STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Canadian Championship 2015
The most exciting Canadian Championship ever!
The city of Niagara Falls, ON set the stage for the 2015 edition of the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Canadian Championship at the Scotiabank Convention Centre on July 18-19, 2015. The weekend started on Saturday with 9 athletes from Eastern Canada competing for 4 spots in the Canadian Championship to compete against the top 4 athletes from the west who qualified in June at the Craft Beer Week in Vancouver, BC. Rookie 2015 World Champion Nathan Cumberland from Keswick Ridge, NB moved up to the professional ranks and surprised all of the attendants by winning the whole event in his very first appearance. Nathan qualified to compete in the Canadian Championship along with fellow easterners Marcel Dupuis (Memramcook, NB), Cecil Starr (Sebright, ON) and JP Mercier (St-Étienne-de-Lauzon, QC). This select group of athletes faced the gang from the west on Sunday led by defending Canadian Champion Stirling Hart (Vancouver, BC), 4-time Canadian Champion Mitch Hewitt (Scotch Creek, BC), Karl "The Godfather" Bischoff (Magna Bay, BC) and Nick Russell (Port McNeil, BC) – with a complete roster in the professional division, the stage was set and game was on.
The Canadian Championship was the most exciting Canadian event ever! With the addition of young gun Nathan Cumberland to the roster and his impressive power at only 19 years of age, the already experienced professional athletes had to kick their "A" game up a notch. Never in the history of Canadian STIHL TIMBERSPORTS had our official judges had to go so many times to the video screens to determine a winner. But in this edition, Assistant Judge Jonathan Russell and Head Judge Roger McPhee had their hands full for the whole day. Not only competition was as close as ever, but for the first time ever, the first place in Springboard Chop was taken away from Springboard World Champion Mitch Hewitt by defending Champion Stirling Hart. As expressed by Stirling Hart after his amazing Springboard Chop heat, he said: "I've been waiting for over 8 years to beat Mitch at this discipline". After 5 of 6 events, Mitch Hewitt was leading the scoreboard with 30 points, closely followed by Stirling Hart and Nathan Cumberland, both with 28 points and Marcel Dupuis with 27; it was all going to be decided in the Hot Saw round. Mitch Hewitt needed a good time to secure his victory but he had trouble starting his Hot Saw. He recorded a time of 16.8 seconds, far too long for this event. This opened the door for the chase to take his spot, but with Stirling Hart and Nathan Cumberland getting a DQ in this round, the chance was now for Marcel Dupuis. With an inspired performance, Marcel ran a solid time of 6.5 seconds winning this event and scoring 8 more points that would put him at a total of 35 points, one point above Mitch Hewitt who only scored 4 points in this round and finished in second place with a total score of 34 points. The Canadian Championship, 2015 edition, was a nail-biting event not recommended for people with heart conditions from the beginning to end!
The Canadian Championship was also graced by the presence of the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS best Women and Rookie athletes in the country. The Women's Division was represented by defending Canadian Champion Danielle Tkach (Sexsmith, AB) and Katelan Steward (Grande Prairie, AB) from the west and Janet Walker (Truro, NS) and France Gagné (Shipshaw, QC), representing the east. In the Rookie Division we had Lukas Brown-John (Squamish, BC) and Brad Barlow (Edmonton, AB) representing the west and Ben Cumberland (Keswick Ridge, NB) and George Williams (River Denys, NS) from the east. The level of competition displayed by both women and rookie division was phenomenal! They kept crowds on the edge of their seats until the final event, where Janet Walker took the Canadian Women's Championship for the first time, followed by a new face in the Canadian Championship, Katelan Steward and finishing the podium with Danielle Tkach whose hopes of defending her title faded away as competition advanced. On the Rookie Division, Ben Cumberland and George Williams from the East completely dominated the competition and took first and second place with Brad Barlow finishing third.
The Canadian 2015 season is now complete and we focus our efforts to the 2015 World Championship that will take place in Poznan, Poland on November 13-14. Team Canada Coach Gerry Rozo has selected a team, which is in his own words, "the best team we've ever had for a World Championship".
Team Canada will be represented by:
1. Marcel Dupuis
2. Mitch Hewitt
3. Stirling Hart
4. Nathan Cumberland
5. JP Mercier
6. Ben Cumberland
Congratulations to all the athletes who put a solid performance in 2015 and good luck to Team Canada who will start training immediately to go for the gold medal that they missed by a half-swing of an axe to Australia in the finals in Austria last year.
Thanks for supporting the ULTIMATE extreme sport on the planet!