RegionalsCanadaUniversity of Ottawa

Canada Regional Championship Preview

On Nov. 9, 16 Canadian teams will come together in Toronto to battle it out over four World Cup VII spots.

Editor's Note: Jamie Lafrance, the IQA's Canada correspondent, is a member of the University of Ottawa Maple Rush.

Canada Cup 2013 is upon us. This upcoming weekend 16 teams from Ontario and Quebec will duke it out to determine who will obtain the four World Cup VII bids available  to the Canada region. The tournament will consist of four pools of four, and the top two from each pool will have a chance to play in the playoffs. Playoffs will be single elimination--win or go home. From there on it is for pride's sake.

McGill University has claimed the top spot for two years running and will look to make it a three-peat in Toronto this year while others try to strip the title for themselves. Carleton University and the University of Ottawa Gee Gee’s walked away with a qualification spot last season and seem to be the favorites to upset McGill. We will likely see one of these three teams walk away champion. With only a quarter of the teams attending being able to qualify for WCVII, many teams will fight for a spot, but only a few will move on. Without further ado, here are the pools for this year's Canada Regional Championship.

Pool V
Carleton University
University of Ottawa B-Team - Maple Rush
University of Toronto
University of Waterloo

Carleton should walk away from this pool with a perfect record. A favorite to win the whole tournament, Carleton should obtain a giant boost in point differential from these games. The second spot for playoffs has Maple Rush written all over it; the team had a fantastic showing at Trial By Fire, losing only to McGill by a snatch and the Gee Gee’s after losing key players to red cards. If Maple Rush can keep its key players on pitch, it should be able to beat Toronto as well as Waterloo to grab a spot in bracket play. Toronto, however, does not want to lose, the team has come a long way since the last Canadian Cup. It will be looking to knock off the Maple Rush, but the U of Ottawa B-team will be a tough challenge for Toronto. Its first year as a team, Waterloo has yet to play in a tournament this season. It will have a rough welcome to the IQA, as the team's first ever official game is against a tough Carleton squad. The game to watch here will be Maple Rush versus Carleton; the outcome of the game should not be a surprise, as Carleton is the favorite and the more threatening squad, but expect Maple Rush to put up a fight in an effort to insure it is not blown out and to gain a favorable standing for playoffs.

Pool X
Carleton University B-Team - Conspiracy
Fleming College
McGill University
Queen’s University

McGill is the clear favorite here. The defending champs may have lost a bit of a step from last season, but McGill is still one of the best teams in the region. When matching McGill up against the other teams in its pool, it is hard to believe that all three games will not end in a blowout in McGill's favor. The second spot in this pool can be highly debated--Queen or Fleming could take the spot. The Conspiracy players are a little bit out of their league here. At Trial By Fire we saw them blown out by both Maple Rush and McGill. Conspiracy will have to have improved by leaps and bounds if it wishes to make it all the way to playoffs. The game to watch in this pool will be Fleming versus Queen. Both teams will be fighting for spots in bracket play and both believe they can take that fourth spot for WCVII. However, only one can prevail, and, based off previous results, Queens is the favorite going into the matchup.

Pool Y
University of Ottawa Gee Gees
McMaster University
Ryerson University

UOttawa is considered the frontrunner in this pool and should be able to walk away with a perfect record. However, the last spot is completely up for grabs. McMaster, Ryerson and Valhalla all have a shot at snagging that spot. Ryerson and McMaster have improved a lot over the last season, but the new Valhalla team is also a strong competitor. Valhalla was originally formed by the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) schools with the intention of becoming an all-star community team that could compete against schools from Montreal and Ottawa. The team has a competitive nature, however, many players expected to join the squad ended up staying at their respective schools. There are many games to watch here. Any matchup between the likes of McMaster, Ryerson and Valhalla will be a nail biter.

Pool Z
McGill University B-Team - Canada’s Finest
Guelph University
University of Montreal
York University

Arguments could be made for Canada’s Finest and Guelph to take first in this pool but expect both to move on. I would call Guelph is the favorite, if you can even have a favorite in such close competition. The team will likely take the top spot, but could fall to second if Canada’s Finest is having a good day. Canada’s Finest could go goal-for-goal with Guelph, putting the outcome of the game on the seeker's shoulders, where it could go either direction. York will likely secure third after a roster transfer to Valhalla by Hugh Podmore, one of the best chasers in the game. York will have to step up its overall game in order to thrive and move on to bracket play. University of Montreal did not have the greatest showing at its first tournament, Trial By Fire, in early October; however, a month has passed, and if the team has improved enough, it may be able to steal a win. The game to watch in this pool is Guelph versus Canada’s Finest. These two teams will likely be facing off against each other for the top spot and the winner here will decide who goes into playoffs in a more desirable position.

The qualification spots for WCVII are widely believed to belong to the Gee Gee’s, Carleton and McGill. The last spot has been heavily debated and teams in the mix are the Maple Rush, Queens, Guelph and Canada’s Finest. All of these teams have a lot on the line and want to earn a bid for the main event this April in North Myrtle Beach, S.C., so look for some fantastic play this weekend. Also be on the lookout look for the newer teams to pull some upsets and potentially steal a spot away from one of the Canadian Cup favorites.