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.

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.”

 

Just Posted

Victoria’s little free libararies get 5,000th book

Volunteers have been dropping off books around Greater Victoria since 2017

Oak Bay brothers scoop 10 kg of poop from park paths in 30 mins

Family picks up dog poo to give back, inspire others to be more responsible

Crash snarles traffic on Highway 17

Traffic southbound is seriously delayed and northbound down to one lane on… Continue reading

UPDATED: Materials linked to 1992 Colwood murder found at construction site in Metchosin

West Shore RCMP investigating to determine if relevant to the old case

PHOTOS: B.C. city wakes up to darkness under wildfire smoke

The rest of the province also dealing with thick haze as smoky skies continue

Five things to do in Greater Victoria this weekend

Puppy yoga, horses, cars, water guns and more make up this weekend’s list of events to see

Authorities mull evacuation order for Zeballos

Smoke billowed from the steep hillsides of Zeballos on Friday evening, as… Continue reading

Safeway union urges prejection of mediator recommendations

Says mediator asks for too many concessions

Fire chases B.C. crews out of their own camp

Crews in Burns Lake had to leave after a wildfire reportedly overtook their sleeping quarters

Saanich teen takes her karate skills onto the world stage

National champion Olivia Brodie will compete at the 2018 Junior Pan-American Karate Championships

First long-awaited Cyclone lands near Victoria airport

Military helicopter first of nine to come to Saanich Peninsula base

To address peacock problem, B.C. city moves ahead on trapping plan

Surrey’s new bylaw focuses on ensuring people no longer feed the birds, ahead of relocation

Most Read