Summer is a time for reflecting over the achievements from the past season. The Quidditch Post presents our new seven-part series reviewing the 2016-17 seasons of all 21 league-official Quidditch Canada teams (sorted by final rankings).
7. Université de Montréal (UdeM) – Julien Bernier
With many rookies this year, the Université de Montréal had some challenges finding the same success it had from past two seasons. However, with the combined effort of its many veteran players, the Montreal–based quidditch club finished strong with a fourth place push at the Eastern Regional Championship.
UdeM is a talented, strong, and fast-paced team, with coach Rithy Min and captain Félix Tremblay as major parts of its success. The lack of chemistry between the new group was an issue for at the start of the season, but both wing and point chasers eventually raised their game, adding to UdeM’s experienced beater line. Veterans Ema Shiroma-Chao, Stephen Camozzi, Vincent Deshaies, and Isadora De Ernsted are amongst the standouts who brought a lot of experience and skills to this formidable beater line.
One of the most underrated aspects of UdeM’s roster is its female chaser lineup. Whenever it could get a hand on the quaffle, the result was usually a good or a smart play. However, communication and timing were still off at times, specifically against experienced chaser lines; its quaffle carriers had a hard time finding open lanes for quick passes. In the future, UdeM should work on utilizing its full roster, as it knows already that aspiring for the podium at big tournaments requires the strength of a full roster, and not just on the backs of a few individuals. When this team is able to play its wing chasers more, it might surprise a lot of people out there.
Last season, UdeM placed second at Eastern Regionals and third at Nationals, so expectations were high for the team coming into this season. Unfortunately, it did not manage to win a tournament this year, though it still managed to win against top–tier team such as Queen’s University Quidditch and Waterloo Ridgebacks Quidditch Team at the quarterfinals at the Eastern Regional. With a solid performance this year and a lot of returning players next year, the Université de Montréal is still undoubtedly a team to watch and is a contender looking forward next season.
8. University of Guelph Gryphons – Courtney Butler
With many returning players, a solid leadership team, and a strong pool of Royal City Quidditch players to support it, Guelph was able to go from a middle–of–the–pack team to one of the top in Canada, all in a season’s work. Starting off the season strong at a home tournament, Guelph set the tone by showing a cohesive unit of chasers and beaters working together to put up points. As the season went on, the team continued to improve, using a more physical playing style.
Guelph’s work early in the season paid off, as it was placed in the top bracket at Eastern Regionals, and faced tough match-ups against top-tiered teams. Although it was pushed to a lower pool after Day One, Guelph fought its way back up to the finals through many rigorous games, including the controversial and tense semifinal against UdeM. Unfortunately, the tired team ultimately fell to the skilled and prepared the University of Ottawa DeeGees in the final, but Guelph had finally proven its place amongst the top in the country.
The second half of the season saw Guelph gearing up for the National championship in Victoria in which they were one of two teams from the east to fully commit to the trip out west. Due to many players not being able to make the trip out, Guelph sent a roster of 11 players from Royal City’s roster and 10 from the Guelph roster. The team struggled to find its groove at the first day of the national championship, but after a team regroup, the cohesiveness showed on Day Two and the team was able to pull off strong wins and another controversial upset on a loaded Valhalla team to head off to finals. Again, it was here that Guelph met its end against the Edmonton Aurors, but the effort the team put into utilizing every player on the pitch showed with a strong second place finish.
The Guelph program has put in a valiant effort to promote strong play across both teams where it does not rely on any key players, but rather perform their best when playing as a unit. Guelph is in a strong position to carry its solid showing into the next season, especially with an ever ready pool of players from Royal City to pull from.
9. Queen’s University Quidditch – Alex Scherger
Queen’s has always been an upper–tier team; it looked like contenders during some years, and other years had been just outside of this position. This season seemed closer to the latter, and while not undergoing a rebuilding phase, Queen’s relied on a lot of new talent to make up for departures from quaffle players Lynden Evers and Matthew Askett, as well as beater Emilie Marie. Overall, consistency across its lines has always been a staple of the Queen’s roster, and the tenacity of its veterans sets a good precedent for the team’s incoming players.
Queen’s may have had the most impressive rookies of all the eastern teams this season, and it was clear at Regionals that the team’s dedicated coaching staff had put in the work necessary to get their new players up to speed. A lot of credit must also be given to stalwart veteran chasers Hailey Yhap, John Nicholson, and Haley Loudoun, as well as aggressive keeper/seeker Kyle Ross. Combined, both the surging rookies and veteran experience allowed Queen’s to remain a competitive team on the bubble of the top tier. The team had several close games against McGill University Quidditch, including a win, as Queen’s received the reinforcement it needed to solidify and reinforce its confidence.
Queen’s will try to establish itself as strong contenders next season, and will surely benefit from four of its players (Yhap, Ross, beater Sam McCaul, and new-kid-on-the-block Gabriel Ferreira) competing with the Ottawa Black Bears MLQ team this summer. In addition to its up-and-coming new recruits from this season, Queen’s does not seem to be losing many players to graduation, so be sure to watch out for a refined and polished team that probably will not need more than a tournament or two (if that) to shake any off-season rust.
This article is part of a series of season recaps. The next part of our series will recap the seasons of the Calgary Mavericks, Carleton Ravens, and Simon Fraser University Quidditch.