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Quick Strikes: Debating the 1994 Quidditch World Cup

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Yes, we’re really doing this.

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It’s the last week of August, folks. Y’all have been amazing sports this summer as we’ve sometimes had to go outside the trapezoid to find news to fill up this daily segment. Today’s Quick Strikes is one of those entries where we’re trying something a little different as we work to keep y’all entertained until rookie camp. We will be back tomorrow with a more traditional QS (we hope?) and will also have the continuation of our Top 25 Under 25 countdown later today. For now, enjoy!

The Headline

25 years ago yesterday, on August 25th, 1994, Bulgarian Seeker Viktor Krum, then playing for the Bulgarian National Team in the Quidditch World Cup final versus Ireland, made one of the most controversial sports decisions in recent memory.

The decision was controversial because it was made at a point in the match where catching the Snitch - which, as I’m sure you all know, automatically awards 150 points to the team that catches it - didn’t help his team win the Cup. In fact, it totally prevented it.

At the time he caught the Snitch, the score was 170-10 Ireland. Had he waited to see if Bulgaria could score...well...a lot more points, his team might have come out victorious. Instead, Krum - who was widely regarded as one of the best players in the world at the time despite being only 18 - and his team had to accept runners-up medals and watch Ireland take the Cup.

Although this occurred over two decades ago, the moment is still ripe for debate. Some of us here at Raw Charge sat down yesterday to hash out our feelings about this memorable occasion. Here is that conversation:

Achariya: Krum made a crappy decision. Why would any smart quidditch player end a World Cup game while down? I guess math is a vital quidditch skill?

Justin: According to my vague memory...the other seeker had seen the snitch as well and most likely would have gotten to it leading to a lopsided loss for Bulgaria.

Achariya: Aaaaaah is that it. But, a loss is a loss? Or would it have gone down in stats history?

Lauren: I think Krum saw it first and the Irish seeker dove after it and I guess Krum felt at least the score would be close?

Alan: I feel like I’m surfing a cricket forum.

Justin: Do you want to be the team that lost the World Cup 320-10 or 170-160? Besides, catching the snitch in the World Cup would have been a nice notch on the resume if he had gone pro. It would be like scoring a hat trick in the Olympic Gold Medal game, but losing 4-3. It sucks that you got a silver, but individually you had a great game.

Achariya: This does make sense, but it has never not sucked to get the Conn Smythe on a losing team.

Justin: Did they ever say if he was the MVP of the tournament?

Achariya: I always figure the seeker was the eternal MVP...or maybe I bought the Potter propaganda.

Alex: It was never officially awarded to anyone as far as I know. Maybe they don’t have that award in wizarding sports?

Justin: They should have a Golden Broom or something...

Indeed, it does not appear that the Quidditch World Cup has an MVP award. If they did, however, it is pretty much a lock that Krum would have received it in 1994. Harry James Potter, a witness at the game, had the following to say about Krum’s flying:

“Krum hardly looked as though he was using a broomstick at all; he moved so easily through the air that he looked unsupported and weightless.”*

Krum’s skill certainly was never in question, nor was his compete level. During his pursuit of the Snitch, he was hit in the face and suffered a broken nose and two black eyes. Still, he persevered and achieved his goal: Ending the game...and losing the game.

So, why did one of the most talented Seekers in the world make such a choice? Well, according to Mr. Potter, Lauren and Justin pretty much had it right:

“‘He knew they were never going to catch up! The Irish...were too good...he wanted to end it on his terms, that’s all.’”*

At the end of the day, Krum ended what was an increasingly rough, physical game with a decision he made all by himself. While some could regard it as selfish, others feel it was the smart choice. Quidditch matches continue until the Snitch is caught, of course, so many more injuries and much more pain could have been endured by those playing in the game had he not have ended it when he did.

Krum retired from Quidditch after the Bulgarian defeat in the final of the 2002 World Cup, but came out of retirement for the the 2014 World Cup. Apparently, the draw of winning a cup before he died was just too alluring. His choice was a fortuitous one: Bulgaria won the World Cup final that year, beating Brazil 170-60.

*From the book Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, written by J.K. Rowling and published by Scholastic Press

Actual Hockey?

-Buffalo Sabres prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has some skillz.

-The Colorado Avalanche have some players looking to make their NHL dream come true in 2019-20. Who are they? Jackie Kay of Mile High Hockey broke it down.

Debuts many are hoping for come from a group of highly touted defenseman. First and foremost it’s expected recent fourth overall pick Bowen Byram gets in at least a handful of games even if the Avalanche decide to send him back to the Vancouver Giants in the WHL for the bulk of his season. Conor Timmins is another that if he proves healthy and progresses well could get fast tracked to some time in the NHL in the coming year. Better late than never Nicolas Meloche still needs a look at the highest level as well in his third and last year of his Entry Level Contract.

-Yale University is upgrading its rink, changing out the current glass to shatterproof acrylic shielding.

The CheckFlex system includes technology designed to absorb the impact when a player hits the boards. It is also used in many NHL rinks. Men’s hockey coach Keith Allain says the improvements make the rink one of the safest in college hockey.

-Sled hockey continues to give so much hope to athletes around the country, including those in California. Many athletes with disabilities got to try it out at a clinic held by the Anaheim Ducks.

The try-it sled hockey clinic and a Warrior Hockey try-it clinic for injured and disabled former military members were the first of several events the Ducks plan to hold in order to measure the interest in establishing sled and Warrior programs. They already support youth and adult sled hockey teams in San Diego, home of their American Hockey League affiliate.