This year all three inductees to the Ultimate Canada Hall of Fame come from B.C., so Major League Ultimate’s Vancouver Nighthawks are honouring them with a ceremony before this Saturday’s game against the Seattle Rainmakers at Thunderbird Stadium.
Jim Brown, Leslie Calder, Victoria Nomads, come on down!
Jim Brown (Builder) is truly a legendary figure on the Vancouver disc sports scene. In fact, you might say he got the whole thing started. He discovered disc sports in the early 1970s and before long he had founded the first disc sports organization and published the first newsletters in B.C., not to mention performing a freestyle routine with his partner Bill King in front of more than 70,000 people at the Rose Bowl, where they finished second in the World Championships.
Jim came across Ultimate when he played in the province’s very first game at a multi-sport disc tournament in Victoria in 1979. Inspired, he started the first regular pickup ultimate in Vancouver at Kits Beach in the early 1980s, out of which came the first Vancouver team, the Aerial Express, for whom he played as a handler. In 1985, he was the tournament director for the very first Ultimate tournament in Western Canada, held at Jericho Beach in 1985 with teams from Vancouver, Victoria, and Calgary. This tournament later morphed into Flower Bowl, which is being held for the 30th time this year.
Jim went on to be a founding member of the Vancouver Ultimate League in 1985. He had done hundreds of clinics at school and parks by 1987, when he was instrumental in founding the BC Disc Sports Society Outreach programme, which is the reason Ultimate is now part of the school curriculum all across the province. And if that wasn’t enough, he was also the first person to bring quality flying discs into B.C.
Leslie Calder (Player) might just be the finest Ultimate player Canada has ever produced. She was a key member of the GOO/Prime dynasty that dominated the Canadian and then the World Women’s Ultimate Championships during the period of 1994-2004. She played a leading role on teams that captured no fewer than seven Canadian Championships plus a second place, as well as a second and a third at the UPA championships in the U.S. and two gold medals and a bronze at the World Championships. She also led Team Canada to a gold medal at the 2001 World Games.
Leslie could do it all on the field: handling, striking, getting open as needed, shutting down the opponent’s best player, scoring the big goal, and she was famous for her layouts. (See the photo at the top of this article.) And perhaps above all, she was a true leader, inspiring her teammates and leading them to achieve more than they had thought possible, as individuals and as a team.
The Victoria Nomads (Team) were born when the team Dave Martin had formed at the University of Victoria in 1989 morphed into a community-based team in 1992. They competed in Canadian Championships throughout the 1990s, finishing as high as fourth, but came into their own by accomplishing the rare feat of winning both the Open division and the Spirit of the Game Award in 2001. They won the Open division again in 2004, 2005, and 2008, and after switching to Masters took first place in 2011 and 2012, the last in their home town. The Nomads also represented Canada at World Championships in 1993 and 1997, and won the World Championship in the Masters division in 2013 in Japan.
The Nomads have always had a strong community focus, nurturing the Victoria City League and intramural competition at UVic. And the players have always shared a strong bond; to this day they get together once a year for a disc golf tournament on Pender Island.
To further honour the new inductees, the Nighthawks have invited all seven BC-based incumbents in the Ultimate Canada Hall of Fame to join them for a photo and disc signing. Mind you, the organization has an advantage in that five of them work for the team: Builders Scott Lewis (Content Manager for the Nighthawks) and Brian Gisel (Operations Manager); and Players Al Nichols (Assistant Coach), Andrew Lugsdin (Head Coach and GM), and Anja Haman (Social Media Manager). The Nighthawks are especially pleased that Players Adam ‘Elvis’ Berson and Jen Catalano can also be there.
You can catch the ceremony before the Nightahwks’ rematch against the Seattle Rainmakers this Saturday, June 7 at 7 p.m at the University of British Columbia’s Thunderbird Stadium.