Friday, June 18, 2010

Preview: Northern Flights 2010, No Surf 2010


Ultimate action this weekend in North Bay and Cleveland.

Northern Flights

The 22nd annual Northern Flights tournament takes place in North Bay, Ontario this weekend.

18 teams are registered this year, comprised of a mix of touring, pickup, and local squads.

The tournament favorites are a GOAT/Lotus + friends squad named The Dockers, champions for the past two years and three out of the last four years.
No Surf- Open

Cleveland's big tournament has a strong pool of open teams.

In addition to a high number of Canadian teams, (Maverick, Too Bad, ROY, and Grand Trunk) the tournament has added some stronger US teams to the mix. These include 2009 USA finals team Madison Club, a split squad of fellow USA finalist Madcow, LouEVIL (KY), Direwolf (Pittsburgh) and the always gritty BearProof.

No Surf- Women

The women's bracket for No Surf is much smaller and much more modest than their open counterpart.

Canadian content will be represented by Lily of Toronto.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

FlowerBowl 2010 Review- Open Elite Division

Author: Alex Davis, Furious George

Flowerbowl (June 5-6, 2010) is Vancouver's hometown showcase tournament, and the earliest of the season in Northwest. Its cachet rises and falls, depending on the year, the timing of the major heavyweight tournaments and the objectives of the nearest clubs. Regardless, it is Furious George's home turf, and every year the Monkey can be found there, plying its trade and tuning up for the season. This year, with the timing and costs of WUCC2010, U23s, and WJUCs, the tide of talent rolled back into Vancouver again, turning Flowerbowl once more into a pitched battle.

Elite Open Division- Pool Play


Vancouver's national-level touring team is farming a lot of talent this year, sending players to all three world championship events. The talent pipeline has been good to Blackfish, replacing graduated veterans with younger pick-ups like Gordon Harrison, Jordan Tessarolo and Bobo Eyrich. Still, losing two former captains to Furious makes it difficult to direct all that raw talent, so Blackfish can expect its early-season tournaments to be learning experiences. Although they struggled with better-honed opponents like Furious, Sockeye, and ECU they gave a solid showing in a loss against Rhino (8-12) and took wins from Winnipeg and UBC, going 2-4 in pool play.

Furious George

The Monkey's roster looks largely unchanged after 2009's changing of the guard, and skillwise, well ahead of the mark from last year at this time. Still, the majority of Furious' D-line joined Invictus for this weekend and left something of a skeleton crew to navigate six games of pool play. Nevertheless, Vancouver held the fort, going 5-1 with only one loss (12-10) against Sockeye in a turnover-heavy game that both sides admitted was stilted and uninspired. Setting themselves up for a rematch in the final, the Fish and the Monkey later delivered a real crowd-pleaser.


The Fish will never die, one has to conclude, as Seattle continues to find substitutes for each name-brand veteran who moves on. Sockeye has changed its roster quite a bit in the last two years, but they thrive anew every year. The Fish added to the weekend's identity-confusion by donning basketball singlets and playing as the "Seattle Hoops" for pool play. Despite an awkward first game against Furious, they pulled out a victory and came down hard on Invictus in the showcase game, going 6-0 before the final.

Emerald City Ultimate

ECU of Seattle is Danny Karlinsky's brainchild, combining elite ultimate with a mission of spirit and charity. To this end, he has recruited an impressive team, with veritable museum of stars past and present. Most of ECU's marquee players were not hand for the weekend, but ECU still played a fast and grinding game, quarterbacked alternately by Karlinsky and Jeremy Noorden.


Rhino of Portland, Oregon, grows steadily more dangerous a threat every year. Franchise player Matt Melius is difficult to contain, and when working in combination with deep-strike Tim, the offense never shies away from a late huck at the endzone.

Winnipeg U35 Junior All-Stars

Keeping TDs and captains everywhere guessing as to the true meaning of this moniker, a General Strike contingent landed in Vancouver and picked up local talent (notables Andy Siy & Pat Dowler, to name a couple) to enjoy some early-season competition against the Northwest. They impressed with an uncanny ability to score on fast and flat hucks despite surging crosswinds, but their greatest victory of the weekend may have been convincing Tyler Kinley of Sockeye and Danny Karlinsky of ECU that they were in fact a national team of sorts (no kidding).


Another mysterious name for the weekend, the scatologically inclined "3-Coiler" was in fact Calgary's Invictus, with most of its WUCC roster on hand to practice as a team. Invictus has drawn heavily on Edmonton and Vancouver for players, producing a team that may yet prove to be a real contender in Prague if it can sync up its different components and personalities. Invictus went 3-3 in pool play, losing only to better-prepared teams Sockeye, Rhino, and Furious George -- the latter in a predictably fierce and spirited game that forced the tired Monkey to run. Invictus suffered a bad rout in the showcase game against Sockeye, in which the Fish exploited both offensive and defensive miscues. Tyler Kinley later observed, "they aren't short on talent, just on chemistry."

UBC Alumni

A handful of UBC T-Birds rounded out the elite men's bracket with their style of casual, fast-and-loose weekend ultimate. A note of caution if you meet them on the field: they may not look too serious, but standouts Eamonn Watson, Mike Aizawa, Blair Hole, and Jordan McPhee, all of TFP 2008 fame, will punish a lazy defense and put you back in your place.

Sunday Playoffs

After six games in pool play, all teams were ranked and paired into finals. The tournament final put Furious George against Sockeye once more, but this time, the Fish graciously agreed to play against Vancouver's full roster now that Invictus had released them for the day.

The game played out in exciting fashion, with Seattle scoring breaks early and late, whilst Vancouver took a strong lead in the middle stretch. Both teams played hard, fast and efficiently, in contrast to their earlier match. While Furious converted on some high-pressure turnovers, Sockeye could not force the same back on the Monkey, who used a combination of creative throws and deep looks (in particular to Andrew Lugsdin) to escape the Seattle defense.

Sockeye mounted a trademark late-game comeback that recently won the final for them at TEP Medellin, but this time Vancouver closed out the game at 15-12 -- the first time they have defeated Sockeye since WUGCs in 2008.