Grizzly Esports Eye Brawl of the Wild, Can the Cats Titles

Esports players representing UM's popular and growing Grizzly Esports teams, focus on a game in UM's Innovation Factory. UM esports players will collaborate with the Missoula Food Bank and Community Center to raise funds and pounds of food for the annual Can the Cats charitable drive.

MISSOULA – Instead of cheering in Washington-Grizzly Stadium during the annual Brawl of the Wild, Griz Nation is encouraged to rally around another group of student-athletes: the University of Montana Grizzly Esports team.

Sanctioned as an official University sport this fall with more than 90 players on junior varsity and varsity teams, the Grizzly Esports team will take to their gaming consoles in hopes of winning Montana’s collegiate sports title and the Can the Cats food drive. At UM, the esports community includes more than 150 participants, including those involved with production, social media, content, infrastructure and public relations and student outreach.

Beginning Friday, Nov. 6, through Friday, Nov. 20, UM esports will collaborate with the Missoula Food Bank and Community Center to raise funds garnered through a fundraising platform while streaming. Throughout the two weeks, UM esports will feature their Rocket League and League of Legend teams, which are both headed to a national tournament.

“An important mission of esports at UM is to recognize there is a community beyond gaming and that as players and Grizzlies, we give back and help one another,” said Michael Cassens, director of UM esports and assistant professor in UM’s School of Visual and Media Arts. “These are challenging times for so many families and our players are proud to promote the Can the Cats food drive for an important cause.”

Special events to donate also include the Can the Cats Amateur Invitational, where corporate, student groups and community members form teams and compete in head-to-head competition Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 7-8. Register for the Amateur Invitational online.

During the second week of the fundraiser, the Grizzly Esports League of Legends team will compete in an exhibition match against Montana State University’s League of Legends team for the Grizzly Esports Brawl of the Wild title.   

Viewers can visit to livestream all UM esports events during Can the Cats.

The charitable competition between UM and MSU happens each year before Thanksgiving, with both flagships competing  to raise the most food and funds for the Missoula- and Bozeman-area community food banks. 

A primary mission of Grizzly Esports is creating community by promoting inclusion, diversity and giving back to those who are in need. For information about Grizzly Esports, visit  


Contact: Michael Cassens, director of UM eSports, visual arts and media assistant professor, 415-787-0577,