10 Storylines to Follow at the 2018 National Championship: Part 1
Cover image by Lara Hiles
Written by Ittaana Krow and Yara Kodershah
Sports are full of stories. The game-winning touchdown. The buzzer-beating three-pointer. The catch-from-behind-to-win snitch grab. As we approach the biggest national tournament in Quidditch Canada’s history, Gameplay and Communications are back once again with a two-part preview series on the top ten storylines to follow at #QCNationals2018.
1. Old monarchs looking to regain their crowns
McGill Quidditch’s program history is littered with medals. In the 2014-15 season, they won gold at regionals, silver at nationals. In the 2015-16 season, they won bronze at regionals, and silver at nationals. In the 2016-17 season they won bronze at regionals and one might credit their missing nationals medal simply to the fact that they did not make an appearance in Victoria, B.C. last season. So far this season, they’ve continued the trend, winning silver in Oshawa at the 2017-18 Eastern Regional Championship.
Just a short three hour drive away, uOttawa Quidditch has three gold medals from their three Major Event appearances in the previous two seasons (2015-16 regionals, 2015-16 nationals, and 2016-17 regionals), with no podium finish at this past Eastern Regional Championship. With McGill ranked 3rd and uOttawa ranked 8th heading into #QCNationals2018, it will be worth seeing whether these titans can climb the ranks once again.
2. Ryerson Quidditch searching for their first official win
Ryerson is a staple of the Canadian quidditch community. Since they hosted their first practice in the summer of 2010, they have managed to bring a small but determined squadron to nearly every Major Event. Ryerson is 0-9 (W-L) in the 2017-18 season and looking for that first win. Their best chance to acquire it will likely come against Canada’s Finest Quidditch Club (CFQC), whom they nearly beat at Eastern Regionals this past fall on Day 2, where CFQC caught from behind to win 90*-80. With a roster of ten players making their way to Hamilton this weekend, Ryerson is hungry for a victory.
3. Old programs with new faces
The Calgary Mavericks have appeared under a variety of colours at Quidditch Canada’s National Championships. Whether you know them as the Alberta Clippers or the Calgary Mudbloods, the core players on this team have been around the Canadian quidditch scene for some time, and were part of Alberta’s first established quidditch program. Equally historic are the University of Toronto Centaurs (UTSG), whose program has been around since 2009.
With Calgary receiving five transfers from Simon Fraser University Quidditch (SFU), and UTSG receiving four transfers from UTSC Phoenix, the addition of these new players will certainly help to shape these teams’ performances at Nationals. UTSG is looking to go further in bracket play with their deepest roster to date, and Calgary is almost certainly looking to podium once more this season, after surprising teams with a well-rounded roster at Western Regionals. Whether the addition of these new faces will make a difference at Tim Hortons Field remains to be seen.
4. Rebuilding for the future
The Carleton Ravens and Waterloo Ridgebacks have been in full rebuilding mode this season, bringing a considerable number of new recruits and second year players to Eastern Regionals this past fall, and bringing them seamlessly into the fold. Carleton is fifth in the league in average quaffle points per game, while Waterloo is fourth in the league in average goals allowed against them so far this season, and nearly upset the Eastern Regional silver medalists on Day 2 with a 10 point loss to McGill Quidditch in bracket play.
Of course, both teams are not without their challenges. Carleton is losing one of its premier scoring threats in Wes Mackie, who is injured and will likely not be playing at this tournament, while Waterloo struggles to retain its co-op program players from year to year. This weekend is an opportunity for a new face to step up and be a difference maker on the pitch. It’ll be a collective effort on the parts of both these teams to make the climb to the podium at Nationals.
5. Affiliate teams making a name for themselves
This National Championship marks the first where all four of Quidditch Canada’s affiliate teams will be competing at the same tournament. Valfreyja Quidditch (of the Valhalla program), Royal City (of the Guelph Program), UBC Quidditch Club (BCQC) (of the UBC program) and CFQC (of the McGill program) are a dynamic mix of teams with unique styles, with some elements borrowed from their program counterparts, and some elements entirely their own. Affiliate teams clearly impact the success of quidditch programs across Canada. Of the top five teams heading into Nationals, four are 2-team programs, demonstrating the clear effect on sustainability and player development a multi-team unit can have.
There’s a lot to look for among these four teams. While CFQC has been underperforming this season compared to seasons past, the acquisition of Rosemarie Sarno (#50) from Waterloo may help to give their roster some flexibility this weekend. Valfreyja, in its first season of existence, has already inherited a rivalry with Royal City; the two teams have met four times this season, with Valfreyja winning three of those match ups. BCQC has made a name for itself as the first affiliate team to ever podium at a Major Event with its bronze medal win at the 2017 Western Regional Championship. Keep a close eye on these teams this weekend to see which – if any – of these teams will be next to break the mold.
Part 2 of this National Preview Series will be released tomorrow, on Friday March 30, 2018.
Ittaana Krow is the Gameplay Manager at Quidditch Canada and Head Coach of Valhalla Community Quidditch, and Yara Kodershah is the Communications Manager of Quidditch Canada and Head Manager of Valhalla Community Quidditch. The opinions in this piece are of the writers, and not of Quidditch Canada. The 2018 National Championship is coming to Hamilton, Ontario, this weekend on March 30-April 1. RSVP to the Facebook Event here.