The U of O shows off its powers at the Canadian Quidditch Cup

CHASERS WHIZ BY on broomsticks, trying to gain possession of the quaffle while dodging bludger hits and tackles. A shimmer of light appears in the distance as the snitch makes his way back onto the pitch. Bent over his broom in a mad pursuit, the seeker starts closing in on the golden menace. He quickly circles to the snitch’s right, arm outstretched, fingers straining to grasp the evasive ball…

This was the scene at—no, not Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry—Carleton University this weekend as the school hosted the first-ever Canadian quidditch tournament on Oct. 29. With eight teams competing, the tournament represented the largest gathering of Canadian quidditch teams to date.

“This is a very important step in contributing to the Canadian quidditch culture,” said Andrea Hill, captain of Carleton’s team and tournament organizer. “I think this has proven the Canadian teams have what it takes to play competitively on the world stage, and I think we are going to see quidditch crop up at more and more universities across Canada.”

Coming off a two victory high, with a score of 90-0 against the University of Toronto, and 90-10 against Queen’s University, the U of O’s third game pitted them against McGill University, the top-ranked Canadian team currently sitting eighth in the International Quidditch Association standings.

The match got off to a quick start, the Gees scoring within the first 15 seconds, marking the first time McGill was down all tournament. McGill struck back with a combination of long runs, fancy footwork, and bludger control that ran up the scoreboard for a comfortable 70-30 lead.

“Quidditch requires a lot of endurance, running, and sprinting,” explained first-year chaser Matthew Bunn. “It requires upper body strength when tackling and a good aim while throwing the quaffles and bludgers.”
After effectively preventing another McGill onslaught, the U of O was able to break through McGill’s defence in an attempt to bring the score within winning range. The goal was disqualified after officials were informed that the snitch had been caught seconds earlier, resulting in a 70-60 win for McGill.

Next, the Gees faced American contender St. Lawrence University. The scoreboard read 30-30 as the snitch made his way back onto the pitch. St. Lawrence managed to score another two goals while the snitch danced around the seekers. The decisive moment came when speedy U of O seeker, François Cunningham, snuck up on the snitch’s right, ensuring a 60-50 win.

U of O then moved on to face Carleton University in the semifinals. Carleton dominated the quaffle play with quick passes. With Carleton snagging the snitch on a dive, the game wrapped up 100-10 for the Ravens.

“It was a close game, despite the score,” said Chris Radojewski, co-captain of the U of O Quidditch team. “They managed to get bludger superiority on the field and we really couldn’t get close to their points. But otherwise, defensively, both teams played well.”

The U of O ranked third place in the tournament. First place was awarded to favourite McGill, and second to Carleton.

“I am quite proud of the way my team performed,” said Radojewski. “For their first tournament, they did an excellent job. I am excited for what they will be able to do in less than two weeks.”

The Gees will be competing at the Quidditch World Cup on Randall’s Island, New York City, Nov. 12–13.    

—Michelle Ferguson