'It's really special:' Edmonton professional paintball team takes world cup trophy
'It's the Holy Grail of paintball to win the world cup,' says Edmonton Impact coach
A professional Edmonton paintball team is at the top of their game after being crowned world cup champions at a tournament in Florida on Sunday.
This is the second time Edmonton Impact has won the NXL Paintball World Cup, which took place from Nov. 2-5. Edmonton Impact was in a round robin tournament this weekend with 15 other teams. The team of 10 players made it to the finals, beating out another paintball powerhouse: the San Diego Dynasty.
"It's really special to win it twice like we did, " said Zachary Yachimec, 28, who has been competing in paintball with his brother, Zane, since 2000.
Including Edmonton, there are 16 teams in the top pro league.
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The Edmonton Impact is the only Canadian team, competing against American teams like the Chicago Aftershock, Seattle Uprising, and the San Antonio X-Factor. The league hosts five national events across the U.S. starting in March each year, with the world cup championship happening in November.
The Yachimec brothers and their cousin, Josh Quimet, are the only players from Edmonton on the Edmonton Impact team. The team has finished the regular season in the top three for several years in a row, Zachary said.
"Just in the last four years we've been winning a lot more, winning a lot more tournaments, winning a lot more series. We've been extremely successful in the last four years, " he said.
Zachary and Zane Yachimec became professional paintball players in 2007, when they were teens.
They say it's taken them 10 years to start winning, and they don't plan to break the streak anytime soon.
Holding on to their championship title could prove to be a challenge next year — the company that hosts the tournament has acquired the European league as well. This means more teams will likely compete for the regular season series title, and the world cup too.
'Holy Grail of paint ball'
The game is a family affair for the Yachimecs — and it's been an especially long road to the top for the team's co-coach and general manager, Bart Yachimec.
Paintball is a serious passion that he shares with his sons and wife, Jo. He play professional and semi-professional paintball for years, and his wife has been on paintball teams as well.
"It's an adrenaline game," he said.
"We are a paintball family and don't believe in guns, but the game itself is such a safe game to play. It's the Holy Grail of paintball to win the world cup. It's always been put on the pedestal as the one to win and we finally did it."