The 1974 Gonzaga team

With a special appearance by Bob Cole!

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The 1974 Gonzaga team is almost certainly the CBC-era Reach for the Top team with the most coverage today. Many Canadians are nostalgic for the games on CBC, whether through playing or watching, but few squads get as much attention as the underdog team from St. John’s. The Telegram ran a retrospective article in 2015 with the four members of the team. CBC published an article this past week in the context of a book launch about the 1974 team. In addition, the whole final match is available on YouTube (part 1, part 2).

1974 was near the beginning of Reach’s prime years. I have previously written about the paradigm shift of 1972/73, and within a year, top teams were all studying hard and becoming the most competitive teams of the CBC era. Archbishop O’Leary HS, which I believe is the birthplace of year-long practices, made it to the 1974 final as a favourite to continue the string of two consecutive titles for Alberta (O’Leary in 1972 and Lorne Jenken HS in 1973). Meanwhile, Gonzaga HS from Newfoundland, receiving a swell of local support thanks to Reach opting to film Nationals in St. John’s in celebration of the 25th anniversary of joining Confederation, was picking off established teams with a group of grade 11 students (Newfoundland, like Quebec, went only to grade 11 in high school at the time). The final was Gonzaga’s “David” to the O’Leary “Goliath”.

The final was a tale of two halves. O’Leary spent the first phase flustered with incorrect buzzes, giving Gonzaga early leads of 65-0 and then 170-30 by mid-game. O’Leary also got burned by a few tough (and possibly inconsistent) calls of “time” in the quick pace moderator Bill Guest was running. However, O’Leary started clawing back with assigned, scramble, and what-am-I questions on geography. About three-quarters of the way through, Gerry of Gonzaga accidentally hit his buzzer at the start of a question and was forced to give an impossible response; he was visibly shaken by this and went from being the most dominant player on the team to failing to give a correct answer for the rest of the match. In the final snappers phase, O’Leary was on fire and held a 280-270 lead with about one minute to go. However, two incorrect O’Leary buzzes (with -5 penalties) and the up-to-now quiet Peter’s answers of “[Beatrix] Potter” and “the” sealed the close 300-270 victory for the home team.

This was Gonzaga’s (and Newfoundland’s) only Reach title. They would continue to make national appearances consecutively until 1979, but not reach a final again. Gonzaga, as well as the whole province of Newfoundland and Labrador, did not continue participation into the SchoolReach era. O’Leary became overshadowed by Lorne Jenken for Alberta representation after this, but that province continued to make regular semifinal appearances through to the 1980s.

The 1974 team’s legacy lives on. Member Tom Harrington, a veteran host of several CBC programs over the years, holds some clout for keeping his team’s success in the public eye. While there have been some other teams of that era with notable members (including Richview’s Stephen Harper, who lost to the eventual 1978 champions), the Gonzaga team gets the spotlight. Perhaps the timing of the team winning at home at the “coming of age” 25th anniversary struck a chord. There may be a strong attachment to the show in the province since nearly every high school would have had to participate in the 1970s to fill up the broadcast schedule (Manitoba also seems to have this connection from high participation due to low population). It is also interesting that the nostalgia has not resulted in any revival of SchoolReach; though it can be difficult to manage out-of-province competition without the logistical support of a TV network.

During this offseason, I will post less often but will continue to look at past results. If there are any requests for particular topics (other than future predictions), feel free to let me know. Happy Canada Day and enjoy the summer!

2018 Nationals results

The heat was on.

Fifteen teams from across Canada competed in Toronto last weekend for the Reach for the Top national title. It was a very decorated field, with 16 championships among them going into the competition.

Saturday saw the round-robin portion. The big shake-up in the standings came from London Central SS defeating UTS in their match, which gave Central the head-to-head tiebreak for the top of the leaderboard. Kennebecasis Valley HS gave Central their only loss of the day, while Martingrove CI was the other school in the top four seeds.

Sunday playoff competition ended up playing out mostly as expected by seeding. In the play-in round, Kelvin HS gave a close 360-340 upset over the Renert School, but the eliminations still resulted in the top four seeds in the final four. St. George’s School and Eric Hamber SS, both from BC, gave the biggest scares in the quarterfinals, with St. George’s briefly leading over KVHS and Eric Hamber losing in the closest match (330 to 400 for Martingrove).

Monday was for the final four. In the first semifinal, KVHS jumped out to a quick lead over Central, hoping for a repeat of the win they pulled off in the round-robin. Central, however, picked up most of the points in the middle round of the game and finished with a 440-300 victory, sending them to their fifth national final. In the other semifinal, UTS repeated what they did in the Ontario final and took a strong 550-280 win over Martingrove to head to their ninth final. The final, a rematch from 2012, had the reverse outcome of the round-robin game and gave UTS a 520-280 victory over Central.

Congratulations to UTS for their unprecedented fifth title, and also congratulations to all the participating teams representing their provinces. The database link to the results is found here.

The top four teams (UTS, Central, Martingrove, KVHS) have been well-documented on this site, and they are no strangers to the high end of the competition. They are all perennial challengers to the title, and will be in the future. Some top players will graduate, but their clubs are so deep and well-organized that they will return with other players vying for the trophy.

The next four teams (alphabetical order of Eric Hamber, Kelvin, Old Scona, and St. George’s) demonstrate a divide in the field. While the BC teams gave close quarterfinals, there is a gap that keep the top four in the top four; 3 Ontario teams and KVHS have been the semis in three of the last four years. I believe the difference comes from those teams being able to play multiple tournaments throughout the year; it keeps them in competition mode all year and exposes them to more topics. I hope that other regions look to this model as a productive way of boosting teams.

On a side note, I often get concerns about the order of teams on my tournament pages. In the Ontario and national tournaments, there are no published ranks for several teams that are eliminated part-way through the playoffs (for example, 5-8 at Nationals). I list those teams in order of R-value; it stems from my original intention of using the R-value as a way to determine teams that deserve progression to higher tournaments, though for Nationals it is moot.

The bottom half of the field got consolation matches. As has been noticed in the comments of the last post, the consolation tournament can end up as the most productive use of your tournament fee: most consolation teams played at least as many matches as the champion, UTS! The consolation model is a good way to get more playing time in, but as has also been noted, it is a shame the eliminated quarterfinalists can’t find a way to get more matches.

The Renert School finished as the consolation champion for the second year in a row, beating fellow Albertans from Webber Academy. Both teams matched their best-ever Nationals result. Cobequid EC earned consolation third place over Fredericton HS.

Fort Richmond Collegiate from Manitoba was the only new team in the field. It is always good to see teams earn a nationals experience, and hopefully they can continue to challenge the regular front-runners in the province.

Marianopolis College was the Quebec representative. They did not have as good a result as some other years, but as I have said before, the Quebec system has inherent difficulties in developing consistent clubs. Next year will be an entirely different lineup, and they could have entirely different results.

Auburn Drive HS rounded out the field. While I suspect it is only a minority opinion, I feel the need to address the idea that they didn’t deserve to be there. In short, they did. The Reach national model is based on fair representation across all the provinces, which includes Nova Scotia. Up until the early 2000s, most provinces only sent one representative. With only one representative, it was difficult to tell if the provincial runners-up could have been one of the top teams in the nation as well (eg: Lisgar CI has three national titles despite no provincial titles). The Nationals field began expanding to include more runners-up, including from the maritime provinces. In 2010, the final was two maritime teams. In 2008, both New Brunswick teams made the semifinals. Regions go through ebbs and flows of relative strength, and the second qualification spots do help give representation if any provinces have resurgences. It is true that Nova Scotia competition and participation is at a low point right now, but there is nothing stopping them from being stronger in the future, so the runner-up slot should still remain as a route to Nationals. There is merit to discussing alternative qualification methods, but it should not come with dismissive attitudes to regions of Canada.

I’d like to finish on a more pleasant note, so I’m glad to hear of all the camaraderie and good spirits the teams had. Ultimately, everyone is there for the enjoyment of the same activity, and it displays true character to takes wins or losses in stride. Good luck to all the teams next year, and once again, congratulations to UTS this year!

2018 mid-Nationals update

The elusive UTS-KV final is still possible…

The 2018 Reach for the Top national championship is now deep into the playoffs, with only three games remaining.

London Central SS faces Kennebecasis Valley HS in the first semifinal tomorrow. Central enjoys a surprise top seed after beating UTS in the round-robin, while KVHS will be hoping to repeat their own upset of Central that happened in the round-robin. There is not too much statistical difference between the two teams, but Central will have a slight edge on a longer and balanced pack.

UTS meets Martingrove CI in the other semifinal. This is a rematch of the provincial final, where UTS handily took victory. Martingrove is going to have a very tough challenge in this match – a victory would have to be the biggest playoff upset since the 2013 Bellerose run. UTS’ raw R-value of 157% smashes the Nationals record; before this, seven teams were clustered in the 140-145% range to top the all-time charts. Interestingly, Martingrove has been very consistent these last three years: 135%, 136%, and 136%.

The preliminary results table is found here. It will need to be updated to include playoffs and rankings that come from those games. I will have a fuller write-up for all the other teams once I get some time later this week.

Good luck to the semifinalists!

2018 Nationals Preview

Who can pull off the longest soundcheck?

The Reach for the Top national championship will be upon us in less than a week, and 16 teams will gather in Toronto to compete for the title. Last year’s winner, Lisgar CI, did not qualify this year, but many other former winners will be in attendance. Here is a preview of the competitors (sorted by province):

British Columbia

St. George’s School

  • Most recent national result: 10th (2016)
  • Best national result (on file): 1st (1991, 2004)

Eric Hamber SS

  • Most recent national result: 2nd (2016)
  • Best national result (on file): 2nd (2016)

Sir Winston Churchill SS

  • Most recent national result: 7th (2017)
  • Best national result (on file): 5th (2008)

After fielding two new teams last year, BC returns some regulars with a very competitive history. St. George’s was possibly the most dominant team of the 1990s and had an almost-uninterrupted national attendance streak from 1991 to 2008. Eric Hamber will have its runner-up 2016 finish still in mind, while Churchill has been the most regular BC attendee this decade. The provincial order of finish (listed above) may mean nothing; last year, the BC teams finished nationally in reverse order. All three teams will be looking for quarterfinal spots.

Alberta

The Renert School

  • Most recent national result: 9th (2017)
  • Best national result (on file): 9th (2017)

Old Scona Academic School

  • Most recent national result: 8th (2017)
  • Best national result (on file): 4th (2014, 2016)

Webber Academy

  • Most recent national result: 12th (2016)
  • Best national result (on file): 10th (2014)

Despite losing their 2017 MVP, Renert is getting better each season and comes to nationals with a provincial title won over Old Scona. Both those teams gave scares to the bigger teams during the round-robin last year, but the nationals field is strong and they’ll have to fight for a return to the quarterfinals. Webber will probably be a step below them, but getting in the top 12 elimination bracket or a best-ever result would be a good goal.

Manitoba

Kelvin HS

  • Most recent national result: 5th (2017)
  • Best national result (on file): 1st (1970)

St. John’s-Ravenscourt School

  • Most recent national result: 10th (2017)
  • Best national result (on file): 7th (2007)

Fort Richmond Collegiate

  • Most recent national result: none
  • Best national result (on file): none

Coming off a strong fifth place last year, Kelvin won their provincial title this time, and will be the Manitoba team to watch. They won’t have their MVP from last year, but the lineup will still be a threat through to the playoffs. St. John’s-Ravenscourt and newcomer Fort Richmond will vie for the elimination bracket as well, though they have less nationals experience than their provincial champion.

Ontario

University of Toronto Schools

  • Most recent national result: 2nd (2017)
  • Best national result (on file): 1st (2002-03, 2012-13)

Martingrove CI

  • Most recent national result: 3rd (2017)
  • Best national result (on file): 1st (2014)

London Central SS

  • Most recent national result: 6th (2016)
  • Best national result (on file): 1st (2007, 2009)

Like last year, the Ontario teams enter as favourites and should be headed for at least the semifinals. UTS’ main team has won every tournament they have competed in, but they have been beaten before and could be prone to a round-robin upset. UTS will be competing for their fifth national title. Martingrove and Central also have made several appearances at nationals over the past decade, and one of them will likely face UTS in the final. It should be close between these two; they did not face each other at provincials, but look for their round-robin match as the game to watch on Saturday (added note: Martingrove beat Central 410-280 in the final of the UTS fall tournament).

Quebec

I don’t know who won Quebec, but the educational structure of the province makes it difficult to field a strong team. It will either be a high school limited to grade 11 students, or a CEGEP team consisting only of students competing together for one year. Occasionally a team makes a good run (Dawson’s 2nd place in 2003 or Marianopolis’ 4th seed in 2014), but a midfield finish is more likely.

New Brunswick

Kennebecasis Valley HS

  • Most recent national result: 4th (2017)
  • Best national result (on file): 1st (2010-11, 2016)

(Fredericton HS)

  • Most recent national result: 11th (2012)
  • Best national result (on file): 1st (1995)

Kennebecasis Valley HS once again continues their attendance streak since 2005, having picked up three titles and a further three finals appearances during that run. They should be the greatest threat to the Ontario trio, and gave quite a scare to UTS in the semis last year. However, they have finished below the Ontario teams in other tournaments this year, so they will need to put in a superlative performance. Fredericton is included on this list if they end up being the 16th team; they were a powerhouse in the 1990s, but have spent recent years fighting for second place in tournaments with the other New Brunswick schools behind KV.

Nova Scotia

Cobequid EC

  • Most recent national result: 14th (2016)
  • Best national result (on file): 1st (1981, 2005)

(Auburn Drive HS)

  • Most recent national result: 16th (2017)
  • Best national result (on file): 10th (2008)

Cobequid is the most frequent Nova Scotia representative this century, but they have dipped since their late 00s peak. The health of the Nova Scotia circuit is waning, and lack of participation in the province (especially after the end of the Dalhousie tournament) fizzles the competitive sparks among the remaining teams. Cobequid will still put up a challenge to the midfield teams, but they (and Auburn Drive if they attend) will probably spend Sunday in the consolation bracket.

Those are most of the teams. Quebec is unknown to me, and the 16th team will likely be from one of the Maritime provinces, so I have included those provincial runners-up on the lists. There is an outside chance that the fourth Ontario team (Royal St. George’s College, conveniently a stone’s throw from the tournament site) could be called in as a replacement; they would immediately jump to quarterfinal contention in that case.

Teams will spend Saturday in a full round-robin. This will sort the entire field leading up to the playoffs. The national round-robin uses shorter packs than usual to fit more games in; a smaller question sample size can lead to occasional surprise results. However, there is new editing management that will try to weed out points from repeats and introduce subjects that haven’t been heard before. It will be a long day, but there will be times for breaks on Sunday.

Playoffs are on Sunday. The top four seeds earn byes while seeds 5 to 12 start off the elimination bracket. Most elimination games occur one at a time on stage, so there will be some downtime while teams remain in contention. For midfield teams, the consolation bracket could be the best bang for your buck; once you are eliminated from title contention, you get to play as many as five extra games to sort out ranks 9 to 16. Monday sees the semifinals, finals, and a closing ceremony.

Good luck to the national competitors! Represent your province well, and enjoy yourselves.

Nationals qualifiers

Yukon didn’t make it.

While Ontario waits a little longer for its big provincial gala, the rest of the provinces are finishing off their SchoolReach season. Several provinces ran their championships this week.

Nova Scotia had six schools in attendance for their tournament. After their elimination playoffs, Cobequid EC defeated Auburn Drive HS in the final. Cobequid is a frequent Nationals attendee, but Auburn Drive qualified last year.

New Brunswick had only four schools in the senior division for provincials. Kennebecasis Valley HS swept the field and won the final over Fredericton HS. Between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, there should be three spots available. I don’t know who between Fredericton and Auburn Drive will get the last spot; the former because of NB getting 2 spots in recent years or the latter because of larger attendance.

Quebec has held their provincial tournament, but I don’t know who won.

Manitoba has three spots in advance this year, rather than the last-minute addition they got last year. I don’t know the finishing order, but alphabetically, Fort Richmond Collegiate, Kelvin HS, and St John Ravenscourt School have qualified. The former is a first-time qualifier in my records, while the latter two have qualified regularly, including last year.

Alberta finished last Saturday as well. Renert School, Old Scona Academic HS, and Webber Academy won their provincial spots. Renert and Old Scona attended last year, while Webber has had a few qualifications already this decade.

I have no information about British Columbia. Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, and Saskatchewan do not have provincial tournaments.

Update: St. George’s School, Eric Hamber HS, and Sir Winston Churchill SS will represent BC.

More than half of the Nationals field is set up, and the final piece will be the Ontario tournament in two weeks. Next week, I will preview the contenders for that province.

The 1970s paradigm shift

Let’s do this: LOOOORNE JENKEN

Last summer during my ranking of CBC champions, I referred to a paradigm shift that changed the game. In 1972, O’Leary HS of Alberta won a title by practicing earlier in the year; Lorne Jenken followed up in 1973 with probably the greatest single-season jump in innovation.

In the earliest years of Reach for the Top, the TV show brought in hastily-assembled teams. Sometimes a teacher ran a test to select the team, while there are a few cases of fielding the student council or making a team elected by students. Schools wanted their institution represented well on television, and there was attention to good manners and dress, but not necessarily hard knowledge. Other than Oak Bay from BC, there weren’t any “dynasties” where a school would readily bring a trained team year after year.

By the 1970s, the attitudes of teams on TV had changed. Students weren’t necessarily in their nice suits and dresses, and the players were starting to treat it as something to win rather than a means of making the school look good. The prize system may have helped: in the 1960s, only the school won bursaries; by the 1970s, the students themselves started receiving trips, books, and scholarships. Students now had another incentive to win the tournament.

O’Leary appears to be the first school to use a year-long practice method and win a title. I don’t know very much about their method other than that Lorne Jenken built upon it. Selecting a team at the beginning of the year – and having them study from encyclopedias, newspapers, and literature – was a new concept for the time. It allowed a team to split their topic strengths and build some chemistry before being thrust into the TV studio. I haven’t seen any footage of their 1972 title run, but in their 1974 final, they were very knowledgeable, not very TV-friendly, and only lost to Gonzaga by getting flustered from the Newfoundland home audience. They were much stronger than the teams in audio I’ve heard from 1960s games.

Lorne Jenken would have competed with O’Leary in the Edmonton area, and was no doubt inspired by O’Leary’s title. In the fall of 1972, new coach Ken Kowalski made a start-of-year intercom announcement asking for interested students – the meeting room filled up. I don’t know the logistics after that meeting, but somehow that large group of students became a credit course for Reach for the Top. Scheduled school time for a team would have been unheard of for the time, and is rare today. During the course, Kowalski and the students built a mock set of the studio with buzzers, studied books and old tournament questions, and perhaps most significantly, wrote tens of thousands of questions. Question writing is the preferred practice method of top teams today, but nobody was doing that in 1972. That class at Lorne Jenken was getting work done.

Side note: Lorne Jenken HS has since become Barrhead Composite. It is sometimes difficult to find information on the team because some people refer to it as “Lorne Jenkins”. Sources with “Jenkins” tends to be people recalling from the past, though it also appears on Reach’s list of champions. Meanwhile, Barrhead’s website mentions their old name of “Jenken”, as does some old news stories. I am sticking with “Lorne Jenken” for their name.

Lorne Jenken bested O’Leary at their own game in 1973. Lorne Jenken took the Alberta crown and went to Ottawa for their first nationals trip. I don’t know the identities of their opponents, but they beat teams from Nova Scotia, Ontario, Manitoba, and Quebec to win the title. Two consecutive titles (and almost a third in 1974) coming out of this Edmonton rivalry probably gave teams notice that change was afoot.

There was a shift in how teams played after the O’Leary/Jenken run. Players were aggressive on the buzzer, well-studied, and much more bonded as a team. Rather than assembling a group of seniors, teams would start bringing in younger players to acclimatize them for a later year. Reach of the later 1970s was in many ways similar to the modern era, and with a few adjustments, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of those teams could have competed against today’s clubs. Dynasties formed: Lorne Jenken (7), Gonzaga (6), and Dryden (3) all had multiple national appearances, and the first two-time champion (Vincent Massey CI) re-emerged in this time. The CBC era was in a golden age.

The golden age faded around 1980. The previously-mentioned dynasties no longer appeared, prizes and viewership were reduced, and teams of the mid-1980s didn’t look as strong. The first threat of cancellation occurred in 1983, and Reach ended up being dropped from CBC in 1985.

O’Leary HS did not make nationals again after 1974. They were outclassed by Lorne Jenken in Alberta competition for the rest of the CBC era, and no longer participate in SchoolReach.

Lorne Jenken missed a 1974 appearance, but took the Alberta title for a further six consecutive years (1975-1980). They never reached the final again, but made it to the semis at least twice. The 1985 edition of the Canadian Encyclopedia referred to Lorne Jenken as the best Reach for the Top team ever. By the end of the decade, though, most strong schools had adopted practice and writing methods developed by the Alberta team. The school dropped in performance after the departure of their coach, Ken Kowalski, and their modern incarnation, Barrhead Composite, also no longer participates in SchoolReach.

Ken Kowalski was a local hero after the 1973 title and subsequent national appearances. In 1979, he left teaching and ran for a seat in the Alberta legislature. He credited his win to the positive reputation from his teams’ Reach successes. In 1997, he was elected Speaker of the assembly in Alberta and retained that position until his retirement in 2012, becoming the second-longest tenured politician to preside over the legislature.

The 1972/73 shift is the biggest single-season upheaval in Reach. If you write questions, use a practice buzzer set, or even just schedule time for intramural SchoolReach, thank Ken Kowalski and that little hotbed of activity around Edmonton.

2018 Previews

Still waiting on Newfoundland.

I’ve been away for the start of the school year, but with tournaments underway, I’d better get back in the saddle.

The 2018 season is going to be very talented. A lot of teams have been able to keep strong players who will now be entering their senior year, including the four national semifinalists from last year. Some highlights (from an Ottawa-centric view):

Locally (Ottawa), the starting point is the 2017 champs. Lisgar CI is losing almost everyone to graduation, except their Nationals MVP. However, that player will have less support and interest this coming year. I don’t think Lisgar is going to be in National contention this year, though they will still be good enough to continue their provincial qualification streak. Their main local threat will be Glebe CI, who see most players return. Interestingly, Glebe has reached Ontario playoffs each time they have qualified for provincials, so they should be kept on the radar. Beyond Lisgar and Glebe, I think there’s a drop-off with respect to Reach; Colonel By SS, however, will be a contender in other quiz events.

Provincially (Ontario), we seemed destined for a very deep playoff field. UTS is the early favourite – they have several players returning and have a full complement of supporting players in the younger grades to bolster the strength of the team. They will hope to do one better than their finals loss last season. The other National qualifier from last season, Martingrove CI, is another deep squad that always excels in the provincial tournament; they will probably take one of Ontario’s qualification spots again. The third Ontario spot (presuming the system remains the same) will be hotly contested. Lisgar and UCC will probably be weaker this year, but could survive the playoffs. London Central SS has been a mainstay since their 2007 run, and usually finds a way to at least the third round of playoffs. Royal St. George’s College has been on my radar for four years; they have proven themselves through UTS’ independent tournaments and History Bowls, but somehow always struggle at Provincials. If they can get that monkey off their back, they should be a team that breezes through the Nationals style of play. Westmount has been slowly getting better each year ever since their coach came to the program, and they should make playoffs, but I think they still have one more year to go before their big season. I don’t know enough about Assumption’s, PACE’s, Centennial’s or the Oakville teams’ composition to judge how they’ll do yet, but they round out the “usual suspects”.

Nationally, KVHS is the other team to watch out for. They are another deep team like UTS or Martingrove, and should win New Brunswick, if not sweep it altogether. Their advantage over any of the remaining national teams is their constant tournament participation. Ontario is miles ahead of the other provinces, not necessarily because of population, but because of the very active scene of independent tournaments held throughout the year. Development is much better against other teams on fresh material than sitting in a lunchroom with old questions you’ve heard before, and there appear to be gradual changes afoot at Reach that will favour teams that broaden their knowledge base. I know that there have been attempts at tournaments over the years in BC and Alberta, but the staying power in Ontario (and to a lesser extent, New Brunswick) is the factor that will keep certain provinces on top.

A major tournament has already been held, UTS’ fall tournament. It’s too early for me to have any details, but the four National semifinalist from last year were in attendance, and other contenders like Central, Westmount, UCC, and Assumption will make their early mark on the measuring stick. I’m not convinced that the format will do a good job of ranking teams, but I hope to eventually get the raw numbers for a deeper look.

Finally, do not be demoralized if I haven’t mentioned you. Lots of things get overlooked in the early season, and the picture doesn’t become clearer until as late as the provincial tournaments. If you’re an Ontario team, there are plenty of opportunities to gauge yourselves; if you are elsewhere, try to get an event going (2017 National attendees were offered the 2017 Lisgar tournament set for holding a local competition; though if you’re reading this, you’ve probably been spoiled on content from the earlier recordings…).

Best of luck for 2018!