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Photos by Tamara Solomon

Bad Axe in the big leagues

By Apartment613 on November 27, 2017

By Tamara Solomon. Originally from Calgary, Tamara enjoys travelling, trying new activities, and honing her beer palate at the many local craft breweries. She is interested in the intersection of technology and social issues, and pursues writing, photography, and alternative fitness as hobbies.

Look out world, there’s a new urban axe throwing league on the block – and Ottawa’s very own Bad Axe Throwing is now a member facility. The World Axe Throwing League (WATL) was collectively founded in March of this year by Bad Axe and other urban axe throwing facilities to give consistency to a rapidly-developing sport. All of Bad Axe’s regular leagues now operate under the WATL’s standards. So if you’re looking for a unique weekly activity with friendly people (or a great way to train for the zombie apocalypse), and the opportunity to win your way to prize money and worldwide badass status, the WATL is for you!

Since Apt613’s last visit to Ottawa’s east-end Bad Axe Throwing outpost, the decor has been updated to prominently feature the location’s new WATL membership. Updated amenities, new WATL apparel, and an empty wall of fame are ready for the upcoming first end-of-season showdown: a worldwide championship to crown the top urban axe thrower. Bad Axe league members have traditionally held a playoff-style tournament at the end of the 8-week session with special prizes, but the tournaments have been local-only. This year, the top 2 players from each location will be competing globally against other league players all over the world for the ultimate prize: $3500, a special trophy, and global status as a WATL champion.

Melanie St. Amour, Bad Axe’s Marketing and Development Coordinator, provided us with some impressive stats: the WATL now has 23 member locations in 24 cities and 4 countries worldwide (Canada, Brazil, Ireland, and the US), and over 1000 league players are expected to be competing this year, with the expectation of both more players and locations added in upcoming years. Not bad for the WATL’s first year in operation!

Ottawa’s WATL sessions run seasonally, in 8-week rounds, usually on either a Monday or Tuesday night (or both, as is the case this season). League nights typically last around 2 hours, depending on the number of players, and each person throws 10 times in 4 round-robin competition rounds, for a total of 40 competition-registered throws. There’s extra practice time available between rounds, so everyone can hone their skills while they wait, or even try out some new trick shots. Players are also given automatic membership into the WATL upon registration, which comes with special perks, including some free drop-ins at any member location anywhere in the world. But it’s not all serious competition! As St. Amour puts it, “it’s a very social sport… it’s something people can do to meet new people, or as a team building event. Axe throwing is also a great stress reliever, and… more of a workout than people think!”

The league is open to interested players of all ages, fitness levels, and urban axe throwing experience – and the current Ottawa leagues have players from all walks of life, occupations, and backgrounds. Single players are welcome, as are work teams, friends, and couples. “I think what makes this sport so popular, is that it’s a sport that anyone can do – you don’t need any previous experience throwing axes [or] athletic ability! Our coaches are amazing at watching someone throw, suggesting corrections, and BAM – bullseye!”

For more information, or to sign up for the next WATL league, visit Bad Axe Throwing.