A decade ago, Ultimate was recognized as one of Canada’s fastest growing sports, with leagues and teams sprouting up in every major city and thousands of new participants every year.
By all accounts, the sport continues to grow. The Vancouver Ultimate League alone has more than 60 teams playing on Thursday nights, and there are separate leagues in nearby communities like Burnaby.
Although Whistler’s league fluctuates based on the number of players in town and the strength of its volunteer organizers, Whistler Ultimate is kicking off its 10 th season at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 27 at Whistler Secondary. Once again the games will be drop-in, but the organizers hope to resurrect a full league in the future.
“When we first started the league, the first four or five years, a lot of people had just finished university and were keen to play,” said league co-ordinator Chris Mckinney. “Since then a lot of people have left town, and we just haven’t had the numbers to get a six-team league going again. It’s going to take a few years, but we’d like to get the league going again.”
Mckinney is inviting everyone who is interested to come out; no experience necessary. The only equipment you need is cleats to run in and one light and one dark T-shirt. If you’ve never played before, some coaching is available.
“We have a few players that have played on the world stage that are great teachers,” he said. “We’re definitely trying to get anyone and everyone to come out.”
Ultimate is seven on seven and co-ed, and each team should have three women on the field at all times.
The league is weekly through the summer, and the $20 membership fee covers field rental through mid-September. If there is enough money left over, Whistler Ultimate plans to rent the baseball fields at Spruce Grove so teams can play under the lights.
As well as the weekly drop-in league, Whistler Ultimate is also planning to put together a tournament team to take part in the Pumpkin Pull in Victoria and Whistler’s own Alpenglow tournament.
For more information on the league visit www.wuds.org.