Hey there, time traveller! This article was published 8/8/2015 (2236 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Alexa Kovacs would like to add a Canadian national championship to her mantle at this week's Canadian Ultimate Championships.
The biggest stage for ultimate Frisbee in Canada will be in Winnipeg, Aug. 10-16 at Ultimate Park in Maple Grove Park.
Winnipeg will welcome 90 teams -- some 2,300 players -- stretched across seven divisions - junior boys and girls, women's and men's divisions, co-ed divisions and masters divisions for both men and women - for the weeklong event.
The junior divisions get underway Aug. 10 while the senior divisions start their journey to a title on Aug. 13.
For Kovacs and her team Fusion, building off a third place showing in 2013 is their priority.
"We like to take it game by game," Kovacs said. "We want to take steps forward, and we want to stick around the area (on the podium). Everyone who competes in this tournament is looking to win, and it's always there in our minds. It's an absolute supreme goal of ours."
Locally, Winnipeg will trot out 10 adult teams and six from the junior ranks. Team's such as Fusion and General Strike are mainstays when it comes to the top tier of competition, and a new women's masters team named Mint, comprised of former Fusion players, will be looking to make its mark.
Junior team MOFO will be looking to make its 12th finals appearance in its last 18 tries while trying to add a sixth title during that stretch.
On the men's master's side, two-time national champion and Winnipeg Flood member Donovan Wiebe will be looking for another trip to worlds championships.
"That's the expectation, that's my mind frame," he said.
Wiebe, widely considered one of Winnipeg's top players, has played twice on home soil before in the national championship.
"It's pretty much an honour," said Wiebe, who won the championship in 2005 and 2009 as a part of co-ed team, Chaos. "It's a little bit of pride, having everyone here on your home turf in your home city. From some of the players I've talked to coming from out east and west, it seems this is a midpoint, so we get a good calibre of people out here. It seems everyone comes because it's in the middle."
Each division winner locks up a place at the world championships in London in 2016 and will represent Team Canada.
With the large influx of people visiting the city, CUC co-chair Michelle Johnson says the national tournament will bring in more than $2 million in revenue for the city.
Mike McIntyre | On Sports
Keep up to date on sports with Mike McIntyre's newsletter that is sent out each Thursday.
"It's a great boost to tourism," she said. "I feel when people come to Winnipeg for the first time they fall in love with the city. It might not be on everyone's map all the time but it's a great way to showcase our city."
Winnipeg's ultimate community is one the largest in the world with 5,000 players, according to Johnson. Winnipeg also has one of the larger venues with Ultimate Park, but it's the city's biggest sporting venue that will play host to the finals.
"It's exciting," Johnson said of having the championship games at Investors Group Field.
"For the players to play on such a nice field, that's exciting, and it's a great way for us to showcase the sport to people haven't yet been able to take it in.
Johnson says she is expecting upwards of 3,000 spectators. Tickets for the finals are $10 and available at Ticketmaster.
On the IOC radar
Ultimate Frisbee took a big step last week, becoming a part of the Olympic Games.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognized the sport officially at the 128th IOC session in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last Sunday.
What it means for the game is it's now on the IOC's radar, and the World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF) can start lobbying for the sport to be included in the Olympics.
"It really brings a huge level of awareness to our sport," said Teri-Lynne Belanger, event co-ordinator for Ultimate Canada. "It's really does legitimize the sport and especially the athletes that play it."
The WFDF already petitioned for the sport to be included in the 2020 games in Tokyo, but was turned down. They've now set their sights on 2024.
"It takes a very long time to get a sport into the Olympics and the IOC takes into account a variety of different things," Belanger said. "Gender equity is a big one, as well as a the number of countries playing the sport at the national level."
Which type of ultimate makes it into the Olympics is left to be determined. The variations include beach ultimate and traditional 7-on-7 ultimate.
"They may only choose to take one of those variations to start off with," Belanger said.
Michelle Johnson, the co-chair of the Canadian Ultimate Championships that will be played in Winnipeg next week, says the announcement is a big deal for the players.
"It means more funding for our touring players," she said. "The sport has such a big following now and now people will look at it and respect it as a sport. It also gives athletes another step to work for and being Olympians."