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UOttawa Hosts Coach Conference

The University of Ottawa held the Eastern Canada Coach Conference—the first of its kind—in early October.

Over the weekend of Oct. 5-6, approximately 30 people from 15 Canadian teams gathered at the University of Ottawa (UOttawa) for the university’s Eastern Canada Coach Conference.

According to Marilyn Tourangeau, logistics coordinator for the conference, the initial idea came from the first meeting of the Canadian Quidditch Alliance.

“It was mentioned that we needed to put in place tools to ensure the growth of the sport in Canada and ensure a more equal distribution of strengths,” Tourangeau said. “However, the concrete idea of having a coaches conference came out of Adam Robillard's, coach of the uOttawa Gee Gees, creative mind. He believed that we needed to put something [together] for coaches to meet and sit down… He believed that a space dedicated to coaches would ensure full participation.”

Robillard further clarified that this idea came from a Skype meeting this past July that Canadian Regional Director Tegan Bridge hosted for coaches to discuss the state of quidditch in Canada.

“One of the things discussed was the difference in skill levels and ways to help improve it,” said Robillard. “Within this discussion, I had the idea to create ways for coaches to share resources. The first was the Quidditch Coaches Canada Facebook page, which is an easy way to ask questions and come together to discuss topics. The second was this conference.”

The conference was held to help improve the skill of the coaches and leaders in the Canadian quidditch community.

“In our region, eastern Canada, there is a big difference in skill levels from the top three to four teams and the rest of the teams. The conference aimed to share knowledge and skills that these top teams have gained from years of experience with the other teams so that they would improve and the region as a whole would improve,” said Robillard.

The conference began on the evening of Oct. 5 after the Trial by Fire Tournament with a discussion about the tournament, the state of quidditch in Canada and the current referee situation with International Coordinator for the Referee Development Team (RDT) Chris Beesley. On the second day, there were several discussions and workshops on basic strategies for offense and defense, effective leadership, safety and injury prevention and agility. There were also group discussions on how to format a practice and how to promote a team’s image.

Although this was the first coaches conference in Canada, it was very successful, and there are already talks of having another one next summer.

“The focus of the next conference would be broader, extending to the administrative side of a team, including topics like recruitment, fundraising and team image on top of continuing to improve the coaching aspect,” said Robillard.

There were many other outcomes from the conference, as Tourangeau explained.

“Walking out of the conference, two goals were established: 1. To bridge the gaps  between southern Ontario and the regional powerhouses (Ottawa region and Montreal), and 2. To increase our number of referees,” she said.

Beesley further explained, “The outcomes of the conference will be many and varied.  I know the conference and the accompanying Trial By Fire tournament sparked a new enthusiasm for quidditch in eastern Canada and there is now a passionate leadership structure in place in the provinces of Ontario and Québec.”

Robillard attributed much of the success to Tourangeau, Hugh Podmore and Lomeharshan Lall, who helped to organize the conference as well as Rebecca Alley, Chris Radojewski  and Beesley.

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