February 22, 2022
By Evan Lepler
Happy Twosday, everyone!
Quite a bit has changed since the last time we Tossed, but with the much-anticipated arrival of the 2022 AUDL schedule, I just had to emerge from my basketball bunker to dive deep into the upcoming ultimate.
First, here’s a super quick “Seven On The Line” recap of the AUDL winter that has transpired thus far.
- The league has expanded to 25 franchises, welcoming the Colorado Summit, Portland Nitro, and Salt Lake Shred into the fold, creating an exciting and mysterious seven-team West Division.
- And with the new franchise additions, as well as reintroducing the three Canadian clubs back into the East Division, the AUDL is back to a traditional four division format. A second consecutive offseason of league realignment has shifted Austin and Dallas back into the South, and Pittsburgh back into the Central; last season's Atlantic Division has dissolved back into East and South.
- Along with the three brand new franchises, three former champions have new franchise names, while another divisional champ has undergone a redesign. Last year’s champs, the Raleigh Flyers, are now the Carolina Flyers, while the San Jose Spiders, who won back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2015, are now the Oakland Spiders. Additionally, the 2016 champs from Dallas have rebranded from the Roughnecks to the Dallas Legion. Meanwhile, the San Diego Growlers, two-time defending West Division champs, also have a new primary logo.
- On the hot stove, four members of the 2019 AUDL All-Star Game have switched teams heading into 2022. Antoine Davis jumped from Atlanta to New York. Jay Froude signed with Colorado after four years with Dallas. Kyle Henke is back in Austin after one season with Dallas. And in perhaps the most surprising move, Sean McDougall is departing Los Angeles after six seasons to join San Diego. It’s not all awful for the Aviators, though, as LA did re-sign Aaron Weaver, another member of the 2019 All-Star squad, after Weaver did not play in 2021.
- In other high-profile player movement, Atlanta snagged Bobby Ley and Bradley Seuntjens from Tampa Bay, Minnesota locked up former Radical Rami Paust and former Roughneck Sam Ward, the expansion Salt Lake Shred secured commitments from former Spiders Jordan Kerr and Jacob Miller, along with former Breeze Ben Green and Joe Merrill, and Indianapolis re-signed former AlleyCat Keegan North after he spent last year with Chicago. Furthermore, Henke wasn’t the only Texan to swap teams, as Matt Armour also signed with Austin after three years with Dallas, while Matt Bennett decided to rejoin Dallas after three years with Austin, ensuring Dallas has a handler named Matt after Matt Jackson also switched it up by signing with Froude in Colorado. To be clear, offseason signings are still ramping up, and more surprises are inevitable in the upcoming couple months as we build toward opening night.
- Speaking of opening night, the 2022 AUDL season will officially launch on April 29 with the defending champion Flyers hosting the Atlanta Hustle. Later that night on the west coast, the Growlers will welcome the Salt Lake Shred to San Diego, as the Shred make their AUDL debut. The first "Game Of The Week" will feature New York and DC from our nation’s capital.
- As for the league’s signature event, Championship Weekend 11 has been set for August 26-27 at Breese Stevens Field, as the four division winners will meet in Madison to determine the AUDL’s next champion. The league also held the semis and finals in Wisconsin back in 2016 and 2018, unquestionably two of the most memorable ultimate weekends over the past 10 years.
Alright, got all that?
There’s certainly been other interesting storylines too, from Dallas, Philadelphia, and Tampa Bay all welcoming new coaching staffs to Detroit signing Johnny Bansfield and Nathan Champoux as the Detroit Mechanix continue their quest to snap their jaw-dropping 50-game losing streak. We’ll delve into these topics and many others in the coming months, but today the focus is the recently released schedule.
The Full Field Layout
Overall, the league begins its second decade with 150 regular season contests on the ledger. There will be 11 playoff berths—three apiece in the Central, East, and West, while the five-team South will only have two playoff teams—providing 10 playoff games to determine the AUDL’s next champion.
Each team has 12 games over the span of 14 weeks, with the vast majority of games slated for Friday and Saturday nights. There are at least eight games every single weekend from late April through the end of July, with the busiest slate set for Week 6, with 13 games on tap from June 3-5.
Here’s the full breakdown week-by-week:
Week 1 | April 29-May 1 | 12 games - 2 Fri., 8 Sat., 2 Sun.
Week 2 | May 6-8 | 10 games - 2, 8
Week 3 | May 13-15 | 10 games - 3, 7
Week 4 | May 20-22 | 11 games - 3, 7, 1
Week 5 | May 27-29 | 8 games - 1, 7
Week 6 | June 3-5 | 13 games - 3, 9, 1
Week 7 | June 10-12 | 11 games - 4, 7
Week 8 | June 17-19 | 11 games - 5, 6
Week 9 | June 24-26 | 9 games - 2, 7
Week 10 | July 1-3 | 10 games - 2, 8
Week 11 | July 7-10 | 11 games - 1 Thu., 3 Fri., 6 Sat., 1 Sun.
Week 12 | July 15-17 | 12 games - 3, 9
Week 13 | July 22-24 | 10 games - 4, 6
Week 14 | July 29-31 | 12 games - 5, 6, 1
Total: 150 games - 1 Thu., 42 Fri., 101 Sat., 6 Sun.
The proliferation of Friday frisbee became one of the hallmarks of the 2021 campaign, and Friday nights will again be action-packed this season, with all but two teams having at least one Friday on their schedule.
No team has focused on Fridays quite like the Salt Lake Shred. The new Utah franchise will compete on Friday night on eight occasions, with all six of their home games slated for Fridays. No one else will play on Friday more than five times, but more than half of the league (13 of the 25 teams) will have at least a third of their games on Fridays. Detroit and Pittsburgh are the only organizations without any Friday frisbee on their initial schedules.
Here’s the full breakdown of when each team is playing their games (Home/Road splits in parenthesis):
Atlanta: 4 Fri. (2/2), 8 Sat. (4/4)
Austin: 4 Fri. (2/2), 8 Sat. (4/4)
Boston: 4 Fri. (2/2), 8 Sat. (4/4)
Carolina: 4 Fri. (2/2), 8 Sat. (4/4)
Chicago: 4 Fri. (3/1), 7 Sat. (2/5), 1 Sun. (1/0)
Colorado: 3 Fri. (0/3), 9 Sat. (6/3)
Dallas: 4 Fri. (2/2), 8 Sat. (4/4)
DC: 5 Fri. (3/2), 7 Sat. (3/4)
Detroit: 0 Fri., 11 Sat. (6/5), 1 Sun. (0/1)
Indianapolis: 1 Fri. (0/1), 11 Sat. (6/5)
Los Angeles: 3 Fri. (2/1), 7 Sat. (3/4), 2 Sun. (1/1)
Madison: 3 Fri. (2/1), 8 Sat. (3/5), 1 Sun. (1/0)
Minnesota: 1 Fri. (0/1), 9 Sat. (5/4), 2 Sun. (1/1)
Montreal: 1 Thu. (1/0), 5 Fri. (3/2), 5 Sat. (2/3), 1 Sun. (0/1)
New York: 4 Fri (3/1), 8 Sat (3/5)
Philadelphia: 5 Fri. (3/2), 7 Sat. (3/4)
Pittsburgh: 0 Fri., 11 Sat. (6/5), 1 Sun. (0/1)
Portland: 3 Fri. (1/2), 9 Sat. (5/4)
Oakland: 4 Fri. (1/3), 8 Sat. (5/3)
Ottawa: 1 Thu. (0/1), 3 Fri. (1/2), 7 Sat. (4/3), 1 Sun. (1/0)
Salt Lake: 8 Fri. (6/2), 4 Sat. (0/4)
San Diego: 4 Fri (2/2), 8 Sat (4/4)
Seattle: 5 Fri (3/2), 5 Sat (2/3), 2 Sun (1/1)
Tampa Bay: 1 Fri. (0/1), 11 Sat. (6/5)
Toronto: 2 Fri. (0/2), 10 Sat. (6/4)
What about doubleheaders? You better believe I dissected all those details too.
The Indianapolis AlleyCats are the only team in the league that does not have any multi-game weekends on their initial schedule. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Colorado, Montreal, and Oakland all have three doubleheader weekends.
Across the full landscape, more than half of the league (14 of 25 teams) have at least two twin-bill weekends.
Here’s the full doubleheader breakdown:
Los Angeles: 2
New York: 1
Salt Lake: 2
San Diego: 2
Tampa Bay: 1
All together, that’s 41 total doubleheader weekends, which will unfold like this:
Week 1: Atlanta, Montreal, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake
Week 2: Boston, Colorado
Week 3: Dallas, Montreal
Week 4: Austin, Philadelphia, Seattle, Toronto
Week 5: New York
Week 6: Boston, Carolina, Los Angeles, Oakland
Week 7: Colorado, Portland
Week 8: Austin, Ottawa, Seattle, Toronto
Week 9: Oakland, San Diego
Week 10: Minnesota, Montreal
Week 11: Atlanta, Salt Lake
Week 12: Colorado, DC, Madison
Week 13: Dallas, Los Angeles, San Diego
Week 14: Chicago, Detroit, Oakland, Ottawa, Portland, Tampa Bay
Obviously, it’s highly likely that some small number of games will change due to weather at some point, which could shift these totals. Last year, for instance, the New York Empire were initially scheduled for 12 single-game weekends in the 12-week season, but two early lightning-related postponements made their late-season slate considerably more hectic. In 2022, however, the regular season is set to play out over a 14-week window, so there will be a good bit more wiggle room for potential rescheduling.
A few other thoughts on the 2022 schedule:
Just like last year, the league’s only scheduled Thursday game is Ottawa at Montreal, set for July 7 in Quebec. That’s the Thursday after Canada Day, if that’ll help you remember.
Only eight teams will play a Sunday game all season, with Los Angeles, Minnesota, and Seattle each scheduled to compete on Sunday twice.
No franchise has every single game on the same day of the week, but Indy, Pittsburgh, and Tampa will all have 11 of their 12 games on Saturdays.
Over the next couple months, rosters will be set, practices will ramp up, chemistry will be formed, and 25 franchises—an all-time high—will embrace the preseason optimism that overflows in the weeks leading up to a new adventure. If you’d like to start your own countdown—and you’re reading this the day it’s published, on Tuesday, February 22, 2022—we are exactly 66 days away from the AUDL’s return.
It’s gonna be epic.