Written By: Bobbi Anderson
Ultimate Canada Magazine – September 18, 2017
Nova Scotia has rarely been considered a Canadian ultimate powerhouse. With less than a 1,000 players province-wide, they reside in the bottom half of Canadian province participation. But demographics don’t tell the whole story.
In 2017, the mixed players from the Halifax community have flipped the script and put themselves on the map. With a gold medal at C4UC in March and a follow up statement championship at CUC in Saskatoon this August, Halifax is now firmly in the discussion as a major mixed ultimate hub.
With the pressure of earning a World Ultimate Club Championships bid on the forefront of everyone’s mind, the top 20 Canadian mixed teams met in Saskatoon for a shot at the title.
Despite the 50km/h wind conditions, pool play was sizzling on Thursday and saw the early emergence of the Halifax team, Anchor, as a strong contender. Starting the tournament as the seventh seed overall, the captains knew their best shot would be to upset BC’s Banana Cutters in pool play. In one of the tournament’s many thrilling universe point-matches, Anchor defeated Banana Cutters to win the pool and claim their quarterfinal spot.
Their offensive chemistry also proved to be too much in the quarters for the hometown squad, Bunny Thugs, and for Quebec’s Battleship in the semifinals.
The Anchor upset forced the Banana Cutters to face the number one seed, Union (ON) in the quarterfinals. Banana Cutters managed to hold off the experienced Union team, but fell short in the semis to Ontario’s other powerhouse, Crash, a team from the Kitchener-Waterloo area with past CUC podium success.
The final between Anchor and Crash was an offensive showcase, as neither team suffered a break in the first half. Anchor earned the crucial first break but Crash never backed down and clawed their way back to receive the disc on universe point.
Gavin Gray, a captain of Anchor, commented on the integrity shown by both teams throughout the final.
“There was a mutual respect that was developed over the course of the game between the two teams and we knew going into universe point that whoever won this game definitely earned it,” Gray said.
On universe point, Anchor’s defensive unit came through for them once more, forcing a turnover and moving the disc down the entire field for the championship point.
The final game was particularly special for Adria Quigley, a Saskatoon born Anchor player now living on the east coast. She said that winning the gold medal in her hometown was an incredibly surreal experience.
“I’ve never played in front of that big of a crowd before and especially one that seemed to be cheering in particular for me. The crowd made a world of a difference and it was very motivating to have that kind of support,” she said.
The win in Saskatoon guarantees Anchor a spot in next year’s World Ultimate Club Championships in Cincinnati, Ohio. Jennie Korus, the finals MVP and captain of Anchor, said they are already preparing for the tournament.
“There really is a buzz around the Halifax ultimate scene as Halifax has never sent a team to a world championship,” Korus said. “It shows that we have great players here and how much the program is developing.”