Thursday, June 24, 2010

Boston Invite 2010 Preview


Attention Leominister MA! Make the beds at the motel 6 and clean the restaurant grills! Massachusetts prepares for an annual visit from Canadian open and women's teams. Boston invites some of the best teams north and south of the border for its tournament located in Devens.

Canadian content will be in heavy supply this weekend.


32 teams are in action, with 9 Canadian squads making the trip.
  • Elite Pool includes GOAT (Tor), Phoenix (Ott) and Mephisto (Mtl)
  • Other Pools include Firebird (Ott), Red Circus (Hfx), Grand Trunk (Tor), Demon (MTL), Bloody Gary (Sherbrooke) and Magma (Mtl)
Defending champs GOAT make their first appearance as a full squad this summer. Phoenix will be looking to build on a very strong 2nd place performance at CUT and some big wins against Bodhi and PoNY. Mephisto has 3 strong opponents on day one (Ironside, Pike/Philly combo team and Bodhi) and will look to beat seed.

This will be the first chance we get to see clubs like Firebird, Trunk, Circus and Demon compete in the same tournament, and we will have a better idea of where these teams are relative to each other.

So, who's going to win the Boston Invite this year?

Easterns Womens

With the Elite women's division previously played a few weeks ago, the eastern womens divisions will be the focus of women's play this weekend.

Canadian clubs QUB (Qc), Salty (Hfx) and Mystik (Mtl) are sending squads and are well ranked in the field of eight.


8 teams in the coed division, with a Canadian team from Montreal (RIP).

Format is round robin and all teams seem full squad and highly competitive. It should be another excellent pre worlds tune up for RIP.

Team Canada U-23 Training Camp Report

Submitting Author: Alex Davis, Furious George

Canadian clubs were busy on the weekend of June 19-20, but some competed a little shorthanded while they lent some of their talent to U23 training camps in Vancouver. An elite constellation of young stars met here for two days of hard practice. Regrettably, I did not have the hours to study them all, but I can pass on some modest observations.

I stopped by the men's Saturday practice during a recovery jog (a cabin-feverish attempt to cope with a hamstring strain) to take a look at our prospects. I was immediately impressed by the fluidity and quality of play for a team that had been thrown together on short notice.

Soft-spoken coach Kevin Cheung (formerly of TFP and Furious George) instilled a sense of dedicated productivity into what time they had. I don't know how well it survived a subsequent night of socializing, but the vibe at the time was healthy and busy, with an excited touch of swagger. Skill-wise, most visible at the time I arrived was Jeremy Noorden's command of zone-busting blades. Noorden (USAU college all-region, NW) shows better in the university game than he does in the Open field in part because he can get away with more, and with this complement of receivers, his fearless overhead throws should serve him well against less experienced opponents in Europe.

I also noticed that the men's U23 contingent (that was present at the camp) is not a particularly tall team, with just a couple of players cresting 6'2”. I forgot to ask Cheung about this fact – whether it was a strategic calculation or mere coincidence. With the tall and lanky air force of the USA not in attendance, a shorter, faster roster may yield better match-ups against Japan and Colombia, among other opponents. Nevertheless, the U23 roster is full of deceptive deep and defensive threats, such as utility players Dre Gailits, Aaron Liu, Adrian Yearwood and Mark Lloyd. Underestimate them at your own risk.

On the following morning, Team Canada tested their skills against Furious George, inviting the usual brand of joking, shoving and screaming that comes from playing with some familiar match-ups. Morgan Hibbert's answer to a call by Bobo Eyrich abruptly ended an idyllic Sunday morning for some well-to-do Shaughnessy families.

Canada made a strong start, took advantage of some of the Monkey's lack of finesse and won the early break at 3-2. The two teams otherwise traded points while the Furious defense made adjustments. The Canadian deep defense, though comparatively dwarfed, was positioning quickly and correctly. Their offense shied away from the sidelines and emphatically centred the disc at every opportunity. This latter tactic played a crucial role early on, since it was surprisingly difficult to predict the next dump target; cutters sometimes exchanged dump priority with handlers midway into the stall count, and handlers began dump-cuts unconventionally far upfield. Thus, defenders who had lost sight of their relative positions repeatedly failed to contain unexpected dumps and breaks. Eventually, Furious adapted to this style of play and learned to pressure the resets, forcing turnovers. The Monkey went on to win 17-8.

Outstanding contributions were made by Yearwood's handler cutting, and throws by Noorden and McKnight. The latter two repeatedly made Mark Lloyd an offensive poster child by threading hammers and outside-ins into his hands. Defensively, Nate Dandurand's hustling mark made a strong impression on Furious handlers as well.

Some time ago, after the vote had passed to send teams to Florence, there was a lingering question that irked many of us. How would we assemble an all-star team with so little notice and so little money? Can we comfortably assemble a “national team” if we can't get certain luminaries on it? Eventually, I realized that the question itself was wrong. The chief obstacle any national team (any elite team) must face, I remembered, is its own collection of sense of worth. Every team I have ever played on (and in particular, the most successful ones) really amounted to just yet another group of guys trying to figure out how to play together – and the sooner we realized that, the better we became. When I look at this Team Canada, particularly after this scrimmage, I see faces not content merely to make the cut. One way or another, I don't think we can send a better team than one that looks like that. Good luck, gentlemen. The hunger to prove oneself, sometimes urgent, ravenous and insane, is the greatest weapon I have ever known in sport.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

World Cup 2010- Putting the 'I' in Team


I have been closely following the World Cup this year, as I often do. Once you put national jerseys on in any sport, I become infinitely more interested as many of us do. Every four years, North America tunes in to football/soccer and picks apart the aspects of the game we don't quite understand (The excitement when there are so few goals, lack of replay, the offside rules, the terrible diving and the ties).

For the first time, the World Cup is in Africa, South Africa to be exact. Do we need to have a world sporting event in a place that can't afford the 9 soccer stadiums built, that have cities so unsafe reporters (e.g. Stephen Brunt) are advised not to walk even three blocks without armed escort? That's a moral dilemna. A struggling population has embraced the World Cup, but it's like enjoying a wonderful meal before seeing the final bill. Nobody on this continent will be around for that moment of realization.

Yet we still love the World Cup, and watch it, and continue to support it. It seems like nothing can turn us off this event. We even seem to enjoy the drama of teams self combusting in the middle of the tournament.

Two games in and already teams are turning on each other and their management. Most notably is France. Les Bleus have seen a star player expelled from the team, a captain benched for game three, a player boycott of practice, and several admin and players publicly turning on their embattled coach. Raymond Domenech is certainly hard to love, and hasn't been shy to bash his players that he picked himself. What a mess after two games!

France is not alone. England to be on the verge of collapse and mutiny, less than a week after everyone sang the praise of their coach Capello. Host South Africa's players are yet another team questioning their coach.

Realistically, France benefited from an illegal goal to make the tournament, and they are not the same team that went to the World Cup Final in 2006 and won in 1998. Anyone remaining from those winning squads is four years older, and no replacement has been found for retired star Zinedine Zidane. England is feeling the heat from a soccer mad country, but they seem to be simply not good enough. And South Africa, how are players on the 83rd best team in the world complaining about their coach? They should be glad to be the host, and to have scored a goal!

What happened to 'Praise in Public, Scold in Private'? Everybody seems to be so quick to blame someone else for results that they haven't bothered to finish the tournament as a team. To me, that is a far worse crime than failing to perform.

As ultimate teams (both domestic or international), selfish finger pointing strife mid tournament is a terrible distraction that has very little chance of helping the situation. Commitment to the team, to the game plan (no plan works unless all are on board), and to the leadership is crucial to being a good team member and a person fans and teams can respect.

Monday, June 21, 2010

U23- Team Canada Womens Roster


Several weeks ago Ultimate Canada announced the mens and womens rosters that will represent Canada at the inaugural u23 world championship in Florence, Italy. The tournament will be held July 19-25 2010.

Team Canada-Women's Roster

The women's head coach is Danielle Fortin. Fortin, a club team player for Stella, Capitals and Lotus, won junior gold as a player in 2004 and will play for Lotus at the 2010 WUCC in Prague. Her experience as a coach/player coach includes several university national titles with the Ottawa Gee Gees and a 5th place world juniors result at the 2008 WUGC in Vancouver.

Her 21 player squad will include at least 6 ladies with world junior experience.

Players to watch include Jordan Meron of Western/Lotus (who scored an outstanding 29 goals at the 2008 world juniors), McGill captain and star Rachael Moens and former Ottawa Gee Gee/Stella Alex Benedict, a smooth handler with nice throws.


Alex Benedict
Amanda Ho
Amy Zhou
Clancy Budiak-Jarvie
Geneva Locke
Jeannette Quach
Jenny Lo
Jordan Meron
Kaity Williams
Kat Lee
Lauren Romaniuk
Lindsay Olimer
Lydia Rasmusens
Maria Chau
Megan Thomas
Rachel Moens
Rena Kawabata
Sarah Bobak
Stephanie Mandal
Stephanie Salerno
Valerie Lefebvre

U23- Team Canada Open Roster


Several weeks ago Ultimate Canada announced the mens and womens rosters that will represent Canada at the inaugural u23 world championship in Florence, Italy. The tournament will be held July 19-25 2010.

For various (and valid) reasons, The United States will not be fielding teams at this event, and Canada will only be sending teams in the men's and women's category. Regardless of the lack of US participation, this will be a unique opportunity for some very good players to represent our country at the national level.

Open Roster

The open team's head coach is the young but experienced Kevin Cheung, most notably from Team Fisher Price. Kevin's barely too old for the tournament himself, but he has national championships, a world clubs championship (Perth 2006) and a Worlds title (2008) on his resume already.

Cheung's roster is as follows

U23 OPEN TEAM (World JR year in brackets if applicable)

Cam Harris (2008)
Russell Street (2006)
Jeremy Norden
Will Ranson
Daniel Dantzig (2008)
Graham Landon
John Norris
Adrian Yearwood
Thomson McKnight
Richie Tam
Aaron Liu (2008)
Dave So
Scott Hislop (2006)
Andre Gailitis
Kevin Fong
Blair Underhill
Thomas Black (2008)
Gord Harrison
Kevin Horgan
Kielan Way (2006)
Mike Adams
Nathan Dandurand
Raynaldo Arteaga
Michael Jones
Ernie Lin (2006)
Andrew Watts
Bobo Eyrich
Mark Lloyd (2008)


A very talented squad will represent our country in this division. Many of the players listed have assumed key roles with various college teams throughout the country and with club teams in Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, and Winnipeg.

Clearly, past participation in world juniors was not a requirement for selection. This makes sense for several reasons
  • Players start and stop playing during the 18-23 age period
  • Some players peak and some plateau after junior age
  • Sometimes junior selections are wrong (It's not easy!)

With so little time this summer for the team to practice and play together, you would think it would be a major challenge for team cohesion. However, looking at past world junior rosters, college experiences, and club play, we see that many of the players have experience with other members of this team.

For instance, the University of Western Sharks will be heavily represented by star handlers Mark Lloyd, Scott Hislop, Andrew Watts and the 6'6 Kevin Horgan.

National college champions Carleton Ravens will have speedy Rey ("Rey-Rey") Arteaga and the dominant Kielan Way (Phoenix newcomer Mike Adams is also on the roster). Toronto will have a slew of club players familiar with each other, notably Cam Harris, Adrian Yearwood, Daniel Dantzig, Thompson McKnight, and Michael Jones.

Bolstering the team will be emerging talents like Mephisto's Nathan Dandurand and Dalhousie star Bobo Eyrich.

Cheung has selected some players he is very familiar with as teammates. Hislop, Russell Street, Ernie Lin and Blair Underhill will be vital parts to a winning equation.

With United States out of the picture, Canada should be the pre tournament favorite to win the championship. (2nd in the 2006 and 2008 juniors). However, with many players new to the world stage, and the growing talent levels of teams outside of North America, Canada must be ready to deliver a strong performance in Florence.