Ontario Open Regionals are upon us this weekend. Waterloo is the host, and KW's WODS organization will do a fine job I am sure.
As an Ultimate Canada board member and someone that works in the sport events business world, I see regionals as a very important thing for our sport. We should have regionals for every region, making it an important part of our Championship series. It's good for competition, and it's very alluring for businesss and cities/areas that want to bring ultimate to their communities. It should be a tournament and an event people want to be part of and see. Right now, we seem to be headed in a good direction with regionals. Notably, the maritime regionals had its best turnout on record this month. (PEI Ultimate readers, send me a Magnum PEI jersey!!) :)
My only hope is we can time regionals away from key tournaments (like No Borders, JazzFest, Team Canada tournaments) that take place in July each year. Perhaps setting up regionals in June might seem early to some but gives time for teams to properly prepare and regroup for August nationals.
Open Regionals- Preview
According the online schedule, we have the following teams:
- Phoenix (Ottawa)
- Moondoggies (Toronto/Various)
- Maverick (KW)
- Too Bad (Toronto)
- Grand Trunk (Toronto)
- Firebird (Ottawa)
- ROY (Toronto)
This might be the best group of seven teams at an Ontario regionals yet. Realistically, all teams could make the top 10 at nationals, but sadly one team won't get that chance.
Phoenix from Ottawa finished 2nd at CUC last year and just finished a trip to Worlds and a 2nd place finish at No Borders (despite missing many players during that weekend. The team is flat out strong this year, at the CUC and UPA/USA level. Injuries and absences might affect their performance this weekend, but the goal is simply to qualify and that should be an easy task.
Moondoggies from Toronto will most likely feature young, up and coming GOAT players with strong college/open players from the Vancouver/southwestern Ontario region. (If it is the same team that won No Borders last year). The CUC conflict with the Emerald City Classic might change the roster a bit.
Maverick from KW are having a great season. They finished 9th at CUT, 5th at No Surf, and won JazzFest. Like Phoenix and Moondoggies, they must qualify for nationals, gain intel on their opponents and avoid injuries at this home tournament.
Too Bad is always a tough team to gauge due to the fluidity of the roster. I must have stated that 900 times since I started this blog. If they are going to have strong ex UWO players like Rene Frye and Mike White to run down big hucks, they should figure to grab a spot to nationals.
Grand Trunk from Toronto continues to build towards nationals. 2009 CUC was a bit of a dissapointment for the squad, as they didn't fully capitalize on the evident talent they possessed. Their 2010 team looks very impressive again. Regionals should be a perfect gelling excercise.
Firebird of Ottawa is back after a one year hiatus, and they look like a young, strong club. Featuring a number of ex Phoenix players, the 'Bird had a very strong No Borders and should be a tough matchup with a full roster this weekend. Particular strong play recently has come from Colin Froats and Matt Godkey.
ROY of Toronto had a very strong Jazzfest and impressed many at No Borders this past weekend. Coaches Nate Brown and Brad Amson have done a good job of getting results out of a young athletic bunch.