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Aurors Quidditch Club members Chris Radojewski (left) and James Neuman demonstrate Quidditch in Kinsmen Park on May 4, 2018.
The Edmonton Aurors are one of eight teams in Western Canada and 20 in the country involved in a land adaptation of the sport quidditch, as described in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, The Aurors won the national title in 2017 and were hoping to conjure up the same result at home this month in what would have been the sixth ever national championships. Supplied by JYK Photography
Just when sports fans figured it couldn’t get much worse, it has happened. The National Dodgeball Championships have been scrapped.
And that’s not the worst of it. The National Quidditch Championships have been postponed, too.
Now you may think, ‘Heh, heh. Nice try, Jones.’
It’s April 1. It’s April Fools Day.
But no. Trust me. This is the goods.
There really is such a thing as a National Dodgeball championships. And there also is a National Quidditch championship.
Indeed, they were both scheduled for Edmonton.
I’ve long maintained that our city should have been labeled the City of Champions & Championships. This definitely makes my case.
Many may lament the postponement of CFL training camps and the pause of NHL play due to COVID-19. But I’m personally saddened by the loss of these two events.
What I’d give for some good quidditch quotes right now. Or some decent dodgeball data.
OK. Let’s score you up here.
The National Dodgeball championships, scheduled to be held at the Saville Centre April 8-12, were going to be historic. But Duane Wysynski announced tentative plans to reschedule hopefully for December.
“This would have been the largest Nationals ever, with more than 400 athletes from across Canada coming to Edmonton — 48 teams in men and women’s divisions representing all 10 provinces.”
Did you know that Edmonton is the world capital of dodgeball? Neither did I.
“Dodgeball Canada is the national governing body for the sport. We have over 10,000 members in leagues across Canada,” informed Wysynski. “Our league office is actually in Edmonton. The president (me) also serves as president of the World Dodgeball Federation.”
Previous editions have been held in Toronto, Halifax, Winnipeg and Charlottetown.
“Team Canada is chosen annually at nationals and Canada is one of the most successful of all in international play. The men have won the most gold medals, with three, and the women have won two. Canadian men have medalled at all eight Dodgeball World championships.
“We had planned to partner on events with Quidditch Canada that was planning to hold their nationals here as well, with the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance Congress also planned during the same period. So Edmonton was going to be very important in both of our developments. COVID-19 forced the cancellation of three key events for us in Edmonton,” said Wysynski.
Muggle quidditch is definitely a different deal than the much more established dodgeball. Not that quidditch was invented yesterday. More like the day before, although Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling actually once wrote a fictional (of course) guide to quidditch and mentioned the Moose Jaw Meteors and Canadian National Team.
There are only 470 members and 20 registered teams.
There are 12 teams in the east and eight in the west.
Some of the teams include the Mississauga Manatees, Calgary Mudbloods, Victoria Valkyries, Guelph Gryphons, the Vancouver Storm Crows and Vipertooths and Edmonton Aurors. No Moose Jaw Meteors.
The Aurors won the title in 2017 and were hoping to repeat the feat at home in what would have been the sixth nationals.
Last time I looked, although I haven’t been out of the house in a while, there was nothing resembling Hogwarts around town, even at West Edmonton Mall.
So far, none of the players have learned how to fly, although Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid has yet to give it a go.
The land adaptation of the game was invented by a couple of college students in Vermont, Xander Manshel and Alex Benepe, coming up with rules as similar as possible to those in the Wizarding World.
Each team of seven members is made up of chasers, beaters, a keeper and a seeker. They are required to keep one hand on a broomstick between their legs and use semi-deflated volleyballs instead of bludgers, and a tennis ball in a sock replaces the golden snitch. It’s basically a cross between dodgeball, tag, basketball and rugby.
Yara Kodershah, of Toronto, executive director of Quidditch Canada (How would you like to have that on your business card?) was eager to showcase the sport under the winter dome at Foote Field.
Quidditch, you should know, is one of the few gender-inclusive sports that also proudly proclaims to be transgender-inclusive. The Edmonton team has also started a youth program called Kidditch.
Hey, you can’t make this stuff up.
“We have not yet made a decision about rescheduling, but we are extremely interested in maintaining a relationship with Edmonton Events. They have been incredibly collaborative and supportive and we are looking forward to future partnership opportunities,” said Kodershah, who hopes to entice thousands to become conversant in quidditch.
Both the quidditch and dodgeball entities were really hoping to create interest here this year. They haven’t been able to play host to their national championships now, but they’ve won my interest.
Even when life returns to normal, I plan to get me some quidditch quotes and more dodgeball data.
Now, back to our regular de-scheduled programming.
On Twitter: @ByTerryJones
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