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

We end the 2017 NXL Season with a post-World Cup interview with Edmonton Impact's Bart Yachimec. Again, these are touchy pieces to approach, because nobody wants to talk about a really bad event they just had. Luckily, that wasn't the case and Bart gave us some good insights in the team. Probably a few too many if we're honest but hey, we can only ask the questions.

So sit back, slow things down a little, and enjoy.

So, back-to-back NXL World Cup champions AND back-to-back NXL Pro Series winners. Pretty impressive stuff. As it settled in yet?
It truly is an unbelievable feeling to win back-to-back World Cups and really puts our team as one of the all time best in the sport. I would say even the last few years of winning the champions series' has put us as one of the most consistent teams also. Which is something the players and fans should be really proud of.

The goal now is to become 'three-peat' champs which really makes it interesting.

Photo: Fava Photo

Let’s focus on you for a minute. As the team owner and coach how does it feel when you achieve something like this? All that time, money, heartache and hard work… it must feel incredible when it pays off?
For me personally the achievements are a result of just pushing the guys to be better at everything we do and that includes Dave and I as coaches. It just never ends, and for Dave and I we don’t plan on letting up any time soon. It’s just to good to be true right now.

You run the team like a legit professional sports team. Because it is. And it works. How has your history with professional sports helped you build these foundations?
Running the team as professional as we can was really influenced by my Junior Hockey days in Portland, with the Portland Winterhawks. You have to imagine as 17 to 19 year olds there is so much to learn and the discipline at that age to win. But in saying that we still preach to our professional players as if they were still that young.
It’s a hoot to get hot at them, or as they call it a Bart Attack, because it’s all about the emotion and the drive. That’s the motivation that will kick in. Even turning Pro with Chicago playing in the American hockey league every coach was different with different coaching styles, and they all had different results. So far our results have been pretty good, so it's definitely working.

A heavily involved team owner and killer coach partnership isn’t a new concept, but you guys really seem to have put the hours in to make it work. Do you think teams need to work harder on this partnership? Do you think this is the missing link for a lot of teams?
The coach and ownership part as Dave and I have is very special; we thrive on each other doing what we do. You need a team that respects each others' capabilities as players and by that I mean we win and lose as a team and sometimes it hurts when people / players make mistakes and even your best players make mistakes too. But if each of the players can respect those mistakes and also the players admitting those mistakes – which some don’t – that’s when the structure can fail.
Point the finger and you quickly get four pointing back at yourself. Admit you messed up and you can all move forward. Better and faster.

Dave Bains. Incredible player and incredible tactician. What is it about his input that is so on-the-money?
Dave has an uncanny knack for a understanding a field layout. Because of this we dial a field in pretty fast, but sometimes it can take the players time to get their confidence and believe in the plan.
Example: Our players will say 'we will never take that dorito two off the break' and we will push them, but they won't buy into it. So we back off a little. But then, in our first game, the opposing team takes dorito 2 off the break and causes us all sorts of problems.
Dave's the maestro when it comes to lane shooting and adjusting as the game goes on, which is a big positive for us.

Photo: Fava Photo

Still with Dave - On the field or in the pits? Where do you think his strengths lie? Where do you prefer him?
We sometimes play Dave in Practice so that he really gets a feeling for the field and then it’s back to coaching. We have become more of a complete team with Dave coaching. Like I said, his lane shooting and field craft are skills from his playing ability which have translated to his coaching perfectly.

You don’t need to answer this – With DMG winning semi-pro, and with Dave helping those guys out too, will Impact lose some of his input next year?
DMG making Pro will be interesting and I am not sure if even Dave has figured out how that is going to go yet.

Ok, back to the team and the win. Which one feels the most special, and why? The first or this one?
Your first win is always the best feeling and even winning our first PSP event in 2010 was very special. We never officially won an NPPL event, other than the Kansas City event that was plain and simple just a political nightmare. Those days you just never knew what it would take to break through. But our first World Cup win... that's the best!

Photo: IM2 Studios

Photo: Fava Photo

Your World Cup weekend started pretty poorly didn’t it? What do you think went wrong on Friday?
Friday at World Cup started out as about as bad as it could have. We were about as frazzled as we have ever been, but we're very good at identifying a problem and figuring out how to fix it.  Once we realized our mistakes – after the Ironmen game – it was not on the field problems at all, it all started in prep before the game and in the pits. Once we'd sorted that out, we were back in business.

What do you guys do after a shaky start to re-align the stars for the next day?
The shaky start can really put a ton of pressure on everyone and we don’t really stress the win out theory, it's all about putting the right game plans and personnel on the field to win the momentum and keep it going. It's all about capturing momentum and understanding how to maintain it.

Photo: IM2 Studios

Would you say keeping a cool head, staying focused and always looking to improve point-after-point is something you guys have perfected now?
I will say this, even at this World Cup we learned what we needed to do to win. It may sound crazy but this is something that we'd not done before, which was invaluable to us and it will put us in a very confident position next year.

Your season has been a mixed bag of results. Going into Cup the event AND the title could have gone a few ways. What things did you need to change to be ready for Cup?
Going into any event can cause you concerns and this year we had not won until Chicago so I believe we thought we were going have success by not working hard and once we realized we had to start working as a team instead of having one or two guys having a good tournaments it was like the switch turned on. After those first three events and no wins everyone started to work at what we all needed to do and that was everything. We had to be in sync or it was not going to happen.

Who were you most concerned about going into Cup? Damage were closing in and XFactor have been super consistent all year.
I thought Tampa (Damage) was going to do well and they were looking good, until we showed up with our Game on Sunday. Honestly I thought Houston Heat looked really good going into Sunday and we could see them in the final but they cooled down. We seem to have XFactor’s number right now so it was Dynasty in the end. Not sure what each other’s record is between us that would be interesting to know over the years. It’s a great rivalry because of all the players and team associations over the years.

You guys hit such a sweet spot on Saturday with Zach and Alex absolutely killing it on the snake side. Do you know when you find that sweet spot? Does the team feel it? Or is it something you know you need to fight towards?
Alex and Zach really connected this event and we've not really had them together all year, so for them (and us) it was great to find that. Dave and I said before the event we believed that combo could work well and it turned out we were right.
We had Zane and Nick working the middle for us up the middle and Dalton and JRab were at their best on the dorito side and as most events go we go with the hot hand and everyone of our players chip in to help us all win.
It’s funny, Raney will be special in so many ways but then it just won't be his turn and even with JC, he really did not need to sit but we had it going good with the combos so we all realize who is going, and we go.

Photo: Fava Photo

Photo: Fava Photo

Photo: Fava Photo

Photo: Fava Photo

Dynasty can pull anything out the bag in a finals game, but so can you guys. You seemed to completely shut them down and that 4-0 lead was looking so dominant, you guys just seemed to get better and better. You must have thought you were gonna 7-0 them at that point. 
We had the Dynasty game in total control until the 5th point, even shooting two off the break, up 5 on 3 for players and we still lost the point. It was matter of playing individual again and getting hurt by not doing a lot of things we train for all the time. Dave and I walked back to the pits after that point saying the momentum had changed and we needed to correct it right away. It was honestly so close to a total collapse.

And then it was 4-1… then 4-2. Were you surprised by the turnaround? Did you recognise something they did to turn the tide?
We do discuss momentum changes but really it’s a hard thing to control; it just seems like it’s a huge wave coming at you and you can’t do much about it. There are things we do to control the momentum in both ways, for and against, but I can’t go into detail. I have probably said too much already. The guys are going to team-attack me!

Ok, one more. That final point didn’t look like you were hanging on though, you looked in control and once those early bodies dropped you must have felt good?
To be honest that last point was probably one of the most talked about plays our team has ever had. And it worked, but only because we all believed in the play when we walked on the field for that final point.

Photo: Fava Photo

Photo: Fava Photo

I wanna touch on this real quick. There's a mixed bag of Love and Hate out there for teams, and you guys get quite a passionate group from both sides of the fence. What are your thoughts on this? 
I remember I was accused of ruining paintball in Canada when we took players from certain teams for our amateur team. And then, when we entered the US with an all Canadian Team, and started having some success it was suddenly a great thing for Canada and Canadian paintball.
All I can say is I thank all of our supporters AND the 'haters' too because it’s what keeps us all young and playing this great game that we all love so very much. Every sport has lovers and haters, heroes and villains, and they're needed. They represent passion. And where would sport be without passion?

Do you guys have any big plans next year? Any roster gaps to fill or things you’re looking to change with the team?
As far as changes go for 2018, I don't see too many things happening, but we could have a surprise up our sleeves. Ya never know.

And finally. Any last words?
Yes. I'd like to thank all of our fans (and again, the haters too) for your support this year. And a massive thank you to all of our sponsors who support us and provide us with the best gear, services and support on the Planet.

We Got Your Back!

We'd like to thank Bart, Jo and the Edmonton Impact camp for their time, and for being an incredible organisation, both on and off the field.

Here's to more of the same in 2018.