Waterloo Region welcomes the Canadian Mixed Dodgeball Championships 

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Dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge are the five D’s of dodgeball according to the famous 2004 movie featuring Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller. 

All of those tactics and more will be on display at RIM Park on June 10-11 as the Canadian Mixed Dodgeball Championships make its way to Waterloo Region. 

While most people remember playing the game during their youth, the level of play that can be seen at a national championship is unlike anything ever witnessed in a school gymnasium. 

Athletes from across Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec and PEI will all compete for the right to call themselves national champions in both competitive and intermediate divisions next month. 

Dodgeball is a serious sport

“The Team Canada athletes are as serious as any high performance athletes,” Bianca Segatto, president of Dodgeball Ontario, said. 

“Canada’s mixed foam team won gold in the first ever showing at the World Dodgeball Championships in Edmonton in 2022. They have their offseason sports specific training, body care and sport nutritionists. It’s an older sport in a sense, as it’s athletes that have played other sports.” 

Like many athletic competitions, dodgeball is usually separated into men’s and women’s divisions. Mixed dodgeball, which sees three women and three men making up the six players on the court, is a relatively new form of the game in Canada.

Photo: Dodgeball Ontario

Waterloo specifically chosen to host this inaugural Championship

The 2023 Mixed Dodgeball championships will be the first of its kind in the country and Waterloo was chosen for a specific reason – to aid in the growth the sport. 

“Waterloo is nicely situated because our core hubs are Windsor, London, the Greater Toronto Area, Ottawa and a few out in North Bay and Sudbury,” Segatto said. 

“All the events have been north of Toronto so it’s nice to make sure we’re more accessible to southwestern Ontario. We’re trying to maximize exposure when we have events. That’s why we like to move around to different cities and provinces. I’m excited to go to Waterloo Region and hopefully it will help build connections.” 

Many may not know that Waterloo has its own dodgeball association. Tri City Dodgeball aims to promote the game by providing fun and affordable leagues for all skill levels. 

Segatto got her start in the sport like many others, looking for a recreational activity to stay active.  

“I have a sport background,” she said. 

“I have a masters in kinesiology and I’ve lived in a few different places. When I moved to Toronto I saw people playing dodgeball so I started playing through sport and social club leagues.” 

Not long after arriving in Toronto where she currently resides, she was approached about playing in Downtown Dodgeball. The league plays within the World Dodgeball Federation rules and is a much more serious form of the sport. 

With a job at the Ministry of Sport at the time, she joined the board of directors at Dodgeball Ontario. 

Putting the sport of Dodgeball on the map

Segatto has now worked her way to the president’s seat at Dodgeball Ontario and is always on the lookout for new ways to put the game on the map, beginning right here in Waterloo Region. 

“It’s an untapped market,” Segatto said. 

“We’re trying to grow the sport and find different venues across the province to play. Through Sport Tourism Canada we met with the people from Explore Waterloo Region. They reached out and said they had a great venue and RIM Park is a great venue. It’s exciting.” 

Photo: Dodgeball Ontario

Segatto admits the pandemic temporarily halted the sports rise in popularity, but as restrictions began to ease the enthusiasm picked up steam. 

“We’ve seen a lot of growth in coaching, we have a Twitch stream and some people have even taken up commentary,” she said. 

“One thing I love is the inclusivity of it. We’re inclusive because we’re not International Olympic Committee recognized. We have the opportunity to create our own policies around gender inclusivity. Anyone can play young or old.” 

When the whistle blows and the games begin, fans will be treated to high level competition from exceptional athletes. 

“Some of these athletes have been a part of Team Canada and attended the world championships,” she said. 

“People will see some of the best dodgeball in the world.” 

Canadian Mixed Open Dodgeball Championships
Waterloo, ON June 10-11, 2023
RIM Park Manulife Sportsplex

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