© Guardian Photo By Jason Malloy
Summerside Chiefs captain Ty Wright, front, and his teammates are ready to defend their Berry Healthy Island Dodgeball Championship. From left are coach Christian Clow, Nathan Fraser, Colin Loerick and Jesse MacFarlane.
The Summerside Chiefs are looking to repeat tonight as the Berry Healthy Island Dodgeball Championship takes place in Charlottetown.
“It comes with a lot of pressure,” Grade 11 student Jesse MacFarlane admitted. “People are expecting us to go far, so we’re going to have to use that pressure to our advantage and come out strong and play good dodgeball.”
The championship is now in its third year, but this will be the first time it includes a junior high (intermediate school) division.
The championship’s roots can be traced back to an intramural sport at Colonel Gray and Charlottetown Rural high schools. It has quickly grown to the point where organizers had to move the event to UPEI to accommodate the growing number of fans.
“It’s a pretty cool event,” said project manager Coltin Handrahan, who started the competition at Colonel Gray. “It kind of grew up independent of the (P.E.I. School Athletic Association) and took a different path, but it has certainly blown up over the past couple of years.”
How big can it be?
Handrahan said there were 19 teams at Colonel Gray this year, who played for the right to represent the school at provincials. He estimated there are about 900 people playing in organized leagues across the province.
“It gives a lot of people a chance to participate in sport who sometimes wouldn’t be able to,” Handrahan said.
He also added they put a lot of focus on the show element of the production with elaborate introductions with lights and smoke machines.
“It’s probably one of the fastest growing sports in P.E.I.,” said Chiefs captain Ty Wright. “Everyone is trying to win, but everyone is mostly just having fun.”
The games are five minutes long and start with eight balls in the centre of the gym. Teams start on opposing ends of the gym and when the game begins players run to the centre to get a ball.
It’s simple after that, if you’re hit, you’re out.
The only way an eliminated player can re-enter the game is if a member of their team catches a ball thrown at them.
If all 10 members of a team are eliminated, the opposing team wins. If, after five minutes, there are players remaining on both sides, the team with the most players remaining in the game wins. If there’s still a tie, the teams play overtime.
“It takes teamwork, communication and skill, of course,” MacFarlane said. “You need to be able to dodge balls, but you also need to have a good arm and throw people out.”
Berry Healthy Island Dodgeball Championship
u When – Tonight beginning at 5 p.m. with the Orange Lunchbox Junior High Invitational. The high school event starts at 6:30 p.m.
u Where – UPEI
u Tickets – $6.75, taxes included. Available at the door.
u History – Now in its third year.
u Junior high boys’ teams – Queen Charlotte, Birchwood, East Wiltshire and Stone Park.
u Junior high girls’ teams – Queen Charlotte, Birchwood, East Wiltshire and Stone Park.
u High school boys’ teams – Summerside, Kinkora, Kensington, Mid-Isle, Charlottetown West (Colonel Gray), Charlottetown East (Charlottetown Rural).
u High school girls’ teams – Summerside, Kinkora, Kensington, Mid-Isle, Charlottetown West (Colonel Gray), Charlottetown East (Charlottetown Rural) and Montague.
u Defending champions – Summerside (boys) and Charlottetown East (Rural) (girls).
u Raising funds – Colonel Gray’s Mental Health Awareness group will be running a 50/50 draw presented by McKinnon Wellness. Proceeds are being donated to Kids Help Phone.
u Useful links – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2hTcL5AhzA and also check out their Facebook page.