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Flowerbowl 2013


The Comprehensive Spectator’s Guide

Every year, the first Open/Women’s tournament of the Northwest launches the club season, often featuring teams from as far as San Francisco and Winnipeg. The trouble: divided Mixed clubs, split-squads, tryout squads, and droves of the casually semi-retired — half of them using aliases both esoteric and ironic. How will you know who’s who at Flowerbowl this year? For your viewing pleasure, we have demystified and laid bare the elite division for you.

Elite Open:

Richie and Friends — This team reappears for a second year at Flowerbowl, and this time, it actually features the eponymous Richie Tam (formerly of TFP and TC-U23). Connoisseurs of Vancouver ultimate will recognize a motley combination of UBC graduates and rec-league legends who also happen to be his friends, and — apparently — like people to know that.

Team Canada U23 Open — Canada’s national U23 team convenes in full force for a 4-day training camp and a few warm-up bouts to test their systems. Watch as coaches Pat Mooney, Alex Davis, and Andy Collins struggle to understand whatever slang the kids are speaking these days.

The Ghosts — Calgary’s premier open team (the Phantoms being their B-team). Sometimes, they wear their own uniforms with their own names on them. But just as often, the self-styled “ghosts of sports teams past” will masquerade as the former Calgary 88s or the Calgary Cannons. It’s all very esoteric and mildly confusing to everyone outside of Canada.

Seattle Voodoo & Seattle Sockeye — Despite speculation about possible conflicts with MLU contracts, the Rainmakers contingent has the go-ahead to play club this weekend. Both teams are usually still evaluating tryout prospects at Flowerbowl, but they are otherwise exactly who they say they are: a team named for a native species of fish and a team named for a chiefly Haitian religion.

Spartans — Hailing from Vancouver Island, the Spartans will ferry over for Flowerbowl action. They are rumoured to be mostly Skysharks (a Victoria-based Mixed team) with some additional pick-ups. A Skyshark is like a land-shark, but different, presumably.

Refinery — Vancouver’s third practicing open club, focusing on player development and coached by 2010 Athlete-of-the-Year John Norris (who plays with Skysharks (who are playing as Spartans)). Please note: they are not affiliated with Enbridge, the Northern Gateway pipeline, or any oil sands projects. So don’t give them a hard time about it.

Blackfish — Vancouver’s second practicing open club, named after the killer whale (orca) and wearing a logo that completely fails to convey that fact. Several of their players are still engaged in the tryout process with Furious George, and thus their roster may change from Saturday to Sunday. This is because of the unlisted team on the Flowerbowl site:

Furious George — With half their roster engaged with the MLU Nighthawks on Saturday and most of their tryout prospects tied up with the U23 team, the Angry Monkey will be absent on the first day of Flowerbowl. However, expect them to return on Sunday — less their U23 component — to play a series of friendly matches against the powerhouses.

Elite Women:

Fusion — Winnipeg’s premier Women’s team. Fairly isolated in the Canadian prairies, these ladies have been known to travel disproportionately far and wide for ultimate. They are hardcore, and presumably, familiar with nuclear physics — good conversation starter.

Schwa — “Schwa” is the name for the most common vowel sound in the English language, frequently denoted by an overturned “e” in IPA representation. What any of that has to do with Oregon swallows is anybody’s guess. Nevertheless, Portland’s longstanding women’s team is well known, and so far, indications are that they are who they say they are.

Brizo — “Brizo” is a manufacturer of high-end faucets and the name of a Greek deity — protectress of seafarers. So, following the kind of logic endemic to ultimate players, you can safely guess this is the sister team to the Spartans. Just to keep you on your toes, though, the maritime cult apparently split in half and enlisted two Brizos at Flowerbowl. One squad is playing in the Women’s division, and the other (mostly Skysharks) elected to play Elite Women’s. They may need to play some kind of crossover battle royale to decide who keeps the rights to the name.

U23 Canada Women — Don’t let the name fool you. Most of the women on this team are indeed on the national team, but this is the locally western contingent, supplemented with pick-ups who may or may not be under 23 years of age — no ID checks required.

Contraband — Originally appearing under the name of “Contrabanned” in 2011, these locals eventually learned to spell, and are reprising their role once more as the Vancouver Women’s Master’s team. They comprise a host of ex-Traffic, ex-Prime, ex-Roughrider, and ex-Zephyr players. When asked for a comment, Ultimate Canada Hall-of-Famer Anja Haman explained, “We ban things.” Okay.

Battle Cats — With flavours of UBC, ex-Traffic and ex-Zephyr, the Battlecats are a team of talented locals who — for various reasons — could not commit to the practice and travel rigours of the Traffic/Zephyr programmes. They are not named for the annoying Hasbro character.

Zephyr — Continuing the peculiar, Greek theme in BC ultimate, Zephyr is the goddess of the west wind. It is also Vancouver’s second practicing team, ramping up for fifth season and hunting for their second appearance at WUCC. This team may at first seem unfamiliar because they re-invent their image every couple of years: you may also remember them as the ones styling themselves as renegade cowgirls. They are coached by the illustrious Jen Nicholls (who is playing for Contraband).

Traffic — Traffic is Vancouver’s premier women’s team and there are no surprises here — they have just finished their final tryouts and they are now polishing themselves up for the club season. Their logo is believed to represent the merger between then-Prime and then-Roughriders into an all-star team in 2007. Or it could represent someone cutting off someone else.

Wild Rose — Calgary’s premier women’s club, crossing the Rockies for their first tournament of 2013. More than just a mildly clever double-entendre, Wild Rose is named for the provincial flower of Alberta (triple-entendre). More recently, it has also become the name of an energetic, right-wing political party (quadruple-entendre). Don’t give them a hard time about it.

Alex Davis

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