It’s been a long time coming but standout Contenders DPS Kamden “Sugarfree” Hijada will now finally play in the Overwatch League.
The Vancouver Titans rebuild is continuing with the team announcing today that Sugarfree will be joining its roster for the 2023 season, just a little under two weeks after the prodigious young player turned 18. Sugarfree will join fellow American Tornado alumn Luka “Aspire” Rolovic and a trio of former Boston Uprising players officially set to try and help the Titans bounce back from a tumultuous 5-19 season.
Many fans thought they wouldn’t ever see Sugarfree in an Overwatch League server because of his young age and the off-and-on past couple of years. When he broke into the Contenders scene as a DPS for Atlanta Academy, Sugarfree was only 13 years old. The age minimum for the Overwatch League at the time was 18 until it was just recently changed to 17.
Sugarfree helped lead Atlanta Academy to consistent top-three finishes, including a first-place finish in Overwatch Contenders 2019 Season Two: North America East. That iteration of the team mostly went on to form the initial roster for the Atlanta Reign in the Overwatch League, with Sugarfree being a notable absence due to his age.
In 2020, Sugarfree announced his retirement from competitive Overwatch, but that didn’t stick and he ended up joining the dominant American Tornado roster as a stand-in for Cameron “wub” Johnson. American Tornado was another roster that found great Contenders success by storming through the Overwatch Contenders 2020: The Gauntlet: North America tournament. Yet again, it was another roster that almost entirely made it to the Overwatch League, with Sugarfree remaining on the outside looking in due to his age.
Sugarfree is one of the first major Contenders signings announced alongside the San Francisco Shock announcing that tank Choi “Max” Su-min and DPS Chae “HeeSang” Hee-sang will be joining its roster for next season. As free agency rolls on and a handful of teams are in rebuild mode, many fans will be curious to see how Contenders players fit into the equation.