Under intense pressure and a breakout of “foot-in-mouth” I am left with little choice but to write about my favourites.
Being a gentleman of Canadian Ultimate persuasion I’m close to and familiar with teams in this part of the world. My travels have also allowed me to learn much about the US, European, and Asian teams (South America, you’ll get some attention from me over the next few years).
Looking at the seedings it’s easy to see that the US is dominating the charts (Tony Leonardo has also pointed this out). Looking across the divisions it looks like WUCC may actually be easier than UPA Finals from past years. While this may seem unpopular consider that the first few days tournament play out much like Sectionals for the top teams. The power pools will have the same feeling as Regionals and finally the last few days should find mostly the US teams facing each other.
What can we expect?
The top 8 teams are incredibly strong. Expect the Buzz Bullets to surprise a few US teams as they don’t have as much experience with them as Sockeye. Skogshyddan FK (Skogs) may be under seeded as they have picked up GOAT players that bring the North American style as well as knowledge of the US teams that they’ll face.
Moving further down the list to the highest seeded Canadian seed we see Mephisto at 11 in a comfortable spot amongst a talented group of teams: Colony (Australia) and Karhukopla (Finland). Even further down the list we find Phoenix (15th) from Ottawa whom, in my opinion, are under seeded. In the last few months Phoenix has shown themselves able to play with the best through close games against Ironside: 12-11 loss to Ironside at Boston Invite last weekend compared to a 15-5 loss in the finals to Ironside in Cazenovia one month ago. If Phoenix can stay focused they should rise in the rankings. The last Canadian team is Invictus in 17th that is seeded quite comfortably as well.
The “bottom” (I put that in quotes because we’re looking at quality teams) of the Open bracket will shuffle as many of the teams are closely matched. It’s always exciting to consider the possibility that a team that has done well in their home country but hasn’t traveled afar will surprise the top teams.
As readers have questioned the big teams missing from Canada that would be in the top 8 had they played in Nationals last year are Furious and GOAT. The absence of the top teams should be considered when Canadian results are evaluated two weeks from now.
Expect much from the US teams and expect more from the Canadian teams. I believe that RIP (16th) is serious under seeded and should shoot up in the final rankings. CHAOS and ONYX both have the ballsy athletic players (both gents and ladies here) to make the spectacular players to keep them in the top 8 and challenge for first. CUS Bologna (21st, Italy) should also move up as many of the Bologna Open players have moved to the Mixed squad. Ah Ouh Puc (25th, France) have also been doing well this season and should be watched for.
The top 8 is too hard to call, on any day any of the teams could take the top spot. The Showcase games should make for some very interesting viewing and you can find the live games on the WUCC website.
The smallest of the divisions it should also be the most uniformly competitive. 2009 Canadian Champions, GLUM, are seeded third and amongst the favourites to win their division. GLUM will be unstoppable should they find the form they had at CUC 2009 in Winnipeg (no team scored more than six points on them).
As is the case in this division the rosters have changed slightly for almost every team due to injuries. Keep an eye out for BIG BOMBERS (11th, Japan) who could find the legs to sneak into the top four.
Leaving the best till last!
Let’s start with one of my favourites: Lotus. Lotus Canada (9th) to be specific as there’s also a Lotus Switzerland (28th) at the tournament. Echoing their concerns Lotus is significantly under seeded given their strong finishes at every tournament they play in. Regardless of seeding they’ll finish better if they want to remain amongst my favourites.
The other Canadian teams: Storm, QUB, and Zephyr are comfortably seeded. Storm will be playing the local Czech team, Hot Beaches, on Sunday evening in a match that will be broadcast live via the WUCC site. The live match should be closely matched and a great way to get a sense of the atmosphere at the Championships.
Keep an eye out for 29th seed Tequila Boom Boom who have surprised the best in the world when they find lines that click.
I hope the above preview provides some insight into the teams playing in Prague.