On Nov. 8, Team Liquid released the news that one of their coaches and former professional Overwatch player Dennis “INTERNETHULK” Hawelka had passed away. Details surrounding his death have yet to be disclosed. Hawelka had been the coach for Liquid’s now disbanded Overwatch team, and had been slated to coach for their League of Legends team in the LCS. Known in the Overwatch community for his contributions to the competitive scene during its foundational months, Hawelka’s passing was met with an outpouring of mourning and support on Twitter by fans, fellow players, coaches, and analysts alike.
Hawelka’s contribution to the Overwatch competitive scene began in the early days of the game’s closed beta. A player hailing from Germany, he was responsible for bringing together Christian “Cocco” Jonsson, Jonathan “HarryHook” Tejedor Rua, and Sebastian “Chipshajen” Widlund, the group of players that would form the core of the team that was eventually acquired by the EnVyUs organization and played under the same name. Team EnVy is currently one of the oldest and most successful teams in Overwatch’s history, boasting a 50-0 tournament winstreak in the first months of the game’s launch, first place in the inaugural season of OGN’s Apex competition in Korea, and most recently, first place in Season 1 of the Overwatch Contenders League. Team EnVy recently signed to the Overwatch League, and the team is representing the city of Dallas under the name Dallas Fuel.
On Nov. 11, just three days after the announcement of his death, Overwatch players gathered together on the PTR to celebrate Hawelka’s life with the Hulktastic Cup, an Overwatch tournament broadcast on Twitch featuring pro players, casters and analysts. Friends and former teammates shared stories from his life between matches, and the teams present played under now disbanded names and rosters that harkened back to the early days of Overwatch’s competitive scene when the name INTERNETHULK would pop up in killfeeds across the nation. Blizzard also honored the fallen player with a personalized server message, broadcast to all players online at the time of the tournament.
INTERNETHULK was known in the early days of Overwatch for pioneering the use of Winston, and his performance with the hero on EnVyUs paved the way for future Winston players to succeed. His greatest contributions however, were as a teammate and a coach. Upon notice of his death, numerous pro players came forward on Twitter, sharing stories of Hulk’s ability to make them feel welcome and comfortable in the world of esports, and relating tales of his earnestness to help others succeed in the scene and beyond. Old by esports standards at 30 years old, Hulk was nonetheless determined to prove his worth as a player and coach, and was known for his uncompromising devotion to his own improvement and performance. The world could always use more heroes, especially in the wake of a leader like InternetHulk.