This year's Montreal Jazz tournament features 16 teams, up from 8 last season. The early favorites, of course, are local elite club Storm. However, club teams PPF, Salty and QUB and Sugar Shack might have something to say about that. Further, some of the unknown American teams might surprise on day one and make noise in the Sunday playoffs.
Storm 2008 Jazz Warm Up
Photo Source (Phillipe Maclean)
Pool A- Storm (MTL), Salty (NS). QUB (QC), and Chrome Ladies (NB)
It is probably a safe bet to predict Storm to take this Saturday pool. The games of excitement (that I would like to watch) will be Salty and QUB. These are two teams that have run their programs for several seasons, and 2009 seems like an up year. Every year I hope both programs take the next step and challenge Montreal, Toronto, and Ottawa.
Photo Source (Phillipe Maclean)Pool B- PPF (Waterloo), Vintage Ultimate (MTL?), Sugar Shack (VT), Hucking Gorges (NY)
Last year I watched PPF play at this very tournament and I saw two major things:
- This team lays out and plays aggresive like an open team, downright exciting.
- This team needs to play more efficently when they face the top teams
Vintage Ultimate may be Alison Fischer's (former Storm captain) tean and feature ex comp players from Montreal and Ottawa. Sugar Shack will hope to enter quarter finals in their 3rd major tournament of the year. Hucking Gorges from Binghamton might shock all 3 teams in the pool, or bomb out entirely.
Pool C- Chinchilla (NY), Lily (TOR), Fingerbell (?) and Chicklets (QC)
Lily should be a team to watch over the next year and half. Their sister team Lotus recently won the Boston Invite and seems to have taken another step to being UPA competitive. Does that mean Ottawa and Toronto might shy away from combining each fall and instead focus on developing their own farm teams? If so, that will be a huge plus to Lily and Feisty.
Two goals for Lily this weekend should be to clean up this pool and win a crossover into quarters, or to beat any future CUC competitors they face during the weekend. Especially Scarlett from Ottawa.
Pool D- Scarlett (OTT), Mystik (MTL), Feisty (TOR) Karma Chameleon (MTL)
If you want season long rivalries, this might be the pool for you. Scarlett from Ottawa looked promising all season last year. They brought in rookie players that were taller, more athletic, and had upside. If they had a larger critical mass of savvy handlers, they would have scared alot of teams.
This year, they lost some of those developing players via coed, moving out of the city or simply real life. So, despite the addition of former Stella player Emily Sangster (many have raved about her athleticism and upside) the team has to start over with a smaller roster but more help from the big club. One player to watch- former basketball player Nathalie Johnston. In her first year of play, Johnston has height, tremendous athleticism and might be a very dominant cutter with the right coaching. It's always exciting to see new players that just need good coaching to harness ability. (Note: Johnston has now moved to Victoria for the rest of the season)
In 2005, Ottawa ultimate was the only program with a men's and women's A-B system. Imastation is the highest form of flattery, and now cities like Montreal and Toronto have equal or better systems to Ottawa. This year Mystik has emerged as a B team for Storm, and they have several familiar names. Anik Turcotte and Brenda Campbell are two of the players opponents should be watching out for.
Feisty is another women's team from Toronto that is affiliated with the Ultimate Experience. Karma Chameleon is a local team that might shake up this pool.