When Dan Skidmore started B.C. Toxic earlier this year, he had no idea winning would come so early.
But the Victoria-based paintball elite men’s team has found success on and off the field in just a few months, with four of the team’s nine members having strong Sooke connections.
B.C. Toxic won The Warburton Classic, a tournament of the Canadian Professional Paintball League, last month in Calgary. The local squad went a perfect 4-0 to take the championship.
“This is a big achievement as it was the first time the team has competed together,” said Skidmore, Toxic B.C.’s manager and founder.
“The players have experience, but they’ve never really played together at this level.”
Paintball is a game where players eliminate opponents from play by hitting them with dye-filled, breakable paintballs, or pellets. It is usually played in an open field with natural or artificial terrain.
The Canadian Professional Paintball League hosts a series of tournament from spring through fall.
B.C. Toxic didn’t play in the first tournaments of the season. It travels to Calgary this month and Edmonton in September for tournaments.
If all goes well, B.C. Toxic hopes to head to Las Vegas this spring to play in the National Ball League, a North American elite paintball league.
The team’s success doesn’t come without sacrifice or commitment.
B.C. Toxic is self-funded, paying for all travel and equipment costs – in a recent weekend of play, the club paid out $3,000 alone just for paintballs.
Travel is another big thing. Because there are no regulation-size paintball fields on the Island, the players must travel to the Lower Mainland every weekend for practice and games.
“On a Saturday or Sunday morning we catch the first ferry. We play for four or five hours with other teams from the mainland and then catch the last ferry back,” Skidmore said.
“Paintball is just like hockey. It’s not a cheap sport to play, by no means.”
B.C. Toxic also believes in giving back. The team is committed to donating all its winnings (in the case of the Calgary tournament $1,250) to the B.C. Cancer Foundation.
Along with Skidmore, Sooke members of the team include Daryl Gardner, Kurt Reed and Dan Simms. Other team members include Matt Johnson, Jordan Campbell, Cam Spencer, Ben Caines and Chris Calder. Calgary’s Nick McGhie and Adrian Bader played for the team in the recent tournament.