Vancouver Riptide Support Team Canada at Upcoming World Championships
By Scott Lewis
The Vancouver Riptide will be making important contributions to not just the Canadian teams competing on the field at the upcoming WFDF World Ultimate and Guts Championships in London, but also behind the scenes in the running of the tournament.
The American teams in AUDL get off easy; there are 21 of them contributing players to the American teams at WUGC. But with only four teams in Canada, and the bulk of the players heading to London coming from Toronto and Vancouver, the Riptide and Rush are making a much larger commitment to their national teams than their U.S.-based competitors. This becomes especially important since the U.S. and Canada seem to always be jostling for the top spot in the WFDF World Ultimate Country Rankings. The Americans are current ranked #1, so there is extra pressure on Canada’ teams this year to help our country regain the top ranking.
That said, both AUDL teams and the players and staff heading to London consider themselves fortunate to get the chance to make that extra commitment on top of an already busy season. Just ask Riptide mainstay Kevin Underhill, one of nine Riptide players who will be playing for the Canadian Open team. He’s a veteran of international Ultimate after playing for our Open team at the 2012 WUGC in Japan and for our Open team in the 2013 World Under-23 Championships in Toronto.
“Obviously, any time you get to wear the red and white it’s a great honour,” said Underhill. “It’s really humbling to play with such elite players and work with such great ultimate minds.”
Anyone who has played at a World Championship knows that this make that particular season of Ultimate a little, or maybe a lot, different from other years.
“Your work starts earlier,” according to Underhill, “and there’s an extra motivation every time you step onto the field or into the weight room. Obviously the pro season is on our minds right now, with opening day approaching, but the larger goal of Worlds is always looming.”
“Each Worlds is a different type of exciting. 2012 was my first shot at a world championship, while the U-23s were on home turf. They each had different feelings and different selling points and both have motivated me to continue my push to win a world title for my country.”
Underhill is optimistic about Canada’s chances of taking the Open crown this summer.
We had a chance to meet up as a full team in Las Vegas in February and do three days of training. It really is a great group of guys. We are blending three, maybe four, ‘generations’ of the top Canadian Ultimate players to form a really great group, ranging all the way from young guys currently playing university Ultimate to vets that have been around since the 2004 world championship. I’m very excited for the journey and can’t wait to lace up my cleats in London for game one.”
Underhill closes with a sentiment shared by every member of the Riptide that’s heading to London.
“It’s an honour to be a part of the team.”
Yes, that’s ‘honour’ with a u…
Here’s a list of all the Riptide players that will be in London representing Canada.
Open Masters (Champions in 2012)
Mixed (Champions in 2012)
Open (3rd in 2012)
(As well, Riptide player Jordan Dhillon will be heading off to Poland later in the summer to join the Canadian team at the WFDF World Junior Championships; more on this in the coming weeks.)
It’s not just Riptide players who are making the contribution; three of our staff members will also be in London.
Kathryn Pohran will be part of the Canadian Women’s team that will be trying to improve on their 3rd place finish in 2012. Pohran will later join the coaching staff for Canada’s U20 Women’s national team at WJUC in Poland.
Riptide GM Brian Gisel will be assuming a number of hats at the event. Already a member of the WFDF Board of Directors and the Chair of the WFDF Ultimate Committee, for this event Gisel will serve as the Tournament Technical Director, responsible for setting the tournament schedule and modifying it as needed. And he’s also the chair of the Tournament Rules Group, which is the body that is ultimately responsible for disciplinary actions at the event and handing out game/event suspensions in the rare case of participants behaving badly.
(This should give you some insight in why Gisel is so important to the B.C. Ultimate scene; on his holiday from juggling a full-time job, a young family, running the Riptide, and handling major responsibilities at Ultimate BC, instead of heading off to relax on a beach, he is taking on even more Ultimate-related responsibilities.)
Gisel’s job will be much easier because Nylene Geyer, who assists him in his role as GM of the Riptide, will be heading to London to serve as his assistant there.
If you are able to head to London and cheer on all the Riptide who will be participating, jump at the chance; attending a World Ultimate and Guts Championship is an unforgettable experience even if you aren’t playing. Otherwise, come out to Swangard Stadium while they’re gone and cheer on the rest of the Riptide roster who will be assuming new responsibilities of their own on the field with so many colleagues away. They’ll appreciate it!
The Riptide first game of the season will be against the Cascades in Seattle on Saturday, April 2nd.
The first home game will be held at Swangard Stadium on Saturday, Apr. 16th, at 6 p.m. You can buy tickets here.