For the Quidditch Post’s recap of Quidditch Canada’s Eastern Regional Championship on Nov. 12 and 13, we have put together a roundtable discussion to recap the weekend.
Joining Serena Cheong, QP’s Canada Director and moderator, are the following participants: Courtney Butler (University of Waterloo Ridgebacks), François Carabin (Quidditch Lionel-Groulx), Mathew Mcveigh (University of Guelph Gryphons), Edgard Ngalissamy (Canada’s Finest Quidditch Club), and Arjun Patel (UTSC Phoenix).
Our final installment takes a look at the tournament format (the “Naftel slide”), issues with early regionals, and will also look ahead to what the National Championship out west means for eastern teams.
Serena Cheong (SC): Let’s go back to something that was brought up a while ago: the tournament format. It sounded like a great idea on paper, but from what I’m hearing, it may not have worked out too well in practice.
Arjun Patel (AP): Well, [UTSC Phoenix] ended up playing against Ryerson twice, and was scheduled for a third game.
Edgard Ngalissamy (EN): Indeed, on paper, it’s a format that makes sense: reward the teams that performed the best. With that said, the pools were quite lopsided [with] the stronger teams being together and so on. So, instead of actually giving the weaker teams a chance to progress, it just brought repetition. I think the tournament format would have worked if the actual groups were more balanced.
AP: That’s a good point. That’s the problem with staying in the same pool, and there’s the risk that you will end up playing against the same team in brackets/consolations.
François Carabin (FC): I do like the fact that weaker teams get chances to play against teams of their level. The problem is bigger games on paper can happen twice in the tournament, which makes the final games maybe less exciting.
Courtney Butler (CB): Definitely a good idea on paper, but I know that for [the University of Waterloo Ridgebacks], it really screwed us over, and I’m sure Guelph feels the same. We had to play three tough games against McGill, Queen’s, and Carleton [Quidditch], which are all top teams. Then, because we won our pool, we had to go up into Pool 1 to play another two grueling games against Valhalla [Quidditch] and [University of Ottawa (uOttawa)]. When we played Valhalla, it was Valhalla’s third game and our fifth. It felt like we were getting punished for winning our pool, and it was just an exhausting day that left us super injury-prone.
FC: Well, that’s the point [of the format] though; it was so teams can compete from the beginning. As a weaker team, it was nice to play against teams of our level.
CB: And I totally get that; it worked well for the weaker teams. But for the top teams, who were playing nine games against the best teams in the east with one game break between, it was a lot for one day. Not to mention that we had another day to go.
Mathew Mcveigh (MM): I thought the system was fine, and this is someone who played nine games.
CB: I liked the idea of playing close games; I just think five games in one day is a lot.
MM: The games were close [because] you played to your level.
EN: But again, the pools were lopsided. Pools 1 and 2 were way stronger than the two other pools.
AP: Yes, but that’s how they were organized, no? So we could play against teams of our own level. Can you elaborate?
EN: Well, one of the main complaints was the repeated games against the same teams, right? Let’s say that if you had every pool featuring one top seed, a mid-table seed, and a lower seed, the Naftel format would have been perfect.
MM: I thought the rankings were very accurate.
CB: I thought it was a good idea and worth trying, but again, I think five games is a lot for one day. Maybe next time they can make that less games, because by the end of the day, teams were getting injured and that’s no fun for anyone. I also thought the rankings were accurate.
FC: It was a good idea, [but] I don’t know how to make repeated games stop. That format at least helped the competitiveness of games, [though]. And it’s true, we had a few injuries at the end of Day One.
EN: Injuries are part of the game, unfortunately, so the format isn’t to blame, in my opinion.
MM: To make it less games is a good critique…I think you should play a team [only] once. Having Valhalla and uOttawa play twice made no sense.
AP: I mean, last year, we ended up playing four to five games on the first day too. The format isn’t a factor in the exhaustion and injuries.
CB: The thing with four to five games last year though is [that] you are playing teams worse than you and the same level as you, so you get a mix. This time, all the games are going to be close games, so you tire yourself out faster. I do think the slide was a good idea; again, just a lot of games to play that are all close for Day One.
SC: Well, we might not need to throw out the concept, but maybe just tweak it so there aren’t that many repeated games.
EN: I think the format is promising. It just needs a few tweaks, and in my opinion, tweaks with the pools.
AP: Initial pool play was fine. We just need a way to avoid repeats and move on to the bracket play faster.
SC: So, moving forward, what does this mean for the National Championship? Are any eastern teams making the trek to Victoria?
MM: Depends on who can go…teams are looking at it right now.
CB: I know Queen’s is trying to get there.
EN: As far as I know, Valhalla is definitely going. Queen’s has an Indiegogo campaign, and McGill and Canada’s Finest Quidditch Club (CFQC) are trying to finance for the trip as well. We just had a meeting about that (both McGill and CFQC). It seems that it’s a tough call, considering the expenses and the overall level of play. Université de Montréal (UdeM) is also trying to finance.
CB: It’s tough. I’m from Victoria and I know just how expensive it is to get there and back. You’re looking at $850 per player round trip. As much as I would love to return home and play there, I can’t afford it, especially with the increased costs this season from tournaments.
FC: Lionel-Groulx (LG) isn’t going. If there are LG players, they’ll transfer to UdeM for the tournament, [if] they do go.
SC: For those who won’t or can’t go, what are the thoughts around having the regional championships so early?
FC: [It’s] kind of sad the season is basically over.
MM: [It] shortens the season; now there’s nothing to really work towards unless you’re going to the National Championship.
CB: From a perspective as a team with a lot of rookies, it would have been nice to have it in the winter due to development of the new players, but I understand why they switched it.
MM: I think it’s [going to] be the same as last year but reversed. We are going to try to send teams, but no promises.
CB: One or two teams out east make the trip out west, and you have a West Regional Championship 2.0 with the addition of those two teams.
EN: We also have to consider the level of competition in the west.
MM: Two different styles…I’ve played out west and east.
EN: How different are they? Is it the physicality?
MM: East is more gritty, way more tackling, [and] not to mention the beater game is [a lot] more active. In the west, it [is] the opposite. Eastern teams will tackle, whereas western team will try to run around you. This is evident with watching the Alberta Clippers and Calgary Mudbloods (now Mavericks) at the national championship [last season].
SC: Anything else you want to discuss?
CB: I have one last major point to make: if you haven’t gotten your teams certified to referee, please do it! The reffing situation at the regional championship was insane. We are so short on head referees [HRs], and even though it was supposed to be a requirement for each team to have an HR and set of assistant referees [ARs], they didn’t do it in time.
It made people like Jon Keates, Devin Dutt, and Kyle Ross, who are all captains of their own teams, have to go from playing to reffing, playing to reffing with no break in between and it gave them no time with their teams to prepare for games. It was so unfair to them. Keates played five games on Day One [and] refereed five or more on Day One as well. It was a requirement we knew about early on in the year, so please get your team certified!
SC: Thank you for participating!