Press Release: April 13, 2016
MISSISSAUGA—April 13, 2016—There are currently a number of Ignite Badminton League teams who are aiming to qualify for the 2016 Championship Finals, scheduled for May 27-28th at Humber College. These teams consist of athletes from each of IBL’s various Ontario regions. The highest ranking teams from each region, within their respective divisions, are presently battling for seeding at next month’s championship finals.
While the top teams competing against each other tend to draw a significant amount of interest, IBL would also like to turn its attention to the teams who are currently on the cusp of qualifying. The “ones to watch” in the weeks ahead are the Pink Fluffy Unicorns (PFU) who are closely trailing KCBC Team 2 in York region's First Division.
The 2016 PFU team features some of the brightest young talents from Markham’s E Badminton Club. Ignite Badminton League recently had a to chance to sit down with PFU’s Michelle Tong, to talk about why she was inspired to create the team.
“I made this team because I wanted to see everyone work together, and learn to support each other, and build team spirit among our players at E Badminton. I thought this would be a really great overall experience because everybody likes playing team events in badminton, and also because it’s fun and not too pressure-filled. This is a tournament setting, but it’s not Nationals or Provincials, so the whole team gets to focus solely on supporting each other during our various games.”
Michelle also spoke about the specific goals that are on the horizon for the PFU collaboration of athletes.
“I really think we just have to keep it up with our team spirit. As one of the oldest players at E Badminton, I wanted to make this team so that our younger players – our junior players – could learn the importance of supporting each other during the games. I really want them to keep that up leading into the Finals in May. And I really believe that that’s one of our strongest components – our team spirit is really strong, and the connection between everyone is really good. More than anything else, those things are helping us win, and helping us get through the games.”
Tong is right, of course. While individual sports may be seen to promote a more significant amount of discipline, research often shows that people tend to find team sports more enjoyable.
In another corner of Markham, this year’s KCBC Team 2 features a fabulous amalgamation of talented players from a vast array of Ontario clubs.
Ace Zang, an athlete who is relatively new to Canada, spoke to IBL about how terrific the season has been so far for him, and how beneficial it has been to be part of a group that consists of players from a diverse age range.
“Our team has already done very well, and we’ve fought hard together as a team this season. We’ve had a lot of fun, and there have been great experiences for all of our players, including the young ones.”
Ace’s teammate, Samuel Li, further confirmed the benefits of the team aspect that IBL has to offer.
“This is my first season playing with IBL. I think this is an amazing opportunity for all badminton players to gather together, form teams, and play against each other – even from different age groups. I think badminton players – all of us – will gain a whole lot from getting to play each other – from a variety of skill levels and different ages.”
Upon being asked about the team’s plan of attack when it comes to solidifying a spot in the Championship Finals, Li spoke candidly about the merits, fundamentals, and inner workings of the team.
“Our group is made up of young players who are mainly my age, they’re 17 or 18. We’re competing against senior level players, some of them are even coaches, so we’re trying our very best to beat our opponents right now. We also want to learn something from playing them. We want to feel as though we have achieved something, and we want these to be friendly matches that are respectful, as well.”
Li was further transparent and forthcoming about what the team needs to do in the weeks ahead in an attempt at ensuring their place at this year’s Finals.
“We’re going to try our best when we go on the court. It’s not like we’re going to be nervous about it, because we obviously know who our opponents are. So we’ll try our best, and we won’t give up the match, mainly because we all know we are playing a team event right now – not playing individually – and we all know that every player on the team counts, and every single effort counts, too. None of us plan to give up, that’s for sure.”
Both aforementioned teams have already competed against each other twice this season, with PFU emerging victorious both times. Of note, however, is that the two teams’ overall results against other teams within IBL actually place KCBC Team 2 with higher points overall. Both the PFU and KCBC Team 2 have only a select few ties remaining before the Championship Finals arrive.
Ignite Badminton League founder and CEO, Charles Pyne, weighed in on how this is a perfect example of a race that is tight to the finish.
“A good score line against their respective upcoming opponents could tip the scales and have the PFU advance over KCBC Team 2 to qualify for the Championship Finals next month.”
Over to IBL’s Second Division now, where, defending champions, the Loose Feathers, are snapping on the heels of the Mississauga Mavericks. Both of these teams are, at present, respectively ranked at fifth and fourth within Peel region’s Second Division. On May 15th, the two teams are scheduled to compete to a definite conclusion. The two will face each other in what will ultimately be one of the final ties of the season. With that meeting locked in stone and now on the schedule for mid-May, many are eagerly anticipating the upcoming Second Division battle that will conclusively decide which of the two teams will proceed to the Finals.
When the Finals hit Humber College next month, the format of each of the ties will be different than it is during the IBL regular season. This adjustment promises to add an eminent twist to the league’s Championship matches. IBL’s in-season ties always feature the best of eight matches, but the playoff finals at Humber College will present the best of 5 matches, and will limit male players to compete in just one match, while female players will only be allowed to take part in two.
With the anticipated change in format, the Championship title literally becomes anyone's game. Not only that, but there are still multiple weeks and numerous matches to get to. In fact, any of the teams currently ranked in lower positions could manage to qualify for the Finals in May. In badminton – as with any sport – dark horses have been known to rise to the top and conquer the competition in a come-from-behind-fashion. And given that a win after lagging is definitely not unheard of, only one thing remains perfectly clear at this point: the 2016 Finals could be anyone’s game.
The following is a complete list of teams currently vying for IBL’s Championship Finals:
Mandarin Team 1
KCBC Team 1
Wii Not Fit
KCBC Team 2
Pink Fluffy Unicorns
Second Division (Peel Region):
Second Division (Waterloo Region):
K-Dub Expanders 3.0
You Got Served
Second Division (York Region):
Mandarin Team 2
Third Division (Peel Region):
Third Division (York Region):
Mandarin Team 3
For more information, please contact: Sarah Miller, Sport Development Canada, cell (905) 749-0361 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org