Custa Wins the Dennis Hawelka Award for the Overwatch League

Every year, the Overwatch League announces their recipient of the Dennis Hawelka Award, an award that is meant to honor someone who has created a large, positive impact on the Overwatch League community. Each team had nominated one member from their roster which they thought would be an embodiment of the award.

The winner of the award for the 2019 season was announced on Aug. 30, 2019, and the recipient was Scott "Custa" Kennedy of the Los Angeles Valiant.

Dennis "INTERNETHULK" Hawelka was a well-known Overwatch pro player who transitioned to the coach role. He was primarily known for his work with EnVyUs, now known as Team Envy, as they competed during the APEX season in South Korea. INTERNETHULK passed away on Nov. 7, 2017 as a result of health complications that may have stemmed from tonsillitis, in particular, an enlarged heart. He is thought of as one of the best coaches in the history of professional Overwatch, and was always viewed as being a beacon of positivity for the entire competitive Overwatch scene.

In a short trailer, Custa's teammates Park "KariV" Young-Seo and Indy "SPACE" Halpern talked about Custa's leadership, positivity, and motivation. Custa's role of leadership helped the Valiant progress from being a team that went 0-7 during the first stage to becoming the first team to beat the Vancouver Titans during the regular season, as well as nearly make the playoffs. Custa also dedicated many of his efforts towards raising money for St. Jude, which is partnered with the Valiant. As such, his nomination for the award by the Los Angeles Valiant was certain.

Upon receiving the award, Custa stated that he knew Hawelka personally, and that he was an inspiration to him. Custa felt a push from Hawelka that made him a better person and a better teammate. Custa also said in his interview, "I just want to be someone who had an impact, someone who did something for Overwatch that made it better." Although the Valiant did not make it to the season playoffs, it's clear that INTERNETHULK's impact on Custa has his success on the Valiant.

Photo courtesy of Blizzard