EQC 2018 Preview: Czech Republic

The Occamy Olomouc at Olomouc Quidditch Camp 2018 | Photo Credit: Ondřej Hujňák

By Vid Rotvejn Pajič

At last year’s European Quidditch Cup, Prague Pegasus’s international debut set Czechia on the European quidditch map. This year, the honour of representing this ancient kingdom falls to Occamy Olomouc.

Occamies earned their EQC spot by claiming victory in the St. Martin’s tournament, although no qualifying match was played as no other Czech team was able to assemble a team. Olomouc thus does not have any experiences playing together, however, some of their players have been on the Quidditch scene for quite a while. Marketa Štovičkova, the first Czech to become beguiled by quidditch, started playing three years ago for NTNUI Rumpeldunk as an exchange student, so the Occamies consider the Trondheim team their “mother” team. Occamies were exhilarated upon learning that they will be facing NTNUI in the group stage of the EQC 2018.

The Occamy Olomouc at Olomouc Quidditch Camp 2018 | Photo Credit: Ondřej Hujňák

Teams in Czechia are closely intertwined as players often form mercenary and mixed teams to participate internationally. Several Occamies, like Michael Škacha, have played for Prague Pegasus at last year’s EQC, they were a part of the Czech team at the Slavic Cup, and they featured for the Czech national team at the Harry Potter Festival Odense International Quidditch Tournament in Oct. 2017 in Denmark. This was particularly important, as it was a debut for the national team. They claimed the fifth spot out of eight teams with a victory over Iceland (240*-110) and a narrow snitch-catch defeat to Ireland (110-120*).

To Pfaffenhoffen they are bringing a roster of 12 players and for many this will be their first tournament. However, the core of the team is composed of seasoned players from international tournaments in Odense, such as chaser Ondrej Hujnak, whose passes and driving abilities will be vital to scoring. Hujnak will be assisted by Petr Skala, another chaser, who excels in long passes and tackling. Their opponents will have to watch out for Michael Škacha, a seeker, who is capable of turning the game around by snatching a catch with his seeking experiences and physique. Their major strength is their strong leadership, with captain Radek Barvir and American exchange students Isaac Gutjahr (beater) and Arvind Kumar (keeper), who have been diligently honing, teaching and applying tactics to Olomouc`s game.

Occamies have been presented with a particularly challenging group. They will face Titans Paris, who require no introduction, Rheinos Bonn, the German champions, and the aforementioned NTNUI Rumpeldunk, who claimed the fourth place at EQC 2017. Objectively, they stand little chance of winning a match during the group phase, but as their captain Barvir told us, what is most to be gained is experience. Olomouc Occamies are the underdogs of the EQC and are not yet looking for a meaningful result. Czechia is a fast growing quidditch region and this experience will benefit not only Olomouc, but all of their teams. This central European country harbours a lot of potential and it will be interesting to see the development from the EQC merc team to what the country will bring to the table that is the IQA World Cup 2018.