Toronto Ultimate Festival (TUF) is now but mere days away and with it comes a unique view into Canadian teams before they head to Prague, Nationals, and UPAs.
**Mixed – 28 Teams
Outside of Wreckhouse from St. John’s and Tabasco providing Quebecois flavour the Mixed division heavily favours Ontario teams finishing in the top spots on Sunday. With RIP not returning and Liquid players favouring Open and Women’s divisions the runner ups from last year’s Ontario Championships, MONSTER, take the top spot.
The remaining list of teams is mostly familiar names with TUF being their first major tournament. Mayhem, BFC, Tundra (Nuk/Shuk), BigFish, Zen, and MMV are fairly well known in Ontario and a few Nationally. Wreckhouse brings two teams and offers us a glimpse into Atlantic Ultimate and what we can expect in Ottawa (should they attend) and Sherbrooke; they could be the dark horse that makes it to semis. MuD is a new name on the team list that’s comprised of mostly Guelph players including a couple of players that played for Liquid this past year. There’s quite a bit of new talent in Guelph that’s been developed over the last few years during the winters and while they are contenders for top four their captain, and primary handler, is still recovering from an injury.
There’s quite a few strong teams in the top 16 and to provide for the most experience throughout the weekend the TD will be arranging pools so that the top teams get to play each other as much as possible. It’s a welcome arrangement that won’t have MONSTER (1) playing Soggy Bottom Bowl (SBB) hosts BBQ Backhand (28) and has me excited that we may see some rivalries establish themselves early in the season.
Speaking of rivalries a game to watch for will be Big Hammers (7) vs Mayhem (2). Both of aforementioned teams have been favourites of mine because they both have great players, play a similar in the moment (rather than in the playbook) style, and are a thorn in the side of all other teams out there. One would think that the two teams that everybody gets their blood boiling over wouldn’t get along and you’d be right. It’ll be an interesting game to watch and one that I’ve waited for since January when Big Hammers first revealed that they’re back for the 2010 season.
Women’s – 8 Teams
A small division with entirely familiar faces aside from Frank from Peterborough. I have little idea as to who the ladies on Frank are aside from (most likely) the ladies from Smoke (and perhaps a couple guys in drag…but that’s purely conjecture backed by no photo evidence…at this time).
The top three teams in Canada: Lotus, Storm, and Stella occupy the top three spots with Stella taking a lower seat presumably because some of the players are on Lotus. PPF will be looking to spoil the fun of the top three but I suspect much of the playtime will be given to those players still trying out (Darcy is still recovering from ACL surgery).
Outside of the top three the most interesting games will involve the bottom two with relative unknown Frank showing their stuff and Scarlett from Ottawa. At Regionals/Championships in 2009 Scarlett and Lily battled for the last spot to Nationals and Lily won the game to go decisively. I’d expect the Scarlett ladies to have a chip on their shoulders and TUF is the perfect place to exact revenge. Tight games? I think it’ll be a very exciting division.
Video: CUC 2009 Finals – Lotus vs Stella.
Open – 13 Teams
Any odd number of teams is awkward to organize but the TSSC organizers have a good plan that makes for two days of high calibre Ultimate.
The top team in the Open division are the current Canadian Champions: Mephisto. Filling out the top five are: GOAT 1/2 and Phoenix 1/2. At this point consider that you have the top three teams in Canada (unless Furious can prove something special to us in Sherbrooke ;P) and that the TD plans on placing them all in a single pool on Saturday. Every game in the top five on Saturday will consist of world class players doing their best to prepare for WUCC as well as fighting for a spot on their respective teams.
The remaining eight teams aren’t lightweights either. Maverick, Too Bad, GT lead the pack with Fuel, Firebird, Fossil, Magma, and ROY completing the second pool. These eight teams will be placed into two pools with each team playing a crossover game to decide the overall ranking. The top three teams after the crossovers will move into the top 8 on Sunday and look to upset the heavyweights.
Video: CUC 2009 Finals – Mephisto vs Phoenix.
All three pools will have excellent games and the TDs are setting up two showcase fields that will be filmed. I hope to have plenty of great footage to piece together after the tournament and along with TSSC will bring them to you as soon as we can.
The live feed will depend entirely upon weather conditions and details will be available on the day of along with a schedule. Check back for details over the next few days for the broadcast schedule.