Thursday, August 6, 2009

Nationals Next Week- Upcoming Previews


Nationals is next week. The web site is located here.

I'll be starting previews tomorrow. I am flying out to Vancouver for the week but will be in Winnipeg next Saturday/Sunday for board stuff and finals action. Can't wait!

Order of Previews


No Borders Party Winners- Correction

Previously, I awarded North Bay and Toronto with the nod. I recently discovered some photos (Courtesy Frederick Li) of the Halifax men's and women's teams that make me have to add them into a three way tie for the title.

If you have photos of the tournament or the party, I encourage you to join the Facebook group and add photos.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Huddle Fantasy Draft 2009


Last month I was asked to be one of ten "owners" to participate in The Huddle's first open fantasy draft.

The Huddle Home Page
The Huddle Draft Board
My Evaluation of the Other Owner's Drafts
Expert Draft Grades

First off, I want to say thanks to Ben and The Huddle for inviting me to take part in such a project. I had produced reports/papers for some professional hockey teams on player evaluation based on my masters work, but I had never taken part in a fantasy draft. Ever.

It was as time consuming and addictive as I had feared, but I really enjoyed the selection process, the respectful banter between the owners, and the overall experience.

I am a good enough ultimate player to know I’m not really that good. I’m also good enough at player evaluation and general sport management (Sport is my day job and I love to do it) to know that picking players from all over the world without a lot of stats and video out there can be a little subjective and almost impossible to ensure success/approval. Thus, I set out to follow these steps ·

  • Pick only players I know and have seen/played against ·
  • Pick as many well known American players off the board to counter my fellow owners strong suit
  • Use whatever stats I could get from past world events to fill out my board. (Looking at International Players and seeing who played well versus Canada and the US in the detailed WUGC 2008 stats)
  • Have fun with it!
Here are my picks in order of round and selection:

1. Alex Nord- High pick from Sockeye, needed his D, players with his size, expertise and pedigree are rare. This is why big men go number one in the NBA draft.
2. Jeff Graham- He's good, he's all rounded and highly regarded in the East Coast. He doesn't come to my No Borders tournament but gripes will not help me win this tourney
3. Derek Alexander- Phoenix/Furious/Canada player is a freak athlete who players in Ottawa mistakenly try to emulate. It's impossible. He is a great comeback story and more importantly still a world class elite player as a handler or cutter.
4. Moses Rifkin of Sockeye is a great o line cutter. He's well known so he needs to be snapped up. He will keep the offense rolling to allow big plays and he will fit with later picks.
5. Jeff Cruikshank- I wanted a 6'1 + lefty handler with world and UPA hardware overflowing in his trophy room. I also wanted someone I know can throw it anywhere/anytime and has the respect of the very greatest. I think I nailed it
6. David Wesley is a Swedish player out of Gothenberg (Goteberg) who had a great 2008 worlds. He scored 31 goals and did not disappear when he faced Canada and the US. In fact he was pivotal in scoring. Most importantly, I realize other teams are ignoring great teams and I must pick elsewhere to stay covert. English is not a problem for the Swedes.
7. Marc Roberts- Another Furious star that will come out one last time to do what he does- win. I will use him off the bench and will not hesitate to plug him in.
8. Jim Schoettler- Former Jam star and current Bravo player is dominant end zone presence, massive at 6'5, and proven. I'll surround him with players that can compliment him should age be starting to take their toll.
9. Gloves are off. Other drafters either don't know GOAT or disrespect them. Eric St Amant of Mephisto/GOAT is my first pick and Sam Kennedy of GOAT/Canada WG 2009 is my second. Both are huge, both can play elite O and D, and both are peaking/at their prime.
10. GOAT players galore again. I take young handler studs Jeff Lindquist and Anatoly Vasileyev. These are important pieces of the new blood of GOAT that ensured a Boston Invite 2009 win. Lindquist was a World Games alternate this year and Anatoly won gold at 2008 Worlds. I'm shocked they are around.
11. Best sleeper in my draft is James Donovan, unstoppable o line cutter whose absence at UPAS last fall might have been the one thing that prevented GOAT making the final step. (That and respectfully acknowledging the greatness of the very best opponents). Colin Green is a d line cutter/handler that one of the best strength coaches in Canada (Andy Stewart) called "One of the best athletes I have seen, and the best ultimate athlete"
12. Niklas Tehler- Swedish handler from same club team as David Wesley. I get to use him as an o line handler with his teammate who he succeeded with at 2008 worlds against Canada and USA, and he gets to play off Furious teammates Derek and Cruikshank. Final pick is Adam Silverstein of Furious George. Adam is a world ranked fencer who is a lefty d line handler. He is getting into the elite levels of ultimate at 30, but he has one skill that is invaluable- his fencing acumen makes him remarkably skilled at handblocks.

Overall, My team has height, speed, a blend of youth and age, and can be versatile to any weather condition or style of opponent. They also provide an element of surprise to opponents, while most have a great deal of familiarity playing with several other members of the team.

Thanks once again to Ben and the organizers for asking me to participate, and I look forward to taking part in similar drafts if asked. I also want to thank my talented scouting staffs from GOAT/Furious and other teams who helped verify player’s rankings on this owner’s draft board.

London Calling 2009 Preview


London Ontario's annual tournament takes place this weekend. While doing my masters there, I witnessed London's ultimate scene growing in two distinct ways- through the university program and through the local ultimate league. Work done by people like Devin Somers, Dan Barber, Nick Gifford and many others have helped ultimate in London move forward in a positive direction.

Given that nationals is next week, some of the coed teams you would expect to be there are absent. However, I would expect to see some national level players to appear on other teams to get a final tune up before heading to Winnipeg.

The London Ultimate Club site is here and the team list is here.

The favorites from the on site have to be Sick Mitts of Barrie. This team failed to appear at Ontario regionals and thus won't be in Winnipeg. They do not lack talent, featuring Shaw Dungate and Joel Bellavance.

Colorado Cup + NY Invite Results 2009


Just as a follow up to an earlier post.

New York Invite
  • Sadly, it looks like the final was not played and the semis were cut short for weather/other related reasons. Every TD's worst nightmare.
  • Local Squad PoNY has a resurgence in pool play with a 3-1 record. This is much better than past efforts in Cazenovia and Boston
  • Pike of New Jersey also has a much improved 4-0 pool day and makes it to quarter finals
  • GOAT of Toronto goes 4-0 in pool play and was in semis versus Voodoo of Seattle. As said, looks like the game was cut short and Voodoo lead by one.
  • Replicants fron NY/Other areas has a so so pool record but wins a pre quarters game versus a good Rhino team from Oregon.
  • Mephisto of Montreal has an 0-4 day one pool record but makes quarters and beats Pike to secure a 5th place game versus Forge of Pittsburgh. Does not look like the game got played.
  • Phoenix of Ottawa has a strong Saturday and goes 2-2 in pool play but loses their pre quarters game versus Pike by a score of 15-13. The then do what many teams have done all season and take their frustrations out on Colt .45 of Hartford.
Colorado Cup

Elite pool
  • Doublewide from Austin Texas goes 7-0 in round robin to make the finals.
  • The other finalist was determined by a head to head tie break between Jam (San Francisco) and local favorite Johnny Bravo. Bravo beat Jam in pool play and got to the final.
  • Bravo manages to win the final 13-10 over Doublewide and keep the Colorado Cup in Boulder.
  • Texas Shootout champs Prairie Fire from Kansas City go undefeated all weekend and win the Open title. They defeat Texas team Suess in the finals 13-2 and remain undeafeated this season after two tourneys. Probably should have been in the Elite pool given the scores.
  • A couple of successful teams I did not know about before this tournament include Strike Slip (LA), 99 Problems (Denver) and Suess (Austin/San Marcos/Houston)
  • Blackfish of Vancouver (who I should note have snazzy jerseys this year) went 2-3 in pool play and did not qualify for top bracket playoffs.
  • Pool A leaders were San Fran's Fury and Nemesis from Chicago
  • Pool B leaders were Zeitgeist (BAy Area CA) and Pop of Minneapolis
  • All California final between Fury and Zeitgeist. Fury extends their undefeated streak this season to 16 games.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Mixed Up 2009 Review- Quebec dominates Tournament/ ONYX Finals


(Photos courtesy Andrew Leach)

For the second straight weekend, Ottawa defied weather predictions (Lightning was predicted the past two Sundays) and fields below their usual perfect standards to pull off an excellent tournament. Hat tip to Julie Seaborn, OCUA and the volunteer team for their hard work and efforts.

The 2009 Mixed Up Tournament will stand out for a number of reasons
  • 14 (45%) of the teams were from the province of Quebec. Without their tremendous support, the tournament would not have been as strong
  • We had a new champion (ONYX) but a Quebec team took the title for the 4th time in the 5 year history of the tourney.
I had not played in the tournament since 2005, when I captained a pick up team to a 3rd place finish. Using the same formula (a bit more focus on partying which literally wiped half of my guys for Sunday... including T%m "Legend" Edwards who had a Motown 2006 relapse), I quickly found that the number of good coed teams in the power pools had improved, and that the ability to put together a team and dominate is more difficult. I think that's a good sign for coed ultimate in this region.

Pool Play

As one can see here, originally seedings were pretty bang on after pool play. Hometown A team Bytown Flatball Club dropped to last in their pool. Tundra stole 1st in their pool with a win over RIP that was.. ahem... hotly contested at times. Propehcy needed some local female pickups but ended up beating seed. Trouble Light from Guelph took Pool D by surprise and Hard from Montreal took pool E.

All pool play was capped off by a juniors game featuring Ottawa's A team (OJ) versus Toronto's A team. Ottawa had the lead at the hard cap horn, but the horn was mistaken for soft cap. They continued to play and Toronto managed to win on Universe. Overall, both teams gave a great show to the large group of fans on the sidelines. Should make for an exciting duel at nationals.

With regards to my team ARSE, my review of our opponents
  • RIP- I like their overall team size, like their roster, like the experience of their ladies, I even like their blue shirt color. However, despite pulling out big time on us and winning by a large score, I noticed a couple of concerning things about the team- They weren't creating turnovers, and they weren't being very efficent with the disc. This team has a national title in mind this year, and as such shouldn't be giving 5-6 chances a point to the TFP's of the world.
  • Tundra- Was our second game and we were still figuring out how we wanted to play offence. However, the game was close and well played. We still played like a pick up team figuring out how people worked together, but had some good moments. In terms of spirit, Tundra was great, and I wish I had gotten more names for blog commentary purposes. Of the opponents, Eric Lau had a considerably tough matchup versus Jeff Faulds and held his own.
  • Big Fish- Ottawa's B team missed nationals by a single point and came out firing against us. We kept steadily working out the kinks on offence and converted enough to pull away with the win. Glenn Ford had a strong game for Big Fish handling in the wind, and the real star of the game was a rookie player for Fish, Karl Loiseau (#12) who wreaked some havoc with some great speed and catches. I would be amazed if he is not picked up by the A team for nationals

Sunday Playoffs

Our pre quarters game was against Prophecy and we were iron man. Given the fact our opponents forfeited an earlier Montreal Tourney we had low expectations. We were punished accordingly. In the midst of beating ourselves talking about how fun the Andy R Stewart Experience was the night before, we had to notice that Quebec City's Prophecy played with a really high level of spirit during the whole match.

The same spirit was shown to us from Toronto junior team DIRT. Some very talented girls on the team, and all of the guys on the team (Western student named Adrian, McGill student named Billy) show a lot of promise for their current/future college squads. They weren't able to beat us but it was not for a lack of effort.

Ended the day with a loss to local A team BFC. I am quite certain the final score was much closer than what is posted on the site, but whatever. This game actually had some very good intense points and our offence really looked/felt nice. It kinda got us excited about doing another tourney in the fall should men's/women's upa committments not stand in the way. In terms of BFC, they played much better against us than they did at regionals, and should they be able to cut down on errors with the disc.. upsetting teams at nationals might be realistic.

  • Liquid smokes Prophecy
  • RIP wins by one over Kung FU Grip of Rochester. Grip has ex Zebra Muscle players and has one particluar ex Zebra striker who plays much better every time I see her. As sad as I am to see Zebra not exist, I hope they come up on an annual basis in either coed/open format.
  • Tundra defeats local pickup squad Practice 15-7.
  • ONYX squeaks by Sherbrooke A team GECKO 7-5 (Others report 8-5). Very intense game between these two rivals
Semi- Finals
  • Liquid defeats RIP 13-6. As I said earlier in this post, RIP in no way lacks talent. Apparently, Liquid star Matt Snow has been playing through this tourney and the past year with a torn ACL, and it has stopped him from being noted for his strong play.
  • ONYX took a 6-1 in the semis over Tundra and ended up winning by several points. Despite the loss, Tundra should be expecting best ever results at nationals this year.
Finals-Ontario versus Quebec

Every team I spoke to players from Quebec this weekend, they were excited about nationals, and all of them wanted to know how they matched up against one Ontario team in particular- Liquid. Thus, I had to think Liquid would be the favorites in this final until proven otherwise. At least from a mental edge perspective.

Both teams have people (Andrew Higgins, Stef Wong and Jan Gorski for Liquid, Jonathan Lestage for ONYX) that local fans and yours truly would be rooting for. Sunday Afternoon saw an increase in wind, and thus it would be a small factor in the finals.

Liquid charged out of the gate and took a 4-1 lead. Most coed teams would grow silent and fold after falling behind so quickly.

Not the case with ONYX.

Their D line roared back with 3 straight points and lead the team to a 8-7 half time lead. ONYX managed to pull ahead and time expired to seal the victory.

After losing Quebec regionals, ONYX has restablished themselves as the #1 seed out of the east. More importantly, they and all the other national squads have gotten a sneak peak at the other teams and have to make these last few practices count.

Is there a team that can take down Team Fisher Price? What are your thoughts?