Sorry, no flying: Harry Potter fans prepare for Quidditch tournament in Peoria

Peoria will host the 2017 West Regional Championship in Quidditch, set for Feb. 25-26 at Pioneer Community Park, 8755 N. 83rd Ave. (CREDIT: Community High School Dragons and Rebecca Martin)

Harry Potter fans will have the opportunity attend the first official Quidditch tournament in the West Valley.

Peoria will host the 2017 West Regional Championship in Quidditch, set for Feb. 25-26 at Pioneer Community Park, 8755 N. 83rd Ave. Admission is free.

The popular Harry Potter novels and movies introduced Quidditch, a co-ed sport that mixes elements of dodgeball, rugby, soccer and basketball to fans.

Peoria officials submitted a bid proposal for the tournament in 2015, according to Zachary Matz, sports facilities coordinator of Peoria. The tournament will garner tourism revenue for the city, he said.

“The U.S Quidditch organization has a Stay and Play policy, which states that players have to stay in approved hotels,” stated Mr. Matz. “These hotels are within the host city’s limits or within a certain mileage of the facility. Food, shopping, and other entertainment related businesses will benefit from the Stay and Play policy.”

The game involves three hoops on the field in Quidditch, and the three chasers playing try to score goals that are worth 10 points each with a volleyball called the quaffle. They advance the ball down the field by running with it, passing it to teammates, or kicking it. Each team has a keeper who defends the goal hoops. Two beaters use dodgeballs called bludgers to disrupt the flow of the game by “knocking out” other players.

Any player hit by a bludger is out of play until they touch their own goals. Each team also has a seeker who tries to catch the snitch. The snitch is a ball attached to the waistband of the snitch runner, a neutral athlete in a yellow uniform who uses any means to avoid capture. The snitch is worth 30 points and its capture ends the game. If the score is tied after the snitch catch, the game proceeds into overtime.

The two fields at Pioneer Park will host clinics for youth 5-17. Youth, with parent permission, can sign up for the clinics at the fields.

The regional tournament will consist of at least 20 teams from Hawaii, California, Utah, Arizona and Nevada. The U.S. Quidditch is a nonprofit and the national governing body of the sport. The organization formed in 2010, and serves more than 4,000 athletes on 200 teams nationwide.

Editor’s Note: Ms. Holdaway is a student at Arizona Charter Academy in Surprise.

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