An inside look into the world of ultimate frisbee in St. John’s.
Ultimate Frisbee isn’t the first game that comes to mind when you think of sports in St. John’s, but it continues to grow every day.
The organization that brings the sport to life in Newfoundland is called Ultimate NL, and it has been involved with the sport for about seven years.
The original college members decided to create a team from a couple of pickup games they played in Churchill Park. As a group, they decided to expand membership by allowing anyone to join. The league hasn’t stopped growing since.
Nick House, the president of Ultimate NL, says 300 frisbee enthusiasts play at the Techniplex during any given week.
“MileZeroUltimate is our mixed league with 500- 600 players,” said House. “Plus, we have Spurrel, which is our women’s league that is 10 years old. And Maul, our men’s league, which is six years old.”
Those members are only the adult league. The provincial league, which is run the same as any Newfoundland and Labrador High School Sports team by Sport Newfoundland and Labrador.
“We are the governing body. We make sure that all the leagues abide by a certain set of standards,” said House.
Ultimate NL and Sport N.L. work closely together to make sure that all the high school programs have everything they need.
“We organize provincial events, give coaches training, give travel subsidies and equipment to school groups.”
The provincial group includes all the schools in Labrador, Corner Brook and in the St. John’s metro area.
“[There are] 14 high school teams at the provincial championships this year – first year ever,” said House. “We’ve also grown from three elementary schools participating in St. John’s to six.”
The entire program is mostly government funded through Sport Newfoundland and Labrador and through adult membership fees. These funds don’t just go towards equipment for the teams, but they also go towards coaching.
“The coaches have Ultimate specific training courses that are offered by the NCCP (National Coaching Certification Program),” said House.
Aaron Power is the coach of the ultimate Frisbee team at Mount Pearl Junior High and Senior High.
“The program started in Mount Pearl seven years ago.We currently have 40 students participating in our senior high school program,” said Power.
Since the league is so popular with the students, the program has been added to the physical education curriculum at Mount Pearl Senior High.
“It’s one of the biggest sports in our school, participation wise,” said Power.
The Ultimate League is continuing to grow with every new athlete that wants to join. Organizers hope the spotlight on this emerging St. John’s Sports gem convinces people to try something new and play, just like those college kids did back seven years when they dreamed this organization up.