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

Neighbour details hearing ‘thuds’ the day girls found dead in Oak Bay

Jury at double-murder trial hears from Andrew Berry’s neighbour

‘Goodness prevails’: neighbours reflect following suspicious death of 60-year-old Metchosin man

Martin Payne was found dead in his Metchosin home on Friday. Police have confirmed foul play.

Repatriation efforts work to heal and connect through history: Royal BC Museum

Victoria museum’s efforts bolstered by B.C. repatriation grant

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to make public transit announcement in Victoria on Thursday

Trudeau is speaking at a campaign countdown event in downtown Victoria

Afternoon crashes tangle Wednesday traffic in Victoria

Victoria Police were kept busy with a pair of rush hour crashes… Continue reading

VIDEO: Sparrows raise their chicks in Cadboro Bay deck planter

Jill Yoneda captured 11 days up close with tiny Junco sparrows

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of July 16

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

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Gas price inquiry questions Trans Mountain capacity, company denies collusion

The first of up to four days of oral hearings in the inquiry continue in Vancouver

‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdoses caused by benzodiazepines can’t be reversed with opioid-overdose antidote naloxone

Chinook retention begins on North Island, but amid new size limit

DFO calls measures ‘difficult but necessary’ following rockslide on Fraser River

Will you be celebrating national hotdog day with any of these crazy flavours?

The popularity of hotdogs spans generations, cultures

Former home of accused Penticton shooter vandalized

Ex-wife of man who is accused of murdering four people had her house vandalized

Survivor of near-drowning in B.C. lake viewing life through new eyes

“If I died that day, the baby wouldn’t know his dad,” said 31-year-old Mariano Santander-Melo.

Most Read