Players work their magic to bring Quidditch nationals to UVic

University of Victoria will host national championship for Harry Potter-inspired game

UVic Valkyries head captain Misha Whittingham evades Hayley Tkatschow during the Quidditch team’s practice. The University of Victoria is hosting the Quiddtich Canada National Championship next April.

UVic Valkyries head captain Misha Whittingham evades Hayley Tkatschow during the Quidditch team’s practice. The University of Victoria is hosting the Quiddtich Canada National Championship next April.

For two days only, the University of Victoria might as well be renamed Hogwarts when it hosts the Quidditch nationals next April.

Quidditch Canada – the governing body for Quidditch, the once fictional sport from the Harry Potter series – recently announced the university would be the host site of the Canadian championship, and the UVic Valkyries are more than ready to play on their home turf. The team has been around since 2010, starting as a friendly activity for students in residence that has evolved to a recognized sport.

“We had a community leader who wanted to do some sort of ice breaker for the residence she was working in,” said Valkyries president Cynthia Chao. “Now we’re part of Vikes Nation and we get access to fields and equipment and tons of great resources.”

“We’ve experienced a bit of a boom – in the last three years, we’ve quadrupled in size,” said head captain Misha Whittingham. “There are a lot of new players coming in from more sporting backgrounds. A lot of rugby players, basketball players. They see it as a way to ply their skills that uses a whole range of abilities.”

Quidditch is a full contact, multi-gender sport that pits two teams of seven against each other, with the aim of scoring points by throwing a quaffle (a partially deflated volleyball) through any of the opposing team’s three hoops – all while holding a broomstick between your legs. While Harry Potter and his classmates played it 100 feet in the air on broomsticks, there are some logistical changes for real life Quidditch.

“Obviously, we can’t fly,” said Chao, “and we don’t have giant baseball bats that we’re swinging around at head height.”

There are four positions in quidditch: chaser, beater, keeper and seeker. Each team has three chasers (who try to score with the quaffle), one keeper (who protects their own goal), two beaters (defenders who can temporarily eliminate opponents) and one seeker (Harry Potter’s position, who joins the game after 18 minutes of play).

Each goal is worth 10 points. The beaters have bludgers (dodgeballs) that they throw at opponents to force them out of play. Eliminated players must dismount their brooms and drop any quaffles or bludgers they’re holding, then run to their own hoops and return to their broom to re-enter the game.

Additionally, while there are four beaters in total, there are only three bludgers, meaning the team in possession of two bludgers can more easily control the game.

Then, at the 18-minute mark, the seekers for each team get to join the game when the golden snitch appears on the field.

“In the movies, the snitch is this magical, tiny little ball that whizzes around,” said Chao. “In real quidditch, we have a snitch runner – they’re dressed in bright yellow, with a tennis ball in a sock attached to the back of their shorts.

“That tennis ball is the snitch, and the seekers’ goal is to grab that tennis ball from the sock, ending the game and earning their team 30 points.”

The snitch can make or break the game for either team and requires strategy from both sides. For instance, if a team is behind by 30 or more points, their seeker – the only position that can take the snitch – may have to run defence against the opposing seeker to allow their team to score more points and make up the difference.

With the nationals coming to UVic, Whittingham said the championship is important for the sport’s popularity on the Island.

“It raises our profile quite a lot,” he said. “I think our recruitment next year is going to benefit from it.

“It’s definitely a motivating factor, too – there’s a little more passion in our eyes.”

Chao echoed the team’s excitement, noting it’s an opportunity for the Valkyries to shine in their own backyard.

“We’re really excited to have all of Canada coming in April,” she said. “We get to play on our home turf and we get to show the rest of Quidditch what we’re like.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cindy Foggit plays the lead role of Eliza in Passion and Performance’s film production Eliza: An Adaption of a Christmas Carol. (Courtesy of Rachel Paish)
Victoria adult dance studio releases modern adaption of A Christmas Carol

Instead of usual stage performance, dance studio turns to film

Willow, a kitten belonging to a Victoria family, was rescued by firefighters on Thursday after she got stuck in a basement drain pipe. (City of Victoria/Twitter)
Victoria kitten stuck in basement drain pipe rescued by firefighters

Willow the cat on the mend, owner feeling ‘enormous gratitude’

(Black Press Media file photo)
Blue-green algae bloom confirmed in Elk Lake, water-based activities not recommended

Blue-green algae can be lethal to dogs, cause health issues for humans

Victoria police arrested a man Jan. 15 after he rammed his minivan into an occupied police vehicle. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria man arrested for ramming minivan into occupied police vehicle

Man caught after fleeing, crashing into cement retaining wall

Mayor Rob Martin and Costa Canna president Phil Floucault cut the ribbon on Colwood’s first cannabis retail store. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Cowichan Tribes’ Costa Canna cannabis store opens in Colwood

Cowichan Tribes has one-year deal to grow, sell cannabis

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Most Read