By: Tara Goodfellow & Kayla Wright

Brooms up. Ready. Set. Match! Quidditch has come to Algonquin. Like its counterparts at the U of O and Carleton University, the college has adopted an official Quidditch team.

Quidditch is a sport played by witches and wizards in the magical world of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. It was brought to life in the “muggle” world in 2005 at Middlebury College in Vermont, and has since soared to popularity amongst colleges and universities across the globe. Enthusiasts call it “Muggle Quidditch.”

The team is new this year, and was founded by Algonquin alumni, Casey Innis, who spent the summer training with both the U of O and Carleton Quidditch teams. “Our team’s official start is September 2012,” said Innis.

Muggle Quidditch differs from wizard Quidditch for a number of reasons. First, there’s no such thing as magic- the game is played on foot, with brooms between their legs, rather than in the air. The balls don’t fly, but are tossed between the players by hand.

The Snitch is a tennis ball carried around in a sock by a runner who has no boundaries. The runner is encouraged to interfere with the players- taking brooms and kicking balls off the field.“One Snitch disguised himself as a member of the crowd and hid in plain sight for nearly an hour,: said Innis. Unlike in the wizarding game, the Snitch is worth 30 points instead of 150.

Second, there are seven players on the field instead of six- 21 players in total, with two subs per person- and these positions include; one Keeper, two Chasers, three Beaters (not two) and one Seeker. The Keeper guards three goal posts in their end of the field. Each hoop is worth 10 points. The Chasers carry an orange “Quaffle” through the other team’s end to shoot through one of the three hoops.

The Beaters throw three black balls called “Bludgers” at the other team’s players to knock them off their broom and /or prevent their own player’s from being hit. When a player is hit and “falls off” their broom, they must remove the broom from between their legs and run back and tap their own goalpost to get back into the game.

The Seeker’s job is to catch the Snitch- even if it requires “flying out of bounds.” Catching the Snitch ends the game, but doesn’t necessarily mean the team wins as it depends on the points earned before capture.

“I read all the books, and saw all the movies, and it wasn’t what I expected,” said Cass Walden, a first-year pre-nursing student on the team. “I saw some of the videos on YouTube, and I played a lot of contact sports in high school, and so I thought it’d be pretty sweet.”

Algonquin’s Quidditch season kicked off in early September and follows the school’s academic season. Their first game will be Oct. 20 against Carleton. The team also plans to compete in the second annual Canadian Quidditch Cup at Queen’s University in Kingston, in November and the sixth annual World Cup in Florida April 2013.

“I do intend to win,” said Innis. “So we’re going to be training very hard.”

They’re currently holding weekly practices, which remain open to both current and former Algonquin students. As this is the first year of operation,  Innis said there won’t be official tryouts.

“Anyone can join anytime they want, with any level of commitment,” said Innis.

If you’re interested in playing, visit the Algonquin Quidditch page on Facebook.