Hamilton AC looking to make waves in water polo

The fourth edition of Major League Water Polo opens this weekend in Montreal, Ste-Foy, Que., Ottawa and Etobicoke.

Eight men’s teams and eight women’s teams will compete in the league this year. The men’s league added the Hydres de Ste-Foy and Tritons de Laval while losing the Carleton University WC and the Toronto Chargers.

Rounding out the remainder of the men’s teams are Hamilton Aquatic Club, CAMO Roadrunners, Dollard Devils, Inter Gatineau, Mavericks WC and the Toronto Golden Jets.

The women added the Mavericks WC after a two-year hiatus and lost the Toronto Chargers. The remaining women’s teams are Hamilton AC, CAMO WC, Carleton University WC, Dollard WC, Ottawa Titans, Hydres de Ste-Foy and the Toronto Golden Jets.

The Hamilton AC (men and women), CAMO Roadrunners, CAMO WC, Dollard Devils, Dollard WC, Hydres de Ste-Foy women, Inter Gatineau, and Mavericks WC men have all been in the league since inception.

The long-time cross-town rival Roadrunners and Devils open the 2012 campaign at the Claude-Robillard Sports Complex in Montreal. Over the weekend Dollard WC, the Ottawa Titans and the Tritons de Laval will travel to Quebec City to play the Hydres de Ste-Foy while CAMO WC takes a short trip to Ottawa to play Carleton University WC. The final game of the opening weekend features the Mavericks’ men’s team hosting Hamilton AC in Etobicoke.

The format for the men’s and women’s leagues are the same with each Quebec Division team playing its divisional rivals twice and travelling to Toronto to play the Ontario Division teams once for a total of 11 games.

The Ontario divisional trio will play each other three times and will host each Quebec Division team once to complete its 11 game season.

The playoff weekend will be held in Montreal at the Claude-Robillard Sports Complex the weekend of March 3-4. The top two teams from the Quebec Division (the host CAMO team will occupy one of these spots) along with the winner of the Ontario Division and one wild-card team will qualify for the playoffs. Seeding and performance during the regular season will be very important as the top ranked team will play the 4th ranked team in the semi-final with the winner advancing to the Championship Game.

The 2011 women’s season saw CAMO WC regain its Championship status defeating the Toronto Golden Jets 10-6 in the final. CAMO WC has won two of the three MLWP Championships with their only loss coming in 2010 at the hands of long-time rival Dollard WC. CAMO WC needed overtime during last year’s playoff weekend to knock off Dollard WC before advancing to the Championship Game against the Golden Jets. This was the first appearance in the Championship Game for the Golden Jets who also needed overtime to beat the Hydres de Ste-Foy in the semi-final game. Although the Golden Jets had an automatic entry in the playoff weekend last year as the host, they had their best regular season performance finishing with 10 wins and 5 losses.

The 2011 men’s Championship game was an all Ontario Division final with the Mavericks WC edging heated rival the Toronto Golden Jets 5-4 in overtime. The Mavericks needed overtime to beat the Dollard Devils in the semi-final game last season, which also marked the first time the Mavericks’ franchise have beaten the Devils. The Golden Jets also earned their first ever victory over the Roadrunners in last year’s other semi-final game. The Roadrunners had a perfect MLWP record having gone undefeated in 2009 and 2010 before losing their first ever MLWP game to the Devils last January. The Roadrunners and Devils travel to Toronto the weekend of Jan. 27-29 to play the Golden Jets and Mavericks.