I have had the absolute pleasure of getting to sit down with General Managers Adi, Kunics, and CHASER over the last several weeks and getting to learn more about them and their teams. It has been incredibly enlightening and my latest conversation with Ripperr, General Manager (GM) of the Jets, has been no different. I could not think of a better man to lead and represent this franchise and you will see why. So please enjoy our latest installment of “In the Driver’s Seat.”
When did you join Minor League Esports (MLE)?
I joined a while ago, on June 11, 2018, to be exact. I joined four days before the draft and was only able to do two tryouts. So obviously, I did not get on a team. I took a bit of a break after not getting drafted and last season was my first season [being] really involved with MLE. I was drafted into Academy League for the Knights and was their Assistant General Manager for a moment until I ranked out before the season even started. I was then picked up by the Champion League Wolves and was their captain for the rest of the season. I then ranked out during the playoffs and now sit in Master League.
What has been your overall record in MLE? As a player and as GM for the Jets.
The Champion League Wolves went 56-14, which I was super proud of. The Jets so far this season are doing quite well, being top 5 across all leagues; Master League are 23-17, Champion League 30-15, Academy League 27-18, and Foundation League 22-8.
Sometimes your record does not indicate the quality of your draft picks, but this season, that is very much the case. Our success has been dependent upon all squads playing games with one another. It is important to play against higher-ranked players, which helps with development.
What is your favorite car in Rocket League?
I have a love/hate relationship with the octane. When we lost to the Hurricanes in the semi-finals, switched it up to the fennec. I was able to hit Grand Champion in the fennec and felt good with it. It has just been within the past week or so that I have switched back to the octane. I feel like I shoot better with the fennec but dribble better with the octane.
Do you prefer 2s or 3s?
I would consider myself a 2s main.
What is the best non-standard mode in Rocket League?
Definitely snowday. I was able to get to Champion 3 but could not find enough games to get Grand Champion, unfortunately.
What is your favorite MLE memory?
Finding out that I became General Manager of the Jets. I figured I had a decent chance, for some of the folks in Admissions were saying I had a good shot. Otherwise, I really had no clue if I was going to get it or not. Was incredibly excited when I found out! Knew at that moment too that Maple was going to be my Assistant General Manager, which made me even more excited.
What is the best part about being a Jet?
The players. The community that we have is so good. Everyone knows everyone, we play games with all the teams, do in-game tournaments together, playing League of Legends with everyone too, etc. It is a great atmosphere. I was also able to bring in Grand Master Papi, a friend of mine that I met in grade 9 in air cadets. We have been playing Rocket League together for a while now and as soon as I became GM, I knew that I wanted to bring him onto my team.
What is your favorite hobby outside of Rocket League?
Flying. I am currently a pilot for the Canadian Forces. My dad was a pilot too and I could fly a plane at 15 before I could even drive a car. Fun note: Lars Newt and Grand Master Papi are both pilots too, so it is fun that the Jets have three pilots on the roster.
What is the best part about being a GM?
It is nice having the players look up to you for guidance, for coaching, etc. It is rewarding to invest in their development and watch them grow as players and people. I really wanted a Foundation League team for that reason, to be able to have a say in their development when they are just getting into Rocket League.
I also love watching my players play. I had no idea I would get more nervous watching them play than if I were to play myself. You develop such a deep connection with your team.
What is the hardest or most difficult part in being a GM?
A difficult part, which I previously mentioned, is watching your teams play on stream. It is the best but is also difficult for my nerves. It is also tricky to manage correspondence and scheduling matches. By far the hardest part though is making tough roster decisions. Players are not pawns, they have feelings obviously, so being respectful of that fact while also making tough decisions is difficult.
What made you want to be a GM in the first place?
Being a captain of the Wolves was awesome and I wanted more of that. Maple is the owner of a discord server called “MiddleAge Noobs” with over 3500 members. I am a manager there, which would be the equivalency of Council/Coordinator here in MLE. Anyways, I know Maple well from that server. Eventually, Maple became more involved in Admissions and subsequently League Operations. With his knowledge of the League, and me knowing him personally, I knew we could create a unique and fantastic team environment. So the prospect of creating that really motivated me to apply for a GM spot.
Where do you see yourself in two to three years?
I should have my training completely done and my degree done with the air force. By that time I would be living at the airbase full time, so I will eventually need to drop myself as GM. This being said, I hope to stay on as GM for as long as possible. Or if I cannot be a GM, I would love to be involved with the Jets in a player/captain role. If I were to step down, I would hope Maple could take over, for he has been a great Assistant General Manager for me this season.
Any last comments before we finish here Ripperr?