Photo by Bryan Flaherty
Fans packed 201 Bar in Northeast Washington, D.C. on Tuesday night to welcome back seven of the Current’s core players from last season’s playoff squad.
Last year’s captains, Daniel Kantor (Cornell University/Boulder, Colo.) and Sean Keegan (University of Delaware/Lindenhurst, N.Y.) were joined by Alan Kolick (The College of William & Mary/Arlington, Va.), Calvin Oung (Brown University/Towson, Md.), Tom Doi (Green Mountain College/Bethesda, Md.), Jeff Wodatch (Bucknell University/Wallingford, Conn.) and David Cranston (Xavier University/Suffern, N.Y.) on the dais to ceremoniously ink their names to their 2014 contracts.
Players sported their finest threads as they mixed with fans, signed autographs, and watched highlights from last season play on the big screens throughout the barroom.
Matt Dewhurst, general manger of the DC Current, kicked off the event by speaking about his vision for D.C. in its second season, the announcement of the team’s new game venue, and dates for the team’s open combine.
“Tonight was a great first step in moving the team forward this offseason,” Dewhurst said. “This is just the beginning of what we hope will be the best fan experience in Major League Ultimate.”
He added, “The players we signed tonight represent the heart of this team. We could have signed 15 guys tonight, and we will certainly be signing more very soon, but we really wanted to get these guys locked in first.”
Head coach Keven Moldenhauer and assistant coach Will Smolinski were also on hand and spoke about the team’s continued commitment to bringing a championship back to D.C.
Dewhurst also announced the additional signing of defensive grinder Brian Marshall (Elon University/Germantown, Md.) and handler Markham Shofner (Pomona College/Nashville, Tenn.), who boasts one of the biggest arms in the MLU. Shofner accounted for 50 points (17 goals, 33 assists) to lead all players on last year’s team.
“We’re very excited to have Markham [Shofner] back with the team,” Dewhurst said. “If you look back at the last game of the season against the New York Rumble, Markham made so many big plays for us, including what I consider the play that got us into the playoffs.”
The Current fell to Boston in the Eastern Conference playoffs by a score of 23-15. The blowout loss on the road left a bitter taste in D.C. players’ mouths heading into the offseason and hasn’t faded in the five months since.
“They signed great players. Some of the best Ultimate players in the country,” said MLU Commissioner Jeff Snader. “When talking with Coach Keven Moldenhauer, he has a lot of big ideas for the sport, and I certainly wouldn’t bet against him.”
The Current now have nine players under contract for 2014, which will play before fans at the Current’s new home venue, Cardinal Stadium at Catholic University in Northeast D.C.
“We’re very excited about [new stadium location] Catholic University,” Dewhurst said. “Having a stadium venue in the city, accessible by Metro, at a major university really provides us with a great opportunity to continue to elevate the fan experience for the Current fanbase.”
In addition, D.C. announced dates for their open combine. More information is available here.
Check out more photos of the event in the D.C. Current’s Facebook album.