Copenhagen Wolves coach Karl “Dentist” Krey found himself embroiled in another controversy yesterday when his personal Facebook, Twitter and email accounts were hacked and his private conversations were leaked into the public domain.
The hacker seemed to have an agenda, leaking only conversations that pertained to a recent disciplinary ruling by Riot Games against both Krey and Riot commentator Martin “Deficio” Lynge. The ruling alleged that the Wolves and Lynge had tampered with contracted players in a bid to get them to join the Danish organization. The hacked Twitter account posted “Confess, Riot Deficio you will confess too” before linking to an Imgur album of screenshots of incriminating exchanges.
The screenshots showed a conversation between Krey and Wolves owner Jakob Lund Kristensen. The most notable revelation in the exchange was that they used Lynge, a prospective Copenhagen Wolves employee, to engage players to circumnavigate Riot’s tampering rules.
In and of itself, this wasn’t news. It was disclosed when Riot issued its competitive ruling, which banned Krey from stage for two weeks and Lynge from taking any other LCS recognized job outside of Riot until the end of 2016. The leaked screengrabs, however, removed any doubt that the conversations did occur and that Lynge was speaking with players ahead of his potential move to Copenhagen Wolves.
The leaks top off a run of negative headlines for the organization, which has found itself the target of criticism for first the sale of its academy team to Ex Nihilo and for losing jungler Karim “Airwaks” Benghalia—who described a “horrible” atmosphere in the team as part of his motivation for leaving. The leaks also appear to have been the last straw for Copenhagen Wolves veteran Joey “Youngbuck” Steltenpool, who released a short statement the same day announcing his intention to leave the team.
After the hack, Krey has made some progress in tracking down the perpetrator. He’s working with police and has been in touch with each of the sites that hosted his accounts. For the most part, though, he’s now left trying to restore his reputation. Some of the conversations shown in the leaks are just typical bravado about potential success, he says. But, in a conversation with the Daily Dot, Krey wanted to address parts of the leaks of particular interest to the League community, as well as the impact they’ve had on the team.
“I think it’s fair to say we’ve made some huge mistakes,” Krey told the Daily Dot. “Using Deficio to talk to players was the biggest, as it was against the rules.”
Another mistake, he said, was being open about his intentions to replace players in the upcoming season as Copenhagen Wolves looked to create a European “super team” with the funding from their major stakeholder, Norwegian venture capital firm Diglife. The prospect of players being cut from the team in the future wasn’t exactly a motivating force.
“Diglife have bought into Copenhagen Wolves, who were a team that were constantly going to relegations and obviously wanted to change that,” he said. “As much as I love the current roster, it is just fair to assume that new players would help succeeding in our new goals. We were open with the players about everything and this might have contributed to a negative atmosphere. I take responsibility for that, absolutely.”
“I thought it was important to have an open book with the players as we worked so closely together. We told them Freeze earned more money when we didn’t have to. We told them what players we were in talks with. We told them everything. Transparency here clearly didn’t work.”
Krey also felt that the leaked screenshots didn’t tell the full story of what happened while he was coach. “I was actively securing the jobs of our current line-up several times, I fought for more money for the players and even denied money for myself to open up room for that possibility. You can see me arguing for more money in the conversations when I say Freeze’s salary is ‘peanuts.'”
The community seized upon one part of the leaks in particular: A deal with Los Angeles-based streaming platform Azubu. In the leaked conversation, it’s clear that Copenhagen Wolves had negotiated $2,000 for each player who streamed more than 30 hours a month, with $1000 for the player and $1000 for the organisation. Only AD Carry Aleš “Freeze” Kněžínek would receive that full amount of $2000. The other players had been informed they would only receive $1,000 for the same amount of streaming hours, with the remaining $1,000 used to pay an increased salary to the AD carry. This was done to cement Kněžínek’s position in the team after SK Gaming had made overtures towards him.
“We had talked about giving the extra money to the players,” Krey says.
“But when we nearly lost Freeze and had to increase his salary to keep him, that plan had to change. You can see how important I believe him to be to the line-up because I say that if we lose him we are playing for auto-relegations. The only player we thought capable of replacing him was Rekkles and Fnatic had already signed him.”
He added that the players had been asked to do more promotional work for the organization in meetings.
Resentment had been growing in the team since the knowledge of Kněžínek’s star player status was made public, sources close to the players told the Daily Dot. “His attitude changed because of those circumstances,” one source said. “And it made everyone else in the team not want to play with him, especially if they were going to get kicked at the end of the season.”
Krey doesn’t dispute this. He says he observed it himself:
“Maybe it is true that Freeze did change, but he was also being targeted as a ‘problem’ by other players in the team. I had tried to do more team exercises out of game and they seemed to be working, we were bonding and having fun. In game, though, people were bitching at each other and it was getting worse.”
Krey thinks people are presuming the situation is worse than how it appears because they’re not used to the realities of how esports organisations work, or the type of conversations that take place on a daily basis.
“When you’re preparing an organization and creating a stable foundation for a possible contending team, this takes preparation and tough decisions,” he says.
“When friends and co-workers talk in personal conversation in unofficial meetings, the wording is not always the most professional. So yes, it is unlucky that those conversations got leaked. And while I do agree that the wording in some parts are questionable, the actual content is not as shocking as it might appear. We’re a business. And that has to come first.”
Screengrab via EpicSkillshot/YouTube