By Scott Taylor
In 2018, Winnipeg will welcome the world for the Ultimate experience.
What started out as a learning exercise for a growing provincial sporting organization, turned into a world championship and it took less than three months to make it happen.
The Manitoba Organization of Disc Sports (MODS) put in a bid to host the World Masters Ultimate Club Championships for 2018 thinking that they would be turned down, but in the process they learned what it would take to host such an event. Now a world championship is on its way.
Manitoba Organization of Disc Sports with the help of Tourism Winnipeg and the support of the City of Winnipeg and Province of Manitoba have announced that Winnipeg has been selected to play host to the World Flying Disc Federation’s Masters Ultimate Club Championships in 2018.
“We put together a bid that we hoped, over the next few years would build up to a level where we could bid once again and be successful down the road,” said Sean Seywright, the Director of Business and Sport Development for MODS. “The reality was our bid was so comprehensive and well thought out and it highlighted such an amazing and budding city that it set a new precedent with the World Flying Disc Federation and we were announced as host for the 2018 event less than three months after initially starting the application process.”
In 2018, between 50 and 70 adult ultimate teams will come to Winnipeg to join the event – and the party from July 29-August 4, 2018. The World Masters Ultimate Club Championships will kick off on Saturday, July 28 with media day, followed by the tournament kickoff on Sunday, July 29 with opening ceremonies and a feature game between a local team and an international team. In all, there will be four divisions — men’s, women’s, coed and grandmasters — which will be played over the span of one week. The finals will be held at Investors Group Field on Saturday, August 4, with the final wrap up party to follow.
“These athletes will be bringing family and friends to stay in the prairie capital for more than a week, taking in games at the 33 field Little Mountain Sportsplex, 11 fields at Independent Jewellers Limited Ultimate Park and finals at Investors Group Field,” said Seywright. “In addition to the tournament, the timing will lend to the kickoff of Folklorama as well as the August long weekend, which always brings a load of Canadiana and entertainment to the ‘Peg.
“The event itself will feature athletes from around the world joining together for elite disc and ultimate competition. Due to the fact that masters is an adult event without junior aged athletes, we have been able to plan for a mature crowd.”
The WMUCC 2018 will boast more than 1200 adult athletes from around the world. This event was previously held in Lecco, Italy in 2014 and had a 3.4 million Euro impact on the local economy. With more than 400 hotel rooms in use each night for the Winnipeg event (and that amount is expected to grow in the next year), the 2018 Tournament Organizing Committee is hoping for similar results in Manitoba.
“Taking in so many adults at once for so large an event means having things on hand to give them a first class experience while allowing them to concentrate on the event,” said Seywright. “We have set things up so anyone traveling with family will have the option of sports camps on site or daycare for their kids, so they know they can compete while their children are safe and entertained.
“This also means athletes, many of who are parents can turn this into a family trip and really enjoy the experience. During evenings we haven’t scheduled any round robin games. Instead we’ll have a feature match on site with nightly entertainment. In addition to the nightly DJs and live bands, we plan to have an international team Karaoke tournament with cash prizes on the Tuesday. A Canadian beer tasting on the Wednesday, A Scotch and Whiskey tasting on the Thursday night, a big name rock band on Friday night with the international trade night happening just before and then Saturday a wrap up party with another live big name rock band and party.”
Having just returned from this year’s World Masters Championships in London, England, Seywright says he’s excited about this 2018 World Championship event and what it will mean for the city.
“Lecco was huge, London was impressive, but Winnipeg will offer all of the same big city features with much more personal touch, class and care,” he said. “We’re Friendly Manitoba and now we get to share that with the world.”