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Growth in the Canadian Youth Market for U.S. Fencing Tournaments 2011-2012 to 2016-2017

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Ivy League Fencing

In search of high quality and age appropriate competitive tournaments, an increasing number of Canadian youth fencers, parents and coaches, are trekking south to fence in U.S. tournaments. Not only are they fencing in regional tournaments such Regional Youth Circuit (RYC) and Regional Open Circuit (ROC) events, Canadians are participating in an increasing number of marquee events such as Super Youth Circuit (SYC) and North American Cup (NAC) events.

In this post, we briefly review the growth and characteristics of youth fencers participating in SYCs and NACs over the past five years or so. Our earlier post titled, “Canadian Fencers in U.S. National Tournaments“, takes a look at fencers participating in Cadet, Junior and Senior Division events in the U.S.

Super Youth Circuit

Since 2011-2012, 395 Canadian fencers from 48 clubs have entered 1,075 events at SYCs throughout the U.S., but primarily in the north and east of the country. The opportunity for young Canadians to fence in SYCs has grown with the expansion of the SYC program. The number of SYCs has grown from 11 in 2011-2012 to 16 in 2016-2017.  USA Fencing recently released the schedule for 12 SYCs for 2017-2018, which is found at the bottom of the post. With greater accessibility, the number of Canadian entrants at SYCs has grown at the compound annual rate of 22.5%, albeit from a small base in 2011-2012. This compares with an average growth rate of 10%per year for U.S. fencers over the same period. With three SYCs scheduled for the remainder of the year as outlined below, the current Canadian contingency of 260 SYC fencers for year-to-date 3/15/2017 is likely to surpass last year’s tally of 286.

Fairfax Challenge SYC 4/28 – 4/30/17 National Harbor, MD
Rain City SYC 4/28 – 5/1/17 Bellevue, WA
Mission SYC 5/5 – 5/7/17 Rocky Point, NY

Canada’s share of entrants at SYCs has grown from 2.2% in 2011-2012 to 3.2% in 2015-2016. It is currently 3.4% year-to-date 3/15/2017.  It has ranged from as little as 0.4% at the Bernie Stein Memorial SYC in Phoenix, AZ (10/28 – 10/30/2016), to as high as 22.7% at the Ben Gutenberg Memorial SYC in Brockport, NY (10/28 – 10/3/2016). Canadians accounted for 3.2% of entrants at the Windy City SYC in Chicago (12/16 -12/18/2016). This compares favorably with the East Coast SYCs, where Canadians accounted for 3.1% of entrants at the Cobra Challenge SYC, Jersey City, NJ (11/25 – 11/27/2016) and 4.8% of entrants at the Capital Clash SYC in National Harbor, MD (1/14 – 1/16/2017).

Since 2011-2012, the Y-14 age group accounted for almost 55% of Canadian youth fencers at SYCs, followed by Y-12 at 34% and Y-10 at 11%. Men accounted for 66% of Canada’s youth fencers, while women only accounted for 34%.  Foil was clearly the dominant weapon for Canadian youth fencers at SYCs accounting for 47% of entrants. Epee and saber are at 40% and 13% respectively. Y-14 men’s epee accounted for almost 18% of entrants followed by Y-14 men’s foil, Y-12 men’s foil, and Y-12 men’s epee at 12%, 11%, and 10% respectively.

Just over 80% of youth fencers from Canada entered three or fewer events at SYCs over the period, with just over 51% entering only one event. Almost 4% entered 10 or more events, with one fencer entering 40 events!

Ten clubs from Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia account for just over 80% of Canadian entrants in SYCs.  The three largest feeder clubs are Hua Hua Fencing Club, ON, Dynamo Fencing Club, BC, and Toronto Fencing Club, ON as illustrated in the accompanying table.

Ranking of Canadian Feeder Clubs by Number of Youth Entrants for Super Youth Circuit (SYCs) 2011-2012 to YTD 3/15/2017

RankClub2011-20122012-20132013-20142014-20152015-2016YTD 3/15/2017Total
1Hua Hua Fencing Club, ON3617496261198
2Dynamo Fencing Club, BC81817186364188
3Toronto Fencing Club, ON3738273411120
4Sword Players, ON261717131218103
5Bre-Les Dynamiques De Brebeuf, QC2213223152499
6Seigneurs De La Rive-Nord, QC1911068347
7Vango Toronto, ON82836
8Beaches Sabre Club, ON1111628
9Olympia Montreal, QC15722
10Spartiates D'Anjou, QC58821
10Sunshine Coast Fencing Club, BC12921
12Tri-City Fencing Academy, BC1351120
13Masque De Fer, QC18615
14My Fencing Club, ON8614
15Meadowridge Fencing Club, BC1154112
15North Vancouver Fencing Club, BC52512
15North York Fencing Club, ON27312
18Les Mosquetaires, QC1111
19Les Pirates De L'Est, QC2619
20Gladiators Fencing Club, AB77
21Epic Fencing Club, AB426
21Halton Blades Fencing Club, ON2226
21Stratford Fencing Club, ON11226
25Canadian Fencing Acadamy, ON224
25Chevaliers Dragon D'Or, QC134
25Kyle Fencing Center, BC44
25Queen'S Fencing Club, ON314
25Victoria Fencing Club, BC1124
30Centre D'Escrime Excellence, QC123
30Coeur De Lion Regina Assumpta, QC123
30Mississauga Fencing Club, ON33
30Okanagan Freestyle Fencing, BC33
35Calgary Fencing Club, AB22
35Club D'Escrime Du Roussillon, QC112
35Club D'Escrime Sth De Québec, QC22
35Fundy Fencing Club, NB22
35Les Lames Croisées De Saint-Jérome, QC112
35Niagara Swordsmen, ON112
35Ottawa Fencing, ON22
42Damocles Fencing Club, NB11
42Federation D'Escrime Du Quebec, QC11
42Jean De La Menais, QC11
42La Salle Fencing Club, BC11
42Club d'escrime Lagardere de Montreal, QC11
42Montmorency Fencing Club, QC11
42Rising Star Fencing Club, BC11
Source: National Fencing Club Rankings based on an analysis of askFRED.net and Canadian Fencing Federation membership and club data.

North American Cup

NACs are less popular with Canadian youth fencers than SYCs, attracting about half as many entrants. There is only two Y-14 NACS and one Y-12/Y-10 NAC in which Canadian residents are eligible to participate, hence the smaller number of Canadian youth fencers entering NACs.

Since 2012-2013, 164 Canadian fencers from 39 clubs, which includes six from the U.S., have entered 329 NAC events. The number of Canadian youth fencers competing in NACS has grown at the compound annual rate of 56%, from a modest start of 24 in 2012-2013 to 142 in 2016-2017. The Y-14 age group accounted for almost 63% of Canadian youth fencers, followed by Y-12 at 24% and Y-10 at 13%.  Men accounted for 60% of Canada’s youth fencers, women 40%.  Epee is clearly the dominant weapon for Canadian youth fencers at NACs accounting for 47% of entrants. Epee is followed by foil and saber at 43% and 10% respectively. Y-14 men’s epee has accounted for about 19% of entrants, followed by Y-14 women’s epee, Y-14 men’s foil and women’s foil at 14%, 11%, and 10% respectively.

About 82% of youth fencers from Canada entered two or fewer events at NACs over the period, with 50% entering only one event. About 6% entered four or more events over the period.

The feeder clubs to the NACs are listed in the accompanying table. Not surprisingly, the clubs already identified as the major contributors of fencers to SYCs are also the major contributors to NACs.

Ranking of Canadian Feeder Clubs by Number of Youth Entrants for USFA Youth North American Cup (NACs) 2012-2013 to 2016-2017

RankClub2012-20132013-20142014-20152015-20162016-2017Total% of Total
1 Dynamo Fencing Club, BC32130298325.2%
2 Hua Hua Fencing Club, ON111115286519.8%
3Toronto Fencing Center, ON39163154614.0%
4Sword Players, ON927153310.0%
5 Vango Toronto, ON32329.7%
6 Tri-City Fencing Academy, BC47113.3%
7 North Vancouver Fencing Club, BC2351.5%
7 Olympia de Montreal, QC3251.5%
9Bre-Les- Dynamiques de Brebeuf, QC12141.2%
9 Les Seigneurs de la Rive-Nord, QC21141.2%
9Edmonton Fencing Club, AB2241.2%
12 Canadian Fencing Academy, ON1230.9%
13 Asquith Garde Fencing, SK1120.6%
13 Cutting Edge Fencing, ON1120.6%
13 Manitoba Golden Blades, MB1120.6%
13 Masque de Fer, QC220.6%
13Massialas Foundation (M Team), CA1120.6%
13Team Touche Fencing Center, CA220.6%
13Twin Cities Fencing Club, MN220.6%
20 Axis Fencing Club, ON110.3%
20 Club d'escrime du Roussillon, QC110.3%
20 Club d'escrime Gadbois, QC110.3%
20 Club d'escrime STH de Québec, QC110.3%
20 Coeur de Lion du College Regina Assumpta, QC110.3%
20 Damocles Fencing Club, NB110.3%
20 Estoc de Sainte-Foy, QC110.3%
20 Halton Blades Fencing Club, ON110.3%
20 Kingston Fencing Club, ON110.3%
20 L'Esquadra Club-ecole d'escrime, QC110.3%
20 Medicine Hat. AB110.3%
20 My Fencing Club, ON110.3%
20 Ottawa Fencing, ON110.3%
20 Rapier Fencing Club, MB110.3%
20 Sergei's Sabre Club, AB110.3%
20 University of Western Ontario, ON110.3%
20North Shore Fencers Club, NY110.3%
20SECA, China110.3%
20Silicon Valley Fencing Center, CA110.3%
20Swords Fencing Studio, CA110.3%
Source: National Fencing Club Rankings based on an analysis of USFA website and Canadian Fencing Federation membership and club data. Note: The table includes seven non-Canadian clubs with 10 Canadian entrants.

2017-2018 Super Youth Circuit (SYC) Schedule

Date Name Host Location
Sept. 1-4, 2017 Boston Region 3 SYC Boston Fencing Club Boston, MA
Sept. 2-4, 2017 North Texas Roundup SYC and Cadets North Texas Fencing Tournament Coalition North Richland Hills, TX
Oct. 6-8, 2017 Daugherty Youth Cup SYC& RCC The Fencers Academy St. Louis, MO
Oct. 27-29, 2017 Ben Gutenberg Memorial SYC & Cadet Rochester Fencing Club Brockport, NY
Nov. 18-20, 2017 Gerrie Baumgart Rocky Mountain SYC/RCC South Denver Fencing Academy Denver, CO
Nov. 24-26, 2017 Cobra Challenge SYC and RCC Cobra Fencing Club Secaucus, NJ
Dec. 16-18, 2017 2017 Austin Challenge Austin Fencers Club Round Rock, TX
Jan. 13-15, 2018 Capitol Clash SYC National Fencing Foundation of Washington National Harbor, MD
Apr. 6-7, 2018 Escondido SYC San Diego Fencing Center Escondido, CA
Apr. 13-15, 2018 Fairfax ChallengeSYC Fencing Sports Academy National Harbor, MD
Apr. 27-30, 2018 Rain City Super Youth Circuit Rain City Fencing Center Bellevue, WA
May 4-6, 2018 Mission SYC Mission Fencing Center Rocky Point, NY

Youth fencers from Canada are eligible to enter the following NACS in 2017-2018.

Date Events
Nov. 10-13, 2017 JR, CDT, Y14, Team
Mar. 9-12, 2018 DV2, Y14, Y12, Y10
One Response to "Growth in the Canadian Youth Market for U.S. Fencing Tournaments 2011-2012 to 2016-2017"
  1. Jessica says:

    Dear Editor,

    Thanks for the article with the historical statistics. It is very helpful to see how our club’s share has evolved in the US field.

    I will definitely follow up with your future editions.

    Yours Truly,

    Jessica Zhang ( a fencer’s mom from Vango Toronto Fencing Center)

Comments are closed.