A trio of Bowen teens are heading to Ontario to compete in the Canadian Junior Ultimate Championships this weekend.
Eilidh McDonald, Beck Morissette, and Noah Callewaert will be representing Canyon at the April 1-2 tournament in Oshawa, one of two B.C. squads in the eight-team competition. The three athletes attend three different schools – Island Pacific School (Eilidh), Rockridge Secondary (Beck), and West Vancouver Secondary (Noah) – but have all been part of the North Shore club since its creation last year.
The 12-player co-ed team operates under the guidance of veteran coach Cody Hubbard, and is part of the Vancouver Ultimate League. While it’s just the team’s second year of existence, they’re already off to take on some of the best young teams in the country. Canyon features a wide range of players, spanning from West and North Vancouver, Squamish, and Gibsons, along with the Bowen contingent.
The group was recommended for a bid by their provincial sport organization, BC Ultimate, last summer. Following tryouts the team was narrowed down to six boys and six girls. The squad also includes Aisha Ketcheson (West Vancouver Secondary), Amelia Ranahan (Sutherland Secondary), Calla Grafton-Freeze (Argyle Secondary), Celeste Currie (Sutherland), Chris Montgomery (Handsworth Secondary), James Foord-Kelcey (Coast Mountain Academy), Jonah Mani (Elphinstone Secondary), Lizzy Mani (Elphinstone), and Max Kapuscinski (Handsworth).
All dozen players have been part of the Canyon club program since its inception in 2022. But co-ed play with the club is a new experience for all of them. So the team has been practicing at indoor and outdoor sites in North Vancouver for the past two months to help everyone familiarize themselves with each other and develop their strategies for the tournament.
Hubbard especially commended the participants who ferry in for practices – McDonald, Morissette, and Callewaert, as well as the Gibsons duo of Jonah and Lizzy Mani from the Sunshine Coast.
Hubbard says for now he’s less focused on the final result of the trip, and more interested in creating a positive experience. “The biggest thing here is that even though it’s Nationals – and Nationals is a big, scary word for a lot of people – the goal of our program and just in general, even though it’s a very high level, is for everyone to have fun and to make that a great time,” he says.
Hubbard and two other coaches will accompany the kids on the trip east, with games taking place at Durham College. Three teams from Ontario, one each from Quebec, Manitoba, and Newfoundland, and the other B.C. team round out the competitors.
Canyon’s first match is on Saturday, April 1 at 1 pm against the Quebec team, with their next tilt right after at 1:50 against Team Manitoba. They finish group stage play later that afternoon at 4:20 against one of the Ontario squads. The middle game is available for livestreaming on Ultimate Canada’s YouTube page (*All times Eastern)
“No matter if we win or lose or come top spot, it’s just that everyone has had the opportunity to have a lot of fun, feel like they improved as a player, and then are able to go back to their school team and say that they had a great experience, and bring that experience to the school season also,” says Hubbard.
Knockout matches will be played on Sunday, April 2, and may be livestreamed through the same Ultimate Canada page as Canyon’s Saturday afternoon game.