Dames of Thrones Preview: Eastern Champs Second RDAC Regional Tournament

A TALE OF TWO TOURNAMENTS

Last month the Terminal City All Stars won the 2012 RDAC Western Canadian Championship in fairly convincing fashion: holding off a more than game West Kootenay Kannibelles team in the final, 159-75. The Kanibelles turned a lot of heads with their dominant performance in the tournament, and with E-Ville upending Red Deer’s Belladonnas in the third place game, it was clear that the top four teams in the region had performed as expected, and the top two teams had qualified for the Canadian Championship.

It will be a slightly different story at this weekend’s Dames of Thrones: RDAC Eastern Canadian Championships.

With the top leagues in the east focused squarely on the WFTDA, the Eastern Championship has developed into an Eastern Canadian B-Team Championship (although Montreal and Tri-City will not be sending their B-Teams).  Nonetheless, with the absence of the top teams in the region, this tournament will feature a fairly even field of teams that should provide a close, exciting tournament. A lot of these leagues are looking to work their way into that upper-echelon of derby, and this weekend will provide them with a platform on which to do that. With a wide open field, the scene is set for a team to make some waves and announce itself as a the Next Big Thing in Canadian Derby.

THE TEAMS

The Forest City All Stars won the inaugural Eastern Canadian Championship last year in Ottawa. (Photo by Neil Jeffry)

The Favourites

Given the relative lack of play between participants, it’s somewhat challenging to pick favourites, but as defending champions (winners of the precursor CWRDA Championships last year), London’s Forest City All Stars are the team everyone is gunning for. Formed out of Forest City’s two hometeams, the All Stars came together exclusively for last year’s Eastern Canadian Championship and took the tournament by storm, scoring one-sided victories at every level (and defeating a Rideau Valley B-Team for the championship). The All Stars have seen limited action this year, but have scored lopsided victories over Blue Water (Port Huron, Michigan) and Lansing’s Mitten Mavens in preparation for the tournament. Part of eastern Canada’s first wave of leagues, Forest City has the most experienced core of skaters in the tournament, and boasts a roster very used to these big-game situations.

The Bruisers and the Brute-Leggers recently faced off with the Bruisers winning 176-153. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The Contenders

One of Canada’s top leagues, Toronto Roller Derby, will be sending its B-Team, the Bay Street Bruisers, to compete in the tournament and should be looked upon as a threat. Although the teams itself has not been playing together long (the B-Travel team was born this year and has only two games under its belt), it is made up of an experienced roster of skaters from ToRD’s four houseleague teams. 1-1 on the season thus far, they enter the tournament as the #2 seed on the strength of a recent victory over the Royal City Brute-Leggers. The Brute-Leggers have been rounding into form over two years now and have been very busy this year, compiling a 6-3 record on the season. But two of those losses have come to the Bruisers and the Thames Fatales (Forest City’s top hometeam), which should give Toronto and London some confidence heading in.

The Dark Horse

Renegade Derby Dames’ Misfit Militia, could be the dark horse pick of the tournament.

If there is one team that could shake up the top, it could be the Renegade Derby Dames’ Misfit Militia. Training in relative quiet in Aliston, Ontario, there isn’t a lot to base judgement of this team on, but it is a squad made up of a core of very strong skaters. Adding to the intrigue is the fact that they have had uneven results this year: They’ve faced off against two tournament participants in their only two bouts of the  season, dominating the Derby Debutantes before falling in a tight one against Capital City’s Dolly Rogers (who will also be participating).

The Field

Ottawa’s Dolly Rogers lead the pack of the rest of the participants and have had an interesting season as well. The team is 4-3 on the season but seem to rounding into form and are coming off of back-to-back victories that included a 283 point thrashing of Peterborough. Dolly Rogers skater Lobster, veteran skater with Capital City, said the team was not too surprised with their victory over Peterborough and will be use it as “a bit of a confidence boost.” The team Brazil representative at the World cup added that “this tournament’s going to be what we need right now: a challenge.”

Capital City’s Dolly Rogers defeated the Renegade Derby Dames earlier in the year.

Although GTAR’s G-sTARs did exceptionally well at last year’s tournament, finishing in  third place, the team has gone through a recent roster overhaul that sees them slipping into a mid-season rebuild that could hamper their chances this weekend. The G-sTARs are 1-6 on the season with a lot of losses coming against stiff competition, but the sole victory was in their final tournament tune-up against Durham’s Atom Smashers that ended the six-game slide.  Nickel City’s Sister Slag has the least amount of game play this year. Playing out of Sudbury, Nickel City has followed an optimistic 2011 (going 2-4 in their first season of bouting) with a quiet 2012. Their only competition has come in a one-sided victory over the Derby Debutantes, GTAR’s B-Team, in May.

THE OPENING ROUND

While the defending champion Forest City All Stars will receive a bye to the semifinals, the other six teams kick things off in the opening round. First whistle blows at 8:30 AM, with the host Brute-Leggers facing off against the Dolly Rogers. Up next (10:15) will be the Misfit Militia against the G-sTARs; the Misfit Militia crushed the G-sTARs’ little sister (the Derby Debutantes) early this season, so the GTA skaters will be looking for revenge. The opening round ends with the Bay Street Bruisers squaring off against the Sister Slag at 2:00 PM.

The winners of these three games will advance to the final four, while the losers will continue the tournament in a round-robin consolation bracket to determine final seedings.

***Dames of Thrones: RDAC Eastern Canadian Championship will be boutcast live all weekend by the fine folks at Canuck Derby TV. Check here for the complete schedule.

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