Well then! The quadrennial event of teams competing to form the selection committee that represents Canada at WUGC has passed and a number of important outcomes should be discussed. I have a few thoughts from my armchair that I’d like to share with you.
First, it’s the last time that we’ll have a large combined CUC barring one of the big cities stepping up and hosting both gender specific CUCs and Mixed CUCs together. From the sounds of things it went very well and congratulations to all of those that made it or participated in the series. Even if you don’t make it you’re an important part of the community that develops and moves our sport forward.
The winners in each division were: Alpha (BC), TORO (Ontario), Vintage (Québec), Shepherds (Ontario), GOAT (Open), Traffic (BC), and TFP (BC). Any surprises? Not too many but a few important ones nonetheless. The win by TORO in Junior Open shall be an important learning experience for those involved. That the game was close is an important indicator of how close the programs are. The Junior Women’s programs still have much work to do and we’re likely to see it become more competitive each year going forward.
Vintage dominating, in Women’s Masters, as they did is not a surprise and coupled with the fantastic performance of Iris (Women’s team that finished 2nd) should highlight how strong the overall Women’s program in Québec is. I hope that we’ll continue to see strong teams competing for the title from the east. For the Capitals it’s a tough pill to swallow as they were the top seed coming into the tournament and it should be a wakeup call. The fall USAU series shall show how they bounce back but they have quite a bit of work to do in order to make themselves competitive again. They may also need to consider dissolving the team and focusing on their city specific teams for the next few years.
There are a few stories in Open Masters and Open. The Shepherds winning a close game against Muriqui was important, mentally speaking, for the Toronto team. The players have met many times in the past on their Open teams and the west coast has won each time. This win coupled with GOAT’s win in Open has gotten the Monkey off of Toronto’s back. However, there is likely no hit to the psyche of Vancouver and the losses in all of the Open divisions is going to embolden them further. There is also no longer a streak to keep alive for Furious which means they can focus on continuing to rebuild their team. That too is a story, that Furious was able to have a 13-15 game despite the massive turnover they’ve seen in the past few years is incredible.
In Mixed there wasn’t much competition for TFP as they had the most lopsided final winning 15-8. Both Union and TFP marched to the finals without much trouble. Both are strong teams but TFP definitely had the experience on their side as they’ve been here before. Makes you think about what the 2013 finals would have been like had Stache not been around or had they been sober on Sunday morning.
Finally, I know I spoke a little bit about Women’s above but Traffic needs their own special mention. The Traffic of this year, full season, has been their strongest and most mentally mature team in quite some time. There have been some weaknesses in the past but this year I haven’t seen much. They have rebounded from deficits (USAU tournaments) and been able to hold their lead when under pressure. The finals win was the cumulation of a decade of hard work. I look forward to seeing how they compose their WUGC team and whom they’ll pickup.
Congratulation, once again, to all of those that won and participated in the series.
A few other notes:
Phoenix finished 5th with 18 players. Let that sink in…18 players. The reason? The word is that Professional Ultimate is taking a toll and the season was too strenuous. It’s unfortunate as with a few more support players this talented team could have been contenders. Let’s hope they can prioritize appropriately in 2017.
In Open Masters Flood had a very close semi final being edged out by Muriqui 10-11. To quote a former organizer of CUC: “In any other year this year’s Flood would be the outright favorite which says something for the strength of the teams this year.” One can’t help but ponder what if that game wasn’t close, would Muriqui have had the extra energy/edge needed to win the final?
Crash finished 4th! This team has undergone substantial change over the past year with many players retiring or some moving to Union. The newer players lacked experience and also weren’t necessarily as athletic as those on the teams that they defeated. So how’d they do it? Teamwork and fundamentals. That’s what this team plays well and it also highlights how poor the fundamentals on other teams are. In the year they mattered they showed up and placed better than the team from 2014 could have.
Good to see a team from Montréal finish well in the Open division. Mockingbird entered in 5th and finished 3rd. They played against a deflated General Strike who came within one point (once again) of defeating Furious George in their semi final. Elements Ultimate also played a strong tournament with a 10-11 loss in their quarter final with Strike. Strong programs from out east.
I do not envy the position that Shepherds are in. They have to pick from players on Muriqui and Flood which together could form their own competitive Canadian team. The core of the Toronto team has great chemistry while the out of town players may not. This may be the team with the most drastic roster change.
Furious not making it means strong Open players available to TFP which had some great GOAT players in Japan as a part of their roster. They have to take out of region players which is going to be difficult but should see pickups from Iris and Mockingbird.
We’ll see the top Furious players join TC next year as GOAT leadership shall put together a great team. Women’s should be pretty straightforward as well with Iris and Capitals players being drawn upon. Women’s Masters has the strongest single unit with Terra players also being asked to join them.