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Canadian Power Rankings Preview

Captain Lou El Bammo, Dick Pounder, Dr. Jenny Fever, and the Derby Nerd return for another season of ranking the country’s top teams.

Montreal started at the top of the rankings and has never slipped (seen here in a 2013 game against Windy City). (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Montreal started at the top of the rankings and has never slipped (seen here in a 2013 game against Windy City). (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Last year, The Power Rankings crew was born out of a desire to provide subjective comparative analysis (based on objective observations, of course) of the top roller derby teams in Canada. So a quartet of derby nerds came together to hash out how the process would work, and what those rankings would look like. We’re back once again in 2014.

2014 was a fascinating year in roller derby in general and Canadian roller derby in particular. At the top, three Canadian teams qualified for WFTDA’s Division 1 playoffs and another made massive waves in the D-2 tournament. But what is most impressive for Canadian roller derby is the build up of the competitive base. All across the country, new teams are rising. Last year Calgary and Alliston, Ontario’s, Misfit Militia shot up the rankings, while old powers like Hammer City returned to competitive derby, all of this was played out in the Power Rankings. The goal of this exercise is not to replace the statistical ranking system, but to act as a parallel discussion of the excellent work done by Rollergirl.ca (in partnership with Flat Track Stats). But one of the advantages we have, is that we aren’t tied to statistics and we can take into account things like injury, personnel moves, home-track advantage, etc.

“The Power Rankings are great at highlighting the failings of the statistical model that Flat Track Stats and Rollergirl.ca use to create their list,” agrees Captain Lou El Bammo, one of the founders of the Power Rankings.  “That model employs data from years gone by which allows for large fluctuations because it does not take into account current information that we use to make our decisions. The Power Rankings brings the human factor back into the process and I think we’ve shown, through 2013, that we can adapt more quickly than the other system can.”

Another founder, Dick Pounder, echoes that sentiment. “The rankings have the potential to create good debate outside of the statistical ranking system…and I think if we can get more people into the sports-mentality of looking at everything we look at, the discussion around the power rankings will become more interesting.”

Currently third in the rankings, read the recap of Terminal City's 2103 Playoff game against New Hampshire by Danger (ismymiddlename) on Derby News Network. (Featuring photography by Tom Klubens)

Currently third in the rankings, read the recap of Terminal City’s 2013 Playoff game against New Hampshire by Danger (ismymiddlename) on Derby News Network. (Featuring photography by Tom Klubens)

One of the stories last year, and in Canadian derby since 2008, was Montreal’s reign at the top of the rankings. However, for the first time in years, both Terminal City and Toronto made up ground against the Skids. “We may see a battle among these three all year,” says Dick. “I think it’s only a matter of time before someone knocks Montreal from its perch in Canadian Derby,” says Dick.

Captain Lou is even more definitive in his predictions, “I expect to see the Skids slide in 2014, and we could see Toronto beating them once, if not twice, this year. My prediction is Toronto and possibly Terminal City finishing ahead of Montreal in the WFTDA standings by the time playoffs come around. We have seen the end of Canadian roller derby domination by Montreal.” Lou cites the losses of Bone Machine and Iron Wench as massive blows to the team. And although Terminal City also lost Beretta Lynch and Toronto Bambi, in both cases there are skaters ready to take over those roles, more so than in Montreal, where Wench had become such a key to the offense. Dr. Jenny Fever likes Terminal City’s chances as well, “What can I say but Terminal City AllStars? I know the training and passion that is driving them this year. Making it to the WFTDA Divisionals in Richmond, VA, last year was so inspiring, and I know that the All Stars want to hit the playoffs again, and win!”

There is consensus right now that the team to watch in Canadian flat track roller derby this year is Calgary. The CRDA All Stars have already made a big splash, wiping the track with their competition at the recent Wild West Showdown, destroying Dockyard (406-59), Ark Valley (264-105), and Slaughterhouse (223-92), to get their first WFTDA season off to a 3-0 start. On top of some impressive roster additions last year, a few more transfers from Oil City, Red Deer and Hammer City have bolstered their roster.

The Kootenay Kannibelles are another team that has the Rankings Crew intrigued. “I am very excited about the Kannibelles this season,” says Dr. Jenny Fever. “Having Bobb (AKA Berretta Lynch) back, even as a coach, is really going to help them.” Dr. J also likes what’s going on with the Mainland Misfits Anarchy Angels, who have added built a coaching staff that includes three members of Canada’s national men’s team.

On the other side of things, after some pretty significant roster and coaching changes due, largely, to retirements, the rankings crew thinks that perennial contenders the Red Deer Belladonnas will slide this season as they begin a potential rebuild, although Dr. Jenny does hold out hope for a return to form in the midst of the excitement surrounding their WFTDA Apprenticeship.

Toronto's CN Power jumped up to 2nd in the Power Rankings to end 2013 (seen here in their season-opening win against Team Ontario). (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Toronto’s CN Power jumped up to 2nd in the Power Rankings to end 2013 (seen here in their season-opening win against Team Ontario). (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The story of 2014 though is clearly Canada’s continued infiltration of the WFTDA. Captain Lou points out that Canada now as 20 teams in the WFTDA (including 10 apprentice leagues). “I think we’ll continue to see those teams outperform the other leagues because of the level of competition available to them and the requirement to be more organized and focused that the WFTDA brings to a league,” he predicts. “I’m hoping we’ll see more leagues heading in that direction.”

Dick Pounder agrees, and likes that the WFTDA link is encouraging more east vs west competition. “We are seeing the start of east vs. west matchups this season and hopefully that will continue to happen more going forward. I am super excited about Maple Stir Up in Hammer City this year,” he says, referring to the all-Canadian WFTDA tournament scheduled for Hamilton this August (it will be the first all-Canadian WFTDA-sanctioned tournament after Quad City Chaos 2011 featured three full-member teams and on apprentice.)

“I’m also hoping that we’ll see more provincial All-Star teams form in 2014,” adds Captain Lou. “Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, New Brunswick have all made the leap. I’ve witnessed the benefits that this process can bring to skaters and I think other provinces will too. With any luck, this will lead to a Canada Cup for Roller Derby in 2015!”  Team Ontario and Toronto’s CN Power played an exhibition game last month, and it lived up to all the hype, showcasing a phenomenal level of talent. The knowledge and experience share gained from these kinds of partnerships is undeniable.

“I find the increasing level of competitive teams on the world stage very exciting,” says Fever, alluding to Canada’s prominent place on that stage.  “I love that we have the training, dedication and drive to boost the sport. On the other hand, my favorite derby games to announce are the smaller, home team games where the teams are made of women who want to have a great time and play derby. Those crowds are always my favorite. They might not know all the rules, but they are having a great time enjoying a sport that we are so passionate about.”

****The first Canadian Power Rankings of 2014 will be released on April 1. Check here to see the final Canadian Power Rankings of 2013.

SKATERS TO WATCH

Here are five skaters who you may not have seen a lot of, but who the rankings crew thinks could turn some heads in Canadian derby this season.

Kris Myass: Jammer (Calgary Roller Derby Association)

Easy Break Oven: Jammer, Blocker (Calgary Roller Derby Association)

Fraxxure: Blocker (Tri-City Roller Girls)

Meow Wallace: Blocker (Tri-City Roller Girls)

Rainbow Fight: Jammer, Blocker (Toronto Roller Derby)

Roller Derby At the Olympics?? The Nerd Guest Blogs for SISU Mouth Guards

The fine folks at SISU Mouth Guards asked me what I thought about roller derby’s chances of making it into the Olympics.

As the 22nd Winter Olympics in Sochi slip away from memory and the Paralympics ramp up in their place, the usual chatter from derby fans and participants can be heard at games and in practice spaces across North America and the world: Should roller derby be an Olympic sport?

The questions has gained even more traction given that the first ever Men’s Roller Derby World Cup is now only days away, and the second Women’s World Cup will have played out by the end of the calendar year. Fifteen countries will be represented at the Men’s World Cup, but the remarkable stat may be that twenty-nine nations are scheduled to be represented at the 2014 Women’s World Cup, a phenomenal increase over the thirteen present in 2011, and with the inclusion of South Africa and Japan, all six inhabited continents will be represented…

Read the rest of the article here.

***Sticking with this international theme, stay tuned tomorrow for a preview of the Men’s World Cup including interviews with Toronto-based Team Canada player Harrassin’ Ford and assistant coach BruiseBerry Pie.

 

ToRD Standings Clear as Mud After Dolls and Chicks Pick up Wins

The Dolls' Audrey Hellborn slows up the Gore's Beaver Mansbridge. The Dolls looked unaffected by a big off-season shake up. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The Dolls’ Audrey Hellborn slows up the Gores’ Beaver Mansbridge. The Dolls looked unaffected by a big off-season shake up. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

You wouldn’t have been blamed if you’d thought this was going to be a rebuilding year for Toronto Roller Derby’s defending champion Death Track Dolls. After winning the Boot in 2013, a number of long-time veterans like Dolly Parts’em and Monichrome retired; in addition, arguably the Dolls’ top three players, Rainbow Fight, Ames to Kill and Scarcasm all got called up to CN Power. On Saturday, armed with a handful of first-year ToRD skaters who have a lot of pre-ToRD experience, the Dolls (1-0) showed that they are fully committed to defending their championship after a surprisingly one-sided 172-79 win over the Gore-Gore Rollergirls (1-1). To further add confusion to ToRD’s standings, Chicks Ahoy! (1-1) picked up its first win in two seasons, ending the team’s longest ever losing streak with a minor upset over last year’s Battle of the Boot runner-up, the Smoke City Betties (0-1), although the 159-179 victory was in doubt until the final moments of the game.

Chicks Ahoy! 159 vs. Smoke City Betties 139

WackedHer was impressive in her long-awaited house league debut. (Photo by Joe Mac)

The Betties’ WackedHer was impressive in her long-awaited house league debut. (Photo by Joe Mac)

The Chicks Ahoy! had nearly total control over the game in the first half as the Smoke City Betties tried to shake off some pre-season rust. Rookie dynamo Sneeky Dee kicked things off with a textbook 4 and done, and led by some excellent pack defence, the Chicks pulled ahead 23-0 five minutes in. Overall it took  almost nine minutes for the Betties to score, but when they did, they took off on a 28-4 run over ten minutes to get back in the game. Another debutante, long-time D-VAS WackedHer was huge for the Betties, taking on a big role in a four-jammer rotation that also featured titimouse, SewWhat?, and co-captain WolveRina. Not to be outdone, the Chicks also sport a newly constructed jammer rotation that has looked fantastic in the opening games. Joining Sneeky Dee (whose 25-point power jam midway through the half helped keep the Chicks ahead) were Hyena Koffinkat, Heavy Knitter and the smooth-skating Chevy Chase-Her. A late 19-point power jam for WolveRina (despite some phenomenal defense from Rosemary’s Rabies), in the midst of a big Betties pushback, suddenly had the Betties right back in it, trailing 94-77 at the break.

LowBlowPalooza and Kill'Her at Large hold back Chevy Chase-Her. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

LowBlowPalooza and Kill’Her at Large hold back Chevy Chase-Her. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The heavy-hitting Betties (led in the pack by vets Misery Mae and Tushy Galore among others, but also by strong performances from first and second-year skaters like LowBlowPalooza, Kil’Her At Large, Honey Boom Boom and Babushkill), took over the game for large swathes of the second half. Five minutes in, they were within 10, two minutes later they had cut the gap to five. But the Chicks, sensing that victory was slipping away, were similarly relentless. A Chevy Chase-Her 14 point pick-up had the Chicks back in control, only to see the Betties turn around and orchestrate a 15-pointer for Sew What? (with some punishing defence on Heavy Knitter), and eventually the Betties would take the lead.

The game would see-saw like this for much of the second. The bout marked the return of veteran blocker Marmighty to the Chicks lineup, and some ferocious packwork from her, Rosemary’s Rabies and Rebel Rock-It on titmouse had the score knotted with only a few minutes left on the clock. In the final moments, a forearm call on the Betties’ jammer Sew What? and the subsequent power jam sealed the deal for the Chicks, giving them a 20-point victory, their first of the season.

Gore-Gore Rollergirls 79 vs. Death Track Dolls 172

The Dolls' offense was led by Bellefast (evading a hit from Kandy Barr). (Photo by Joe Mac)

The Dolls’ offense was led by Bellefast (evading a hit from Kandy Barr). (Photo by Joe Mac)

It was a very new-look Death Track Dolls team that took to the track to kick off 2014 against a Gore-Gore Rollergirls team that had looked good in its opener. Riding a tighter jammer rotation of Lexi Con, Lumberjack Flash and Taranasurus Rex got the Gores off to a quick start, but the Dolls, whose pack defence looked strong from the outset, eventually got a new-look offense going. Led by Bellefast—who, while still sporting her trademark speed and agility, seems physically stronger this year—the Dolls relied heavily on first-year Dolls Sleeper Hold and Devochka (whose experience in Durham prepared her well for the night) to jam, while Getcha Kicks, who’d started to block more last season, was also used as jammer to allow her steadying, experienced presence to balance things out.

Looking calm, focused and disciplined against a sometimes frazzled Gores team, the Dolls took the lead about 7 minutes in and never relented. As the Gores struggled with pack penalty troubles, the Dolls cruised to a 36-14 lead seventeen minutes into the first. Both teams’ jammers did well to stay on the track until a botched helmet-cover pass between relief jammer Beaver Mansbridge (who was hobbled by skate trouble) and Gores pivot Santa Muerte gave the Dolls a power jam that they took advantage of.  A second power jam (25 points scored by Getcha Kicks) had the Dolls firmly in control, 111-39 at the half.

First-year Gores' jammer Lumberjack Flash rushes to evade the DOlls' Dawson. (Photo by Greg Russell)

First-year Gores’ jammer Lumberjack Flash rushes to evade the Dolls’ Dawson. (Photo by Greg Russell)

The Gores roared out of the gates in the second half and drew the Dolls into a more scrappy, undisciplined game that allowed them to mount a small comeback. But after both teams cycled through some penalty trouble, not much had changed (the Dolls were up 123-51) when a sniper-like kidney-hit from the Dolls Just Jes sent the Gores’ top jammer Lexi Con to the track and momentarily paused the game. Just Jes was just one of the many Dolls blockers who stepped up to take control of such a new roster of skaters.

Last year, blockers like Canadian Psycho and Dawson had secondary roles, but in 2014, they have been thrust into much more prominent roles on the team and responded well last night, particularly as a trio with the devastating hitter Audrey Hellborn. The return to the track of Just Jes, who worked extremely well on a line also anchored by second-year captain Android W.K., provided the balance that the Dolls needed in light of such changes to the roster.

While the Gores packs are still led by the veterans like Santa Muerte, Chronic and Kandy Barr, it’s not hard to see the future of the team in the play of a new generation of Gores skaters like Full Deck and Matchu Beatchu, who are just two of many newcomers to the team who are building a solid base. Still a work in progress, the Gores have lots of time this year to find the consistency they’ll need to get back to Battling for the Boot.

In the end, the Dolls played a tight, defensive and disciplined game (they gave up no power jams) and were never truly threatened in the second half on the way to the season-opening 93-point victory.

***Next up for ToRD is the fifth annual Quad City Chaos! A WFTDA sanctioned, Division 1 tournament hosted by ToRD’s CN Power and featuring Montreal, Ohio Roller Girls (Columbus) and Bleeding Heartland (Bloomington, Indiana). Tickets for the Saturday night prime time double header are available.

ToRD Travel Teams Kick off 2014 Season with High Expectations

2014 CN Power

CNP 2014 by ezio+ian

This weekend, CN Power will kick off its 2014 season with an intriguing exhibition game against the non-ToRD members of Team Ontario (the provincial team will actually be calling up some of its “second team” members to fill out the roster). All in all, 21 members of Team Ontario will take part in the bout at the Bunker on Saturday.

The Set-up

2013 was a banner year for Toronto Roller Derby’s CN Power. It was a slow-build sort of season, beginning with some big wins over the likes of Killamazoo and Fort Wayne but some setbacks as well, such as a stunning loss to Rideau Valley Vixens at QCC. In the end, it all seemed for the best as the team slowly rounded into form, culminating in a playoff-clinching two-point victory on the road in Bleeding Heartland (which was followed by a stunning 301-98 deconstruction of a former D1 team in Milwaukee). And then, of course, the run in Salem.

Read Beck Wise's Boston vs. Toronto game recap on Derby News Network (featuring photos by Donalee Eiri)

Click on photo to read Beck Wise’s Boston vs. Toronto playoff recap on Derby News Network (featuring photos by Donalee Eiri)

Having just watched Terminal City go on a surprising run in their own Divisional tournament, Toronto, ranked last in their 10-team playoff field, continued where Vancouver left off and pulled off playoff upsets of their own: a 215-90 take down over Sacred City (Sacramento), and eventually an even bigger upset over the historic Boston Derby Dames 204-198. Even their quarterfinal loss to Atlanta was a stunner; their hard fought 219-171 loss surpassing even the wildest of expectations.

CN Power finished 2013 9-8 in sanctioned play (counting playoffs) and 10-8 overall. They are currently ranked 29th in the WFTDA and 2nd in Canada.

But CN Power’s (and ToRD’s) success also spilled out into other venues as well. Joining Bay Street Bruiser Bench Coach Flyin’ Bryan Killman on Team Canada are five members of CN Power. ToRD’s top travel team also dominates the Team Ontario roster with eight members (one, Bambi, has since retired).

The Roster

Given the incredible success and growth of the team in 2013, arguably the most important aspect of the 2014 roster is the lack of change. 17 of the 20 skaters from the 2013 roster return. In addition, the replacements—all graduates of ToRD’s B-team program—don’t represent a drop off in talent. Ames to Kill (who was a call-up for the playoffs last season), Scarcasm, and national team member Rainbow Fight are all game ready and were essential parts of the on-track leadership core of the Bay Street Bruisers last season. Ames and Scar provide strong pack depth for a team loaded with some of the best blockers in the country (including Team Canada’s Nasher the Smasher and Dyna Hurtcha), while Rainbow Fight is an incredibly talented triple-threat who should be able to fit in wherever she is needed.

CN Power will have to contend with the loss of leading scorer Bambi (seen here against Ohio at QCC 2014). (Photo by Neil Gunner)

CN Power will have to contend with the loss of leading scorer Bambi (seen here jamming against Ohio at QCC 2014). (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Rainbow will undoubtedly spend some time with the star, helping to fill out an impressive offensive roster that will need to make up for the retirement of ToRD’s all-time leading scorer Bambi, who retired in the off season. In the playoffs last year Bambi finished with a 50% lead percentage while scoring 258 points on 5.5 points per jam. While Rainbow will be looked upon to pick up some of this slack, the rest of the jammer core remains in place. Fellow Team Canada members Bala Reina (202, 5.3, 45% in the playoffs) and Dusty (126, 3.8, 33%) remain, while the rest of the rotation will be filled out by Motorhead Molly (59, 1.7, 37%), Kookie Doe (who missed the end of the season due to injury) and Candy Crossbones and Dyna Hurtcha (both of whom will probably spend the majority of their time in the pack).

CN Power’s new captains are long-time ToRD vets and former Chicks Ahoy! teammates Nasher the Smasher and Tara Part. Rounding out the pack are playoff standouts BruiseBerry Pie, Renny Rumble and Jubilee, but there is astonishing depth as well as Mega Mouth, Betty Bomber, Panty Hoser, Lady Gagya, Santa Muerte, and Mia Culprit all return for the 2014 season.

After the retirement of long-time Bench Coach His Unholiness the Reverend Ramirez in the off season, former 709 Derby Girls Coach (and currently with the Smoke City Betties) Wade Wheelson joins veteran Bench Manager Sonic Doom on the bench in 2014.

***Catch CN Power in preseason action this Saturday at The Bunker against Team Ontario, in the provincial team’s first ever game. Doors open at 5:00 PM, opening whistle at 6:00 PM. Tickets available online or at various downtown outlets.

2014 Bay Street Bruisers

Photo by Ashlea Wessel (ashleaw.com)

This weekend, while their big sisters are hosting Team Ontario, ToRD’s B-travel team, the Bay Street Bruisers, will be hitting the road and heading to Bloomington, Indiana, to take part in the 4th annual B-Cup tournament featuring eight B-teams, seven representing D1 teams and the 8th from Tri-City (ranked 4th in D2 and on the verge of making the leap into the top division).

The Set-up

Toronto Roller Derby has one of the deepest programs in Canadian roller derby, and a key to that depth is the Bay Street Bruisers. Since taking shape as ToRD’s B-travel team for the 2012 season, the Bruisers have compiled a remarkable 14-3 record. In 2013, the Bruisers continued their success in Canada and began travelling with CN Power south of the border as well. Last year they  notched wins over B-teams from Ohio, Bleeding Heartland, Killamazoo, Brew City and Montreal among others.

The Bruisers defeated the Montreal Sexpos in August. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The Bruisers defeated the Montreal Sexpos in August. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Their losses last season came against Rideau Valley’s Slaughter Daughters (who were the top ranked house league team in Canada) and the A-level Misfit Militia, both incredibly talented teams. Arguably, the most important win of the season came against Montreal’s Sexpos (162-101) in a showdown between the nation’s top two B-teams. It was a game loaded with pressure as the Bruisers faced the B-team from Canada’s top league: a B-team that only two years before had nearly beaten CN Power.

The Bruisers finished 2013 with an 8-2 record and are currently the 9th ranked team (and top B-team) in Canada.

The Roster

The Bruisers went through a major off-season transition as a group of new skaters took over the reigns from the first generation. Captained by veteran jammer (and third-year Bruiser) Bellefast and Just Jes (the returning skater formerly known as Aston Martini), the Bruisers do have a returning core of skaters to build around. In the pack, veterans like Robber Blind, Junkie Jenny, Kandy Barr, Biggley Smallz and Misery Mae remain with the team, while Tushy Galore and former captain Chronic return to the fold after single-season hiatuses (they were a dominant duo on the track together in their first stints with the team).

Chronic (left) and Tushy Galore will be reunited on the Bruisers after helping the team win the 2012 RDAC Easterns. (Photo by Neil Gunner).

Chronic (left) and Tushy Galore will be reunited on the Bruisers after helping the team win the 2012 RDAC Easterns. (Photo by Neil Gunner).

As for the offense, jammer titmouse returns for a third season with the Bruisers, while Lexi Con returns after a breakout 2013 run, and Chevy Chase-Her will finally get to see some track time after injuries sidelined her last year. Finally, triple threat Getcha Kicks rounds out the returning skaters.

While there are a handful of new faces to the team, they bring with them a lot of experience. SewWhat? is in her second season with ToRD after stints with various leagues in Australia and the Rollergettes. Joss Wheelin, Android W.K. and LowBlow Palooza are all also second year skaters with ToRD; all three developed through he D-VAS system. ToRD rookies Honey Boom Boom and Sneaky Dee may be in their first year in the league but had successful seasons with the D-VAS in 2013 and had both played with the Rollergettes before that, so bring a lot of track experience with them. And finally, Matchu Beatchu transferred from Halifax in the off season and already has one ToRD houseleague game under her belt.

Flyin’ Bryan Killman, part of Team Canada’s management team, returns for his second year on the Bruisers’ bench.

***The B-Cup tournament will be boutcast on DNN. The Bruisers kick things off against Nashville at 11:30 AM on Saturday. You can view the boutcast schedule here.

2013 Year in Review!

Happy New Year!

On Facebook over the past week, I’ve been posting some of my personal favourite moments from 2013; I’ve collected them here. It was a fantastic, and fascinating, year for Canadian roller derby, and these are just a few of the amazing highlights.

CN Power Surges

Killamazoo, ranked one spot ahead of CN Power, was hoping to avenge two previous losses. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

Killamazoo, ranked one spot ahead of CN Power, was hoping to avenge two previous losses. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

What a year for Canadian derby! One of the great stories was the rise of CN Power in the WFTDA rankings culminating in an impressive run in the playoffs! And 2013 all started with a win over Killamazoo Derby Darlins.

CN Power ended the season ranked 29th in the WFTDA; easily their highest ranking ever.

Read the recap from the doubleheader here.

Nerd Glasses

4th Annual Quad City Chaos

Ohio's Smacktivist and CN Power's Nasher the Smasher were both exceptional on the track. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Ohio’s Smacktivist and CN Power’s Nasher the Smasher were both exceptional on the track. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

This year, Toronto Roller Derby hosted the 4th annual QCC featuring CN Power and the Bay Street Bruisers hosting teams from Queen City Roller Girls, Ohio Roller Girls, and Rideau Valley Roller Girls. It was a fantastic tournament that featured one of the great upsets in Canadian roller derby history.

Not surprisingly, Ohio went undefeated to take top spot.

Relive the tournament here.

Nerd Glasses

The 2013 Beast of the East

Photo from Slaughter Daughters Facebook page.Montreal Roller Derby’s Beast of the East is always my favourite time of the year, and this year’s was especially awesome. Not only did it fall on the ten-year anniversary of Texas Rollergirls’ historic first public bout, it also featured some of the best derby the tournament has ever seen, a testament to the strength of the sport in eastern Canada. And Rideau Valley’s Slaughter Daughters became the first team to win the tournament twice!

Relive the tournament here!

Nerd Glasses

Dollmination

The Betties join the Dolls (with the Boot) for a post game photo. (Photo by Greg Russell)

The Betties join the Dolls (with the Boot) for a post game photo. (Photo by Greg Russell)

Death Track Dolls capped a dominant year in Toronto Roller Derby by winning their first ever championship, topping the Smoke City Betties in the 2013 Battle for the Boot.

It was the first championship final for the Dolls, and the first for the Betties since 2009. Despite two shots at the Boot, the Betties now are the only home team not to raise it.

Read about the Year of the Doll!

Nerd Glasses

The 2013 Clam Slam

Circle City's Trudy Bauchery (skating for the Diggers) battles Montreal's Nameless Whorror and ToRD's Nasher the Smasher. (Photo by Greg Russell)

Circle City’s Trudy Bauchery (skating for the Diggers) battles Montreal’s Nameless Whorror and ToRD’s Nasher the Smasher. (Photo by Greg Russell)

Toronto Roller Derby teamed up with GTA Rollergirls – GTAR to put on the fifth annual Clam Slam! A double header for the first time, the second game was truly an all star game featuring skaters from ToRD, GTAR, Montreal Roller Derby, Naptown Roller Girls, DC Rollergirls, Tri-City Roller Girls, and more! And it showed on the track in a phenomenal game!

Read the recap here.

Nerd Glasses

Canadian teams take over the WFTDA Playoffs

Gotham won its fourth WFTDA title, but their opponents stole the show.

Gotham won its fourth WFTDA title, but their opponents stole the show.

From Tri-City Thunder’s oh-so-close (not to mention incredibly controversial) loss in the D2 playoffs, to Montreal’s highest-ever ranking, to Vancouver and Toronto’s scene stealing turns in their respective divisional playoffs, it was a banner year for Canadian roller derby on the highest stage to sport has to offer.

Topping it all off, of course, was one of the most surprising and thrilling WFTDA Championship tournaments ever, and certainly the most competitive since 2010 when, first, the B.A.D Girls took Gotham to the limit in the semis and then Texas continued to push the champs to a new level in the final.

Read the championship tournament recap here.

Read about Toronto’s run in Divisionals here.

Read about Terminal City’s run in Divisionals here.

Read about Montreal’s play in Divisionals here.

Nerd Glasses

So there it is, some of the nerdiest moments of 2013.

Stay tuned over the coming weeks for general and specific previews of 2014!

Team Canada Releases Roster for the 2014 Roller Derby World Cup

Team Canada 2014

Team Canada

On Sunday, December 29th, 2013, Team Canada management released its 30-skater roster for the 2014 Blood and Thunder Roller Derby World Cup to be held in Dallas, Texas, on the weekend of December 4th, 2014.

The roster includes ten returning players (indicated with an *) from the 2011 team that came in second place, losing to USA in the final.

There are nine skaters from Montreal’s New Skids on the Block, Canada’s top ranked WFTDA team (15th in WFTDA, 1st in Canada). There are six skaters from Terminal City’s All Stars (37th, 3rd), five skaters from Toronto Roller Derby’s CN Power (29th, 2nd), and two returning skaters from the Rideau Valley Vixens (69th, 7th). The remaining Canadian leagues represented were Red Deer (4th in Canada) and Calgary (WFTDA Apprentice, 14th in Canada).

Team Canada will feature six skaters who play for US-based WFTDA leagues (after having only one in 2011). The represented leagues are the Texas Roller Girls (3rd),the Windy City Rollers (8th), Atlanta Rollergirls (10th), the Philly Roller Girls (14th), Boston Derby Dames (16th), and Detroit Derby Girls (28th).

The Roster

Bala Reina (Toronto Roller DerbyCN Power)
Buffy Sainte Fury (Terminal City RollergirlsAll Stars, Public Frenemy)
Chasing Amy (Montreal Roller DerbyNew Skids on the Block)
Demanda Lashing (Montreal Roller DerbyNew Skids on the Block, Les Filles Du Roi)
Dusty (Toronto Roller DerbyCN Power)
Dyna Hurtcha (Toronto Roller DerbyCN Power)
Evada Peron (Terminal City RollergirlsAll Stars)
Eve Hallows (Terminal City RollergirlsAll Stars, Bad Reputations)
*Georgia W. Tush (Montreal Roller DerbyNew Skids on the Block)
Greta Bobo (Montreal Roller DerbyNew Skids on the Block)
Heavy Flo (Philly Roller Girls - Liberty Belles)
*Jess “Bandit” Paternostro (Montreal Roller DerbyNew Skids on the Block)
Kim Janna (Terminal City RollergirlsAll Stars)
KonichiWOW (Windy City RollersAll Stars)
Kriss Myass (Calgary Roller Derby AssociationAll Stars)
*Lil’ Mama (Montreal Roller DerbyNew Skids on the Block)
*Luludemon (Terminal City RollergirlsAll Stars)
*Mackenzie (Terminal City RollergirlsAll Stars)
Maya Mangleyou (Boston Derby DamesBoston Massacre, Nutcrackers)
Mel-e-Juana (Montreal Roller DerbyNew Skids on the Block)
*Murphy (Rideau Valley Roller GirlsVixens, Slaughter Daughters)
Nasher the Smasher (Toronto Roller DerbyCN Power)
Nattie Long Legs (Atlanta RollergirlsDirty South Derby Girls, The Toxic Shocks)
*Rainbow Fight (Toronto Roller DerbyCN Power)
Sarah Hipel (Texas Roller GirlsTexacutioners)
*Smack Daddy (Montreal Roller DerbyNew Skids on the Block)
*Soul Rekker (Rideau Valley Roller GirlsVixens, Slaughter Daughters)
Surgical Strike (Montreal Roller DerbyNew Skids on the Block)
*Taz (Red Deer Roller Derby AssociationBelladonnas)
USS DentHerPrize (Detroit Derby Girls, All Stars, Detroit Pistoffs)

Team Canada Management

Head Coach: Ewan Wotarmay (Montreal Roller Derby)

Assistant Coach: Mack the Mouth (Terminal City Roller Girls)

Manager: Flyin’ Bryan Killman (Toronto Roller Derby)

2014 Worl Cup logo

The Nerd Returns

Dear Canadian Roller Derby Community:

Happy 2013!

As some of you have noticed, the Nerd has been on a bit of a publishing hiatus for the past two months, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a lot of planning going on behind the scenes!

2013 roller derby coverage begins on Wednesday with a look at the ToRD 2013 Top-Up Draft, followed closely by ToRD travel teams previews.

While you can expect the same in-depth coverage on the site, things will be changing a bit this season; as the Nerd focuses on podcasts and some web streaming opportunities (look for tie-ins on the site!), there will be some slight changes to formatting. Regular features like Off the Beaten Track will continue, but there are some exciting changes to the Power Rankings (keep an eye out for a big announcement about this in the coming weeks), and also the introduction of guest writers through the new Nerd Network (also keep an eye out for a big announcement about this!).

Thanks so much for your continued support, encouragement, and readership to an awesome 2013!

Nerd Glasses- The Derby Nerd

Photo by Todd Burgess

Power Rankings Update: June 2012

NERD’S POWER RANKINGS (June 2012)

The 2012 Power Rankings are brought to you by Neon Skates.

EASTERN CANADIAN HOMETEAM RANKINGS (Rollergirl.ca rankings in parentheses)

1. Vicious Dishes (TCRG) (1)

2. Slaughter Daughters (RVRG) (2)

3. Chicks Ahoy! (ToRD) (3)

4. Les Filles du Roi (MTLRD) (5)

5. Les Contrabanditas (MTLRD) (4)

6. Smoke City Betties (ToRD) (7)

7. La Racaille (MTLRD) (8)

8. Venus Fly Tramps (TCRG) (6)

9. Death Track Dolls (ToRD) (9)

10. Gore-Gore Rollergirls (ToRD) (13)

Visit here for full rankings (Top 15 plus “bubble teams”).

EASTERN CANADIAN TRAVEL TEAM RANKINGS (Rollergirl.ca rankings in parentheses)

1. New Skids on the Block (MTLRD) (1)

2. Tri City Thunder (TCRG) (4)

3. CN Power (ToRD) (3)

4. Rideau Valley Vixens (RVRG) (5)

5. Les Sexpos (MTLRD) (7)

6. Forest City All Stars (FCDG) (6)

7. Bay Street Bruisers (ToRD) (19)

8. Eh! Team (HCRG) (16)

9. The Disloyalists (KDG) (24)

10. Brute-Leggers (RCRG) (15)

***For full rankings and a brief explanation, visit The Nerd’s Rankings.***

Gores End Losing Streak with Win over Dolls

Dolls (1-0) and Gores (0-1), met in each of their second games in the 2012 ToRD season. (Photo by Greg Russell)

Gore-Gore Rollergirls 131 vs. Death Tracks Dolls 91

In what was their best effort in four years against the Gore-Gore Rollergirls, the Death Track Dolls showed that they are a team on the verge of competing for the Boot, the Toronto Roller Derby championship. But for now, the experience (and the consistency that comes with that) of the three-time ToRD champion Gores is still a little too much for the Dolls to handle. And while the Gores led for virtually the whole game and threatened at times to pull away, the Dolls never looked out of it but couldn’t make up for points accrued on power jams, and the Gore-Gore Rollergirls put a stop to their first ever multi-game losing streak to even up their regular season record at 1-1.

Despite a lack of depth in the jammer position, the Gores still hold down two of the top jammers in the country in Dust Bunny and Bambi (44 and 34 first-half points respectively), a duo that can’t be stopped but has to at least be contained if a team hopes to take down the Gores. The Dolls had mixed success trying to do so in the early going, but couldn’t mount any offense of their own (for the second-straight bout they went with a 6-jammer rotation) and found themselves down 31-9, 12 minutes in.

Dolls rookie Bellefast had another strong game and didn't seem intimated facing off against vets like Dust Bunny. (Photo by Joe Mac)

While the Dolls have a wide array of jammers to choose from, the Gores have been beginning to develop their rotation from within, first adding Santa Muerte and this Saturday putting Draculaura into the mix. Draculaura was a surprise of the game for sure, having only minimal experience jamming previously (she doubled her career jamming stats in this game alone) and improved with each jam she had with the star. Another continuing revelation with the star is Dolls’ rookie Bellefast, who was a relentless force for the second straight bout and who, along with Panty Hoser, put a majority of the Dolls’ points on the board in the first half, a combined 31 points, as they remained within reach, 79-35 at the break.

While the Gores sport some fantastic jammers on the line, the Dolls have come to excel at producing triple threats. Over the course of her career, Jubilee has done it all for the Dolls, and Betty Bomber has provided the model of the triple threat, a  model that team co-captain Panty Hoser has followed this season as well, adding jammer to her pivoting and blocking strengths. Ames to Kill could be another skater to watch on this relatively inexperienced but promising Dolls roster. She wore the stripe at one point late in the game and with the veteran poise of Hoser and Lucid Lou and second-year skater Kat Atomic at her side, helped orchestrate an 18-point jam that almost had the Dolls back into it.

The Gores' Gamma Rei lays a big hit on Jubilee. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

While there is a youthful push in the Dolls (three rookies, including UpHer Cut in her debut, were on the track), the movement is being led by the veterans and the on-track leadership of Sinead O’Clobber, and supported by skaters like Speedin Hawking and Downright Dirty Dawson.  But the experience of the Gores skaters led by Lady Gagya, Molly Boom and Foxy Sinatra was too much to overcome. And with the absence of former key pieces of the Gores, Chronic stepped up in a big way and seems ready and capable of taking on more responsibility on the track; similarly, Gamma Rei laid down some big hits on the track as well, adding a physical meannes to the team that gives them yet another dangerous weapon in the pack. Pushed around but not down, the Dolls were still in it, down 119-67 with just under six minutes remaining.

Although the Dolls played their most consistent derby near the end of the game, they stepped it up in the second half overall, and with that late push actually outscored the Gores 56-52 in the second. But power jams were the difference in this one (accounting for almost all of the point differential), and the benefit of experience helped the Gores hold back the Dolls and take advantage of the tiny errors they made (stolen points here, a loose trap there), to win 131-91.

***Next up for all ToRD hometeams is the fifth annual BEAST OF THE EAST! (April 20-22, Montreal)***