Saturday, August 15, 2009
Finals: Open has Phoenix versus Mephisto
Mixed has Onyx versus Chaos
Women has Stella versus Lotus
(I think)Junior had Blackout versus Vortex. I assume Blackout won.Master, Glum beat Figjam (easily).
See everyone at the staium tommorow. Live feed from iamultimate.com
Friday, August 14, 2009
Day 2 is rain delayed... I feel the TD's pain!!!
Here is a summary of the day one results
- Invictus wins pool A, Karma upsets Demon and plays Invictus close before falling to Sofa Kings
- Phoenix wins Pool B comfortably, seeds hold place
- Blackfish has a very strong 3-0 day, while Magma upsets Sirloin
- General Strike wins pool D, beating Mephisto 13-12. Tommy Douglas Dream Machine beats ROY and moves into power pools
- Lotus, QUB, Storm and Stella win their original 3-team pools
- Storm has a very strong day, giving up only 3 points in the first two games, then beating QUB 13-8
- Ontario/Quebec teams (Lotus, Stella, Storm, QUB, PPF) look strong
- Pool A sees the big upset of the day, as Gecko beats TFP 11-8 to win the pool
- Liquid wins Pool B, Monster upsets Pandemic to take 2nd seed out of the pool and go 2-1
- ONYX goes 3-0 to take pool c, beating Psychoplastique 15-8 to take top seed away. Discgraceful from North Bay lost two games by two points each but ends up a hard luck 0-3
- Chaos from Winnipeg beats RIP 14-11 and takes Pool D with a 3-0 record.
- BFC from Ottawa goes 0-3 and is mathematically eliminated from quarterfinals along with Wrecjhouse, Discgraceful and Polatouches
- Round robin format continues
- GLUM and FigJam are 3-0 after day one
- Grind from Vancouver and Flood from Winnipeg are 2-1
- Epic from C-town and GOB from Montreal are 0-3
- Right now, GLUM, FigJam, Grind and Flood are the four teams that would be in the semis as it currently stands
- Mofo continues it success with two wins over OJ and Mischief
- Vortex from Fraser Valley BC is also 2-0
- OJ falls early to Mofo and can't recover, goes 1-1
- Blackout from BC goes 2-0 in pool B
- Dirt of Toronto goes 1-1 thus far
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Feel free to post updates from your division of choice.
Results are a little slow today from the tourney website, but I am sure updates will be posted soon.
CUC has a twitter feed.
Tushar is on site and providing updates.
Ocua.ca has an open forum and it is always lively about Ottawa/Key games.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Stephen "Rene" Frye is one of the best ultimate receivers I have ever had the chance to handle for. During our time at Western, he was an incredible receiver with speed, hands and ups that made taller men cry. I once threw deep to him 13 times in one single game versus Michigan at upa sectionals and he scored 12 times, often outjumping two 6'4 + guys who were waiting for him deep . He was a gamer that was able to "deliver the mail" on and off the field.
Frye has never been the type to shy away from other challenges or pursuits, so I was not surprised to hear that he participated on the show Mantracker with his brother.
His episode airs at 8;00 Pm EST on the OLN network on Saturday August 15th.
Asking you to watch the show if you can! I have no idea how he did but it should be an interesting chase.
Here's what the show is all about:
Mantracker, a veteran cowboy and expert outdoorsman trained by the RCMP to track and retrieve missing persons in the bush. He is totally unflappable – even when tracking in extreme weather conditions – and to him, this is no game. His reputation is on the line and he will stop and nothing to catch his prey.
Throughout each half-hour episode, a pair of perfect strangers from different walks of life team up and attempt to outwit and outrun Mantracker to the finish line. For an adrenaline-charged 36 hours, the pairs travel through extremely difficult terrain in regions including the Yukon, Alberta’s foothills or Northern Ontario. Trekking through deep woods, rugged rock face and rushing rivers, the prey has a head start – but Mantracker has a horse – and these adventurers have a target on their backs every step of the way.
3 of our country's best teams will be in Redding, Washington for the Emerald City Classic. Really nice website with team bios for each division.
This is a very elite tourney that aims to attract the best teams in the world and draw international tournament. Sockeye and Riot attract teams due to their talent level, their volunteer efforts and their willingness to financially contribute so that teams from far away can access the tournament more easily.
It is a shame that it falls the same weekend as our own nationals because I would be reviewing and promoting it heavily, but I am sure the ECC and CUPA organizers will work together to make sure it does not happen again.
Schedules for Canadian teams GOAT, Furious George, and Traffic can be found here.
I will save the discussion of "Should all Canadian teams be at CUC" for a later date. I am sure it will be a heated topic that should not take away from nationals discussion this week.
In advance, apologies for any typos in the previews. It's hard to "vacation" out west, work during the day and get the previews out without some typos and errors. Will try and fix name errors asap.
Also, thanks to all visitors for the increase in traffic. This week we went over 75 thousand visitors in the last two years and we set a record for visitors yesterday. Google analytics is a great tool for tracking this stuff. I see a couple negatives already from reader expansion, but I am sure the usual readers will help me keep the site goals (positive, informative) within reach.
Predictions are below.. please feel free to submit/post your own
Semis: Phoenix, General Strike, Invictus, Mephisto
Finals: Mephisto, General Strike
Darkhorse: Grand Trunk
Semis: Stella, Lotus, Storm, Zephyr
Finals: Stella, Lotus
Semis: TFP, Liquid, ONYX, RIP
Finals: TFP Liquid
Semis: GLUM, FigJam, BDU, Fossil
Finals: GLUM, Figjam
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Canada's elite women's teams will be well represented in Winnipeg week. With the exception of the habitually truant Prime/Traffic team, every women's team in this country with a shot of national glory will be in attendance.
Schedule is not posted yet on the website, but it looks like a 12 team field with representation from coast to coast.
Here's my best bet at the rankings:
Lotus (Toronto, On)
2008 CUC Result- 4th
This team has clearly taken a step forward this season. The team has won all but one game thus far in their summer tournament schedule. In their only loss (No Borders final to Boston's Brute Squad) they lost a heart breaker on universe point and could have easily been the victor in that match as well.
I have to think this team is the favorite heading into nationals. Josee Guibord and the rest of the leadership group have established a 3 team system that feeds prospects to Lotus. When you look at this team in 2009, they seem to be very fit and have a lot of the pieces needed for a national champion.
The combination of established vets (Jo Guibord, Kaitlyn Hoodie Lovatt, Hadiya Roderique) with the emerging talent (Jordan Meron gets quality minutes already just turning 20, and Malissa Lundgren will be able to act as a tall aggressive handler for many years) and the performance of B team Lily makes me think this year might be the start of many great results.
Wild Rose (Calgary AB)
2008 CUC Result- Did Not Play
A new calgary squad that takes over from last year's bronze medalists (FLO) as city representative and nationals hopeful.
Their summer schedule was much lighter than teams in the east, but their ability to play teams like Zeitgeist, FURY, Schwa and Safari were valuable experiences regardless of the score. (and some of the scores were not pretty)
Storm (Montreal QC)
2008 CUC result- 2nd
Year two of Lorne Beckman's tenure sees Storm as one of the favorites for the national title once again.
After beating host Stella in the No Borders 2008 Saturday showcase game, this Montreal sqaud probably thought the CUC title was theirs when they met Stella in the finals. It failed to materialized, but all the hard work and progress of the season was not lost.
A very busy summer season with 2 tournament wins (White Mountain Open and Jazzfest) in four tournaments ensures this team has practiced and played enough to be ready for this week when it counts the most.
Sonia Krajicek, Karou Matsui, Marie-Ève Latendresse and Genevieve Dufresne are some of the longest serving and productive members of the team.
Fusion (Winnipeg MB)
2008 CUC result - 5th
The local team this year will impress. We had the honor of having a large part of this team come to No Borders this year under the name Toba Party, and they were as talented as they were easy to deal with.
Leah Parker and her teammates present at Borders 2009 crushed lower seeded squads on day one and impressed several Brute Squad players with the performance they gave versus the eventual champs in quarters. Particularly striking to me was that there were several players on the team that seem to have a unique blend of youth/skill and athleticism.
With a full squad and home field advantage, I can't see this team not having a good tournament.
Stella (Ottawa On)
2008 CUC Result- 1st, Champions
Last year's champs drop due to tournament seeding protocol and a summer of record rainfall which prevented key matchups for seeding.
This team is missing some players like Ally Lemay-Flynn (Baby) Anita Benoit (Knee) and Alex Benedict (World Travel) but the majority of the championship team from last year remains. They are still an elite team and will be a fixture in the semis at the very least.
You can expect the team to be lead by Kate Crump, Anne Mercier, and Danielle Fortin. Behind that trio is a plethora of skilled veterans like Jenna McBride, Sonia Komenda, Kathryn Pohran, and Cheryl Wadasinghe. Currently, their major deep striker is Liz Love. Love is a former Liquid and Ringers of Fire player who is one of the most fit women in division, albeit a little undersized for her role.
Zephyr (Vancouver BC) 2008 CUC results: DNP
Last year's Luna Tide (7th at CUC 2008) is this year's Zephyr. Word has it that the team has taken a step forward amidst the change and is excited about the final.
Much like Wild Rose, we haven't seen much of this team and they took some lumps versus very good teams in both Flowerbowl and Solstice.
Expect this team to be a fixture in quarter final play. I can't say enough good things about former teammate and Zephyr captain Nancy Symons.
QUB (Quebec City, QC) 2008 CUC result: DNP
My vote for the most improved squad from the Ontario/Quebec region. The played over four tournaments this summer, finished second at Jazzfest to Storm and seem to have closed a large part of the gap between them and Stella/Lotus/ Storm.
This season has already been a success for them, so look for them to enter the fray with no pressure and new confidence.
PPF (Waterloo, ON) 2008 CUC result: 6th
After a great first season, the team's progress has been slowed in year two. How can we explain the sophmore jinx? Simply by injuries and missing key players during key tournaments.
The loss of captain Darcy Drummond is devastating, but it should be a time for the other athletes and skill players to step forward.
It's not an athletic issue when it comes to this team challenging the titans in the pool. These girls can bring it.
SALTY 2008 CUC Result: 11th
Halifax's finest ladies are back this year and are bringing a much stronger version to the table than 2008. You have to admire the travel Halifax teams do during the season to get the games needed to improve, and Salty proved they should be one of the teams left standing when quarter finals start on Saturday.
Coach Scotty Macdonald has an extremely likable personality (stretching back from his GLU playing days) and he is committed to the Halifax ladies program. His help on the sideline as a leader will be invaluable.
Sirens (Regina SK) 2008 CUC result: 9th
Sirens assumes the usual role of underated and and unknown prarie squad. An annual participant at nationals, this team should expect to be in the middle of the fight for the last 3 quarter final spots.
Mystik (Montreal QC) 2008 CUC Result: DNP
Montreal finally adopts an A-B women's club system and the results for the expansion team have been excellent.
Pulling from a long list of local coed teams that are taking a step back this year, Mystik was able to pick up some veterans to go with the new players who will be prepared for Storm in future years. They don't like the B team label, and they're ready to shed it at nationals.
Lily (Toronto, ON) 2008 CUC result: DNP
I have to admit that I was one of the people who saw the battles between Lily and Scarlett early in the season (No Surf and Jazz) and thought Regionals would have a very close match to determine who made it to nationals.
That was not the case.
With all Lotus and Stella help out of the picture, Lily is clearly the better team this year and will be bringing one big weapon to nationals- a suffocating zone d that will cause trouble for most of the ladies teams in the field. Want a comparison? Think Grand Trunk last year with their zone on day 2 at nationals.
Huge shout out to Lily players and Western alums Michelle Chandler and especially Christine Moore... Moore knows why!!! :)
By popular request, the master's division is getting its own review. 2008 saw a two team battle between Calgary's Figjam and Ottawa's GLUM. GLUM was still seething from the loss to Toronto's Tombstone in 2007, and losing their chance for a Worlds 2008 opportunity. Figjam wanted to win at home. In the end, GLUmw as victorious and former Phoenix player Blayne Ferguson was nationals MVP.
List of teams for 2009 is here.
GLUM (Ottawa On) 2008 CUC Result- 1st, Champions
First off, congrats to GLUM player Chowder on his recent nuptials. Way to close the deal Agent Andy!
Most fans of the division thought GLUM was very much the best team in the division last year when they won the title. They team features players from the former WaX, Phoenix, and GLU teams that represented Ottawa's open program for years.
Captains Mike Hill and Jamie Noonan did not sit idle during the off season and added some excellent talent. Most notable is speedster d player Simon Teather, offensive cutter specialist Derek Hodgson, and lefty Seton Steibert who is currently playing dominant ultimate. They and others have been added for their speed and talent, and will be a huge compliment to the existing talent.
Using No Borders as a tune up, the team now has a better sense of what needs to be worked on before this week and the UPA fall series.
Figjam (Calgary AB) 2008 CUC Result- 2nd
If anyone is knocking the GLUM team off the top spot, it is this team from Calgary. An annual competitor at nationals, they too might be on the recieiving end of some newly minted master aged players that will make the switch from open.
Friday at 1:45 pm will be the most highly anticipated round robin game in the division. If you have the bye, you want to watch GLUM/FigJam at field #4
Fossil (Toronto On) 2008 CUC result- 3rd
Hopes are high for Toronto's only masters entrant. As one player explained about his team:
"The team has a number of big, fast players, especially on the D-line. An active, aggressive D is going to be our calling card this year. We have our eyes firmly set on improving from bronze last year, with GLUM right in the cross hairs. Add in Danny's (Jose) bottomless bit of positivity, and anything's possible :)"
Flood (Winnipeg MB) 2008 CUC result- 4th
Local team that was 4th in last year's tournament is quitely seeded at the same spot this year. According to the schedule, this team could easily make it to semis and have a chance for an upset.
You would have to think that there are many former Chaos and open players who could easily be available for this team.
GOB (Montreal, QC) 2008 CUC result- DNP
Finally, a masters team from Montreal, or Quebec in general after a one year absence! They didn't exactly have a blistering summer schedule, but the one tournament they did attend saw them fare well versus a number of open squads.
If they pick up some former Mephisto players they may make life very difficult for the other teams looking to grab semi spots.
Grind (Vancouver BC) 2008 CUC result- DNP
Not much to say about this team, except I often think with the Furious retirements and Vancouver talent pipelines, a masters team from this city will one day emerge and be quite strong.
We'll see if it is this year.
Bad Daddy Ultimate (Ottawa, ON) 2008 CUC result- DNP
The 2006 national champions are back! Lost in the hoopla surronding powerhouse GLUM is the fact that BDU is a very strong team in its own right.
Most notable is team leader Mike Belanger, Ken Maclean, and Keith Bourdon. Wah Phung Lu is an incredible thrower and the team has players that have played on winning BDU and GLUM teams in the past.
EPIC (Calgary AB) 2008 CUC result- 8th
It's not easy finishing last in front of the home crowd last year. It won't be any easier flying to Winnipeg and having the same result this year.
With nowhere to go but up, this team should be set on improving their seed upon final placement. Failing that, they still get to play a game they love and enjoy, and that is a real reward in itself.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Fresh off a trip to Seattle (Ballard area and its Locks, underground city tour, Mariners game and Tulalip outlets are highly recommended), I am working remotely from Vancouver from the week and will be dropping by nationals on Saturday/Sunday. Can't help but notice the excitement on numerous social utilities about nationals. The open crown is up in the air, as is the women's and junior title.
The Mixed division features the returning national and world champions, and a more competitive pool of teams than we possibly have ever seen. It's very easy to predict one of the teams that we will see in the finals, but the other finalist is anyone's guess.
This year's nationals carries two major prizes
-A national title
-A berth at world clubs in 2010 for at least the top three (3) clubs
2008 CUC result- 1st, Champions
Team Fisher Price (TFP) is the defending national and world mixed champions. Let me elaborate a little further... they have won the mixed national title in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008 and they haven't lost a national title they have competed in since they began. Straight from juniors to national mixed dominance.
What is really amazing is that this is such a young team still, with the majority of their talent still around the 20-25 age. Kira Frew, Brandon Wong, Jordan MacPhee, Scott Hislop, Russell Street, Andrea Cheng, Tiffany Liu and last year's MVP Kevin Cheung are just a few of the many players who have dominated so long at such a young age. Injuries and apathy seem to be their only foes.
Their gameplan appears to be quite simple- Younger than opponents, faster than their opponents, more efficenient offensively and defensively than their opponents, and more experienced winning and winning together than opponents.
Watching Ontario regionals and Quebec teams at mixed up, I would say that they better be able to cut down on the regular turnovers we see in this division, because TFP will make teams pay.
2008 CUC Result- 10th
Sherbrooke's A Team had a 2008 of great interest to the ultimate fan. They performed extremely well all summer in several major US and Canadian mixed tournament, and then the wheels simply fell off at nationals. The fact that this team failed to make top eight at nationals last year was shocking.
This year, the team has once again taken on a heavy summer schedule and has many results versus Canadian and American foes that can be looked at in a very positive light. My feeling is either on the cusp of a big nationals breakthrough, or is headed for another disappointment. Opponents have pointed out to me that this team has played well despite tremendous injuries, and if they can get their players back for nationals, they will be a formidable foe.
Rather than focus on particular players, I would have to focus on how great the Sherbrooke league has been in producing coed teams from its cities. It appears as through the sole focus of the city is juniors (three teams) and coed squads. It seems like there are great things coming out of Sherbrooke, and that momentum will keep going regardless of 2009 CUC results.
OUI UC (Calgary)
2008 CUC Result- Did Not Play
Sadly, a team with great leadership and promise (Bronco) is no longer a squad and won't be at CUC 2009. Sad that the leadership of Jeff Sill is missing from CUC this year.
A new team at the national level with a very limited amount of experience available to study. They have played in Hodown, Potlach, and Kelowna tournaments this summer with mixed (so punny) results.
I would not expect this team in the finals, but they may give many east teams a tough time as an unknown and unpredicatable opponent.
Wreckhouse (St John's, Newfoundland)
2008 CUC Result- Did Not Play
That's right folks. The Newfoundland invasion to nationals starts this year.
While a team full of St John's finest would be enough to make an impression on the culture and atmosphere of a nationals event, the team has decided to join forces with one of the greatest co-ed party captains of all time- Ottawa's Gavin "Zone Buster" Thompson.
Aside from any results, having a team from this province is a fantastic step for Canadian Ultimate and hopefully a sign of things to come.
Until Dockers of North Bay/Toronto becomes an entrant at nationals, Ontario's best hope for mixed glory practices out of Waterloo.
The more I talk about Andrew Higgins, the more he gets teased by his team. Luckily for him, I've seen more of his team through tournaments and online coverage and he has many teammates of both genders that help make the team the success it is. Craig Hyatt is one of these people.
I really like the fact this team has set a goal for world clubs qualification. All their tournaments (TUF, Regionals, Mixed UP and the open/womens tourneys they have gone to) have been important practice grounds for their end goal.
They lost a two point game to ONYX in the Mixed UP final and that has to be a small concern. However, if you watched the way they involve their women and execute clear clean offensive strategy, you have to be reassured this team will go far.
Pandemic (Vancouver BC) 2008 CUC Result- DNP
Who is this new team from BC you ask and why did they get such a nice seed? Well, these relative unknowns are making their first appearance at nationals this year. The scouting report on the team are that they are very young and fast.
Past results include a 3rd place finish at a Whistler tourney which I had never heard of (Alpenglow?) and a one point lost in the BC mixed regionals to TFP. Word has it that TFP was missing many good players, but a one point loss to TFP puts them in solid standing when it comes to the speculation game.
Monster (Toronto ON) 2008 CUC result- 6th
This team has shown a remarkable commitment to building a solid team through loyalty to a stable core of players for over 4 years. Last year, it seemed like this was THE team to beat out of the east going into nationals and it simply didn't happen.
Results through the summer have been decent but Liquid appears to have taken a step past them. Their website and upa site has stated for years that a 2010 berth to World Clubs was the goal, so it is finally time for the Leung brothers, Jed Henley, Stephanie Hui, and the other Monsters to make good on promise.
Polatouches (Sherbrooke QC)
Before you judge this team because it is a b program to GECKO, just remember that Sherbrooke has no open or women's teams, and thus mixed has access to all local talent. Polatouche grads such as Kevin Bosa have come to Ottawa and played in the new Men's elite league and have played very well.
I think everyone was a little surprised with Pyschoplastique's 3rd place finish last year. However, with the performance of Bostrich in 2007 (4th at CUC 2007) and the lack of a men's team and women's team, you would have to figure Edmonton would have a strong entry in Mixed and they did.
So here's the question, is Pyschoplastique ready to make it to finals this year? Hopefully they have improved and have helped a very untapped ultimate market in this country.
ONYX- (Quebec City QC) 2008 CUC Result- 2nd
Last year, ONYX was built on former open players and some solid females with the hopes of winning national gold. For a first year team, everthing went according to plan until TFP came in the finals. I watched that finals, and it's like TFP and the windy conditions hit this team like a big truck! They were not the team that looked so strong all year long.
Good teams learn from experiences and ONYX is no exception. Their leaders realized they needed to go out and recruit to shore up the team, and as a result added pieces to be ready for the war of attrition that is the summer season and three-four day national tourney. The goal was to have three full lines of men and women. Unfortunelty, ONYX (and Sherbrooke rivals Gecko) have been very seriously hit with major injuries this seasons and their big rosters have been dwindled.
One more year of experience and loaded with talent, ONYX enters CUC 2009 with a strong roster and high hopes. The team was built with a focus on height, speed, defense, handling and intensity. Challengers beware!
Mayhem (Hamilton, ON) 2008 CUC result: 8th
At first I have to admit I was not excited about this team's chances this year. I ddn't hear much from this team all year, and they were absent from both the Montreal and Ottawa mixed events. However, when I did my proverbial homework I found that this team had a very strong Ontario regionals and played very close to the two main Ontario rivals- Monster and Liquid.
Don't be suprised if this team makes a quarters appearance on Saturday. Darkhorse quarters pick!
Discraceful (North Bay, On)
2008 CUC Result: DNP
If you don't know, North Bay is one of the biggest overachieving ultimate frisbee towns in the nation. Kids simply play frisbee in this small city and they simply are "good at ultimate", meaning they show up in other towns and colleges and have the field sense and atheltic savvy you have to teach other people for a long time.
This new team is lead by Norah Larsh and I can honestly say from my experiences at Western the lady has proven she can lead a team of all types. If she is able to get some of the North Bay talent I have heard might be on this team to Winnipeg and on the field, they will be a tough opponent.
2008 CUC Result- 4th
I can't think of anything tougher in sport than finishing fourth at nationals. RIP had to experience that very fate last year.
Montreal seems to have merged some of their coed teams into a more concentrated effort this year. RIP is now clearly the A team in Montreal and they are clearly focused on a better result in 2009.
I've already discussed the strengths (many) and weaknesses (few but clearly apparent as it relates to facing TFP) of this team from the Mixed Up review, and it's simply show time.
Chaos (Winnipeg, MB)
2008 CUC Result- DNP
It's hard to believe that it was 2003 (6 years ago) when I saw this very team from this very town win the right to represent Canada at the 2004. Times have changed, and the home town team will be hard pressed to repeat that magic.
For a team with such a history, we don't know much about them given their small summer schedule of tournaments. Outside of the MUDI tournament and a couple close matches versus UPA finalist Chad Larson Experience, this team has not been seen.
Tundra (Toronto, On) 2008 CUC Result- 12th
To me, it looks like Tundra and fellow Toronto team Monster are at a much more even basis than last year. I feel bad for their seed, but I think the opportunity for day 2 success and seed is is up for grabs. They beat RIP a mere two weeks ago, and Chaos is unknown.
I can't name all of their team, but I saw many good things out of Craig Froats, Connie Lee, Neil Griffith, Faizal Jaffer and Eric Lau.
A real gem that this team has is Erin "Doctor" Dahlke. Dahlke is a left handed strike talent that has many promising things about her game. She's a relative unknown, she can catch almost anything, and if Tundra has done their job in helping her adapt to comp play, she creates a mismatch for her team's offense. If you don't believe me just watch her get open and play aggresively in lane traffic.
Bytown Flatball Club (Ottawa, On) 2008 CUC Result- 13th
Last year, BFC fell from 2nd to 13th at CUC. This happened despite the fact that some very talented players were added late in the season (let's think of them as playoff rentals if you will). Things didn't click, and the performance suffered. It usually does at a high level.
This year, the team took a roster with less big names that was consistent throughout the year. I think this is a better receipe for success both short term and long term. If players are added, they will be more complimentary additions and shouldn't take away much time from the core group.
When people get excited about this team, they focus talk on Damian Kwok, who has been a D line for the majority of the season. Also Thom Fergusson brings intensity and non stop effort on defence that many teams could learn from.