It begins!

In just over a year I’ll be at WUCC 2014 in Italy (at least I should be there).  The year leading up to then is going to be full of many intense qualification matches.  The WFDF has provided an initial country quota which assigns the initial bids that each country receives in each division.  The importance of the release this document cannot be overlooked as it has not been forthcoming in previous years (good job WFDF).  As we saw at the last WUGC (Prague 2010) the top countries tend to be very strong with their club teams and this upcoming year should be no different.  With a maximum of three bids (currently) for Canada and the USA we are looking at situations where every game counts in the lead up to finals next year.  There are teams that have had their eyes on the finals for Italy for a number of years now and there’s plenty of passion and emotion to drive everybody forward.  I have been there when teams fall short.  One of my most enduring memories from 2010 is that of the Buzz Bullets (Japan), sitting in the annex of Strahov Stadium after their semifinal loss, staring blankly at the bare concrete walls.

Canada, at the top of the quota list, has 13 bids across the five divisions (# of bids):  Open (3), Women’s (3), Mixed (3), Masters Open (3), and for the first time at WUCC:  Women’s Masters (1).  With the Canadian season officially starting later today and finishing in two months it’s a good time to start speculating about who will and won’t make it.  Over the coming weeks expect posts about progress of teams through Regionals and onto Finals.  I’ll make amazingly accurate posts (sometimes) and gross mischaracterizations at other times.  After the Canadian season I’ll switch focus to the USA Ultimate qualifiers as well as other countries around the world.

As a bit of a preview let’s look at Ontario’s Mixed situation.  Ultimate Canada (UC) has shared a list of teams intending to head to Regionals.  Ontario has 16 Mixed Teams vying for Nationals.  UC released a new bid structure for divisions with 16 teams and while Ontario stands at 3 teams presently the number should be 4 once the dust settles but may be 5.  In any case there’s real uncertainty for many teams given the parity across most of Ontario.  From what I’ve seen and heard the number 1 pick out of Ontario is Union without a shadow of a doubt.  Union has improved from last year and has added a few more strong ladies to their roster.  In my mind there are three teams fighting for second:  BLeD, NoBS, and GLIDE.  All of the teams mentioned so far finished top four at TUF which can be a good early indicator for the season.  There are a few problems with my picks in that NoBS do not have a consistent roster and don’t practice and BLeD has Chris Braun on their roster and also don’t practice…but have Braun on their roster.  I think GLIDE is a solid top four at this time but the next month may prove me wrong.  Keep in mind that I’m making these statements before I know of the Northern Flights and Comedy of Errors results (being played right now).  With the four teams that have been mentioned BLeD and NoBS are the most likely to be open for an upset and there are teams in the remaining 12 that can pull it off.

Switching to Quebec.  It’s fantastic to see the number of Femmes and Open teams that will be at Regionals.  With five Femmes teams from Montréal alone we are looking at great program development and a program, that I hope, will product strong players for the next decade.  I am saddened that for the first time in a while we won’t see Bloody Gary at CUC; always a team that keeps you on your toes.

I hope that provides enough information to start the speculation.  I’m off to tournaments now and will be chatting quite a bit with many of you to get your input into how your teams will perform.

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