One of the most important areas of growth in Ultimate is Juniors. Unlike most other sports most Ultimate players are introduced to the game late in life. In the past few years there has been an explosion in the number of Juniors participating and touring. USA Ultimate noted Juniors as their largest growth demographic last year and many other national organizations (such as Ultimate Canada) have made it a priority.
In Ontario there are a few major Junior Ultimate hubs: Toronto and Ottawa but they’re distinct in their development. Ottawa has developed a home grown program while Toronto has drawn from a wildly successful series of high school programs from Aurora. Other parts of Ontario have experience sporadic success with players produced from Juniors programs in Barrie participating at a higher level but nothing compared to the strong and large Juniors programs in the two large aforementioned cities.
For the past few years numbers have been growing in South-West Ontario and in their inaugural years Guelph Juniors Ultimate hopes to attract players from the area (Guelph, KW, Cambridge) and develop a strong system.
Waterloo Region and Guelph have developed strong teams over the last decade with Mixed teams Liquid (Ontario Champions) and MuD (top 8 at CUC in their first year) contributing to development. More recently Liquid split their men into Maverick (Open) and the ladies migrated to MuD (Mixed) or PPF (Women’s). With three high level teams in the area inspiring Juniors a number of teachers and proper adults (unlike us touring players) have decided that it’s time to develop the next stage: Juniors.
Coached by Jason Murray, Thomas Black, and Eddie Cheung the program is off to a strong start with plenty of experience. Jason holds a Level 1 UPA Coaching certification and is well established in the area with plenty of experience with local teams and leagues. Thomas is a well traveled touring player coming out of the Aurora programs and holding a U19 World’s Silver and a U23 World’s Gold. Eddie has played on DIRT, UoG Open Team, and spent quite a few years coaching high school Ultimate. Combined they each have strengths that may not produce a championship team this year but you can guarantee that they will shake up the traditional power structure from the get go.
If you’re interested then here are a few words from Eddie as well as their website: www.gjultimate.ca
In it’s inaugural year, GJU is seeking young players(14-18) from Guelph and surrounding areas to join a newly formed juniors touring team.
Guelph Juniors Ultimate was first founded with a group of players with a similar goal, bringing Ultimate to those junior players that are interested, and give them the tools and training to allow them to play at a competitive level.
Under the guidance of Coach Jason Murray, Assistant Coaches Thomas Black and Eddie Cheung, the team will start its season late April. They will have practices and games twice a week over its season, with a couple of tournaments sprinkled on weekends, and eventually, the team will hopefully be competing in the 2011 Canadian Ultimate Championships in August.