It's no Hogwarts: Harry Potter fans make magic at quidditch tournament
Seven teams from around the country are hoping to make a little magic at Swangard Stadium this weekend.
The teams are vying to become Canada’s first-ever national champions in quidditch, the real-world version of the fictional sport from the Harry Potter series.
Canada has had regional quidditch competitions in the past -- McGill Quidditch won the most recent eastern regional championship and the Alberta Clippers won the western -- but this is the first time Canada has had a national championship separate from the United States.
“We’re just really excited to see how the weekend goes,” tournament director Megan Stacey told CTV News on Saturday. “All the teams have been so spirited and so respectful toward each other that it really shows you what Canadian quidditch is all about.”
Joining McGill and Alberta are teams from Simon Fraser University and the University of Victoria, and teams without university affiliations in their names: the Vancouver Vipertooths, the Toronto Avengers, and the Winnipeg Whomping Willows.
On the field, quidditch looks like a combination of dodgeball, handball, and a little bit of capture the flag, all played simultaneously.
Some players compete to score points by tossing the quaffle -- a deflated volleyball -- through one of their opponents’ three goal hoops. Others throw bludgers -- dodgeballs -- at the opposing team. When a players are hit by one, they must run back and touch their own goal hoops before returning to play.
At the same time, a neutral player dressed in yellow and carrying a flag-football-style flag in his or her waistband tries to avoid each team’s seeker for as long as possible. This player is the snitch runner, and the game ends when one team’s seekers grabs the snitch -- the flag, often with a ball on the end -- from him or her.
The game may sound silly, but for the players in Burnaby this weekend, quidditch is serious competition.
Robyn Fortune, a chaser for McGill Quidditch, told CTV News she’s not a big Harry Potter fan, but she tried playing quidditch once and got hooked.
“Don’t underestimate it,” Fortune said. “A lot of people come into quidditch thinking it’s like a silly sport for Harry Potter fans, and they’re really surprised by how intense and physical it is. It’s a lot of fun.”
Anyone interested in seeing quidditch in action is welcome to stop by Swangard Stadium on Sunday. Matches start at 9 a.m., and the national championship game is scheduled for 2 p.m.