Montreal Royal eager for all-Canadian, rivalry-filled comeback season

After a canceled 2020 season due to COVID-19 pandemic, Montreal’s professional men’s Ultimate Frisbee team is gearing up for a fresh start.

The Montreal Royal are back on the field as they prepare for their upcoming home opener on Sunday, July 25.

Read more: Ultimate frisbee teaches life lessons to Nova Scotia high schoolers

With border closures with the United States still in place, the young team is going head-to-head in an all-Canadian division this season.

“This year you can expect a lot of rivalry-filled games, as the teams go at it,” Team president, Jean-Levy Champagne said.

The shortened season will see a total of eight games against both Ontario teams, Ottawa and Toronto.

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Four games will be played away and the other four will be on home soil at the Claude-Robillard Sports Complex.

Normally the Royals play in the East Division with teams from Toronto, Ottawa, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

With the uncertainty surrounding the reopening of borders, Champagne said it was decided to play out a Canadian division this year with hopes of returning to the usual 14 intra-divisional North American games in 2022.

Read more: New sport ‘squickleball’ born out of COVID-19 restrictions at Montreal racket club

“Were ready and eager to be back,” Team captain Simon Charette said.

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After a year of no competition, Charette says the team of experienced players is chomping at the bit for action.

“We’re hungry. I think everybody is hungry, just getting on the field getting back to what we are used to,” Charette said.

“Everyone is really into it and wants to get out on the field and play.”

It’s a season of firsts for the team, with new coaching changes behind the bench.

From Vancouver, Jon Hayduk, will be the Royals head coach, with former Montreal elite player Isabelle Lemay by his side as assistant coach.

Click to play video: 'Royal de Montréal teach Kim how to play ultimate frisbee' Royal de Montréal teach Kim how to play ultimate frisbee
Royal de Montréal teach Kim how to play ultimate frisbee – Jun 20, 2019

With public health restrictions loosened, spectators will be allowed to cheer on the hometown team.

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A limited number of fans, 1,500, will be permitted in the outdoor stadium.

The Royal team will be entering its 7th season in the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL).

Tip-off for the Sunday’s home opener is at 1 o’clock against the Ottawa Outlaws.

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