Nathan Lam

Victoria hosts ultimate nationals

72 teams, 1,500 athletes to vie for first championship in Capital Region for 15 years

Pat Harris remembers his first national ultimate championship back in 1987 in Ottawa, when the game was young and relatively unknown.

The championship had a few teams in one division, and Harris helped pave the way for a sport breaking out of its stigma as a glorified game of Frisbee. Harris, 48, played for the Calgary Cynics and went on to the world championships more than a few times.

“We’ve travelled the world – Belgium, Hawaii, Madison, Wisc. It’s a worldwide sport,” Harris says. “To represent your country if you win nationals, go to the worlds, it’s a special thing.”

Ultimate is a disc-based field sport with elements of football, soccer and basketball. Players throw the disc to advance up the field toward the endzone, but a player with the disc can’t run – they can pivot and pass, like a basketball player.

For the first time in 15 years, Victoria will host the Canadian national ultimate championships, which expects to draw 1,500 athletes from top teams from Newfoundland to B.C.

Since that first championship, the egalitarian sport that prides itself on fair play, no referees and co-ed squads has found a following of fiercely loyal players.

“(Ultimate) is co-ed, competitive and self-officiated. There’s no cheating. It doesn’t go on,” Harris says. “I like the community nature of it. You play hard and after go out and enjoy each other’s company. Nobody pays you to play. You have to love this game.”

Harris’s master’s team, Republic is one of two Victoria-based squads in the nationals. “The key word in Republic is ‘pub,’” he jokes. “As in we are a group that can either hang out at the pub, or choose to play ultimate.”

The other, the Skysharks, is a mixed team in its second season, and with one national championship tournament under its belt. Clayton Howlett, 27, of Saanich, helped launch the Skysharks after playing competitive ultimate in Vancouver for three years.

“This is a young team, about a year old. Last year we went to the nationals in Ottawa seeded 10th and we came out of it 10th,” says Howlett, one of four team captains on the Skysharks.

“I had no idea we’d make it to nationals. We expected to get trashed an use it as a learning exercise, but we held our place and showed we could contend.”

This year the Skysharks came in second in the province behind Vancouver-based 7 Deadly Spins, the former Canadian and world champions. “We hope to contend with them, we want to contest the world champs,” Howlett says.

The tournament is spread through fields at Lansdowne school, St. Michaels University School, Topaz Park and Royal Athletic Park for the finals.

“Victoria has great facilities in terms of fields,” says Danny Saunders, executive director for Ultimate Canada. “And it’s an ideal location in the summer for Canadian players,”

Tournament director Kevin Bruleigh said organizing a national event for 72 teams with 1,500 players and their families and coaches will help raise the profile of ultimate in Victoria.

“The instant perception of the sport is people think of the beach and dogs and hippies hanging out. It’s not like that. These are athletes training for competition. It is a huge commitment,” Bruleigh says. “The best of the best in Canada, coming to compete in the capital city.”

The Canadian ultimate championships run Aug. 16 to 19 on fields in Victoria and Saanich. See www.cuc2012.ca for details.

 

editor@saanichnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

Ravens Crossing breaks ground on happy Hygge cohousing project

Speeches, music and a blessing as 80 people attend start of Danish-style development

Central Saanich police respond to 419 calls in July, including speeding motorcyclist

Police chase deemed too risky, biker tracked down the next day

‘Listen to your body:’ Saanich woman fights to have breast implants removed

Woman struggles to find doctor to remove Allergan textured implants, recently linked to rare cancer

Sidney salon closes citing persistent lack of staff

Housing, transit continue to affect workers on Saanich Peninsula

Saanich approves new eight- and 11-storey residence buildings for UVic

Residents also supported the environmentally friendly residences

VIDEO: Come along for the ride on Tour de Victoria

Reporter captures video footage of his Tour de Victoria ride

POLL: Should there be a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers?

We’ve all heard them, and most likely cursed them under our breath.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Aug. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Vancouver Island RCMP hunt for man after pair of indecent exposure incidents

Elderly Qualicum Beach woman grabbed by man who had been masturbating in the woods

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Pile of wood mulch ‘spontaneously combusts’ at Vancouver Island industrial site

Business owner thanks fire department for quick response

Five hedgehogs quickly adopted after being left at BC SPCA

Lucky new owners picked up their pets from Maple Ridge branch on Aug. 20

B.C. cricket players get interrupted by racist remark

Community has had protocols in place for years to respond to prejudice

Most Read