NXL World Cup 2017: Pre Event catch up with Edmonton Impact's Bart Yachimec

Welcome to the second of our pre / post event interviews with a designated Eclipse Pro team. This series of posts is a two-part deal. A pre-event interview followed by a Post Event interview. Which is risky. A team can have all the enthusiasm and plans in the world leading into an event but if they get an ass whupping then the post-event interviews can be a little awkward. But we think it's good to see both sides of the coin.

As the NXL World Cup grows closer it's a no-brainer as to who we should feature. Last year's Cup winners and the team everyone wants to beat, Edmonton Impact.

We contacted Impact's owner and coach, Bart Yachimec (and his lovely wife Jo), and hit him with a fistful (or three) of questions, to find out a little more about where their heads are it as the game timer ticks down.

We like the Impact boys so thought we'd try to get some insight into the stuff we don't see which we managed to do, so thanks for this Bart.

Anyway, here we go.

After (finally) winning Cup last year have you relaxed and taken each event as they come or has the World Cup been in the back of your mind all season?
A bit of both. We really only look at one event at a time and even one game at a time to even one point at a time. If you think too far ahead you can miss what's happening in front of you and that can get you in trouble. It's like Golf, one Swing at a time.

© Fava Photography

That's cool but I guess what we REALLY wanna know is: Has scratching the itch made it go away or is it even itchier?
Ok. I would say it's even itchier. I mean we have a lot of talent but the challenge now is keeping it all together so we can win the World Cup again. For a back-to-back win.

Speaking of winning, you won the final Millennium Series title EVER this year, so nobody can take that from you now. Must feel good, winning back-to-back titles?
Millennium has been a special series for us because we have now been playing it for many years and every year seems to bring new challenges. The teams are getting better and better which means you can never take any of it for granted.  It was tough but we're happy to be crowned Champions again.

© Erik Chateau

© Erik Chateau

People always go on about how the teams in Europe can’t hold a candle to the big Stateside teams, but you haven’t had an easy time of it Europe this year have you?
I truly believe that having North American players come over to play with the Europeans for many years has improved the over all play and we have some tuff games now that previously we would of just cruised thru, but not today.

What and who do you think has made it more difficult for you in Europe this time around? Are the teams getting better? Getting smarter? More prepared?
The North American players have helped inspire some of the European teams, by giving them more confidence in themselves, which makes the teams better and harder to beat, even long after those players have moved on. The main headaches are the Russians, Ton-Tons and Breakout. It really is a toss up on who beats who. Breakout has finished in 2nd place a lot and they are due to win. Ton/Tons are always a pain! The Russians a very young team with lots of desire and can just plain out beat you. It will be interesting to see how the rest improve, they just need more time.

Let's talk about your boys. Which of your guys enjoys playing in Europe the most? Every team has someone who just loves to travel around?
Honestly, they all enjoy it; we seem to be taking it a bit more easier and not traveling as much after or before events and that's probably because of the schedule this past year. Every event we were 20 days away for NXL and Europe which becomes tough and tiring.

© Fava Photography

© Fava Photography

Your guys are known for being complete professionals on and off the field, but we also know they’re pretty good at cutting loose when you’re not looking right? Who’s the most mischievous on your travels?
We have had some hilarious times over the years and have been lucky to have only had some minor injuries that could of been bad. Very Bad.

There was the time Ryan Moorehead had a Broken Jaw, compliments of JC.

Then Zane Yachimec busted his ankle and wrist playing Humpty Dumpty on a wall.

I would say JC is our most mischievous player and is definitely one you don't want to pick a fight with.

PE - I think we need to re-visit some of these stories Bart. 

I guess you have to reign it in but still encourage the creative flow though, so you can get the best from them? Are they a tough bunch to manage?
The tuff part is really at practice and at games with them picking at each other or pointing the finger at each other. They're a fired up group of guys who want to play their best and win so it can get pretty ugly at times, but again it's them wanting to win so I will let them go at each just let off the steam.
We do have a very good balance of controlling the festering and we won't let it get away with us.

C’mon spill, there’s gotta be someone who makes you bite your lip from time to time. Who has a habit of pushing your buttons? Any stories you’d care to share with us?
You know some guys will make you bite your lip. Over the years we have had challenges of players wanting to quit in the middle of the game or the middle of night. We had a player get into it with another player after a few drinks, or I should TOO many drinks and I had to pin him down and get him under control. The best way to do this was pinch his nose... for a little too long. He slept it off and the next day his whole nose was black from the loss of blood from squeezing it. Lol!!!

© Fava Photography

Would you say the balance of the team, in terms of personalities is pretty good? You have a real good bunch of guys there who we always find approachable and friendly.
Yes we have what I would say close to the best balance of young players, and I will say veterans too (even if they're still young). I do say I miss seeing Dave Bains play as he has a real true control of the game when he plays. I preach respect for what we have and the ability to play this game and enjoy our time together and respect the items and people around us. It goes along way and you get the respect back.

Who would you say has improved the most this year? And in what way? How do they help the team?
Wow! I really like Dalton and Brandon with the way they have come into the team. They took some hard shots and have sat at times and rebounded great where they would play every point. In saying that, I believe our system takes some time to understand and when they get it it just shows. I would also say Alex Goldman at the beginning with us believed he had to win most points on his own and as time went on he realized there was some help on the other side of the field and behind him and he has become a real team player now.

© Fava Photography

© IM2 Studios

Which of your players is the one to watch right now? As in, up-and-coming talent who is almost there?
I don't really see a player that to me is the one to watch, but WHAT to watch is how two or three can put it together or even the 5 on the field. That's a true  beauty to see. Fortunately we do have so much talent that when Dave and I run with a feeling of who is hot it means the possibility of someone sitting a point or two. But it's always for the good of the team.

So, World Cup. How have your preparations been so far?
Preparations for World Cup have gone well so far. First priority was an Oakland Raiders game and sit in the Black Hole with some real Die Hard Fans! Then we practiced with the DMG guys Dave's Div 1 team currently in 1st place in semi pro.

We have pretty set schedule for every event. We usually only do one weekend out before each event but this year we added Chicago and World Cup to a two weekend practice to help us prepare even more.

The field looks interesting, have your guys taken to it? Do you think the field will bring viewers some great paintball?
I like this field. I think it is very balanced from all three sides meaning Snake / Doritos and The Wall.
I think we're going to see some really exciting games and points.

Some of the bunkers could give the braver and less consistent teams some big opportunities, is this something you guys worry about?
I believe we can play any style of game to be honest. We probably proved that more so in Chicago where we had to play 4 overtime games.

© IM2 Studios

© IM2 Studios

© IM2 Studios

You’re currently at the top of the NXL Pro standings right now, but it’s still close. Who do you think will be trouble this year? Damage and the Russians are creeping and XFactor have been on your heels all year.
I LIKE that fact that there are so many teams with a chance to win now, it's good for the sport, for the league and keeps you competitive. I mean teams that were bottom 4 are now making top 4 so anyone can get beat at any time especially if your'e not ready or take someone for granted.

Any last words to say to fans? Or maybe a splash of smack-talk for the opposition?
I really appreciate all the fans that are attached to paintball. It's such a great game with such great people taking part in it.

My real Dream for Paintball? To make it mainstream.

NFL, NHL, NBA, and so on... we just have to figure out how to add NXL to that list as a mainstream sport / league.

I'd like to thank all the Paintballers and the fans for their continued support. We really appreciate it.