since 2015, the 23-year-old received his big break in April 2017 when he joined the biggest org in North America, Team Liquid.
Over three years with the team, Twistzz would be one of the stars of the show as Liquid became the number one side in the world with an Intel Grand Slam Season 2 win. In 2021, the Canadian moved to Germany to join up with FaZe Clan, and instantly began to turn them into heavy hitters at Esports bookmakers like Unikrn. He became the first Canadian to win a CS:GO Major at PGL Antwerp in May 2022, has made the HLTV Top Twenty Player of the Year awards twice and even the Play of the Year at the 2022 Esports Awards.
Artour “Arteezy” Babaev
Born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in July 1996, Artour “Arteezy” Babaev is a professional Dota 2 player who has also had stints in the original Dota game as well as StarCraft II. Despite being immensely talented, Arteezy wouldn’t join a professional org until 2013, with his biggest break coming when he joined Evil Geniuses a year later.
A dominant and aggressive mid-lane with the likes of Razer, Dragon Knight and Naga Siren, Arteezy finished 3rd in The International 2014 and 2018. He became only the second player to hit a matchmaking rating of over 9,000, the third to hit 10,000 and broke the 11,000 in 2020.
The Vancouver resident is also one of the most popular Dota 2 streamers, boasting over 711,000 followers on Twitch as of 2022.
Stephanie “missharvey” Harvey
Some of the most influential Esports professionals in the world are the people who are able to fashion together successful careers, and then continue trailblazing in the industry after their retirement. That is the trajectory Canadian developer Stephanie “missharvey” Harvey has followed in over twenty years in the Esports world.
Having played both Counter-Strike 1.6 and CS:GO between 2003 and 2019 for the likes of Counter-Logic Gaming, missharvey has gone on to become a game developer with Ubisoft Montreal. One of the leading advocates for gender equality and equal opportunities for women in the Esports world, she has gone on to found the Missclicks community, been named one of BBC’s 100 Women, has won Canada’s Smartest Person and even won the second season of Big Brother Célébrités.
Damon “Karma” Barlow
Another one of Canada’s hotshot FPS players, Damon “Karma” Barlow is one of the most influential Call of Duty pros in the game’s competitive history. Having first appeared on the competitive scene in 2010 in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Karma would spend a decade playing at the top level with the likes of Complexity, FaZe Clan, Optic and Seattle Surge.
With three Call of Duty Championship wins between 2014 and 2017, Karma’s $815,087.25 in prize winnings is the fifth-most amount of money earned by a player in a professional console game. Karma retired from competitive Call of Duty in 2020 after citing fatigue with Modern Warfare, however, he remains an active streamer on Twitch.
Keith “NAF” Markovic
25-year-old CS:GO pro Keith “NAF” Markovic is another one of North America’s most highly-regarded players. Having played CS:GO from its launch in 2012, NAF’s first big breakthrough moves came in 2016 and 2017 when he joined Optic and Renegades. However, it would be in 2018 with a move to Team Liquid that the Canadian native would truly hit his peak.
Alongside fellow Canadian Twistzz, NAF would help the NA team become the first from the region to dominate the CS:GO world. NAF has won five tournament MVP awards during his career, been named an HLTV top twenty players on three different occasions, and is still one of the top fraggers in the Liquid lineup.