Quidditch

Red White Dynamite

We did it! Myself and the Quidditch Canada Events Director Megan Stacey just finished unloading the car from the Eastern Regional Championship in Kingston this past weekend. The event was a huge success – finished early(!), no major injuries, and everyone seems to have had an amazing time.

Our work isn’t quite over – there’s feedback to gather, follow-up media, photos to sort through, and of course a few bruises and scrapes to ice.

Cait Woolner and Zoe Mastellotto of Carleton University Quidditch. (Photo by Vivian Cheung)

Cait Woolner and Zoe Mastellotto of Carleton University Quidditch. (Photo by Vivian Cheung)

I livetweeted the finals match between McGill and Carleton, and man – livetweeting never gets old, especially in a sport as fast-paced as quidditch. Goals were happening faster than my fingers could move, but I’m glad that people who weren’t there were able to follow along and experience even a little of the excitement of the final match.

McGill emerged victorious, and will have a chance to defend their title at Nationals in Burnaby on March 27th-28th. I know I can’t wait to livetweet that game, and many more in between.

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Quidditch

Quidditch Canada Regionals & the importance of preparation

It’s been a busy time at Quidditch Canada, as we’re in the home stretch for not one but TWO regional championships, both landmark events. Western Regionals (February 1st in Moose Jaw, SK) will be the first time we’ve ever hosted an event west of Ontario, and Eastern Regionals (February 7th-8th in Kingston, ON) is set to be the largest ever quidditch tournament in Canada.

There’s a LOT of preparation that goes into these kind of events – all five of our directors have been working on them for months. Our Membership Director Jill has been hard at work helping players and teams register and prepare to come, and our Gameplay Director Chris & the rest of the gameplay staff have been coming up with ranking algorithms, training referees, and deciding on tournament formats. Our Director Tegan has been steering the planning and finances, and our Events Director Megan has been putting together the whole opera – venues, schedules, volunteers, social events, and everything under the sun. We’ve all been orchestrating rules for new teams to allow everyone who wants to attend to make it. And our staff, from assistant tournament directors to refs to graphic designers, have been putting in long hours.

As Comms Director I have to be up-to-date on what everyone else is doing, and I also have my own specific set of tasks. Our first priority is hosting safe, high-quality sporting events that encourages fair and competitive play, but I also have to think of ways we can grow the sport. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

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review

The Commander’s Study; review of Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

Tonight I was fortunate enough to see the Royal Winnipeg Ballet perform Lila York’s interpretation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. I went with my lovelies Jocelyn & Jo, and we were all very curious as to how such a plot-driven, largely-internal narrative would translate to ballet. We were all at least vaguely familiar with the plot (I ended up being incredibly grateful for my Sparks skim on the bus on the way there, as I’d last read it in high school).

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hockey

#HockeyFightsDV Update

I’ve been taking part in #HockeyFightsDV (a fan-organized campaign to support survivors of domestic violence by turning hockey stats into donations) since early November, and figured it was high time for a check in!

I track the stats using the NHL’s boxscores and an (ugly) spreadsheet:

Nodding my head like yeah, Excel formulas like yeah

Nodding my head like yeah, Excel formulas like yeah

We’re only just past the midway point of the season, and I’ve got a low ceiling as far as donations are concerned, but I think we’re going to have to mix things up a little. The Stars have struggled and Seguin and Benn have seen some time apart (to their chagrin, I’m sure), so the $0.50 I had originally allotted per point they teamed up for is a bit low. I’m rather invested in the Stars’ offense as a whole, so I’m going to add something to this category. I’m going to keep it at $0.50 (call it a misguided effort to try to goad the Stars into getting more points) but will award it for any combination of two or more of the following players: Tyler Seguin (TSegs), Jamie Benn (Captain Mama Bear), Jason Spezza (duck sauce beat drops), and Ales Hemsky (who looks good in green, despite having struggled this season after a dazzling short run with Ottawa). Teamwork, boys. Make me proud.

Phil’s also had a bit of slumpery, but I’m a Smart Girl who refuses to get further invested in the Leafs (a childhood spent cheering for Toronto sports teams has informed this decision; if you have ever done this or considered doing so I advise against it). You keep on doing you, Phil.

EK65 has been playing quite well, but I want to up the Sens’ ante because I’m proud of them all (yes, you too, Jared). In honour of his (adorable) captaincy of Team Canada’s WJC team, I’m going to donate $5 to MWAG for every Curtis Lazar goal.

He was blowing a kiss to Joe Hicketts for a great stretch pass, but he’s also blowing it to all of you. Credit: quiksilfver.tumblr.com

If you’d like to join up, I highly recommend it – it’s a tangible way to turn our enthusiasm for our favourite players and teams into something that will help valuable services provide support to even more people. You can make donations as small or large as you like, and you can also convince other people to sign up – I’ve already persuaded two! If you’re looking for an organization in your area to support, Hockey Fights DV has a list of some of the charities participants are supporting as well as some of the pledges people have made, which you can browse for ideas. $10 for a Carey Price shutout, $5 for every penalty Nazem Kadri draws (or Corey Perry takes), $1 every time a team in your conference loses (thereby bringing your team further into the playoff picture) – whatever you like! And spread your support – tell people about the campaign, ask your chosen organization the best way to support them, and call out sexism and violence wherever possible in your own life.

Keep yer stick on the ice.

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hockey

Hej då, Alfie

I wrote another guest post at High Heels and High Sticks, this time about Daniel Alfredsson’s retirement.

The Senators don’t have Cups (or a long and storied history… or multiple conference finals…. or playoff wins against our closest rivals…). But we had a great player to call our own, and a good man to call us his. My eyes stayed remarkably dry throughout warmups, too caught up in the sheer pleasure of watching him take sure, steady strides across the ice and lead the whole team in a game of keep-away as though they were a Timbits soccer team. We were a frozen cornfield full of love for him last night, and he deserved every clapping breath of it.

Read more!

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hockey

Hockey Fights DV

I’m joining up with #hockeyfightsDV, a fan-run effort to raise both funds and awareness to combat domestic violence and support survivors of violence. Violence against women has been on the forefront of the NHL for quite a while, with high-profile arrests of Semyon Varlamov and Sasha Voynov in the last year. There are a myriad of other troubling incidents with regards to sexism and violence against women present in hockey: from Harry Zolnierczyk to the OHL players sending harassing and threatening messages to women on tinder. It’s important to talk about these incidents and issues, and it’s also important to support organizations that are helping and protecting survivors of violence.

To that end, I will be donating $1 to the Muskoka Women’s Advocacy Group (MWAG) every time Erik Karlsson or Phil Kessel scores. Erik Karlsson is my favourite player and is a great role model in the NHL for leadership, shots from the point (I’m incorrigible), and charity. He does a lot of work with animal shelters and is an outspoken advocate for mental health, self-care, and “[being] nice to yourself.” Phil Kessel is another of my favourite players, and is also a big charity guy – a cancer survivor himself, he sponsors a box for children fighting cancer at ever Leafs home game.

Credit: the-destroia.tumblr.com

The Thrill. Credit: the-destroia.tumblr.com

MWAG operates two 24-hour crisis shelters for abused women and their children in Ontario – Muskoka Interval House in Bracebridge and Chrysalis in Huntsville, which also offer supportive transitional housing units for vulnerable women. Their website also has important information for women in trouble, and provides tips on how to cover your tracks online and prevent your abuser from knowing you are seeking help.

I will also be donating 50 cents to a similar group in Ottawa for every point that Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn score together. (They’ve got an attached-at-the-hip-and-wear-each-others’-gloves thing going on. I don’t know what it is but I like it.) I’m still doing some research on the best places to donate – I’m looking into the trans-inclusive policies of a few organizations, and would like to support somewhere that works with new immigrants and First Nations women. I’ve got a few in mind, but let me know if you have any suggestions!

My current budget for additional charity is small, but I’m hoping to get a bunch of friends on board as well. Just pick a stat, pick a reputable organization doing good work, tally at the end of the month, and encourage others to do the same.

This is a great initiative – it was started by Alexandra Edwards and is, according to the official tumblr, “modelled after LA Kings captain Dustin Brown’s own fundraising efforts.” I encourage you all to make your own pledge, however big or small. You can make it fun if you want – $2 for every Bobrovsky-Foligno hug, $50 for every John Scott goal (…maybe pick something else, on second thought), $1 every time PK Subban does something that makes you need a moment to calm down, $5 every time the Leafs or Oilers outshoot the other team, $10 every time Jo Drouin and Nate MacKinnon score in the same week – anything you want!

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Photography Credit: Ben Holland Photography
Quidditch

I’m hiring!

The Quidditch Canda communications department is looking for a whole host of awesome, creative volunteers for this upcoming season – if you’re a photographer, videographer, translator, writer, or blogger, I want you on my team! You can find all the applications here.

Staff Writer/Blogger – We’re going to be doing something really interesting on the site: we’re going to have clever analysis and great league content, and we’re also going to have fully-integrated personal blogs as part of our regular coverage. We’re looking for creative folks to go beyond current quidditch coverage and bring us #hot #takes and more analysis than you can shake a PVC broom at.

Staff Photographer – Pitch your tripod with us and help us show the many faces of quidditch! Staff photographers will cover games and tournaments and work together with comms staff to make fun and beautiful campaigns. You’ll make our game look prettier than we’ve ever known it could be.

Videographer – Canada’s been behind the pack on video coverage of quidditch, and I want to help change that and bring us right to the front. This goes beyond just game footage (although we’ll have that too). Help us create highlight reels, player interviews, video campaigns, and all kinds of amazing moving picture tricks.

Translator – I’m looking to create a crack team of bilingual rock stars to help make our league fully accessible no matter which official language you speak. Translation is code for expansion, inclusion, and clever wordplay. This won’t be all rote word-for-word translation of boring administrative policy posts – we’re going to have fun, engaging content in both languages. Apply bas!

The organizing staff for Canada Day Fantasy 2013 in all their exhausted glory. Photo Credit: Rithy Min.

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Uncategorized

C’est quoi un rouge (et noir)?

This summer I’ve had the awesome opportunity of working with OSEG Media as part of the Ottawa REDBLACKS Social Team for home games in their inaugural season.

ya girl c

I’m part of an awesome team who roam the grounds of TD Place and tweet, take pictures of fans and moments, and help create online conversations about the team. It’s been a fantastic experience so far, and I’m really excited to do some cool things with the rest of the home games.

I’m certainly not new to sports and social media, but I’m relatively new to football – a few years ago, most of my prior knowledge and experience of the CFL involved this segment of the Things Saskatchewanians Say video and having to explain the differences between the CFL and the NFL to various American friends. I’m a pretty quick learner, so I’ve picked up a lot in a short while. (I’ve got “12 players on at a time, field is 110 yards and it’s 3 downs instead of 4” down pat.)

I have no problem watching sports I only vaguely understand (hello, luge!), but did a lot of reading and watching games with friends who know football – friends who know football are, on the whole, very good friends – and now know my rouges from my field goals. (Well, okay. I already knew that.)

from fourthline.tumblr.com

from fourthline.tumblr.com

If you’re in Ottawa or nearby (or hey, in another CFL city), definitely make sure you come to a REDBLACKS game. The food’s good, the game’s fantastic, and when good things happen there are chainsaw noise effects*.

*That might just be up my personal alley, but I maintain that it’s fantastic.

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Uncategorized

Team Canada at the IQA Global Games 2014

Team Canada is competing this weekend in Burnaby against 6 other nations – in quidditch. The Global Games is a biennial event (the previous one was held in Oxford, UK and featured 4 nations), and I’m super excited for this year’s team and event. 

Andrew Robillard of Stuffed Motion made us an amazing (so amazing I was making excited raptor noises upon my first viewing) promo video that I wanted to share:

The schedule and more information about the event can be found on the U.S. Quidditch website – if you’re in the Burnaby area this Saturday, make sure to check it out! It’s not often you get to watch quidditch world championships. I’ll be working my social media thumbs for the Ottawa REDBLACKS’ first home game on Friday night so I won’t be in Burnaby for the Games to cheer on Team Canada, but I’ll be covering the lead-up on Quidditch Canada’s twitter and facebook

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hockey, Uncategorized

The fantastic people at High Heels High Sticks asked me to write a guest post on the state of concussions in the NHL.

NHL players are grown men who I would like to be able to trust to make their own decisions regarding their health and ability to contribute to their team after a hard hit, but they don’t exist in a vacuum, and neither does the culture that informs those decisions or the lies their coaches tell us.

Read more!

Link