Photo by Jeff Bell – UltiPhotos.com

Four members of the Vancouver Nighthawks are going to have a busy summer on the ultimate field.

University ultimate is winding down as Major League Ultimate is preparing for its third season, and just as the MLU season comes to an end, the club season will be ratcheting up. Now four members of the Nighthawks – Evan Taylor, Nick Lin, Samson Hoy, and William Vu — have been picked to represent Canada at the Under-23 World Championships, which are being held July 12-18 in London, England.

“I’m ecstatic to be on Team Canada’s U-23 Open Team!” said Lin. “Making the team has been the main goal of my ultimate career over the last four years. There have been failures along the way, but they just provided me with motivation to work even harder. It took me a lot of training, both mental and physical, to get to the level of competition that I’m at today, and I’m sure all my teammates would tell you the same.”

“Meeting all of Team Canada’s U-23 team at the Trouble in Vegas tournament was lots of fun. It was great to meet and play with teammates from across Canada, since we are unlikely to be able to train together again before Worlds.”

“I’m looking forward to the entire event in London, but what I want the most is to compete in the finals and bring home some gold for Canada.”

The photo at the top of this story shows Nighthawks veteran Kirk Savage wearing one of his eight Team Canada jerseys at the Nighthawks tryouts that were held in January. With all that experience at managing multiple team commitments, he has some sage advice for his younger teammates experiencing this for the first time.

“Enjoy it! Play as much as your body can handle, as the time goes quickly,” said Savage. “Playing for your country is like nothing else. Don’t take it for granted, and be proud to be Canadian. Know that when you wear the maple leaf that you are representing more than just yourself, and that is not to be taken lightly.

After staking a claim as the number one city for ultimate in the world during the heyday of Furious George and Prime/Goo, Vancouver has slipped back a bit in the last few years, but it is looking very much like Lotusland (as it is sometimes called) will soon be ready to make another run at that unofficial title. No fewer than 13 of the Open division Canadian Under-23 team’s 27-player roster are based in British Columbia, along with 16 of the Women’s Under-23 team’s 24 players.

So it’s fitting that Nighthawks General Manager Brian Gisel, who has been at the centre of ultimate in Vancouver for the last two decades, has himself received a prestigious appointment as general manager of BC Ultimate, the provincial governing body for the sport. Brian is already an experienced juggler, balancing the demands of being Nighthawks general manager with a full time job plus being the father of two, not to mention playing as much ultimate as possible. But fear not, he’s a proven master of multi-tasking.

The person Gisel is replacing at BC Ultimate, fellow Nighthawks staff member Troe Weston, is leaving that job to take over as head of the Vancouver Ultimate League. The future of ultimate in Vancouver and British Columbia is in good hands.

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