Minnesota brings one of the stronger Ultimate traditions to the AUDL. Last year the AUDL was more focused on the proximity of teams, and places like Buffalo, Louisville, and Columbus had teams. Now those teams are all gone, and the AUDL is moving more teams into Ultimate hotspots. And in Minnesota they bring in a team that should be able to contend for the championship. The talent on this team is strong. It draws from three teams primarily, Drag’n Thrust, the top mixed team in Minnesota that finished third in the 2012 club series, Chad Larson Experience, top mixed team in Iowa that won WUCC in 2010, and SubZero, the top open club team in Minnesota.
Grant Lindsley led Sub Zero in goals scored at Nationals in 2012, and while playing for Chain Lightning at Nationals in 2011 he had 13 goals and 8 assists, leading them in goals. Josh Klane is another Sub Zero player on the Wind Chill roster, and this college season he’s helped the University of Minnesota achieve their current #1 ranking from Skyd Magazine and Ultiworld. In bringing Kevin Seiler back to Minnesota they’re getting the player that finished with the third most assists in the Mixed Division at Nationals in 2011 with 27. If the Mixed and Open players develop chemistry, this team could be very dangerous.
Organizationally there are some things left to be desired from the Wind Chill. While their facebook page gets updated consistently, the same thing cannot be said of their difficult to navigate, visually unappealing, website. On their website the roster page only has three players listed. “More Details Coming Soon” seems to be the website theme. Their facebook page says games are at one place, while their website says they’re at another. However, there are unique things that the Wind Chill are doing. They’re giving their fans the opportunity to bus to away games in Madison and Chicago. And there isn’t an AUDL team that has a better, more widespread youth Ultimate scene than Minnesota. One of the premier youth teams in Minnesota, Hopkins High School, is where the Wind Chill will play their home games. While it’s unfortunate the games will take place 15 minutes outside of Minneapolis and 25 minutes outside of Saint Paul, playing at the high school should ensure a solid base of supporters for each home game.
With such a depth of club experience, the Wind Chill have to be considered one of the top teams in the league. Unlike some of their counterparts in the Midwestern conference though, they’ll be coming in with zero AUDL experience. Their early schedule isn’t exactly forgiving either. While that can be said for any Midwestern team since unlike last year there will only be intra-conference play, the Wind Chill will have to be careful to avoid an early slump. They start the season on the road in Indianapolis, against a team with much more AUDL experience that will have already played their first game. They host a deep Madison team the next weekend, before going on the road to Madison in Week 4. In Week 5 they host the star studded Windy City Wildfire. If I had to put odds on those games, I’d say they’re only the favorite in Week 3, when they host Madison. That could mean a 1-3 start, not the way you want to introduce yourself to the league. But with the talent on this team they should be able to overcome a possible slow start and qualify for the playoffs.