A Year in Review: Quidditch Canada’s 2016-17 Season – Southern Ontario Blues

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).  

Royal City Quidditch – Alex Scherger

In only its second year, Royal City has demonstrated vast improvement since its inception and has made an impact working as a feeder team for its Guelph Gryphons counterparts. Questions about the team’s success were raised this year, as this squad lost some key quaffle players to the Guelph Gryphons and the team often serves as a developmental zone for rookies to familiarize themselves with the game. These questions have since been answered, as Royal City rose to the occasion and is now one of Canada’s top B-teams, if not the best.

Royal City’s Sean Castillo against blocks a shot from Valhalla Quidditch’s Itaana Krow | Photo Credit: Jelissa Kollaard

This year, Royal City continued with its predominantly non-male roster that demonstrated significant improvements from last year, likely from logging so many minutes in its inaugural season. An early season overtime snitch loss to the Université de Montréal (UdeM) at Carleton University’s Ravens Rumble tournament seemed to spark a fire for the team, as it would later go on to defeat the University of Toronto Centaurs (UoT) and Canada’s Finest Quidditch Club (CFQC), and play a closely contested match against the Carleton Ravens.

Both the remaining veteran presence and practicing with the Guelph Gryphons have clearly benefitted Royal City, allowing the team to climb out of the lower ranks at the Eastern Regional Championship and sending players to the National Championship with the Guelph hybrid squad. These players rose to the occasion and helped secure a silver medal, and barring any major losses to the Guelph Gryphons’ roster or graduation, Royal City should be settling in comfortably in eastern Canada’s middle-tier next season.

Ryerson Quidditch – Lisa Tubb

Historically, Ryerson Quidditch has supported a smaller, yet fiercely dedicated roster that always puts up a good fight. While not known for their physical game, Ryerson’s beaters have consistently supported their chasers on either end of the pitch.

The significant losses sustained during the Fall Classic at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus were largely due to its eight-player roster on the field that October weekend, resulting in a performance and scores that does not accurately reflect the grit this squad could bring. This is superbly demonstrated in Ryerson’s narrow losses against UTSC Phoenix (Nov. 6, 110*-80) and then against CFQC on Day One of the Eastern Regional Championships (80-70*). The close scores of these games speak to the amount of growth this club has gone through and has battled through the years to close the gap between its once lower-tier position to a challenging near-middle contending team.  

Ryerson Quidditch beater David Fan with a bludger | Photo Credit: Sarah Breedon

When it comes down to the wire, Ryerson can catch the snitch. However, the low scores and overall game results are unsettling. During the games against UTSC (losing 100-70* and then 90*-20) and the aforementioned CFQC game, Ryerson seems to have pulled the snitch after too big of a score gap was made. Ryerson can certainly put up a strong fight and can hold its own defensively, even with a small squad. With a few more players, perhaps the morale of the team would improve and therefore the ability to hold out a while longer, hopefully creating an opportunity to run up the score, close the gap, and then seal the deal with the team’s clutch seeker. Out of its officially recorded games, Ryerson caught the snitch 83 percent of the time, all of which were concession catches. These skills, while impressive, can only be built upon in the future.

Off the pitch, Ryerson is often seen doing community and/or open practices or events on Facebook. That deserves special recognition; this team throughout the year has spread and promoted quidditch a lot, something which top-tier teams need to get back to. With more of an effort in regards to recruiting and involvement in more official tournaments, this squad could easily take its game to the next level.  

McMaster Marauders – Lisa Tubb

Returning from a season-long hiatus, the McMaster Marauders hit the ground running at the Fall Classic, edging the University of Toronto (UofT) Centaurs by a snitch catch, 60*-30. Toma Chicerman, a five-year beater veteran of the squad, explained that this tournament was a baptism of fire for a majority of the team, and that this victory, and the tournament as a whole, was a definite morale-booster at the beginning of the season. For the remainder of the tournament, McMaster’s small but feisty roster managed to rack up a total of 110 points and two snitch catches over the remaining three games (it should be noted that the second catch was a concession catch against an additional UoT matchup), though due to lack of experience and exhaustion, the Marauders also gave up 280 points.
Although Captain Karan Chowdhry stated after the Fall Classic that he “expects the team to make it out of group stage [at the Eastern Regional Championship], and wouldn’t even be surprised if we win a knockout game or two,” the team failed to make an appearance in Mississauga, and ended its season as quickly as it began. As the fall semester progressed, Chicerman commented that practice attendance faltered and became an issue, which affected the fielding of a team for tournaments.

Ultimately, the Marauders have slipped back into another interim period and will hopefully return with the new academic year. One variable to look out for in the coming season is how the Club President change of command between Chicerman and Emily Jenkins will affect the team’s direction.

This concludes our seven-part series recapping the seasons of the Quidditch Canada league-official teams. We hope to add to this list next season as more teams start popping up in Canada.