Tuesday, August 11, 2009

2009 CUC Preview- Open Division


With the defending champion (Nomads) missing as well as powerhouses GOAT (Toronto) and Furious George (Vancouver), some people worry that the open pool has lost some lustre this year.

Do not despair. There is a very strong group of teams competing, there is great parity among them and a local team has a strong chance to win nationals in their home city.

Pool A
Invictus (Calgary AB) 2008 CUC result: 3rd

I've always dubbed this team "North Bay with a lot more population base and team structure". In the last two years Invictus has proven that they are indeed a quality squad with players who can huck/jump and bust you in the lip for good measure when the game gets heated. They can legitimately play with any team in the nation.

They were not able to win nationals in Calgary last year, but that gives them even more reason to try and turn the trick in Winnipeg.

Demon (Montreal QC) 2008 CUC Result: 13th

This team is so much better than last year, it is not even funny.

Year two of Montreal's B team is already a huge success and former Firebird standout Phil Boisvert will be an incredible deep strike presence for the team, unless he gets the call to A team Mephisto.

Sofa Kings (Okanagon/Kelowna BC) 2008 Cuc Result: 9th

After having two epic battles with this squad at last year's nationals, I can safely say that this team is an excellent example of a strong mid tier team that shows the improvement of Canadian ultimate in the open divisions.

Expect the fortunes of the team to rest on players like Jamie Walsh (when healthy, he can be great) and Adam Gowenlock.

Karma (Toronto, On) 2008 CUC Result: DNP

A pick up team of male coed players who failed to make it to nationals in that region. I would imagine that this team will have a very painful experience playing in the division this week. However, it should be a great learning experience and the tournament scheduler will love them for stepping up to assume the 16th spot.

Pool B

Phoenix (Ottawa ON) 2008 CUC Result: 5th

Ottawa's squad put arguably their best A and B teams forward at CUC 2008 in over seven years but a dissapointing loss to Mephisto in quarters put a damper on a great summer season. Despite great results at all major summer tournaments (CUT, Boston Invite, No Borders) the CUC dissapointment had a major effect and major changes took place. Gone were the program's head coach and over 28 program players. Much of the height and experience the team enjoyed was lost. B team Firebird was not organized and was promptly folded after low turnout at tryouts.

Despite this, Phoenix has utilized a core of players to generate strong results all summer. Veterans like Jamie Craig, Ramsay Wright, Luke Phelan, John Haig, Andy Corey, Matt Cole have been responsible for their CUC 2009 seed and will have to continue to produce throughout the week.

Former Firebird standout Rey Arteagea has had an awesome summer and will use the lessons learned from last year's nationals to help this team meet expectations. Kielan Way returns to nationals after a one year absence and is one of the best o line cutters in the nation.

Mangina (Regina, SK) 2008 CUC Result: 8th

Annual top eight team that just seems a shade lower that the elite teams in the division. The new provincial rivalry between Mangina and the Tommy Douglas Dream Machine will be an exciting one.

Grand Trunk (Toronto ON) 2008 CUC Result: 6th

Last year's surprise team used a zone of death to secure a quarter finals birth and had an excellent tournament. Their final placement was deserved.

This year, Grand Trunk quietly put together the best squad they have ever had in terms of overall depth and potential. Loic Dalle and the leadership use the summer tourneys as they were meant- as practice for nationals.

I've been on this teams bandwagon all summer and No Borders did nothing to quell that support. Watch out for Mike and Dan Hassell as this will be their break out tournaments.

WWTP (Halifax, NS)
2008 CUC Result- DNP

Thanks to a reader's post, we now know that this is a combo team of Red Circus, Blue Carnival and Masters players from the Halifax area.

Red Circus has had a strong season lead by veterans Matt Hogel and Mike Lovas. Blue Carnival made an appearance at Jazzfest this year and had a strong performance. Depending on the makeup of this roster (how many Red Circus players are in atteandance) this team might pool B the toughest pool of day one play.

Pool C
Blackfish (Vancouver BC) 2008 CUC Result- 4th

Blackfish is a great story of a team formed in Vancouver around 2006 under the shadows of Furious George. Independantly, they were able to quickly assemble a team and culture that could compete with the best in Canada.

In 2009, the many retirements of Furious meant that Blackfish suffered some major losses to the Monkey. However, solid leadership and core talent remains and the team will be looking to repeat their 4th place showing last year at CUC.

Too Bad (Toronto On) 2008 CUC Result- 10th

Toronto's baddest group of loosely assembled but skillful open players are back. Big hucks, big zone, big party.

Given the nature of the team, it's hard to guage how the team will do, because I am not sure who will be in the lineup. However, Harry Burkman always ensures the team is competitive and I hope he has recovered fully from a recent injury to be present at Nationals.

Sirloin (Calgary AB) 2008 CUC Result- 12th

I was really impressed by the sheer size of this team at CUC 2008. This team overall is huge!

Second year of nationals for this team from Calgary, and I would expect an improvement on their results.

Magma (Montreal QC) 2008 CUC result -DNP

If CUPA gave an award to the captain who did the most to save a proud by fading franchise, the 2009 winner might be Pierre-Paul Champagne. Magma was really an up and coming team in the middle of this decade, but coed and the A-B Mephisto program threatened its existance.

Champagne went through a very tough 2008 season and as he predicted, 2009 sees an improving Magma squad. By no means are they back to where they once were, but they reappear at nationals after a one year hiatus.

Pool D
Mephisto (Montreal QC) 2008 CUC Result- 2nd

Losing the top East seed by tiebreaker would be tough for some teams, but I can't see it affecting the boys from "Downtown.... Montreal" very much.

This team has been there, done that. They always find themselves in the semi finals and they have the leadership to rebound from any situation. If you saw Mephisto on day one at CUC 2008, you would never think they would be in the finals. Yet, as always, they made adjustments, ramped up their play, and finished second in the tournament to a stacked Nomads squad.

They also have kept up the results despite some major roster changes and program system. They went with more youth in 2008 and adopted a B team. No short term results were felt and long term they have helped ensure Mephisto's future. That's good leadership.

General Strike (Winnipeg MB) 2008 CUC Result: 7th

In 2007, they were the team that impressed Furious's Andrew Lugsdin the most and really made an impact in a worlds qualifying year. In 2008, there were rumblings that this team was on the cusp of winning it all.

Now comes 2009, a hometown nationals and a lot of pressure for Strike. Everytime I've seen this team play I have thought that a national title is in reach. The look like a big organized group that is ready to roll with the best.

Can Mark Lloyd and Strike win gold at home? We'll know very soon.

ROY (Toronto On) 2008 Result: 14th

Last year Toronto's C team ROY experienced one of their weakest incarnations. The team is much better this year and their usual swagger/moxie is more justified.

This team will set their site on other city's B teams and will look for upsets.

Tommy Douglas Dream Machine (Saskatoon, SK) 2008 CUC result: DNP

The award for absolute best CUC team name goes to TDDM!

CUPA welcomes this team and city back to the open division and I think they might be the team with the best chance to finish above their seed after starting the day ranked 4th in the pool.


Dalhousie said...

WWTP is a Halifax open team that combines players from Halifax's open team Red Circus, Halifax's master's team, some developmental players from Halifax, and some pickups. We're going to play hard and see what we can achieve.

ryan said...

Great analysis, but make some predictions! Semis, finals, champs for each division.

Big Smooth said...

I heard Mark Lloyd is playing for Tommy Douglas now. His girlfriend plays on Swarm and since that team didn't qualify for CUC, she moved to Saskatoon and will only date a guy that plays in the same city. It's a messed up web of love of plastic but it hurts Strike in the end. Word is a bunch of guys on the team got into a brawl last week in Fargo too. Parker reportedly has a broken hand and a few other guys still can't open their eyes. Don't mess with... North Dakota.

jordomeron said...

trainor this is a great preview! despite gt's extremely low seeding due to some unfortunate games this season, i definitely think that semis is possible for them. they have some huge players and i have a good feeling about them this year.

andysiy said...

looking forward to see how mark lloyd and his general strike boys do this weekend. I'm expecting big things buddy