Brim Stone

Double Header Preview: Gores vs. Dolls / CN Power hosts Queen City

Dolls substitute Land Shark skates against the Gores' Bambi in the Dolls 2008 regular-season win. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

Gore-Gore Rollergirls (0-1) vs. The Death Track Dolls (1-0)

You have to look way back to find the last (and only) time that the Death Track Dolls defeated the Gore-Gore Rollergirls. It was August 19th, 2008, when the Dolls took down the Gores 112-93; it was a game that allowed the Dolls to clinch second place in the regular season standings. The bout was not without controversy. In 2008, ToRD was still running a six-team homeleague and resources were spread thin. For this final regular season game of the season, the Dolls borrowed two substitutes from the D-VAS and one from the Bruisers to fill out the roster. One substitute skater in particular—D-VAS rookie Land Shark—would have a big impact on the game, ending up being named the game’s MVP. Although shrouded in controversy, the three subs (Land Shark and Seka Destroy from the D-VAS, Monichrome from the Bruisers) would all, ironically, end up as part of the Dolls in the dispersal draft following the 2008 season and the contraction of two of the six hometeams.

The Dolls kicked off 2012 with a victory over the Smoke City Betties. (Photo by Joe Mac)

Jumping ahead to April 2012 and much has changed. When these two teams meet on Saturday some of the skaters dressed for the bout were there four years ago, but many new faces have arrived. And after dominating ToRD for five seasons (winning three championships along the way), it is the Gores who now find themselves looking for their first win of the season and the Dolls (the only home team never to appear in a championship game) sitting atop the tight ToRD standings.  If there is a time for the Dolls to change this four-year losing streak, that time could be now.

Over the past two season the Death Track Dolls have done a good job of redefining their team, and have brought in an exciting crop of rookies. They’ll be dressing three rookies on Saturday (Ames to Kill, Bellefast and UpHer Cut), not to mention a handful of second-year skaters. The Gore-Gore Rollergirls, on the other hand, are a team that has not changed much over the past few years (a stretch that included a 12-game winning streak), and still feature a high-powered offense led by two of the league’s top jammers in Bambi and Dust Bunny. The Dolls have been jamming by committee so far this season with upwards of six skaters capable of wearing the star (which is the number they used in their season opener).

Following a twelve game winning streak, the Gores have lost two games in a row for the first time. (Photo by Joe Mac)

The most interesting battle could be in the pack. Skating without Brim Stone (something that the Gores have never had to contend with before) and former rookie of the year Hurlin’ Wall, there is a gap in the pack that the Dolls could take advantage of. Then again, it could just be an opportunity for other skaters to step up. There is no shortage of veteran Gores to step up and either pivot or take on a larger role in the pack. Along with captains Kandy Barr and Lady Gag-Ya, Santa Muerte, Chronic, Foxy Sinatra, Junkie Jenny and Molly Boom are all more than capable on-track leaders. Gamma Rei is always on the verge of a major breakout. But this opportunity could have the greatest effect on a few skaters still looking to make their marks. Miss Kitty La Peur has upped her training this season, and for Emma Dilemma, Mace  O’Kissed and Draculaura, the time has never been better to step up and take on a critical role for the team.

As for the Dolls, Betty Bomber, Sinead O’Clobber, Jubilee and newly emerged triple threat Panty Hoser remain on-track leaders the  for the team, but with Downright Dirty Dawson, Lucid Lou and Speedin Hawking filling out a very experienced pack line up, there aren’t too many holes for the Dolls to fill. Second-year skaters Kat Atomic and Rhage in a Cage have an opportunity to step up here, and rookie Ames to Kill is quickly emerging as a threat in the pack. UpHer Cut will be making her ToRD regular season debut, but with pack experience from her days as a D-VAS, has the potential to make an impact right away.

The Dolls and Gores will be facing off in the second half of the double header.

Lake Effect Furies (2-4,  15th East) vs. CN Power (4-0, 17thNorth Central)

CN Power is undefeated so far in 2012, including four in a row at home starting with the Roc City Roc Stars. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

Queen City’s Lake Effect Furies (Buffalo) and ToRD’s CN Power  have been comparatively busy early in the 2012 WFTDA season, as both teams press for a playoff spot. The host CN Power has burst out of the gates so far in 2012 thoroughly dominating  lower-ranked competition (Hammer City), while looking impressive in wins over similarly ranked teams (Roc City, Tri-City) and teams ranked above them (Fort Wayne).  Counting a non-sanctioned win over the Rideau Valley Vixens, CN Power is on a five-game winning streak to kick off 2012 (and six overall dating back to a 2011 season-ending victory over Derby City). These victories probably will help them jump to 14th in the the North Central.

The Furies may not have had quite the success yet in 2012, but they have been facing some stiff competition so far squaring off solely against teams ranked above them in the WFTDA standings.  Buffalo’s two wins have been minor upsets against Connecticut (14th East) and Suburbia  (12th E), while their losses have been to DC Rollergirls (11th), Maine (10th), and Charm City (3rd). So taking into account their competition, the Furies record is actually quite impressive and realistically places them firmly in 12th in the region.

The Furies defeated CN Power at the Bunker in August 2010. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

This will be the third meeting between these two teams since August 2010. The Furies took that first one in Toronto 110-79, while CN Power took some measure of revenge in Buffalo this past September, taking a close one 139-129. Both teams currently hold a similar position in their respective Regions: up-and-comers on the verge of the playoffs. Yet as recent Furies and CN Power losses to Maine and Grand Raggidy (respectively) show, there is still some work to be done. But not much, and each WFTDA game that these two teams play now is vitally critical to their playoff aspirations.

NOTE: CN Power will be playing its first game without Brim Stone, who is taking an indefinite hiatus from the sport. Brim has been an instrumental part in putting together this CN Power team and

CN Power will be without long-time captain Brim Stone. (Photo by Todd Burgess)

getting it to the level that it is at. While it remains to be seen what the impact of this loss will have on CN Power, the team that Brim so carefully helped construct is one that is built around a deep bench and a strong, ever-evolving core. For ToRD fans, it will undoubtedly be an emotional moment to see a CN Power team line up without its long-time captain, but through the training and leadership she provided, her influence will most definitely be felt.

**Doors at The Bunker open at 5:00 PM; first whistle is at 6:00 PM. Tickets are available online or at various outlets downtown.

Gores cap off another unbeaten regular season with win over Betties

The Gores were pushed early by the Betties who had their best bout of the season. (Photography by Neil Gunner)

Smoke City Betties 59 vs. Gore-Gore Rollergirls 130

Despite three bouts in the Greater Toronto Area last night, the Hangar was packed, the crowd eager to see the Gore-Gore Rollergirls and Smoke City Betties square off in their final bout of the regular season. The Gores were all but assured of not only a spot in the playoffs, but of a bye directly to Battle for the Boot 5. For the Betties, the end of another losing season was on the horizon, but this seemed to inspire them to pull out a strong performance against the defending champs, and in the end, despite a score line that read a 71 point victory for the Gores (their twelfth in a row), the Betties were able to skate away knowing they’d brought the fight to the champs, managing to put together, arguably, their best bout of the season.

Fast, physical packs defined the bout.

Things started off very well for the Betties, with some strong walls and solid jamming to keep things close early on. Leads were hard to get but even harder to hold as the jammers often exited their initial passes together. The Betties seem to have taken an important step forward: they’ve bought into the systems that are necessary to play to be successful, and they’ve settled nicely into their roles on the track. Particularly in the early going, and then periodically throughout, the Betties seemed to be playing the exact same game—fast, tight packs, a short jammer rotation–but the Gores, with their experience, just managed to keep a step or two ahead. There’d been whispers of a new-look Gores team—some potential surprises—and at one point, with the Gores threatening to pull away (up 40-5 nearing the midway point), it looked like the fans might see something interesting happen, but big pickups from BruiseBerry Pie and Memphis Kitty on consecutive power jams (despite some excellent power kill work by the Gores) narrowed the lead to 40-23, and necessitated some strong play from the Gores to keep the Betties in check.

Hurlin Wall' continued her role as jammer hunter with some hard blocking on Betties' jammer Sail Her Poon.

The story for the Betties early on was the exceptional play of both BruiseBerry Pie and Memphis Kitty, who stepped up in a big way. Memphis Kitty has been having an excellent season for the Betties, shining first against the Death Track Dolls and then in this one; she fought for every inch of track and forced some timely calls by the Gores jammers. She seemed to relish the opportunity to face familiar opponents in Bambi and Dust Bunny. Bruise also had a great night jamming, and is developing into a triple threat for the Betties, excelling tonight especially at pivot (settling into a more organizational role) and with the star (where she was strong both strategically, and physically), and had some hard-fought battles with Hurlin’ Wall in the early going. The Gores finished the half solidly, but the Betties seemed unperturbed and remained well within reach 60-33 at the half.

Brim Stone was back jamming for the Gores.

As the Gores did increase their lead, some of that expected experimentation began. Looking to add depth to their jammer rotation, Bambi and Dust Bunny did pack duty for much of the second half allowing Brim Stone to lead rookie Lulu Cthulu and second year player Pinky Violence in the offence. Also, Aston Martini donned the stripe to lead the pack and rookie Wheely Nasty also gave pivoting a chance, part of another big night for ToRD rookies (in a season that is turning out to be the year of thre rookie). Emma Dilemma was solid in the pack for the Gores, while Misery Mae was a big part of the Betties defence playing a physical game, but reeling it in defensively when needed. The Betties kept hanging around, keeping the Gores in their sights, and were well within reach, down only 67-49 ten minutes into the second half.

Platinum Bomb was just one of the skaters playing multiple roles.

The Betties continue to tinker with things as well; with Bruise taking on more of a role jamming, Tropic Thunder took on a larger role in pack. Similarly, having jammers titmouse and Platinum Bomb at their disposal allowed Memphis Kitty to take up the stripe and lead the packs. While the Betties managed to hang on until late in this one, the experienced Gores were eventually able to pull away. As with the bout against the Dolls (where the Betties also drifted late), the Betties could not sustain the momentum long enough to overtake their opponents. Nonetheless, having their best showing against the Gores in the last three bouts—and maintaining a consistent upward growth throughout the season—should allow the Betties to go confidently into the off season knowing that they have finally turned a crucial corner on the road back to competitiveness. They’ve got the right mix of experience and talent now; it’s just a matter of bringing it all together. For the Gores, the victory secures a trip to the June 25th championship and a chance to defend the Boot.

* The Toronto Junior Roller Derby league held its inaugural bout to kick off the double header, hosting New Hampshire’s Mad Missfits; stay tuned for a full recap later this week.

* Both games were boutcast live by the ToRD TV team via Canuck Derby TV. You can watch the archived boutcasts here. Layer9 captured it all track side in HD.

Gores vs. Chicks in Toronto / Skids vs. The World in London.

The last time these two teams met was at the 2010 Battle for the Boot (won by the Gores, 107-31).

Gore-Gore Rollergirls (1-0) vs. Chicks Ahoy! (1-0)

Surprise, surprise.

After one round of ToRD’s 2011 regular season, the Gore-Gore Rollergirls and the Chicks Ahoy! find themselves battling for first overall. Historically, these are the two top teams in Toronto Roller Derby and not much seems to have changed this year. Neither were particularly tested in their opening bouts of 2011, as the Chicks dominated a disorganized Smoke City Betties squad 131-22, and the Gores were in control of an overmatched Death Track Dolls for most of their 107-43 victory. And although the Gores earned a one-sided victory the last time these teams met (at the 2010  Battle for the Boot), this is a much different Chicks team. The veteran Chicks squad that qualified for their third championship match in 2010 had the feeling of a “last-chance team,” and there was a certain predictability about them. The influx of fresh faces on the roster has given this year’s team a new spark, and a renewed focus. It was a change predicted by Gores co-captain Brim Stone. “I think the Chicks will have a much stronger and more consistent season [in 2011],” she said in a preseason interview, and so far that has played out after a strong exhibition bout and the one-sided home opener. “But the Gores will still be able to take them!” Brim was quick to add.

Brim Stone has joined the Gores' jammer rotation this season. (photo by Kevin Konnyu)

And until a team proves otherwise on the track, the Gores are still the team to beat in this league. The opening bout victory was their tenth straight ToRD win dating back to 2008, and they looked confident and collected in doing so. The Gores are much more experienced at integrating newcomers into the roster than the Chicks, and once again the rookies do not look out of place. Replacing Lunchbox though, has been a much bigger challenge. “She was a key personality…and always the calm voice of reason!” says Brim Stone, noting that the star jammer’s skates “were big skates to fill.” And at least in the first bout of the season that task has fallen straight to Brim’s feet; she will be important in matching up against the Chicks’ veteran jammers like co-captain Candy Crossbones. When asked how she thinks the Chicks will perform against the Gores in this bout, Candy exclaims, “Hopefully better than [the championship]!” The Chicks seemed frustrated during that last meeting and Candy admits as much. “The Gores can be frustratingly good,” she says, “I know we have the raw talent to match or beat them, but it remains to be seen whether we can challenge their awesome teamwork.”

And teamwork will undoubtedly tell the tale in this one.

Chicks' rookie, Kookie Doe was a go-to jammer in her ToRD debut agains the Betties. (photo by Sean Murphy)

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

1. Lead Percentage: Currently, the top 6 rated jammers in the league are on these two teams, and don’t expect the offensive matchups to change for this one. Both teams primarily rely on a three-jammer rotation, and each team’s rotation is anchored by two more-than-capable veterans. Current JQ rating leaders Dyna Hurtcha and Candy Crossbones lead the way for the Chicks, while the Gores respond with Bambi and Dust Bunny, who are, statistically, the two most dominant jammers in ToRD’s history. Neither team has much depth beyond their top two, but Brim Stone, who apprenticed somewhat in 2010, took on the role in the season opener, while the Chicks relied on Kookie Doe who was surprisingly effective against the Betties last month. With all four of the main jammers capable of playing solid jammer defence (Candy Crossbones seems to revel in it, while Dyna’s experience in the pack makes her a formidable physical presence), getting lead jammer status to control the outcomes will be key. While Dyna Hurtcha currently has the highest lead percentage (79%), when you look at overall team lead percentage, the two teams are virtually even at 67% (Chicks) and 65% (Gores). The key will come down to how well Kookie Doe is able to build on her impressive debut, and how well the Chicks are able to support her against a significantly stiffer challenge from the Gores. The difference maker here could be the much more experienced Brim Stone (who is still a relative rookie with the star) winning a one-on-0ne showdown with her Chicks counterpart.

Nasher the Smasher (lining up Betties' titmouse) has cleaned up her act in 2011. (photo by Sean Murphy)

2. Discipline: 29-5-7. These numbers represent the Chicks’ accumulated totals of minor penalties (29), major penalties (5), and penalty minutes served (7); significant because all three numbers are the lowest in the league. While it’s true that one clean game against the last-place team in the league doesn’t fully dispel years of major penalty woes, the Chicks’ newfound commitment to discipline should not be overlooked or underestimated. Nasher the Smasher is a prime example: In last year’s bout versus the Betties (which was even more one-sided than this year’s), Nasher still managed to pick up 13 minors, 3 majors and served 6 penalty minutes in 24 jams. This season against the Betties, Nasher stayed perfectly clean for 21 jams on her way to a league leading +57 plus/minus (she’s tied with teammate Tara Part, one ahead of Gores’ Hurlin’ Wall). Similarly, in the 2010 championship bout the Gores punished the Chicks by taking advantage of the Girls in Green’s 29 penalty minutes. On the flip side, while the Chicks are having one of the cleanest seasons in team history, the Gores find themselves uncharacteristically second in majors (8) and tied for second in minutes served (11). Staying out of the box will be key in this one.

For the most part, the Gores controlled the pack at the 2010 ToRD championships. (photo by Kevin Konnyu)

3. Pack Control: As much as the jammers are going to have a huge influence on this one, she who controls the pack controls the game. Aside from a few well-executed, Rebel Rock-It led power kills, the Gores seemed to have complete control over the pack the last time these two teams squared off, and the Chicks simply cannot let that happen again. With traditional lead-pivot Brim Stone joining the jammer rotaton, pivoting was spread out, especially with second-in-command Molly Boom suffering some penalty troubles against the Dolls.  But with a veteran stable capable of donning the stripe (Lady Gagya, Kandy Barr and Junkie Jenny) and a rookie who looks to be a pivot-in-training (Emma Dilemma), the Gores are still a pack to be reckoned with. However, with Rebel, Tara, Nasher and Mega Bouche pivoting for the Chicks, it’s not that they are lacking in experience or ability: the difference the last time these two teams met was that the Gores controlled the play—they created on the track—while the Chicks just seemed to be reacting to the Gores’ game. Whoever “creates” in this one, could come away with a victory.

The winner of this bout will move into first place in ToRD’s regular season standings, one step closer to that all important bye straight to the 2011 Battle for the Boot. The loser will be left to watch the April 16th Dolls vs. Betties bout scouting a potential semi-final opponent.

**Tickets for the April 9th bout are on sale online or at a number of downtown vendors. Doors at the Hangar open at 6:30p.m., with opening whistle set for 7:30 p.m.

ONE MORE THING

Montreal’s New Skids on the Block, Canada’s top roller derby team (and 14th ranked overall) will be heading overseas this weekend to take part in the Anarchy in the UK tournament hosted by the London Rollergirls. This is the first WFTDA sanctioned tournament to be held overseas, and also taking part will be the Charm City Roller Girls (Baltimore) and the Steel City Derby Demons (Pittsburgh). The four teams will play in a two-day round robin, facing each other once in full, WFTDA sanctioned bouts. Since all of these teams play in WFTDA’s Eastern Region, the results are significant.  Charm and Steel City come in as the top ranked teams in the tourney (3rd and 5th respectively), while Montreal sits 7th and London remains unranked due to lack of activity. But, these rankings are still based on 2010′s end-of-year stats (2011 1st quarter rankings should be out shortly), and a lot has happened already this year. A more accurate pre-tournament predictor could be DNN’s power rankings and Flat Track Stats. DNN has Charm leading the way at 9th In WFTDA (all regions), but it’s Montreal next in their ranking (14) with Steel City (18) and London (22) rounding it out. Flat Track Stats is similar, but they have Montreal and Charm in a statistical deadlock at 10th and Steel City behind in 19th. Meaning that the bout to watch this weekend could be Montreal and Charm City’s Sunday match up (11 a.m. eastern, on DNN).

**Read Lord Copper’s DNN preview here. Catch every bit of the action live on DNN.

**Good News: Because of the time difference, all of Saturday’s bouts will be over well before the Gores and Chicks take to the track at the Hangar!

Quad City Chaos Preview (Part 2)

Tri-City defeated CN Power 122-50 in the team's final bout of 2010. (photo by Joe Mac)

THE UPSTARTS

In 2010, the focus of Canadian roller derby was clearly on Montreal’s New Skids on the Block, which allowed for another amazing roller derby story to go unnoticed by many outside of the Ontario derby community: the rise of Tri-City. Playing in the shadows of Hammer City, ToRD and even Forest City for years, the skaters of the Tri-City triangle have slowly been creating a juggernaut, and 2010 was a coming out party of sorts. In terms of hometeams, the Venus Fly Tramps continued to grow more competitive, and the league added a third team, the Total Knock-Outs to the mix. The league’s top team, the Vicious Dishes, was emerging as one of the top hometeams, not only in Ontario, but in the country. Vctories over ToRD’s Chicks Ahoy! and both Hammer City hometeams exposed the Dishes as a team to watch.

These solid foundations led to the dramatic rise of the Thunder. With their only losses coming against the top tier of Canadian competition (Montreal hometeam Les Contrabanditas and B-Team Sexpos), their strong victories over a string of American travel teams (Roc City, The Lake Effect Furies, Assault City, and Detroit’s Motor City Disassembly Line) turned some heads. But it wasn’t until their final bout of the season that they truly showed how far they’d come: a 122-50 victory over CN Power gave the team a solid 5-2 record on the season and managed to shake up the power politics of Canadian derby. It was arguably a crowning achievement on a fantastic year that saw them graduate into full WFTDA status.

Motorhead Molly leads a breakout jammer contingent for the Thunder. (photo by Joe Mac)

Tri-City’s strength is in its pack. Led by the pivot Jill Standing and the untiring blocking trio of Anita Martini, Bareleigh Legal and sin-e-star, Thunder is capable of playing a stifling pack defense that led them to victories over Roc City Roc Stars and Lake Effect Furies early in the season. While defense is a traditional Tri-City strength, the biggest development over 2010 was the improvement of their offense: Skate Pastor, Motorhead Molly and Lippy Wrongstockings proved to be a more than capable trio for the Thunder in 2010, playing smart, strategic derby even in low scoring, grinders. But they also helped show that Thunder is capable of switching gears and winning a shoot out, as they did in a 134-126 victory over Detroit’s Disassembly Line. The depth of the roster has only increased as all the Tri-City teams become more competitive. Greta Garbage and Gunmoll Mindy provide a lot of depth in the pack, with Garbage capable of laying down some hits or joining front walls, Mindy holding that inside line, and Lilith No Fair joining the pivot corps. Kitty Krasher, Cell Block Bettie and Freudian Whip are all capable of donning the star to jam as well, which provides this team with fantastic depth at offense.

The Thunder should have a slight depth advantage over Rideau Valley, and in terms of pack control and defense, may be the best match-up for Montreal, but I think it’s safe to say that all eyes are on Thunder’s rematch with CN Power to close out the tournament on Sunday (at 4:20 p.m.). Thunder could go a long way in solidifying their position as the team to watch in 2011 with a second consecutive victory over ToRD’s all stars.

The Vixens played their first ever bout at the Hangar, falling to CN Power 199-49. (photo by Derek Lang)

THE DARKHORSE

In 2009, Rideau Valley Roller Girls added a second team, the Riot Squad, to help develop the league and build on the success of the Slaughter Daughters. By 2010, they’d expanded yet again, this time adding the Vixens, a travel team. Due to the quick expansion, there were some growing pains in the early going, with some big losses to tough competition in Toronto (CN Power),  Steel City (B-Unit) and Montreal (Sexpos). But the growth in those months from the one-sided defeat in Toronto to the solid showing in Montreal was undeniable. It only took about six months for the Vixens to gel. By the end of the next six months, they’d evened up their 2010 record with three-straight victories beginning with a confidence boosting blow out (210-54) over the Jerzey Derby Brigade’s Corporal Punishers. They followed that up with two more explosive, one-sided wins against Utica, and Maine’s Calamity Janes.

Soul Rekker (jamming here against CN Power's Land Shark) is the Vixens' biggest offensive threat. (photo by Derek Lang)

Nonetheless, with their last three bouts coming south of the border against unknown competition (in that they don’t have any cross-over opponents with any of the other teams at the QCC), this considerably more experienced Vixens squad is somewhat of an unknown, which is why they are a darkhorse in this tournament. The only clue we have as to how good this team could be is in the performances of their hometeams, and the Slaughter Daughters are quietly becoming one of the top hometeams in eastern Canada, while their other team, the Riot Squad is certainly up and coming, recently taking ToRD’s Smoke City Betties to the limit in a bout. Even when they were losing early in 2010, the talent on the team was obvious. The two captains are the undeniable leaders on the track: Semi-Precious dominates at both leading her pack and delivering devastating take outs; Soul Rekker is an explosive jammer, and will lead the Vixens’ offense, proving equal to the top jammers in the tournament. And while this team is comparatively inexperienced in travel-team play, there is a surprising depth to the lineup, especially in the pack.

The Vixens' pack is led by Semi Precious and a core of Slaughter Daughters. (photo by Derek Lang)

Dee Dee Tee, Sister Disaster and Ripper A. Part round out a veteran jammer lineup, while the pack is loaded full of solid positional and striking blockers. ASSASSINista, Big Block, Blackout Susan, Drunky Brewster, and Surgical Strike form the core of the Slaughter Daughters roster, and that familiarity has bled over to the Vixens. Riot Squad’s Slavic Slayer, Margaret Chock, and N. Toxicate round out a sold pack that could pose problems for the other teams.

Rideau Valley will be aiming to knock off either CN Power or Thunder (and ideally both), and either is conceivable. They’ve been playing a similar amount of games as both teams and are undoubtedly a far different team than the one that last visited the Hangar. The fact that as the Vixens, they are relatively unknown to either team also makes them dangerous. CN Power and Tri-City can make necessary adjustments to face each other based on familiarity; the Vixens will, at the very least, have them guessing, and if they can catch either team off guard, they’ve proven capable of putting up big numbers.

THE RAMIFICATIONS

With all four teams competing at some level within WFTDA, this tournament is important to establish where, exactly, the teams stand in relation to one another. Montreal is currently creeping up to the top 4 in the Eastern Region and playing them will give the Vixens an idea of how competitive the top level of their Region really is. ToRD’s CN Power and the Tri-City Thunder will be chasing each other (and Hammer City) up the rankings in the North Central, making this just the second of what will certainly be many meetings between these teams.

For the New Skids on the Block, they’ll get a chance to pad their stats in the Canadian Roller Derby Rankings and have a competitive warm up for a potentially season-changing Eastern Region tournament in England against London, Steel City (Pittsburgh), and the 3rd ranked Charm City (Baltimore).

On a larger scale, the Quad City Chaos offers a glimpse of the potential beginnings of WFTDA’s Canadian Region.

**Tickets are available online or at various ticket outlets in Toronto. Doors on Saturday open at 1:00pm. For a full schedule, check here.

**Read Part One (focusing on CN Power and The New Skids on the Block) .

Watch ToRD.TV’s video preview of QCC, featuring interviews with CN Power co-captain Lady Scorcher and bench manager Sonic Doom:

Team Preview: Gore-Gore Rollergirls

The 2011 Gore-Gore Rollergirls

Wins Losses +/ - Notes
2010 Regular Season 3 0 +313 Currently on a 9 bout (Tord) winning streak
2010 Playoffs 2 0 +164 2nd consecutive, third overall championship

In 2010 the Gores won their third Boot in four years.

2010

Despite a comparatively large intake of rookie skaters in 2010, the Gore-Gore Rollergirls looked like a veteran team all season. A nearly seamless integration of new skaters into positions was a big part of the success of this Gores squad that rode veteran leadership and confident rookies right through an undefeated season. The only blemish in 2010 came at the Beast of the East preseason tournament in Montreal where they had to play two Montreal teams (including Les Contrabanditas twice), but still managed to finish as the top non-MTLRD team in the tournament. During  ToRD’s season though, the Gores were nearly flawless, completing their second straight undefeated season on the way to their second consecutive championship and third in ToRD’s four-year history. That amounts to a remarkable nine bout, ToRD winning streak.

The retiring Lunchbox at the 2010 championship.

LOSSES AND GAINS

This season, the Gores’ loss is also the league’s. After a remarkable three-season run (that included two championships), one third of the infamous three-pronged Gores’ attack is calling it a career. Lunchbox, who finished with a top three JQ rating in both 2009 and 2010, left her mark on ToRD’s early history with a blend of athleticism and determination and was an essential part of the offensive juggernaut at the core of the Gores’ dynasty. She will be impossible to replace, and her loss could actually influence a shift in strategic play by the team. Four skaters were picked up in the entry draft (Wheely Nasty, Mace O’Kissed, Lulu Cthulu and Emma Dilemma), and in a recent interview, when asked about integrating rookies, co-captain Brim Stone said that the Gores’ “training strategy has always been to just throw them in…our only expectation is that they try their hardest.” This lack of specific expectation and the comfort of surrounding veterans could be the key to the Gores’ success with rookies.

Molly Boom leading a front wall against the Smoke City Betties.

BY POSITION

The good Reverand, Rev. Ramirez will be back behind the bench for the Gores, and he’s got a strong team, positionally, to work with.

Pivots: Led by two-time ToRD awared winner for pivot of the year, Brim Stone, the Gores’ have a solid front line. Molly Boom had a successful sophomore season (which she parlayed into a Most Improved Skater award at the ToRD Awards) developing into an excellent pivot. Veteran skater and league president Junkie Jenny gives them enviable depth at the position. Look for last year’s Rookie of the Year Hurlin’ Wall to potentially step up into this position as well. After a remarkable rookie season proved that she has the track presence and the positional know-how to lead  a pack.

Blockers: It was in the pack where the Gores’ rookies really stepped up in 2010. Santa Muerte,  Chronic, Gamma Rei, Aston Martini and Miss Kitty La Peur didn’t look out of place sharing the track with the Gores’ veteran blockers like Lady Gagya and Foxy Sinatra (two hard hitting, striking blockers), or Kandy Barr and Motley Cru-ela (more positional in play).

Dust Bunny scored 58 points against the Dolls last season.

Jammers: This is where the biggest question must be answered for the Gores. Dust Bunny and  Bambi (the two top-rated jammers in the league’s history) will undoubtedly take their turns with the star, but who will join them? Brim Stone said that the team didn’t take positions into account when drafting, which would lead one to believe that Lunchbox’s spot in the rotation will be replaced from within, and perhaps even by committee.  Pinky Violence spent some time jamming last season, and Santa Muerte and Chronic seem capable as well. And of course Brim Stone herself picked up a lot of experience with the star last year, and if things go well in the pack, expect to see her slip back to the jammer line ever more.

EXPECTATIONS

When a team hasn’t lost a bout in two years (the 2008 championship final loss to the Chicks Ahoy! remains the last blemish), expectations have to be astronomical. Despite professing a desire to take a more relaxed approach this season, Brim Stone still said that the Gores’ expectation is for another run to the championship: “Near the end of 2010 the Gores as a team really came together, and we were able to work defensive strategies like we had never done before.  That was a huge jump in our learning curve…The Gores are very close as a team, and work together very well naturally.  We take care of each other and defend each other on the track.” If anything, the 2010 Battle for the Boot should serve as a warning call to the rest of the ToRD competition: this offensive powerhouse has a few defensive secrets up its sleeves as well. A more well-rounded attack and a confidence built on continued success make the Gores a dangerous team in 2011. Last year, the only real challenge in a nearly perfect 2010 came in the first half of a late-season bout against the Death Track Dolls, that saw the Dolls dominate at times, and keep it extremely close through 30. That could have been a turning point for this team. The Gores were eventually able to adjust and in the second half laid down the lay with a smothering defence for which the Dolls had no response. In response to that dramatic turn around, Dolls’ captain Betty Bomber acknowledged that Gores’ strengths, “(they) are a strategic team who can instantly change their strategy at any given moment.” It will be that sort of complete-game awareness that will make the Gores a tough team to knock from the pedestal in 2011.

The Gores unveiled a new logo at the 2010 championship.

2010 REGULAR SEASON STATS HILIGHTS

- As a team, lead the league in scoring (505) and points against (192). Bambi was the individual scoring leader (197 [5PPJ]—which was also tops in the league).

- Bambi (45), Dust Bunny (43), and Luncbox (38) finised 1-2-3 in the regular season JQ rating.

- Brim Stone finished with top overall +/- (+246) while rookie Hurlin’ Wall finished with the top blocker +/- (222) and second overall. Dust Bunny’s +118 was tops among the jammers.

- Molly Boom led the team in assists (16), while Brim Stone led in blocks (46) and knockdowns (8).

- Brim Stone picked up the most minor penalties (16) while four skaters had 4 majors. Bambi led the team in penalty minutes served with 6.

***Some of you may have heard that the TTC service to ToRD’s Hangar has been threatened. Please consider riding the TTC to the bout on February 5th. To encourage ridership, ToRD is offering to discount the price of TTC transportation ($3) for tickets bought at the door for anyone showing a TTC transfer. Also, you can help ToRD save its bus route by signing a petition, joining the Facebook group, lodging a complaint with TTC or contacting your local counsellor (or even Mayor Ford himself!).