Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Talking with Trainor: Stella/Capitals Captain Danielle Fortin


In 2004, a second women's team, named Maeve, was full of young exciting talent that proved they ready to compete nationally at finals. The squad finished 4th at the 2004 nationals. It was a springboard team for many females who are now highly regarded players in national and UPA ultimate today.

One of these players was nicknamed Baby D.

Danielle Fortin has gone from second team rookie to one of the Stella/Capitals captains in less than three years. While not serving as a Stella captain this year, She continues to be known for being a skilled thrower, well liked teammate and hard worker. She gladly accepted my offer to do an interview and she will hopefully be the first of many women's division players we profile.

Danielle Fortin
Photo:Corry Berghout

Was the Capitals a Toronto team, an Ottawa team, or really a team representing both cities?

The Capitals summer team included a representation from both cities. We were surprised that after writing down the last couple names on the roster that there was a even split of ladies from each city. It was pretty cool. We mixed things up in the fall by adding players from up North and out West.

What is the status of the Capitals for the 2008 season?

Caps jerseys will be hung up for the 2008 summer season with players taking what they learned in '07 back to their home teams. As for the fall - there's always talk between the two cities on joining forces and that's where it sits right now.

What was the highlight of the 2007 season for the Capitals?

This is a tough one - but I'd have to say either winning Boston Invitational or our finish at UPA's. Both Ottawa and Toronto have competed in the Boston Invite each year but have ended up watching the finals from the sideline. To win it all was pretty awesome. I believe it was the first time that a Canadian women's team has ever won the tournament.

What was the 2007 lowlight?

With the bid to Worlds on the line - our finish at nationals.

What happened at Nationals 2007? Specifically, the 2007 finals?

We had a strong tournament with only 14 points scored against after six games. It was a cool feeling being in Toronto. Four months earlier we found ourself playing on the exact same grass meeting our teammates, setting goals and figuring out what it meant to be on the Capitals. Our goal for the season was to be recognized as a unified, gritty, highly skilled team. There's no doubt we achieved that. It's unfortunate that the bid to Worlds rested all on one game - but that's sport. The finals was a big game for the team as many of our players found themselves there four years earlier while others were making their first appearance in a CUC final. Many factors played into the loss and I think we'd all dissect it differently as we had different experiences. It's always great to play against west coast teams as they bring experience and intensity after having a season full of high-caliber games and tournaments. It would be great if we could be exposed to challenging games throughout our entire season.

Photo Source: Capitals Ultimate

Was the UPA finals performance (5th) considered a success?

Of course! It was the highest finish for the team. Having the opportunity to play against some the top UPA teams in playoffs can always be considered a success. Our pre-quarter game against Safari was what allowed us to meet up with Riot in the quarters. Coming back from being down 11-6 to win the game 14-12 was...pretty cool. Mother nature was on our side that day.

Who was the team MVP for 2007 season overall?

I honestly don't think I can name one. Sure comparing one game to the next there was a player that really brought their best game out but when I think about a season that was over 6 months long it's hard to name just one person. It truly was a team that worked together to make the best out of the unique situation we had created.

What should we expect from Ottawa women's ultimate this summer?

Definitely expect some new faces on both Stella and Scarlett this summer. It's going to be a big building year for the program. From what I've seen in the gym, at scrimmages, and other training sessions it's going to be a good group of women that have been training hard to get back outside and challenge each other.

How would you describe the women's current relationship with its local association (OCUA)?
The women's program has a good relationship with OCUA. The competitive cell as a whole is working hard this year to get the right documents in place so that the teams can go into the season knowing what will be going on. It's always a challenge balancing personal/team development with clinics and other volunteer activities so any planning that can be done ahead of time is a bonus.

What players need to step up this year?

Every player looking to play this summer has to step it up. Last summer provided many players with unfamiliar experiences whether it was playing Capitals, Scarlett, or co-ed. Sharing these experiences with each other will only make us better so it's key for everyone to show up with their A-game.
Photo Source: Scarlett Ultimate

Who is the best female player in Ottawa? Who is the most underrated?

Top player - I'd have to go with with Ali Flynn (Lemay) (pictured, photo courtesy Corry Berghout). She brings experience, knowledge and skill to any team she plays with. On the field she's got a collection of throws that most can only dream of and her defense on the bail and in zones is so much fun to watch. She also has a great ability to anticipate movement on the field. I think the best thing is seeing how much time she puts into figuring out strategy and her own game. She's a good role model for those looking to play comp - you don't just get there without putting in a little effort.

Most underrated would have to be the Little French Girl (LFG). Marie-Andree Imbeault (Magoo) came into the Ottawa ultimate scene 3 years ago as a cutter. After a month or so on Stella she was put behind the disc to be one of the team's starting O-line handlers. She can make some sweet grabs and great break throws that are so quick you usually miss them. She's also great at breaking through zones. I think her "quiet" nature has fooled many because she's a big part of the party on any team she plays for. You can't replace a player like her on the field.

What is your assessment of the brand equity of sister team Scarlett?

It's getting better each year. Like we've seen in the men's program - it just takes time. It's great seeing more and more university students and recent high school grads playing with Scarlett as it's a great place to work on individual skills while gaining competitive tournament experience.
Photo Source: Scarlett Ultimate

Does anyone want to play with them? Will this be a good year?

I think there are a good number of women that would like to play with Scarlett. It's encouraging to see that players have made the transition from Scarlett to Stella and Capitals. Looking back at the team's 2007 roster and season I can't find a reason why it wouldn't be a good year.

How does the women's program measure success for Scarlett? What needs to be done to ensure Scarlett success?

Success can be measured in a bunch of ways - having players move from Scarlett to Stella, seeing players developing, and higher finishes at tournaments. For Scarlett to be successful there needs to be a good group of women playing on the team that are dedicated to getting better and working together. There should also be a good link between the two teams (Stella and Scarlett) as well as with the other competitive teams.

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