Cloud9 announced the departure of Hai Lam from the League of Legends team. Hai will continue to play a significant role in the Cloud9 organization and stay heavily focused on the League of Legends space along with all the other growing eSports scenes.

The League of Legends team originated two years ago with Hai leading the team through qualifying for LCS and taking countless victories in multiple splits. We’ve come to a crossroads in the heartfelt journey that Hai has been through with his teammates, the organization, and his fans. We are thrilled to see him start the next chapter of his story.

Hai shared his thoughts openly:

“I am stepping down from being the Mid Laner for Cloud9 effective immediately. I’ll try my best to give you guys some insight into why this is happening and be as transparent as I can.

First and foremost, I want to say thank you to everyone who has supported Cloud9 and myself throughout the years I’ve played. I’m very thankful to have had this opportunity to pursue my dreams and become a professional player. Without Jack, we would not be the team we are today and he has always looked out for the best of each player and the organization/team.

I’m deciding to step down due to the following issues:

My wrist injury is something that I simply cannot ignore. It limits my ability to play as much as I need to and my ability to improve. I cannot keep up with the amount of Solo Queue games my teammates play and it’s not fair to them. At best, my wrist injury would have only allowed me to play for another split and that wasn’t even certain.

Team environment/morale was at an all-time low since Worlds 2014. We didn’t have the most spectacular 2014 Summer Split and our run at Worlds was not the best we could’ve done. We tried very hard to figure out how to get back into shape for winning Worlds but we struggled and the team atmosphere started to decline. Winning IEM San Jose brought back a bit of that Cloud9 feeling that we know and love, but it left as quickly as it came.

I want to make this clear to everyone. I am NOT stepping down due to community criticism for my play or myself. I would be lying if I said I didn’t care about it, but I was able to brush it off thanks to my teammates’ confidence in me. Over time, my teammates started to lose confidence in my abilities as a player and a shotcaller. That’s what really hit me hard. I don’t think that is an obstacle I was able to overcome and it really got to me. I’ve always played the role of a Support Carry from the very beginning and with the meta changing the way I think it is, my play style was not going to work anymore.

I’m hoping with the addition of a new Mid Laner (which we will announce soon), the issues that we were going through will resolve themselves through hard work and the team can experience a new beginning. Will all the problems be solved? I’m not sure, but if there were ever a time to try it, it would be now. I’m confident they will be able to improve and take back the title of Best in NA and make a presence on the international stage. I hope all of you will continue to cheer for Cloud9 as I know I will.

As far as for what I want to do following my retirement, I’m focused on my new role as the Chief Gaming Officer (CGO) of Cloud9. My duties will focus on acquiring new talent and teams across all relevant games, helping bring in new partners and maintaining our partner relationships. I’ll also be mentoring players in growing their brand, making the most of their time here, and doing everything in my power to expand Cloud9 into a household name as eSports continues to grow.“

Jack Etienne, owner of Cloud9, said, “I’d like to announce that Hai is stepping down from competitive play. This is not a goodbye to Hai but a welcome to Cloud9 management staff.  Building Cloud9 with Hai the last two years has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life and I’m thrilled that he has accepted this new position at Cloud9. Hai will play a critical part in the expansion of Cloud9 as we continue to branch out into new and existing games.”

It has been an incredible journey and we look forward to continue working with Hai in his new role.

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