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Vancouver Riptide Ultimate Team

It was only a matter of time before a new sports team moved into town, although some may be a bit surprised by the sport. The team is Vancouver Riptide, and they play a mean game of ultimate, representing the Vancouver area in the American Ultimate Disc League’s Western Conference.

Never heard of the American Ultimate Disc League? The AUDL is one of two professional leagues in North America with 12 teams representing the Eastern and Western Conferences, ultimately facing off in a championship. Vancouver Riptide is poised to enter the championships, with a few high-stakes games left that will decide their fate. Not bad, for the new kid on the block.

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“This is the first season that Riptide has been a part of the AUDL,” reports the team’s Operating Director Ruben Schumacher. “Every aspect of the team is brand new.” Don’t think that a new team means inexperienced players, though. “Ultimate itself has always been in this city and there have always been teams here on a scale the can play on the world level”, says Schumacher, pointing out that one third of the players that represent Canada on the worldwide ultimate tournament come from Vancouver already. In fact, according to Schumacher, one of the benefits of bringing Riptide to the area is highlighting what is already here: “it’s brought a recognition that there is a high calibre of ultimate being played, and brought to light that it is an amazing game.” This recognition is both the greatest challenge and success for the team. While Schumacher describes the fan response to the game as “explosive”, saying that “it has been amazing, the fan base and how it has grown in the city”, he also is facing the challenge of getting word out. The main issue, however, seems to be getting people through the door. Once people experience the game, it speaks for itself. “The one thing I do know is that once somebody watches it, they always watch it again. It’s never just ‘oh that was fun.’ They come back again, either to find out how they can play at their level or to see the professionals play. It’s very addictive.” Vancouver Riptide could also be a great reprieve for people who want a fast-paced, action-heavy sport with a more ethical bent. As a non-contact sport there are no tackles or aggressive hits you might see in other sports, and it shows.

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“The sportsmanship and camaraderie is something I’ve never seen before”, says Schumacher. This leaves the athletes to provide the excitement, and they deliver. Watch some videos on Vancouver Riptide’s website to get an idea of what they offer. “The explosion, the excitement that is built up, the talent factor is incredible, the fact that you’re crossing a football field with a frisbee is brilliant”, enthuses Schumacher on the game. This action all happens in Burnaby’s backyard – Swangard Stadium hosts all of Vancouver Riptide’s games. Schumacher calls the Burnaby stadium a “natural choice” for the league, praising the beauty of the location as well as its proximity to the Patterson Skytrain station and the fact that so many leagues already play in the city.

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