Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Talking with Trainor- Matt Hogel, Dalhousie Ultimate


I was part of the first Dalhousie university team. DKUT was started in 2000 and was lead by future GOAT player Chris Lee and his friend Chris Ford. Playing the game (pick up on parliament hill) for less than a year, I was excited to see the yellow poster in the Commerce building indicating an information meeting in the beautiful King's College quad area. A friend (Andrew McQuinn) and I decided to check it out.

On a beautiful September day, the team was established and practices soon followed. The team was coed because there simply wasn't the interest or competition in the region. I learned a lot from playing on the team and it was a good experience playing with a diverse group of characters.

DKUT (Dalhousie Kings Ultimate Team) has evolved over time. Located in the student mecca city of Halifax and attracting students from all over the world, Going to school at Dalhousie is very attractive and DKUT has also been attractive to many excellent players. GOAT alums John Hassell, Andy Ouchterlony , Chris Lee, James Donovan have played for the team. Ramsey Wright, Brad Callaghan, Loic Dalle, Robert Macleod, Mike Lovas and Maddie Hall are also notable club alumni.

Few players will enter CUUC 2009 with as much experience as Matt Hogel, one of DKUT's current leaders. Hogel has been playing club ultimate (Phoenix, Red Circus) since 2005 when he played with Phoenix. He have been playing university ultimate since 2002 when he started with the Queen's B Team (Superfly).

Hogel joined Queens Mothership in 2003 and was part of one the best canadian unversity open teams on record. The school went to the 2004 UPA college finals and had a dominant run at CEUUC and CUUC championships.

Hogel provided feedback on his experiences, DKUT's expectations at CUUC 2009 and his assessment of ultimate in the martimes.

What's your greatest Ultimate accomplishment?

Qualifying and competing in the UPA College Championships in 2005. Qualifying for the tournament validated the incredible amount of hard work that everyone on the team put in, and being able to compete against some of the best players in college at that time was an unforgettable experience.

What's your worst moment in Ultimate?

Failing to qualify UPA club championships in 2005. Not being able to win games we expected to be able to win, and missing out on a great opportunity to play at the highest level in ultimate was very disappointing.

Favorite tournament city?

Boston. Nice fields, always good competition and if you can get into town there's plenty to see and do.

Favorite Opponent? (Team/Individual)

Haven't played College ulitmate in a while, but the most enjoyable team I ever played against was Texas. Staying closer to home, I enjoyed the rivalry that Queen's had with Guelph in the two years I played with Mothership. I can't say I have a favorite individual opponent. I enjoy playing against players I know and who know me.

Who's the best University player in the game today?

I am very uninformed regarding the players in the college game today, but with that in mind, if there is anyone playing right now that is better than Kielen Way I would love to see them play. He's like the 5-tool player in baseball. He can do everything and he has that competitive fire on the field that keeps him from getting complacent or relying in his skill alone.

Who's the best ever during your time?

Josh Zipperstein. I still don't understand how anyone is able to defend him. Staying inside Canada, Adam Melnyk. Aside from his abilities on the field he is the best leader I've ever played for.

What are DKUT's expectations at CUUC 2009?

We are limitted by the fact that we haven't played any tournaments together since UPA sectionals last year. We have plenty of depth, and a good veteran core. We will be looking to find our rhythm through the first couple of days and play our way into a quarter-final. After that, anything is possible.

Describe the state of ultimate for Atlantic school teams in general. Will we see more Atlantic schools at nationals soon?

Unfortunately I doubt it. Unless CUUCs come to Halifax or somewhere in the vicinity, they will never get closer than Montreal. With only Dal coming to Montreal this time, you won't see more teams traveling when the tournament moves to Toronto or Winnipeg or Vancouver. Ultimate on the east coast is disadvantaged by its isolation. It takes 11 hours to drive to Boston, 13 hours to get to Montreal and 15 to get to Ottawa. Those are the cities you have to travel to play Open and Women's tournaments. Everything in the area is co-ed which doesn't foster growth of men's and women's teams to play at CUUCs. Schools such as Acadia and SFX only have 8-10 men, and 4-6 women on their rosters. That doesn't allow them to play anything but co-ed. Until we start hosting open and women's tournaments closer to home, I don't see the smaller schools developing anything other than co-ed teams.

What was/is the most aggravating thing about the game?

The ability players have to make questionable calls that benefit themselves and their team. Everyone does it due to the inherent bias in self-officiating. Some are a lot worse than others. Watching the two observed games at Northeastern Regionals this past weekend, it was amazing to see the number of calls that were overturned by observers in those games. I don't think the game should be fully officiated as I like putting the onus on the players to know the rules and regulate themselves, but so long as you have quality observers that you can trust to make the right calls, I like having observers to keep the players in check.

How would you describe DKUT's playing style?

Hard nosed. If a team is going to beat us, we want to make them have to work hard to do it. Nothing is going to come easy.

Which players will DKUT rely on for Offence and Defence respectively?

I have a feeling that people will know who Bobo Eyrich is by the end of the tournament. He is still getting better, but as it stands now he can change a game in multiple ways on either side of the disc.

Given that Dal has a large majority of students who are from outside the maritimes, does the Halifax system help feed players to Dalhousie? Can the Halifax system improve to help foster better development (through Dal and HURL)?

I feel it's the other way around. Dalhousie feeds players to Red Circus (the halifax Open team). I count 11 guys on Red Circus whose first competitive ultimate experience was with DKUT.

Throughout the country, the goal has to be to get kids playing ultimate at a younger age. The next step is to get kids coming to university as great players already. It's starting to happen, but when you look at the quality of the high school system in the states and the types of players they are pumping out, we have a long ways to go. One of the major goals of Halifax Ultimate right now is to foster the growth of ultimate in schools in the maritimes. They are establishing coaches for high school teams and host a high school tournament every year, and are implementing clinics in junior high schools to target kids at an even younger age.


caleeway said...

Hi Steve,

Nice to read about how DKUT is doing these days. Having had the pleasure of playing with and against Hogel, it's good to know that he's bringing his grit and leadership to the Dal team.

A quick correction - Dan Ford was my co-conspirator in getting ultimate at Dal going.

Keep up the good work!


Chris Lee

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