UnEditor’s note: Any errors can be attributed to the rushed completion of this article; please alert SG to anything you find that needs to be fixed. Thanks, all.
by Simon Marsello, Zoe Mastellotto, Jessalynn Tsang, and some other rag tags who chirped at us along the way
Authors’ note: This preview is a prediction on pool play only. Whatever happens after that is a mystery to all of us. Furthermore, explicit, enthusiastic consent was obtained by all bootys featured.
Pool A Prediction: Valhalla Quidditch, University of Ottawa (uOttawa), University of Guelph – A Team
Authors belonging to Valhalla did not contribute to this prediction. We swear.
Best Booty: Jonathan Golla
Photo Credit: Ajantha Abey Quidditch Photography
Valhalla is a team that has been rising in skill level rapidly over the past few years. This year may have even seen its steepest incline of skill level by the addition of several veteran players from all over the east. We think it is safe to say that Valhalla may be one of the most experienced teams in the league this year. All of its players have at least one year of experience under their belt, and several played for Team Canada at world cup this summer. Valhalla is a team that has strong beaters who excel at seeker beating—namely Erin McCrady and Tyson Worrall, as well as a strong seeker in Cory Smithson. Despite all of these things, Valhalla has lost a couple of vital championship games this season that have been within snitch range to uOttawa and Waterloo. Will it be the team to step up this weekend and defeat the reigning champs of last years Eastern Regionals? The title is certainly within its reach.
Best Booty: Allison RichPhoto credit: Katie Sharpe
uOttawa has always been a team to look out for. And after losing only game in the 2015-2016 season—to Waterloo—and claiming the titles at both the Eastern Regional and the Canadian National tournament, it’s established itself as the team to beat. But does it still have the same undefeatable quality as last year? The team has always possessed significant speed which contributes to its high turnover rate. These fast breakaways often lead to scoring, often from chasers Jon Parent and Sheldon Gauthier. Furthermore, its beaters Raphael Roy-Laurore and Martin “Shaggy” Chiasson will push through with their offensive beating and clear the way for any chasers to break through and score. uOttawa also has a couple of physical players, like Malcolm Scantlebury and Cody Rennick. Will a team like Valhalla or Guelph be able to knock it off its undefeated streak this tournament? Or will it take the Eastern Regional Champion title two years in a row?
Best Booty: Sam ChomycPhoto Credit: Paula Morgan
Guelph has been one of a few teams rising in stardom over the past couple years, and this year is clearly no exception. Guelph was a team that went from doing moderately well to being a complete wild card to consistently doing well at tournaments. With larger keepers like Denver Staines and Bryan Melchior, Guelph has managed to become a large team with a lot of driving ability. Guelph has had a pretty strong and aggressive beater game over the years and has even managed to snag Team Canada beater Mathew McVeigh boosting this skill level more. Despite a third place ranking Guelph has still not managed to come out on top of a tournament this season. Could this be because it hasn’t been given a chance in semi-finals due to tournaments being cut short? Does it have what it takes to take down top teams like uOttawa and Valhalla? Or even Waterloo who has managed to snag a tournament win this season? It’s definitely a possibility for this team to claim a title at this tournament, and its players are undoubtedly hungry enough for it.
Pool B Prediction: McGill University – A Team, University of Waterloo, Queen’s University, Carleton University
Authors belonging to Carleton did not contribute to this prediction. We swear.
Among the four teams in Pool B, a peculiarity: only two official games have been played this season. At Ravens Rumble two weeks ago, Waterloo took out host Carleton 150*-70, and later in the day, Queen’s made an impressive double-pull to knock off McGill in overtime, 90*^-70. In short, we’re going to see a lot of new matchups Saturday. Here’s how we think it’s going to shake out.
Best Booty: Laurent Chenet
Photo Credit: Helena Pierce
Despite the loss to Queen’s and no previous record against Waterloo, McGill has the best shot at taking Pool B. The team has been on the losing end of three snitch-range contests with Valhalla, any of which could have gone the other way. And while the team doesn’t look as dominant as the McGill teams of old, this squad has plenty of firepower—especially at beater.
Corey Collier always surprises us with his range. It’s his third year in the league now, and evidently, he’s still surprising his opponents as well. If he can contain Mark Fehrman (no easy task), Waterloo’s unpredictable and havoc-wreaking point beater, subs Vlad Steanta and Nathan Pierce should have the edge over Waterloo’s second and third lines.
They’re not to be overlooked at chaser, either. McGill typically boasts the strongest female chasers in the league, and for good reason—they’re led by Team Canada standout Robyn Fortune. We’ve yet to see someone successfully tackle rookie Philippe Burns. Veteran keeper Charles Belanger and chasers Laurent Chenet and Norbert Buenio (up from CFQC last year) are solid two-way players.
Despite all its laudable chasing and beating, McGill is an abysmal 1-6 in SWIM situations this year. If it expects to take out Waterloo (not to mention Queen’s, who have already dealt them a loss), the team better figure out its seeking situation, and fast.
Best Booty: Brock Lowery
Photo Credit: Ben Holland
What offseason losses? Big Fehrman, human tree Jonathan Golla, veteran beaters Katie Brown and Alexander Scherger—apparently it doesn’t matter. With Fehrman the Second and a hella-effective zone D, Waterloo can contain strong offenses and stand toe-to-toe with just about anyone. Prime evidence: it limited Valhalla to only two goals in Ottawa, handily defeating its team 50*-20.
This team hinges on its top-tier beating. Fehrman will eat as many minutes as he can, and pairs nicely with the dependable Courtney Butler. Like the aforementioned Collier, he pushes farther forward than most point beaters, leaving his opponents vulnerable to fast breaks.
On offense, four-year vet Jon Keates is deceptively quick on both sides of the ball. Brock Lowery is big, physical pointman who will scoop up any and all loose quaffles induced by Fehrman, and then lead the fast break the other way.
Of the other three teams, Waterloo has faced only Carleton. Look for heated contests early against both McGill and Queen’s. No one here will take them out of range, and with Jon Keates donning the yellow headband, I like their chances.
Best Booty: John Nicholson
Photo Credit: Emma Milloff
(Authors’ note: Sorry, no good photos of John’s butt exist, so here’s a picture of him holding someone’s kid.)
The primary-coloured pride of Kingston, as mentioned before, shocked McGill when captain Kyle Ross made two successive snitch catches to stun the heavy favourites in Ottawa. Much of this Queen’s side is returning from last year, and that’s a huge boon to any team. On the pitch, the players give their all, and the camaraderie is very, very real. That said, they have it in tough on Saturday.
Ross anchors the defense, with a classic soccer-style approach to keeping. Their drive-heavy offense, led by John Nicholson, Michael Beda, and Nathan Reid, is capable of dealing serious damage if left unchecked. And like McGill, they have an impressive string of female chasers. The standout in that respect is Hailey Yhap, whose time in the offseason with MLQ’s Ottawa Black Bears has proven invaluable. On the beating side, they boast plenty of experience. Eric Irwin, Sam McCaul, and Rachel Fabbri have been around the block and kept the team close with McGill when it mattered most.
But can they do it again? An experienced, field-testing snitch gave Ross a blind-side catch leading to overtime and didn’t last long when given another chance. As a famous Kingstonian once said, “If there’s a glory in miracles, it’s that they’re reversible.” Prove your doubters wrong, Queen’s. They’ll all be watching Saturday.
Best Booty: Eric Melanson
Photo Credit: Adam Stone
Carleton, unlike Queen’s, is burdened/blessed with a large crop of rookies. If retention is high, this will prove fantastic for them in the long run. For now, the kids are in training (is there a term for baby ravens?), and improving in leaps and bounds. Among them, Christopher Johnson seems the most natural to the sport. He’s already blocking quaffles and stiff-arming on drives like a vet.
The loss of Team Canada chaser Matt Bourassa to adulthood stings, but many key pieces from last year remain intact. Alex Naftel leads the charge at chaser, and is among the best seekers in country—he joined team Canada in Germany this summer and gained a wealth of experience on the world stage. Wes Mackie and his patented Wes Mackie Slowball™ are back, as are Wren Bradley and Eric Melanson—in short, a lot of size. Quidditch? More like rugby, plus the occasional forward pass.
Former Team Canada and Waterloo beater Katie Brown is a great pickup to anchor the defense, and in behind her slots improving second-year player Jess Mulvihill. Carleton’s male beaters are less certain; three of four are rookies. If they keep games in range, the Ravens have a shot against every team in the group, largely thanks to Naftel. But of the four teams, they’re the most likely to drop down a pool. Look for a hard-fought match with Queen’s in the mid-morning.
McGill moves up, where they will find themselves rounding out the top tier with uOttawa and Valhalla. Carleton moves down, and will make short work of any team not named U de M. On to Pool C.
Pool C Prediction: l’Université de Montréal (UdeM), Quidditch Lionel-Groulx (QLG), Canada’s Finest Quidditch Club (CFQC), Royal City Quidditch (University of Guelph B Team)
Le plus beau cul: Blanche Bérubé-Babin.
Photo credit: Ben Holland
Last year, UdeM placed 3rd place at nationals in what was an incredibly fast paced, hard hitting game against McGill. Looking at the team this year, its statistics and rosters have been incredibly inconsistent, making this team the favourite wild card team of Eastern Regionals. For the last few years, we saw UdeM play an increasingly fast, hard hitting game. While it’s seemed to lose a few people and momentum this year, this team is still our favourite to win this pool due to the players’ experience.
Le plus beau cul: Julien Bernier
Photo credit: Emmanuel Rheault
Lead by player-coach and whimsical dreamboat Julien Bernier, the rambunctious, boisterous qualities of this team are reminiscent of the good old days of UdeM, wherein once upon a time, Jesus Man, John Cena, and hot pink booty shorts could coexist in harmony. Anyone who watches a game with QLG involved will notice its indomitable spirit accented by clean passing and scary looking Keeper- whatever his name is. In previous games, QLG has dominated both CFQC and Royal City, while falling short to the likes of Pool A teams such like uOttawa and Guelph’s A Team. What’ll be very interesting to watch this weekend is an official game between QLG and UdeM. If QLG cleans up its communication and coordination between chasers and beaters, this could seriously upset UdeM’s chances of moving up this weekend.
Canada’s Finest Quidditch Club
Best Booty: Liam Flewwelling
Photo credit: Andreanne Chagnon
Lead by Matt Connolly, Max Regaudie, and Rachel Ranieri, Canada’s Finest is another B-team comprised by rookies. Established in 2012, CFQC’s players primarily feed into McGill A, who placed 2nd last year at nationals. McGill has a good development program evidenced by the quick succession of CFQC players onto McA. However, there are many, many players (chasers and beaters included) on this team who could and should be coordinating and running more offensive plays with one another, but either lack the confidence or experience to push through. More often than not, this means that during an offensive play, one or two chasers will bring the quaffle to half, be forced to make a pass, which is often rendered incomplete.
This being said, CFQC has managed to rein in lower point differentials than Royal City, while also narrowly defeating them with a snitch grab. For CFQC to stay above Royal City, it will need to tighten its defense, ramp up on offense, and rely on its team chemistry and communication.
Best Booty: Sean Castillo
Photo Credit: Samantha Castillo
Despite being ranked 18th, Royal City is arguably one of the best and well-timed development models established in QC, especially after the dissolution of uOttawa’s Maple Rush. The team’s gender ratio is one to be envied as well, with roster boasting a near 50-50. While female chasers typically develop and grow as wing chasers, this ratio allows for some of its female players to become point defenders and drivers during an offensive play. Royal City’s practices also include training with Guelph A- something that has seemed to push growth and development. During the Ravens Rumble, we saw this growth as Royal City nearly tied a game up with UdeM with the final score being 100-110* UDEM. Its ability to coordinate effective offensive and defensive plays will be key in its ranking for Day 2.
Pool D Prediction: University of Toronto – Centaurs, University of Toronto Scarborough -Phoenix, Ryerson University
There’ll be no 1-v-12 blowouts today. These lower-tier teams will duke it out Saturday morning to see who moves up to play with the big(ger) kids in the afternoon.
Toronto – Centaurs
Best Booty: Hannah Mazurek
Photo credit: Kimia Ghofrani
Sarah Basciano, the stay-at-home beater who captained the team for three years, is gone, and the Centaurs, now led by keeper Garnet Lollar, must restructure. As in most years, this Centaur team is composed heavily of rookies, and it showed in the early going. In an unofficial Toronto tournament in early October, the team fell twice to a cohesive Queen’s squad, and also to regional no-shows McMaster (whom Toronto was able to defeat in a rematch later that day). In Guelph, the team faced equally hard luck, falling to Waterloo, U de M, and Queen’s (again). But as we well know, rookies have a learning curve, and Lollar is a determined coach.
In quaffle play, Toronto will rely on Lollar and returning players Sinan Keyder and Carl Abrahamsen. A big offseason acquisition is ex-Valhalla chaser/beater Ron Martinez, an all-around athlete who gives opponents trouble at either position.
On the bludger-ier side of things, Basciano’s capable successor is Hannah Mazurek, who, alongside rookie Yasmine Shelton, leads an improving beater corps. And at seeker, look out for second-year player Madeline Surman, who looks to stun some improperly caffeinated snitches early in the morning.
The Centaurs, despite their inexperience, should capture this pool handily.
Toronto – Phoenix
Best Booty: Zakia Taj
Photo Credit: Jordan Winstone
The veteran guardians of the UTSC Phoenix quidditch program, Cody Mulholland and Ubendrah Sivarajah, are long gone. This team now belongs to Cole Reynolds, a third-year beater who has logged his fair share of game time, and Tim Lee, a solid chaser/seeker hybrid. Joining Reynolds in black headbands are Zakia Taj (see above booty), Arjun Patel, and Kyler Oliver—a trio who, between them, have amassed roughly a decade of on-pitch experience.
The Phoenix is used to playing tournaments short-staffed. Memorably, they battled through 2014’s Eastern Regionals without subs, a feat to be commended for any team. But with the core of aforementioned, dedicated veterans, perhaps they’ll no longer fall victim to such a short bench.
One rookie who impressed during their match against Ryerson last weekend was Goggles. I don’t know his name, but he proudly rocks recreational spectacles, and that’s always a win in my books. Dude can drive and dunk, and looks cool doing it.
Things to expect from the Phoenix: a win over Ryerson, a hardscrabble loss to the Centaurs, and some sweet, sweet eyewear.
No consent obtained.
This young Toronto team will be seeking its first win of the season on Saturday, but with three losses (two unofficial) to UTSC already, it doesn’t seem in the cards.
Chaser/seeker Ben Legere will be looking to provide bursts of offense for Ryerson, who thus far have struggled to score. Despite a couple promising first-year chasers, the team failed to put up big numbers against UTSC this past weekend, mainly due to untamed beater play. A win, while unlikely, would put smiles on their faces. Regionals, and the season as a whole, should teach Ryerson’s younger players a more responsible game, and with luck, they’ll return with bolstered confidence and skill next year.