Edmonton Impact’s Bart Yachimec is our first interview for the “Featured Team” section of www.PSPEvents.com. We found his story to be inspiring for players at all levels. Read on and stay tuned for many more team interviews to come… possibly even from your team!
What year did the team start competing? How did it all happen? I remember working with you years ago in the D2 level – and each year you continued to move up. I think your story is quite inspiring and want to share your journey, vision and any advice you might have for other teams out there.
Team Impact began in the year 2000. Our original members were Bart Yachimec, Zack Yachimec, Zane Yachimec, Greg Ouimet and Josh Ouimet. Greg Ouimet had moved his family to Key Biscayne, Florida for about a year. When they returned Josh was very excited about a new game that he had played while in the states…Paintball! We had taken Zack and Zane to Hawaii for spring break and found a paintball field to try it out…played…loved it…and we were hooked!
How long have you been playing the Xball/RaceTo format?
Our original team was 5 man and we were actually named the Dragons. We entered some local tournaments playing both speedball and bush ball. We had some success and began entering tournaments in Calgary and British Columbia. We eventually grew to a 7 man squad and bumped up from novice to the amateur division in Alberta. The boys (Zack, Zane & Josh) at 13 and 14 began playing with some serious veteran amateur players…some double their age. We were playing the MR Paintball series in Alberta, played in the Skyball events, BC Tournaments and some Manitoba events as Amateurs. Team Impact evolved over those years going with a younger group aged more closely that had talent that was going to improve over time and they did just that… It has been whole lot of excitement over the years and it even got more fun when we entered our first event in the US: Div 3 at World Cup and took first place. In 2004 we were invited by the Screaming Eagles out of Salmon Arm, B.C. to an event in Toulouse, France. We placed second in Div. 3. That same year, 2004 we entered our first 7 man squad in the NPPL.
My best advice at this point is to play with guys you want to play with and to try to climb that ladder of competition. By playing better teams and playing tougher divisions you will learn quicker!! We got our butts handed to us in all divisions as we moved up but once we got the hang of the level we improved and excelled!! As an owner or manager you have to look to try and improve your players that fit in with each on and off the field. Look for players that have the same drive and goals.
With some success in 7 man and turning pro we ran both an Impact pro and semi-pro team which back in the day we practiced against each other a lot. Today we have an up and coming 7 man team called Impact Echo which is currently in 1st place in Div 2 playing the NPPL and they have some talent that could be the future Pros of Impact. Some of the semi pro players that played 2 years ago still play and are making up the difference for our X-ball team. We have had success in every League we have played we have won the Canadian XBall and NAX Championships in 2006, 2007, & 2008. We won in Semi pro Boston NPPL 2006, Phoenix PSP being our 1st Pro Event this year 2010 and still need to win a NPPL officially in Pro.
What teams do you practice against? You are the only Professional Canadian PSP Team – does this require traveling for practices, or is there some unknown talent up north?
We will usually bring all the guys in once a month early in the season to get together and practice. The schedule now usually has us going down the week before a big event and practicing a couple of pro teams the weekend before and sometimes during the week with the likes of the Russian, Tampa Bay, Infamous, Dynasty and Chicago!! So we will have the guys stay the whole week the event that we are at!!
How is the sport doing in Alberta? What are your thoughts on the current state and future of the industry?
The sport in Alberta is down somewhat. When we played Amateur here, there would be 40 – 50 teams to events. Now they struggle to get 25-30. Rec ball is doing well but tournament ball has dropped off. Some factors would include costs, time commitments. Some teams instead of putting in an effort for a competitive team prefer the recreation aspect.
Future of the Industry…relatively good in rec ball sense and tournament ball I would be a little concerned. There appears to be not too many up and coming young teams but I believe we have to get the younger players more exposed to the tournament scene similar to how Impact got going by playing rec ball and then seeing the tournament scene. My hope is that there is more on the way.
There’s a rumor out there that you were in the NHL and even won a Stanley Cup…?
In my younger days, up to 25, my career….I played 5 years Pro starting with Chicago Black Hawks in 1979 signed a 3 year deal winning a Calder Cup in 1982 and then signed with the Edmonton Oilers for 1 year and was a call up for the Oilers 1st Stanley Cup. – I Scored 1 NHL goal Chicago vs Hartford Whalers in an Exhibition game. You can say 1 NHL game and 1 Goal – pretty good Stats!!! Then I played one year overseas in Switzerland. While in Europe I played with Team Canada to win the Spengler Cup in 1985. I finished playing in 1985 to get in the Car Business working for my father. Currently we have 8 Franchises.
You started the season by winning the Professional Title at the 2010 PSP Phoenix Open – the season opener. Obviously your team and sponsors must be elated – and this has set the bar high for the rest of the season. What are you doing to keep the team grounded and focused?
We have started out this season with a 1st place win in Phoenix, which we are very excited about. This year we brought in Ryan Moorehead from Philly who elevated our confidence and belief that we can win and has carried on with two 2nd place finishes in the NPPL. Our combined Impact/Dynasty team has faired well with two 1st place wins in the Millennium series in Spain and Germany!
I believe the players have brought a different expectation with the addition of Dave Bains to our 7 man roster along with Ryan Moorhead. We have more depth that may have been lacking in the past. It gives us 2 solid lines in PSP and a strong 9 players in the NPPL. We are maturing as a team and are very focused on continuing winning.
I think we are making our Sponsors Planet Eclipse, NXE, Kee, Paintball Action Games, Custom Products (CP), Exault, MR Paintball and paintballphotography.com happy this year as we sit in 1st place in both NPPL and the PSP and you could count the Millennium Series with the Dynasty connection being in 1st place there also so it has been a very good start for us!!
Who/What are your biggest challenges in the PSP Pro League this season?
Challenges… To be consistent in the top 4 is not easy in the PSP! You have 10 strong paintball teams playing at this Pro level. There have been times that we have missed the playoffs by one point differentials. It seems once we makes play-offs the whole game is elevated. If we can continue to get off to a good start I see more success in the future.
How did last season go for your team?
2009 was a struggle. In PSP we could not get on track and ended 9th overall.
What unforeseen obstacles did the team encounter during the off-season?
Our team was at a sort of stalemate at this point we took the opportunity to add Ryan Moorehead and Dave Bains, which I believe has been the catalyst to boost our team to that next level.
What has been the biggest surprise for your team since last season?
The biggest and greatest surprise was our 1st place finish in Phoenix – right out of the gate!! and now to be 1st in the World…PSP, NPPL and Millennium with Dynasty…our struggle will be to hold on to these titles!!
What do you want people to think of when they hear your team name?
We want to represent our sponsors to the best of our ability which of course promotes paintball. This team has grown from a young group of 10 & 11 year olds and realized a dream of becoming Pro-paintballers. Maybe we have created hope for other young players to work hard and realize they too can make their dreams come true.
Anything else you would like to share?
We stand for a team that plays both X-Ball and 7 man and totally enjoy both formats and we realize paintball has great people in it and we should all strive to promote this great game!!
Quick Stats for Edmonton Impact:
Home City. Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Team Owner. Bart Yachimec
Team Captain. Josh Davey
Coach. Bart Yachimec
Team Colors. Burberry, Brown, Beige, Gold
Team Website. www.edmontonimpact.com
Team Sponsors. Eclipse, Empire, Kee, NXE, PAG, Exalt, MR Paintball, CP,
Year the team was formed. 2000 Original Bart Yachimec, Zane Yachimec, Zack Yachimec,Greg Ouimet, Josh Ouimet
Team Statement. “Impact for Life!”
Josh Davey #999, May 25, 1982
Zane Yachimec #77 May 13, 1990
Zack Yachimec #10, Feb 13, 1989
Josh Ouimet #81, August 16, 1988
Justin Cornell #1, Oct 8, 1986
Johnny Thompson #87, Jan 2, 1990
Ryan Moorhead #85, April 18, 1985
Warren Stojanowski #75, Dec 1, 1985
Cole Scott, May 20, 1988
Fraser Masse #241, July 25, 1986
Ryan Hamilton, Jan 28, 1985