Making noise as the voice of the Durham Lords

Student spotlight: Haspreet Singh Hooda

If you’ve attended a Durham Lords game over the last three years, you know Haspreet Singh Hooda.

As the voice of the Lords, he keeps the crowd and the athletes pumped up during basketball, volleyball, rugby and soccer games. Judging by the success of the Lords in recent years, he does his job very well.

“Haspreet always energizes the crowd,” said Durham College (DC) athletic director Scott Dennis. “With his natural charisma and passion for sports, he makes every game a memorable experience for Lords Nation.”

It’s that passion for sports that brought Hooda to DC, and Canada. Growing up in India, he played and excelled in a wide range of sports. He competed at the national level in both swimming and arm wrestling, earned a black belt in karate and tried his hand at soccer, speedskating and powerlifting, among other sports.

When contemplating his future, he decided to combine his love of sports with his family’s affinity for business. That led him to study Sport Management at DC, and it’s been a lifechanging experience.

“I came from India as a student who was shy and more of an introvert, and sports demands that you make connections,” he said. “I started talking to more people and took any opportunity that came to me.”

One such opportunity was filling in for the announcer at a Lords rugby game. Though he had no prior experience or interest in the role, he took to it like a natural. Ken Babcock, DC’s athletic director at the time, was impressed and offered him more time behind the microphone. Three years later, he’s become as synonymous with the Lords as Louie and the green and gold.

In addition to announcing, Babcock gave Hooda another great opportunity; launching an extramural cricket team. Having played the sport for years in India, he was the ideal choice to build a team at DC and serve as its manager. Now in its second year, they play friendly tournament matches against teams from nearby colleges and universities.

Becoming so involved in campus life has been critical to navigating the challenges of life as an international student, and it’s something he recommends to those who follow in his footsteps.

“It’s not going to be easy. You might have some times when you’re completely homesick and you’re lonely, but always be open to new things. Put your hand up for every single opportunity you can,” he said. “Make friends and have fun. Go in with a positive mindset, keep a smile on your face, and never disrespect any work you get.”

The support of his professors, friends and the entire DC community has made him feel at home. Every compliment he’s received for his school work and announcing has fueled his continued success.

“It makes me feel good that my work has been noticed and appreciated. That gives me motivation for the next time. That’s how I got through every single day.”

Now in his final year of studies at DC, he’s ready for the next step. Having discovered his natural talent on the microphone, he intends to pursue a career in broadcasting. He has continued to make contacts in the world of sports, including Herbie Kuhn, the longtime voice of the Toronto Raptors, who accepted an invitation to attend a Lords basketball game in November.

All in all, Hooda’s DC experience has far surpassed his expectations.

“It has been an amazing journey for me. DC has given me a lot of things, and I’m very grateful for that,” he said. “Everyone here has accepted me with open arms. Thank you for making me a part of your family.”

Get in on the action at the Esports Gaming Arena

If you’re a gamer, Durham College (DC) is the place to be.

The Esports Gaming Arena is now open. Located in the Student Centre at the Oshawa campus, the arena is home to the DC’s Lords Esports varsity team, which competes against schools from Canada and the United States in the New England Collegiate Conference and the North American Collegiate Conference. Only the most talented gamers can represent the green and gold at the varsity level, but like any student athletes, they must prioritize their studies and maintain good grades.

Unlike more ‘traditional’ sports, gaming is open to everybody, no matter their age, gender or level of athleticism. Whatever your chosen game, if you’re good enough, there’s a place for you on the team.

“I call Esports the great equalizer, because it’s very inclusive. We encourage everybody to participate and be a part of the community,” said Esports general manager Bill Ai. “I want more students to understand what Esports and gaming culture is.”

Though tryouts were held earlier this month, Ai is always on the lookout for new talent.

“We want to field the most competitive team possible,” he said. “We always encourage people to keep practicing and keep trying, because we want the best.”

You don’t have to be an elite gamer to take advantage of the arena. All students are free to drop in, pick up a controller and have fun with their friends, Monday to Friday, 12:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Throughout the month of September, full-time DC students can play for free, while part-time students, employees and alumni pay $4 per hour (plus tax).

An extensive catalogue of gaming platforms and titles is available, including;

  • 30-plus gaming PCs with League of Legends, Valorant, Rocket League, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and more.
  • One Nintendo Switch console with Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Bros Ultimate, Mario Tennis Aces, Mario Golf, Mario Strikers, Mario Party Superstars, Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack classic game catalogue.
  • Six PlayStation 5 consoles with PlayStation Plus Premium Game Catalogue and EA Play Game Catalogue.
  • Five Xbox Series S Consoles with Game Pass Ultimate Catalogue.

All students are welcome, whether they’re an experienced gamer or picking up a controller for the very first time. Booking inquires can be made to, and drop-ins are also welcome.