Ultimate Newfoundland and Labrador has selected two returning coaches and two new coaches to lead the 2019 Storm season.
Craig Stoyles is returning as head coach for the junior open team while Laurel Penney also returns as assistant coach.
Stoyles is a trained community ultimate coach and Special Olympics coach with 15 years of coaching experience. He also currently heads the team at Holy Spirit High School and is working on competitive coaching certification.
Penney is a trained community coach and is also working on certification at the competitive level. She’s currently the head coach at Beaconsfield Junior High and Waterford Valley Senior High and has organized many events and tournaments related to promoting Spirit of the Game.
“I love this sport,” says Stoyles. “I want to foster growth at a grassroots level by teaching the team the importance of Spirit of the Game and how to win with dignity and lose with grace.”
On the female-matching side, Natalie O’Donnell has been selected as head coach with Claire Moore-Gibbons filling the assistant coach role.
O’Donnell and Moore-Gibbons are two of only three nationally certified competitive coaches in the province. They are co-coaches at Mount Pearl Senior High, and O’Donnell also leads a team at Paradise Elementary School. They both coached the junior women’s team in 2015 that attended the Canadian Ultimate Championships (CUC).
“I’m excited to work with Ultimate NL to build a junior women’s program that’s sustainable and successful in the long-term,” says O’Donnell. “I really think that we have a lot of talent and room for development at this level here in Newfoundland and Labrador.”
All four coaches are currently involved in Ultimate NL’s youth competitive development camp.
We were thrilled to recognize top athletes, coaches and volunteers with our 2018 Ultimate NL Awards recently.
The winners of the annual awards were announced at our volunteer gala on Feb. 9. They are:
Lifetime Achievement Award: Stefan Barnes
Female Athlete of the Year Award: Erin Daly
Male Athlete of the Year Award: Luke Dyer
Junior Female Athlete of the Year Award: Madison Hull
Junior Male Athlete of the Year Award: Andrew Workman
Coach of the Year Award: Craig Stoyles
Justin Frampton Spirit of the Game Award: Claire Genest
Kristine Cadigan Award: Kathleen Sullivan
Joe Coady Award: Kurtis Thornhill
“Our community, from running youth leagues to guiding the development of ultimate in the province, is led primarily by volunteers,” said Nick House, president of Ultimate NL. “Our awards are intended to recognize the hard work and commitment of these individuals, as well as the excellence demonstrated by our top athletes and coaches. Ultimate has seen tremendous growth in recent years, and we wouldn’t be where we are today without their passion and dedication.”
Introducing the award winners
Barnes was the first president of Mile Zero Ultimate and also served on the Newfoundland and Labrador Ultimate Association, the precursor of Ultimate NL. He also played on a number of competitive teams including Granite, the province’s first co-ed competitive travelling team.
Daly became the only female from Newfoundland and Labrador to ever play at the World Ultimate Club Championships in 2018. There, she was the top-scoring female player in the mixed division with 22 goals, finishing 11th overall in total goals out of 1,100 athletes.
Dyer captained the Memorial Ultimate Touring Team to its top finish to date at the Canadian University Ultimate Championships (CUUC) and at the Canadian Ultimate Championships (CUC) with Regiment, he finished fourth in scoring and 11th in total points (out of 360 athletes). His performance earned him a tryout with the U24 Team Canada squad later this month.
Hull co-captained Storm at the Junior Canadian Ultimate Championships, where she lead the team in scoring and was named the team’s tournament all-star. In December, her St. Bonaventure’s team won the Mount Pearl Senior High Invitational.
Workman was a leader on Mount Pearl Senior High’s ultimate team that won the provincial high school tournament in 2018. He was also a member of Storm and led the team in points at the Junior Canadian Ultimate Championships.
Stoyles served as head coach for the open squad of Storm in 2018 and coached the team to its first two victories at the Junior Canadian Ultimate Championships, including an upset win over the ninth-seeded team. Storm finished 20th overall, up from a seeded position of 24th. Stoyles also coaches the ultimate team at Holy Spirit High School.
Genest is a member of Tempest, the province’s female competitive club team, where she is a leader in sportsmanship, fair-mindedness and respect for her teammates and opponents. She currently captains the Mount Allison Ultimate Team and has led them to numerous first-place finishes in Spirit of the Game rankings.
Sullivan is the current sport development co-ordinator for Ultimate NL. A leader on and off the field, she’s played on competitive club teams Tempest and Wreckhouse and is a current captain of Tempest. She regularly volunteers at youth ultimate tournaments and is an ambassador for Spirit of the Game at all levels of play.
Thornhill served as the youth co-ordinator for Ultimate NL from 2016-2017, where he was instrumental in the growth of the province’s competitive and recreational youth programs. His leadership led to the start of Storm, a junior competitive program that fields teams in the open and women’s divisions. In addition, Thornhill has served as tournament director for many high school, junior high and elementary school tournaments and was heavily involved in managing the city’s high school metro league.
Past and present representatives from Newfoundland and Labrador are making an impact on the national stage through Ultimate Canada.
Rob Langridge, a familiar face in many leagues in St. John’s, is president of the national governing body for ultimate.
Robyn Auld and Tiago Hori, both former players in local leagues, are at-large members on the board of directors. Auld was one of the founding members of the Newfoundland and Labrador Ultimate Association (now Ultimate Newfoundland and Labrador) and served on the board for Mile Zero Ultimate, as did Hori.
Auld now represents Alberta on the national board and Hori represents Prince Edward Island.
Hori is also part of Ultimate Canada’s spirit of the game committee, where he is joined by former Ultimate NL president Suzy Stever.
Finally, Natalie O’Donnell has been appointed as the Atlantic representative on the national sport development committee.
Congratulations and thank you to all former and current players who are offering their skills and talents to grow the ultimate community across Canada!
The winter junior high development league will be take place on Mondays from Feb. 18-April 1 (no games on March 18) from 7-8 p.m. This league is open to players in Grades 7-9 and there is a $50 registration fee.
Both leagues will be held in the gymnasium in the Paul Reynolds Centre in St. John’s.
These leagues will focus on introducing new skills and enhancing understanding of ultimate while also providing the opportunity for more experienced players to develop their skills with progressive drills, one-on-one coaching and weekly scrimmages.
Ultimate Newfoundland and Labrador is offering a youth competition development camp for teens ages 13-18 this winter.
Participants will enjoy drills, skills development and game situations while also receiving one-on-one mentorship and guidance from experienced ultimate players and coaches. It’s the the first time that Ultimate NL has offered a camp specifically targeted at developing potential competitive athletes.
“The purpose of this camp is to help young players take their skills to the next level,” says Luke Dyer, Ultimate NL’s youth performance and development co-ordinator. “We will work with them to identify their strengths and weakness as well as show them what’s necessary and expected for players on a provincial-level team. Through individual feedback, we hope they can gain a greater understanding of what they need to work on to improve as ultimate players.”
“The purpose of this camp is to help young players take their skills to the next level.” – Luke Dyer
One of Ultimate NL’s priorities is to grow its junior competitive program. There are currently two competitive club teams in the junior open and women’s divisions, both named Storm. The competition development camp is intended to build player skills and capacity that will eventually help increase the competitiveness of the Storm teams.
In 2018, Ultimate NL sent its first junior women’s team to the Canadian Ultimate Championships where they finished 20th overall and second in the spirit rankings. The open team broke seed to finish 20th (up from a 24th-place ranking) and 11th overall in spirit.
“We’re offering them the opportunity to demonstrate and improve their skills, which they can then bring to competitive teams like Storm now and in the future,” said Dyer. “While you don’t have to be a Storm player to take part in the camp, we hope many participants will discover the fun and camaraderie that comes with playing on high-level teams and come out to tryouts later this winter.”
Storm tryouts will be held in February and March. Details will be announced in the coming months.
The competition development camp will be held on Thursdays from 4:30-5:30 p.m. at the Techniplex in St. John’s from Feb. 7-March 14. The cost is $60.