Terminal City All Stars

Canadian Power Rankings: April 1, 2014

Captain Lou El Bammo, Dick Pounder, Dr. Jenny Fever and Derby Nerd return for another year of ranking Canada’s top A-level travel teams. Read the 2014 preview here.

TEAM (League) CHANGE NOTES (Rollergirl.ca /WFTDA rank)
1. New Skids on the Block (Montreal Roller Derby)

Montreal Roller Derby: New Skids on the Block

- The Skids have kicked off 2014 with a three-game winning streak against Division 1 opponents that includes a blowout over Bleeding Heartland, some measure of revenge against Ohio (who beat them in last year’s playoffs), and a 17-point victory against their chief Canadian rivals, Toronto. (1 / 17).
2. CN Power (Toronto Roller Derby)

New CNP Logo

- Off to a 2-2 start against some stiff competition (dominant wins over Bleeding Heartland and Killamazoo, and a heart-breaking loss to Ohio), Toronto pushed Montreal further than any other Canadian team has yet, in a 17-point loss at QCC. Nonetheless, CN Power’s amazing run in last year’s playoffs has proven not to be a one-off as they approach elite status. (2 / 29)
3. Terminal City All Stars (Terminal City Roller Girls)

Terminal City All Stars

- Although they have yet to play in 2014, with a majority of last year’s playoff-bound roster returning this season, Terminal City should continue to build on what has been an impressive run. They have a very competitive schedule lined up for spring/summer (including games against the Oly Rollers, Bay Area and Denver) as they try to improve their playoff position. (3 / 37)
4. Tri-City Thunder (Tri-City Roller Derby)Tri-City Thunder Logo - The Thunder, representing the newly renamed Tri-City Roller Derby, are on the cusp of WFTDA’s Division 1, and have a solid schedule coming up (they’ll kick off 2014 with a game against the Ohio Roller Girls). (5 / 41)
5. Rideau Valley Vixens (Rideau Valley Roller Girls)

Vixens Logo

- Creeping ever closer to D-2 playoffs, boasting a newly, and more competitively organized house league, a fully developed B-team and a season-opening (unsanctioned) win against Misfit Militia, not to mention a decent upcoming WFTDA schedule, 2014 is off to a good start for this Ottawa-based team. (6 / 66)
6. Calgary All Stars (Calgary Roller Derby Association)Calgary All Stars Logo +2 (8) Although currently unranked in the WFTDA, Calgary will certainly debut in the next release (May 1). They dominated competition at Wild West Showdown, posting three one-sided wins against Slaughterhouse (223-92), Ark Valley (264-105) and Dockyard (406-59). (9 / -)

7.Misfit Militia (Misfit Militia Roller Derby)
Misfit Militia Logo
 

-1 (6) After dominating all competition in 2013, the Alliston-based team kicked off 2014 with a tight 168-126 loss against the Rideau Valley Vixens, a WFTDA Division 2 team. That may have been their biggest challenge of the season (at least based on the current schedule). (8 / -)
8. The Eh! Team (Hammer City Roller Girls)

Hammer City Logo

+1 (9) Hammer City is all set to build off of what was their most competitive season since 2009. After shooting back up the WFTDA rankings, they’ve already opened 2014 with a strong performance against the 54th ranked Paper Valley in a 12-point loss. (10 / 85)
9.Kootenay Kannibelles (West Kootenay Roller Derby)

kannibelles Logo

 

+1 (10) The Kannibelles slipped back into the Top 10 at the end of 2013, and they are given the benefit of the doubt here after opening this year with a 204-point victory over Fernie’s Avalanche City. They’ve got a much tougher schedule coming up, featuring games against Calgary and Red Deer. (12 / -)
10. Belladonnas (Red Deer Roller Derby Association)

Belladonnas Logo

-3 (7) Red Deer tumbles in the power rankings after major off-season roster changes boldy alters one of the country’s more consistent teams over the last few years. They remain on the list for now, but it remains to be seen how quickly the newly built team will come together on the track. (4 / -)

New name, new logo. Tri City Roller Derby 2014 LogoThere are no major alterations to the Top 10 with the Top 5 not shifting at all (though Toronto has inched ever-closer to Montreal after a tight game in Toronto last weekend. They’ll have a rematch in Montreal on April 25); however, Red Deer, based on having a significantly different roster from last year’s 15-2 team that dominated western and central Canadian competition, has fallen three spots but remains in the Top 10 for now. This allowed the Kannibelles and Hammer City to jump up a spot.

Based on Calgary’s head-turning dominance at this year’s Wild West Showdown, the CRDA All Stars jump two places from 8th to 6th, barely leap-frogging the Misfit Militia (who narrowly lost to the Vixens). This just makes Hammer City’s inaugural Maple Stir Up (August) all the more intriguing, as both Calgary and Rideau Valley will be there.

ON THE BUBBLE

Lumbersmacks (Muddy River Rollers)Lumbersmacks Logo

Being so early in the season, we have only one team on the bubble: Moncton’s Muddy River Lumbersmacks. They opened the season with a 12-point loss to Montreal’s Sexpos (B-team) before scoring one-sided victories against Maine’s Rock Coast Rollers (377-178)  and the Rideau Valley Sirens (366-40) (B-team). They also played a closed scrimmage against the the Vixens, staying virtually even with them for the first half before the Vixens were able to pull away in the second. The WFTDA Apprentice team has a busy eastern Canadian schedule lined up including an April 26th game against their chief east-coast rivals, Fog City.

TEAMS TO WATCH

Anarchy Angels (Mainland Misfits)

All Stars (Winnipeg Roller Derby League)

Timber Rollers (Forest City Derby Girls)

The Mindfox (Saskatoon Roller Derby League)

Sugar Skulls (Pile O’ Bones Roller Derby Club)

Dolly Rogers (Capital City Derby Dolls)

Les Duchesses (Roller Derby Quebec)

Redneck Betties (South West Saskatchewan Roller Derby Association)

At this early point in 2014, these are the teams that top the Rankings Crew’s list of teams to keep an eye on in the coming months. Although not exhaustive, these are the teams that have been most consistently on the radar over the past twelve months. Some, such as The Mindfox and the Sugar Skulls, have even made appearances in the Top 10.

*These rankings were compiled by the Derby Nerd, Captain Lou El Bammo, Dick Pounder, and Dr. Jenny Fever.

*Read the Canadian Power Rankings preview and explanation here.

 

-Respectful disagreement and debate is encouraged!-

Roller Skatin Banner

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)

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

Canadian Power Rankings: November 1, 2013

Canadian Power Rankings: November 1st, 2013

TEAM (League) CHANGE NOTES (Rollergirl.ca /WFTDA rank)
1. New Skids on the Block (Montreal Roller Derby)

Montreal Roller Derby: New Skids on the Block

- Despite a disappointing WFTDA playoff (a tough win over Wasatch followed by losses to Ohio and London), the Skids remain at the top of the sport in Canada. Since beginning play in 2008, the Skids have yet to lose to a Canadian team.  (1 / 15).
2. CN Power (Toronto Roller Derby)

CN Power Logo

+1 (3) After spending the whole 2013 season in third spot, CN Power finally makes the leap to second. They had a busy few months, crushing Brew City and Grand Raggidy, and shocking the WFTDA with playoff wins over Sacred City and Boston before hard-fought losses against Atlanta And Victorian. (2 / 32).
3. Terminal City All Stars (Terminal City Roller Girls)

Terminal City All Stars

-1 (2) Terminal City slips one spot to third, but more due to Toronto’s impressive play than anything Vancouver did. The All Stars also had an amazing showing in the WFTDA playoffs, scoring upsets over Tampa Bay and New Hampshire, coming up just short against Jacksonville, and falling to the historic Texas Rollergirls. (3 / 37)
4. Tri-City Thunder (Tri-City Roller Girls)Tri-City Thunder Logo - The Thunder hold the fourth spot after an extraordinary run in the WFTDA D2 playoffs, where only a controversial overtime loss to Santa Cruz kept them from potentially winning the whole D2 tournament. They knocked off Paper Valley, Carolina and Burning River in their divisional tournament. They followed that run with a position-confirming win over the Rideau Valley Vixens.  (5 / 46)
5. Rideau Valley Vixens (Rideau Valley Roller Girls)

Vixens Logo

- Despite a loss to Ithaca, the Vixens hold their spot with a win over Dutchland and a strong performance in a loss to the Thunder. Consistency keeps the Vixens from climbing higher. (7 / 70)
6. Misfit Militia (Misfit Militia Roller Derby)
Misfit Militia Logo
+2 (8) Despite some near constant roster shuffling, the core of this Misfit Militia team remains extraordinary. They are 6-0 in 2013 with an average margin of victory of 325 points. They will need to start facing stiffer competition in 2014 if they want to hold their position, but the potential future looks incredibly bright. (6 / -)
7. Belladonnas (Red Deer Roller Derby Association)

Belladonnas Logo

-1 (6) Red Deer continues its impressive season, recently scoring one-sided wins over the Kootenay Kannibelles  and Saskatoon. 13-2 on the season, the Belladonnas are on a six game winning streak since a July loss against Terminal City. (4 / -)
8. The Eh! Team (Hammer City Roller Girls)

Hammer City Logo

+1 (9) Jumping one more spot, Hammer City continues its impressive 2013 rebirth. One of the biggest movers in the WFTDA, most recently they destroyed the Border City Brawlers then put in incredible efforts in losses to Grand Raggidy and Killamazoo, both teams ranked considerably higher than they are. (9 / 80)
9. Calgary All Stars (Calgary Roller Derby Association)Calgary All Stars Logo -2 (7) Calgary slips not so much due to their own play as much as the play of the teams ahead of them. A one-sided loss to Denver’s B-Team was somewhat buffered by a win over Rocky Mountain’s B-Team and a great performance against Pikes Peak. (14 / -)
10. Kootenay Kannibelles (West Kootenay Roller Derby)

kannibelles Logo

(unranked) The Kannibelles return to the Top 10 for the first time since April, taking advantage of some other teams’ slip ups. The Kannibelles lost this spot earlier in the year due to inconsistency, and two recent, wildly different results against Red Deer show that their may still be some consistency problems. (10 / -)

kannibelles LogoA lot of movement in this month’s power ranking, with only three teams holding on to their spots. Plus, one team, the Sugar Skulls, has dropped from the rankings completely allowing the Kootenay Kannibelles to slip back in. Toronto’s CN Power moves up into second spot, knocking down Terminal City who had held that position all season. Both teams had impressive, surprising WFTDA playoffs, but it was CN Power’s performance against Atlanta (not to mention a win over Boston) that really secured the second spot. The other big movers were Misfit Militia, who has dismantled any team that has gotten in their way this season–although an inconsistent roster and lower-level of competition brings their future and ability to maintain this pace into question. Calgary drops a few spots, but were more pushed out of the way than fell themselves. They are challenging themselves by taking on teams ranked well above them, which while potentially painful now, should pay dividends in the future.

Hammer City’s revival keeps them on an upward trajectory and a run to the WFTDA’s Divsion 2 next season does not seem out of the question at all. Finally, in one of the most anticipated matchups of the season, the Tri-City Thunder held off the Rideau Valley Vixens 199-156 to secure their spot. As with Hammer City, the Vixens are poised to jump to WFTDA’s Division 2 as well and just need to bring a little more consistency to their play. Although supposedly in the midst of a rebuild, The Thunder could very easily become Canada’s fourth Division 1 team next year.

ON THE BUBBLETimber Rollers Logo

Sugar Skulls (Pile O’ Bones Roller Derby Club)

Dolly Rogers (Capital City Derby Dolls)

Timber Rollers (Forest City Derby Girls)

While the Top 9 teams are fairly secure, the Bubble Teams are all close and potentially interchangeable. One thing is keeping all of these teams on the bubble: inconsistency. The Sugar Skulls drop out mostly from lack of recent play, while the Dolly Rogers and Timber Rollers have yet to put together a run of games that would get them on to the list. For example, the Timber Rollers were shocked by Kingston’s Disloyalists in September, only to turn around and put in a strong performance in their first ever WFTDA sanctioned bout (a loss to Lansing) in October.

winnipeg logoTEAMS TO WATCH

The Mindfox (Saskatoon Roller Derby League)

Lumbersmacks (Muddy River Rollers)

Redneck Betties (South West Saskatchewan Roller Derby Association)

Anarchy Angels (Mainland Misfits)

All Stars (Winnipeg Roller Derby League)

Not much change here as the Rankings Crew continues to keep a close eye on these teams. Two, the Lumbersmacks and Redneck Betties are on the rise, while two others, The Mindfox and the Anarchy Angels, are looking to crawl back into the upper echelons of Canadian flat track roller derby (The Mindfox were in the Top 10 as recently as June, and were ranked 6th in the April Power Rankings). One addition to the watch list, was just named a WFTDA Apprentice league: Winnipeg Roller Derby. After a shaky start to 2013, the All Stars have turned it around late in the year winning four in a row, including making up for an early season loss to the Pile O Bones B-Team with a dominant (255-131) win in the rematch.

*These rankings were compiled by the Derby Nerd, Captain Lou El Bammo, Dick Pounder, and Dr. Jenny Fever.

*Read the Canadian Power Rankings preview and explanation here.

*Missed the August 1st Power Rankings post? Get caught up here.

-Respectful disagreement and debate is encouraged!-

Toronto Levels Up at final WFTDA Divisional

Bay Area, Atlanta and Rat City round out the participants in Milwaukee.

Bay Area, Atlanta and Rat City round out the participants in Milwaukee.

Toronto Roller Derby’s CN Power continued the compelling international story at the 2013 WFTDA playoffs tangling with Melbourne, Australia’s, Victorian Roller Derby in the fifth place game at the final divisional tournament. Although CN Power ran out of steam in the second half of the game, the narrative for the weekend had already been set. It began with a major upset over Sacred City on Friday, followed by a stunning game against perennial powerhouse Atlanta before another tough upset over Boston assured Toronto of a surprising top six finish.

It was yet another remarkable finish for one of the three Canadian teams in WFTDA’s Division 1, and arguably, the best performance by a Canadian team at this year’s Big Five. Montreal finished 4th in their division, but did so mostly based on a fairly clear path to the final four on account of their 2nd seed in the tournament. Word on the track is that Montreal was probably closer to the 6th or even 7th best team in their division (with Rose City, at least, and even Arch Rival performing better than they did). Terminal City’s performance was also one for the ages: stunning upsets over Tampa and New Hampshire guaranteeing a three-spot jump on their ranking. But Toronto went one further with the win over Boston, and their performance in a loss against Atlanta was arguably the best game played by a Canadian team during this year’s playoffs.

Read Lex Talionis's Sacred vs. Toronto game recap for Derby News Network (featuring the photos of Donalee Eiri)

Read Lex Talionis’s Sacred vs. Toronto game recap for Derby News Network (featuring photos by Donalee Eiri).

It has been a remarkable turn around for Toronto this season, but one that has been coming for some time, and one that shouldn’t be too much of a surprise for the astute followers of the Canadian game. Over the past three years Toronto Roller Derby has worked hard to develop its base, and is now a league brimming with talent at every level. The farm team D-VAS has consistently finished in the final four of every  Fresh and Furious tournament they have played in. Similarly, since a 2-3-4 finish at the 2011 Beast of the East, ToRD house league teams have been consistently near the top of that tournament as well, with at least one team in the top three in the last three years. Finally, ToRD’s travel B Team, the Bay Street Bruisers, have been turning heads as well, especially since a 2012 RDAC Eastern Championship tournament victory. They have gone 8-1 in 2013 against consistently solid competition on both sides of the border, are clearly the top B Team in the country, and have even earned a spot in the discussion of the top teams in the country.

So with such a strong and well-developed base propping it up, this CN Power turn around has been in the works.

Read Beck Wise's Atlanta vs. Toronto game recap for DNN (featuring photos by Donalee Eiri)

Read Beck Wise’s Atlanta vs. Toronto game recap for DNN (featuring photos by Donalee Eiri).

After a somewhat inconsistent start to the year (for a example, a phenomenal performance in a loss to mighty Ohio was followed by a stunning upset loss to Rideau Valley at this year’s Quad City Chaos), CN Power slowly began to turn it around and build toward this weekend’s peak performance. Arguably, it all started with a thrilling showdown against rivals the New Skids on the Block in Montreal in April. A game that saw them compete for about 40 minutes, before the big-game experience of Montreal kicked in and the Skids pulled away late. That was followed by a tight game against another much higher ranked opponent in Cincinnati, and finally the playoff-clinching 2-point victory against Bleeding Heartland.

As a team, Toronto has flown under the radar for the past few seasons, lacking the visibility that Montreal and Vancouver have enjoyed, but after this weekend, it has to be believed that this will no longer be the case. Toronto’s depth pushed it to success this weekend, but there were outstanding individual performances as well. At the top of the heap were Nasher the Smasher and Dyna Hurtcha. Long one of Toronto’s top blockers, Nasher finally had a stage upon which to display her talents and she did not disappoint. A tireless workhorse all weekend, she averaged 31 jams per game (easily a team high) and despite all the track time (most coming in two losses) still finished with a  +/- of +29. Prototypical Toronto triple threat Dyna Hurthca was also a phenom this weekend. A relentless blocker, she also showed her value to the team by jamming in certain situations, including in a tough second half against Victorian (in which she jammed 4 times, picked up two leads and averaged 2.3 points per jam).

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

Read Beck Wise’s Boston vs. Toronto game recap on DNN (featuring photos by Donalee Eiri).

Just below these stellar performances were those of Renny Rumble, BruiseBerry Pie and Jubilee. Bruisey was the go-to pivot for star passes in tough situations on the weekend and averaged 21 jams per game delivering some timely hits. Renny Rumble showed some extraordinary agility on defense and her eye for the track was obvious on the weekend. One of the keys to Toronto’s performance was its offense, and Jubilee, playing, arguably, the best derby of her career, was key on offense, reading situations well, and providing timely help when needed. Of course, the key to the success was in Toronto’s bench depth and ability to run out solid line after line (especially in the Atlanta game), a testament to the performances of all the blockers, led by Mega Bouche, Panty Hoser and double threat Candy Crossbones, who all put in significant track time on the weekend.

Speaking of depth, Toronto ran a fairly consistent four-jammer rotation all weekend, adjusting and filling in based on situation and opponent, and it was clearly led by a resurgent Bambi. A long-time ToRD veteran and still the houseleague’s all-time leading scorer, the home team success did not follow her to the travel team level early in her CN Power career. Last year, Bambi was beginning to look like a viable threat before a broken hand sustained in a game against Ohio held her back. There were no such setbacks in 2013, and she has steadily improved her game all season peaking, as the team did, at just the right time. She was easily the team’s most consistent jammer, putting up 258 points for the tournament (a 5.5 points per jam rate) with never more than 75 or less than 42 points in a game, and finished with a 50% lead percentage overall. Her footwork was phenomenal, and she used her size well, getting through the narrowest of gaps but also playing close to opposing blockers, avoiding hits and staying away from danger (important when you are virtually always the smallest skater on the track).

Read Beck Wise's Victorian vs. Toronto game recap for DNN (featuring photos by Donalee Eiri).

Read Beck Wise’s Victorian vs. Toronto game recap for DNN (featuring photos by Donalee Eiri).

She did get help from the rest of the rotation at timely moments as well. Bala Reina had a hot and cold tournament: absolutely dominant against Sacred City  (79 points, 6.2 points per jam, and a 62% lead percentage) and Boston (82, 6.8, 42%), she was completely neutralized against Atlanta, but bounced back against Victorian. Co-captain Dusty had her strongest game against Boston, where her jukey, scrappy style worked well (she has a knack for keeping her game in the middle of the track, avoiding the outside/inside lane drag backs that Boston was so proficient at). She led the team with a 56% lead percentage in that game and also managed 50 points (5.6 PPJ).

Despite running out of gas at the end against Melbourne (they led for much of the first half and went into the break tied at 75, but looked simply exhausted for much of the second half), it was nothing less than a phenomenal weekend for Toronto Roller Derby. Two major upsets and a team-defining performance against one of the sport’s best teams in Atlanta, topped off by a marquee international showdown with Australia’s top team, has put ToRD clearly into the roller derby spotlight, a spotlight that has often skipped over the city and its league. And, it should be noted, they did it while facing adversity as well, losing three skaters to injury in the week leading up to their departure for Divisionals (veteran blocker Rebel Rock-It, second-year jammer Kookie Doe, and long-time, on-track leader Tara Part).

During the last Team Canada tryouts, many felt that Toronto skaters were overlooked (I imagined an audible gasp could be heard from the east-coast derby community when Nasher the Smasher wasn’t even shortlisted); with another World Cup on the horizon and national team tryouts coming up, you get a feeling that won’t be happening again. It’s been a long road, but Toronto has finally arrived at the highest level of flat track roller derby.

Terminal City Climbs Three Spots in Second WFTDA Divisional Playoff

Texas, Philly and Angel City are heading to Milwaukee.

Texas, Philly and Angel City are heading to Milwaukee.

The second Canadian and third international team in WFTDA playoff history, acquitted itself well this weekend in Richmond, Virginia, at the second Divisional tournament in the WFTDA 2013 Big Five season. Scoring an upset in their Friday night opener to book a bout against the historic Texas Rollergirls in the quarter finals (one of their stated goals of the weekend), Vancouver’s Terminal City All Stars went 1 – 1 in the consolation round to jump three spots, finishing 7th in the Division.

Read the blow-by-blow recap by Ogden Smash on Derby News Network (featuring the photography of Jennifer M. Ramos)

Read the blow-by-blow recap of Terminal City vs. Tampa by Ogden Smash on Derby News Network. (Featuring the photography of Jennifer M. Ramos)

Terminal City laid its cards on the table on the opening jam of their first game, using their vaunted star-pass strategy to ensure no more than a four-point pick up for Tampa, who took the first lead of the game. Unfazed, Terminal City quickly jumped back in front, gaining a lead that they would not relent, yet they would never really be able to put away a scrappy Tampa team either as they would be virtually tied in second half scoring, with Terminal City holding on for the 180-154 upset. Vancouver stuck with a strict lineup all weekend, using a four-jammer rotation of Kim Janna, Evada Peron, Bobbi Barbarich and luludemon. The consistency and variety of their jammers allowed them to provide a varied offense that kept defenses guessing.

While they were clearly overmatched against Texas, they nonetheless put in an outstanding effort and found significant success offensively, able to score 125 points against the perennial powerhouses and founders of the modern, flat track version of the sport. While Terminal City’s lines were fairly consistent on the weekend (and the bench kept fairly short), pack penalties—particularly against Texas—kept things varied. Pivots Buffy Sainte Fury, Scarlett Bloodbath and Kim Mackenzie were excellent all weekend: always hyper aware of what was shaping up and quick to grab the star when necessary. They also got very consistent pack work from Lisa Suggitt, Jocelyn Ingram, Flower Plow’her and Megan Griffith.

Read the blow-by-blow recap by Justice Feelgood Marshall for Derby News Network.

Read the blow-by-blow recap of Terminal City vs. Jacksonville by Justice Feelgood Marshall for Derby News Network.

The first consolation round showdown with Jacksonville was a fast-paced and fairly even bout that Jacksonville took control of early. Despite playing their cleanest game of the weekend, Terminal City could not catch Jacksonville after they took an early lead. Trading jams back and forth throughout and staying relatively clean, the teams put on a show that concluded as one of the best games of the weekend, with Jacksonville winning narrowly 162-127.

And finally, after a slow start against New Hampshire in the 7th place game, Terminal City turned it around to dominate. The jammers had a rough go at it in the early going, facing tough New Hampshire defensive walls. Both luludemon and Kim Janna had tough times penetrating, while Evada was able to juke around the strong formations. Eventually, Terminal City was able to capitalize on New Hampshire mistakes and began to draw penalties (and were dominant on power jams). Fantastically played back-to-back power jams late in the 1st period (the second of which featured luludemon scoring 29 points while Suggitt, Plow’her, Scarlett Bloodbath and Ash Richardson decimated the New Hampshire pack by dominating pack definition and sending all four opposing blockers to the box), put the game away (they’d run away with a 250-154 win).

Read the blow-by-blow recap of Terminal City vs. New Hampshire by Danger (ismymiddlename) on Derby News Network. (Featuring photography by Tom Klubens)

Read the blow-by-blow recap of Terminal City vs. New Hampshire by Danger (ismymiddlename) on Derby News Network. (Featuring photography by Tom Klubens)

While their consistent pack work was huge in their success, the varied offense was key to their game. Each of the four primary jammers had moments to excel, and each had moments when her particular skill set shone. For example, luludemon, who struggled against Texas and even Tampa, was dominant against New Hampshire (76 points) and Jacksonville (58). While Evada Peron found her jukey style better suited against the impenetrable TXRG defense (she led with 41 points) and Tampa (where she dominated with 83 points, a +76 jammer plus/minus, and a 90% lead percentage). The powerful Barbarich and athletic Janna, despite never leading the team in scoring, may have provided the most consistent performances of the weekend, with both managing above 30% lead percentages against Texas, and Janna scoring 50 points on a 60% lead percentage in the opener against Tampa, and Barbarich providing an outstanding well-rounded performance against New Hampshire in the placement clincher (72 points on 80% lead percentage).

It was an impressive WFTDA playoff debut for Terminal City, a performance that will propel them even higher up the rankings than they have already climbed this season (these games count toward next season’s rankings, and because they are playoff games, have a greater weight). If they hadn’t already made a names for themselves, Vancouver’s Terminal City All Stars certainly have now.

**Catch all the games archived at WFTDA.TV.

**Read full game recaps on the Derby News Network.

2013 WFTDA Playoff Preview: Can Con Edition!

The 2013 WFTDA Playoffs will feature five international teams, including three from Canada.

The 2013 WFTDA playoffs will feature five international teams, including three from Canada.

On September 24, 2010, in White Plains, New York, Montreal Roller Derby’s New Skids on the Block would make history, becoming the first non-American team to play in the WFTDA playoffs, setting off the international era of flat track roller derby. That year Montreal entered the Eastern Regionals ranked 6th, setting up an opening quarterfinal showdown against their long-time (but friendly) rivals, the Boston Massacre. The Skids would lose the game and finish 7th in the Regional tournament. The event, boutcast on Derby News Network and watched widely in Canada, inspired a growth of competitive derby in this country and abroad that continues to this day.

Four years later and Montreal has qualified for its fourth consecutive WFTDA playoff. But this year they are not alone, joined by Vancouver’s Terminal City All Stars and Toronto’s CN Power as Canadian representatives. And the influence of that game stretches even further beyond the borders of the great white north, with the Canuck contingent representing just the tip of the international iceberg. London Rollergirls London Brawling are back for their third stint in the playoffs, and this year sees Australia’s first team, Melbourne’s Victorian Roller Derby All Stars, joining the fray.

Fittingly, Montreal will lead the way this Big Five season, being the first Canadian team in action this coming weekend in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The new divisional system means that old regional rivalries have been thrown out the window, leaving teams squaring off based on a purely competitive basis. Montreal roared up the rankings in 2013 to end the regular season at a historic high 8th in the WFTDA, giving them a second seed in their divisional playoff. The favourable seeding allows them a bye straight into the quarterfinals, where they will await the winners of a Wasatch (Salt Lake City) vs. Grand Raggidy (Grand Rapids) qualifying round showdown (Friday, September 6 at 6:00 PM eastern).

2013 will be Montreal's fourth straight trip to the WFTDA playoffs.

2013 will be Montreal’s fourth straight trip to the WFTDA playoffs.

Montreal head coach Ewan Wotarmy was on that historic New Skids team. Since retired from on-track play, she has taken over coaching this season, a season that has seen Montreal reach new highs in terms of rankings. While the high seeding surpassed their goals, it wasn’t necessarily a surprise.

“We had set a very achievable goal of making 12th place earlier in the season,” Ewan explains, “but I had been giving the team point differential goals for our games based on us being an 8th place team.” As usual, the team came on strong early, kicking things off with impressive victories over Tri-City, Maine, Chicago Outfit, and Boston before a narrow loss to powerhouse Windy City.

The early-season form got Ewan thinking: “I had a feeling, based on some of those early games, that we could make second seed.” Following the rankings and keeping up on the new system became key in planning: “The new ranking system makes it a bit easier to understand where you stand in relation to other teams…Athletes are inherently goal driven – having a clear, specific goal (like getting 87% of the total points scored) rather than more vague goals (‘doing better than team X, who played this team in April’) is huge in helping the team focus.”

From the very beginning, Montreal has been known for its endurance and fitness, but this year, after three season of coming up just short in the playoffs, the team has taken things to a new level. “The team has been very focused this year, and working hard,” Ewan says. “They are fitter than ever and incredibly focused on making Championships.” On the track, she says that one of the biggest positive changes for the team has been with discipline and taking fewer penalties: “All of our players have really made strides in this area. Having more players on the track is a huge advantage for any team.”

For Terminal City and Toronto, the situation is much different. After a few years of steady, under-the-radar growth—including making big impressions in 2012— both Toronto and Terminal City put in late-season runs to just sneak into the Division 1 playoffs for the first time. Ranked 10th in each of their divisionals, the teams will have to play a qualifying round game to kick off the tournament. Terminal City opens against Tampa Roller Derby (Friday, September 13th at 12:00 PM eastern) while Toronto will open things up against Sacred City (Sacramento)  (Friday, September 27th, 10:00 PM pacific).

2013 TCRG All-Stars

This will be Terminal City’s debut in the WFTDA playoffs.

Despite the tough draw, each team was more than happy for the opportunity.

“We were ecstatic,” says Terminal City’s Coach Mack the Mouth of his team’s reaction to making the playoffs. “Everyone keeps a close eye on Derbytron, DNN, and Flat Track Stats to try to figure out where we are going to land (in WFTDA).  We were very confident that would make top 40, but actually seeing it was a whole other level of excitement.”

Vancouver’s top team kicked off 2013 with two ultra-tight games against Jet City (Everett Washington) (a one-point win) and Santa Cruz (a two-point loss) before reeling off three straight wins over Sac City, Treasure Valley and Silicon Valley. But Mack sees their progress this season as more than just a single-season story. “We had such a strong year last year, climbing the west rankings from 53rd to 12th,” he explains of their astonishing leap in 2012. “Our work habits, discipline and fitness commitments paid off, so it wasn’t difficult to cultivate that energy around the team for this year. We knew we could build off of that momentum and move to the next level.”

Toronto also had a strong start to the season, with one-sided wins against Killamazoo and Fort Wayne, before encouraging losses to high-ranked Naptown and Ohio. CN Power Co-Captain Dusty says the team was “elated” at the news of their spot in the playoffs. Bench Coach Reverend Ramirez says that the team simply “got things right” in 2013. “We said ‘let’s go for broke’ (this season) and play teams like Windy City and Naptown—all the high level teams we could.”

CN Power just slipped into their first Division 1 playoffs.

CN Power just slipped into their first Division 1 playoffs.

CN Power Bench Manager Sonic Doom points out that while learning from those tough experiences was important, the confidence gained was just as valuable: “What we needed to do was learn that we are capable of competing against those high level teams. While we still haven’t earned that major result, we’ve had moments where we’ve competed.” Specifically, he points to the second half of the game against Naptwon where the Indianapolis powerhouse only outscored Toronto by 12 points as a particular turning point.

None of the teams has really changed too much in terms of their training heading into the playoffs, as they all point out that it was increased training over the course of the year that allowed them to achieve their goals. Instead, each team has been refining their games and fitness levels.

“We are really drilling the areas that have been challenges for us this season,” Ewan says of Montreal’s practices. “All of the players are watching a lot of derby and visualizing their individual roll in our collective success this fall.”

Mack says that the focus of their practices has changed, “I do run more scrimmage/game type scenarios as opposed to drills. Creating as many game type situations has always been the direction I like to take.”

Similarly, Toronto’s amount and intensity of practices has been at an all-time high for all of 2013 so not much has changed in that regard. One major addition has been adding an off-skates practice at a gym where the players can focus on fitness as a team. But again, the management team cites the increased level of their opposition as the best preparation. “We took some lessons from the Skids, who got their asses kicked by a lot of high-level teams (early in their WFTDA careers),” says Ramirez: “You’re not going to go very far if you just keep beating low-level teams.”

Dusty adds that one of the most important changes for Toronto was trust. “I think this year the team has finally become a team who has learned to trust eachother, and trust our coaches and captains and the decisions we have to make for the team.”

Montreal cam up just short of Windy City in March, their first loss of the 2013. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Montreal cam up just short against Windy City in March, their first loss of the 2013 season. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Also, the teams are focusing inwards on sharpening their own games, without worrying too much about their opponents. “That being said, odds would be better for us if we were to play Grand Raggidy, given that they are currently lower ranked and have not played any top 25 teams this year,” Ewan says, pointing out that Wasatch has been playing tougher teams later in their schedule. “Either way, the Skids are going into the game with the intent of controlling it from the first jam until the last.”

“By chance, I got to watch Tampa play at ECDX versus Boston and Windy City, then again at Rollercon versus Sin City,” Mack says of Terminal City’s first round opponents. “They match up well with us; fit, smart, high track awareness team. We are excited to play them.”

CN Power has watched some video of Sacred City says Dusty and Ramirez. “They are a great defensive team,” Dusty points out. “They have big, but agile girls, which is a huge strength to have in derby. We have been working a lot on our offense for that game specifically.”

Just as Montreal’s appearance in the playoffs in 2010 had such a profound effect on the sport in this country, having three teams play in the Division 1 playoffs (not to mention Tri-City’s success in their D-2 tournament) will have an extraordinary impact as well; one that will be felt from coast to coast.

“It’s going to bring the national game to new levels,” says Ewan Wotarmy who also happens to be Team Canada’s head coach. “It’s great that the are teams in very different locations across the country, so the learning can easily be shared in scrimmage and in more formal bouts across Canada…As the sport continues to get more competitive, we will likely be better able to attract experienced athletes to the sport. Given the number of young Canadian women who, like myself, grew up on skates…we could have an international advantage in that, but we have to show these athletes that they have a competitive future in this sport.”

Terminal City went 2-1 at the 2013 Wild West Showdown in March. (Photo by Bob Ayers)

Terminal City went 2-1 at the 2013 Wild West Showdown in March. (Photo by Bob Ayers)

Mack the Mouth is also part of Team Canada’s coaching staff and also sees how this success could impact our national team directly: “It will make the Team Canada try-outs explode with skaters. It will help push more Canadian teams to apply for their WFTDA apprenticeship. And lets not forget Tri-City and Rideau Valley; I expect both of those teams to be pushing for Division 1 spots in 2014.”

Toronto’s Sonic Doom agrees that Canada’s impact on WFTDA is just beginning. “I expect the number of Canadian teams in the playoffs to triple next year,” he explains. While agreeing with Mack’s selections, he adds Hammer City to the list as a Division 2 team.

One of the biggest changes this season is that Canadian teams have somewhat lost that element of surprise. Montreal, in particular, is no longer seen as an underdog with many expecting them to advance to Championships this season. “I feel that we are still punching above our weight (literally and figuratively),” Ewan points out. “We certainly have an advantage going into the tournament, given that we are seeded second, but all the teams at these tournaments are really fantastic! This has been a year of many upsets in the WFTDA.” And they do have a tough bracket, joined by WFTDA stalwarts Denver and Rose City, but also Arch Rival, Ohio and their playoff rivals London.

Toronto narrowly lost to Ohio at the 2013 Quad City Chaos. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Toronto narrowly lost to Ohio at the 2013 Quad City Chaos. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Sonic Doom points out that while Toronto is new to the playoffs, they do have significant tournament experience, “We’re not unfamiliar with tournament play. We’ve done well at Brewhaha and ECDX and we host the Quad City Chaos every year (since 2010).”

What it all boils down to for these teams is hard work: It took hard work to get to this point and it’s going to take hard work to advance.

“We are seeing this as an opportunity, and opportunities don’t make themselves,” explains Ewan Wotarmy. “We have to rise to the occasion and shine that weekend. That’s not going to just happen on its own – but it will happen when we stay focused, play clean and work hard. I have faith in my team to do just that.”

Dusty is also brimming with an excited confidence at Toronto’s chances. “I know we just squeaked in there in the last quarter, and we all know we are coming in at the bottom, but we have something to prove, and we have nothing to lose, and those kinds of teams can be the most dangerous.”

*For a game-by-game preview, check out Derby News Network.

PLAYOFF PRIMER:

Montreal Roller Derby: New Skids on the BlockMontreal Roller Derby: The New Skids on the Block

Season Record: 10-4

WFTDA Ranking: 8th (2nd in their Divisional tournament)

First Game: VS. TBD (Wasatch or Grand Raggidy): Friday, September 6 at 6:00 PM eastern

Usual Suspects: Blockers: Jess Bandit, Smack Daddy, Bone Machine, Lil Mama. Jammers: Iron Wench, Georgia W. Tush.

Skaters to Watch: Blocker: Surgical Strike. Jammer: Greta Bobo

HELP THEM TRAVEL TO THE PLAYOFFS!

Terminal City All StarsTerminal City Roller Girls: Terminal City All Stars

Season Record: 5-4 (in WFTDA play, 8-4 overall)

WFTDA Ranking: 38th (10th in their Divisional)

First Game: VS. Tampa Roller Derby: Friday, September 13th at 12:00 PM eastern

Usual Suspects: Blockers: Kim Mackenzie (AKA: 8Mean Wheeler), Lisa Suggit (Rollergirl). Jammers: luludemon, Bobbi Barbarich (Beretta Lynch), Kim Janna.

Skaters to Watch: Blockers: Flow’erPlower, Scarlett Bloodbath, Jocelyn Ingram. Jammer: Evada Peron.

HELP THEM TRAVEL TO THE PLAYOFFS!

CN Power LogoToronto Roller Derby: CN Power

Season Record: 6-6 (in WFTDA play, 7-6 overall)

WFTDA Ranking: 39th (10th in their Divisional)

First Game: VS. Sacred City: Friday, September 27th, 10:00 AM pacific

Usual Suspects: Blockers: Nasher the Smasher, Dyna Hurtcha, Tara Part. Jammers: Dusty, Bambi.

Skaters to watch: Blockers: Bruiseberry Pie, Betty Bomber. Jammers: Kookie Doe, Bala Reina.

HELP THEM TRAVEL TO THE PLAYOFFS!

Canadian Power Rankings: August 1, 2013

Canadian Power Rankings: August 1st, 2013

TEAM (League) CHANGE NOTES (Rollergirl.ca /WFTDA rank)
1. New Skids on the Block (Montreal Roller Derby)NewSkidsLogo2012 - For once, Montreal seems to be peaking at the right time! Winners of three in a row, featuring a 400+ point victory over plunging Carolina and a two-game sweep of Charm and Houston at ECDX, the Skids have entered the Top 10 of the WFTDA rankings for the first time. (1 / 8).
2. Terminal City All Stars (Terminal City Roller Girls)Terminal City All Stars - Terminal City holds on to second spot after dominating the West Coast Dust Up, allowing them to slip back into  WFTDA’s Division 1 just in time for the playoffs. Their massive victories over Red Deer and Mainland Misfits were especially impressive. (3 / 38).
3. CN Power (Toronto Roller Derby)CN Power Logo - CN Power has put together their most consistent and impressive streak of the season that culminated in an upset victory over Bleeding Heartland in Indiana that essentially launched them into the WFTDA Division 1 playoffs. They jumped 10 spots in the current WFTDA ranking and are securely in second in the rollergirl.ca Canadian rankings. (2 / 39).
4. Tri-City Thunder (Tri-City Roller Girls)Tri-City Thunder Logo - A rough but tough loss to Cincinnati  was followed by a big victory over Windy City’s Second Wind. On the strength of their increasingly strong play, they have qualified for the WFTDA Division 2 playoffs. All of this despite being in the midst of a fairly significant rebuild. (4 / 60)
5. Rideau Valley Vixens (Rideau Valley Roller Girls)Vixens Logo - The Vixens fell to Maine before taking both games at ECDX (over Low Country and Dominion), but the wins weren’t quite enough to get them into the Division 2 playoffs (although after some teams pulled out of the tournament, they ended up missing out by only two spots). (5 / 67)
6. Belladonnas (Red Deer Roller Derby Association)Belladonnas Logo - After debuting in the rankings, The Belladonnas hold on to sixth spot for the second straight rankings. They followed up their Flat Track Fever tournament win with a 4-1 run (their only loss coming to Terminal City) including a dominant victory over the rising Mainland Misfits. (9 / -)
7. Calgary All Stars (Calgary Roller Derby Association)

Calgary All Stars Logo

+1 (8th) Calgary continues their impressive rise in the power rankings. Coming from seemingly nowhere at the start of the season, Calgary moves up yet another spot after big victories over St. Albert (Heavenly Rollers) and Regina (Sugar Skulls). They also, impressively, defeated Team Saskatchewan. (13 / -)
8. Misfit Militia (Misfit Militia Roller Derby)
Misfit Militia Logo
(unranked) After separating from their previous league, the Misfit Militia slipped out of the Top 10. A thoroughly dominant performance at the RDAC Easterns was somewhat hard to read given their roster contained borrowed players, but the incredibly impressive victory over Royal City’s all stars confirmed Misfit Militia’s spot. (6 / -)
9. The Eh! Team (Hammer City Roller Girls)Hammer City Logo (unranked) After years in the wilderness, the Hammer City Roller Girls are back. After going 2-6 to start the WFTDA season, Hammer City has roared back and has won their past three games in dominant fashion (over Glass City, Little Steel Derby Girls, and Hudson Valley). One of the fastest rising teams in the WFTDA rankings this season, they have leaped 40 spots (!) since the beginning of 2013. (11 / 93)
10. Sugar Skulls (Pile O’ Bones Roller Derby Club)Sugar Skulls Derby LOGO -3 (7th)  Regina’s Sugar Skulls slip due mainly to inactivity, but also because of a fairly one-sided loss to Calgary (their only action since the last ranking). (18 / -)

Hammer City LogoWhile the top six remains unchanged, this was, nonetheless, the most contentious power rankings yet! The bottom four got completely shifted around, seeing two teams dropped from the rankings all together. Terminal City just barely held on to their spot ahead of ToRD’s CN Power. Calgary’s fast and furious rise has them pushing up against and fighting for entry into one of those top six spots. E-Ville slips out of the Top 10 due to inactivity and Saskatoon slips out due to slowed activity as well, but also due to a surprising loss to Swift Current’s Redneck Betties (Swift Current wasn’t even on the Power Rankings radar, but we’ve certainly taken notice now).  Thunder and Vixens hold their respective spots as we near a highly anticipated fall showdown between these two WFTDA Division 2 teams.

But change has come once again to the Power Rankings. After years of rebuilding and relative obscurity, the Hammer City Roller Girls are back and doing well at all levels (from their B-team to their farm team to their WFTDA team). Since joining the WFTDA in 2009, the Eh! Team had compiled an overall record of 4-27 before coming in to the 2013 season. This year, they’ve gone 5-6 against tougher competition and seem to show no signs of slowing.  Reentering the Top 10 are the Misfit Militia, who had briefly slipped out of the Power Rankings after some organizational shifting and a split from their original league. Reborn as an independent team, they have looked dominant ever since, going 4-0 and outscoring their opposition by an astonishing 1831-195 over that span.

ON THE BUBBLE

Dolly Rogers (Capital City Derby Dolls)

Anarchy Angels (Mainland Misfits Roller Derby)

The Mindfox (Saskatoon Roller Derby League)

E-Ville Dead (E-Ville Roller Derby)

Saskatoon and E-Ville remain on the bubble after slipping out of the Top 10, for E-Ville it may just be a matter of getting back into action and showing that they haven’t lost a step, while Saskatoon, since winning RDAC Nationals early in 2013, has seen the rest of its region catch up and in some cases surpass them. The Dolly Rogers started as a team to watch and remains strongly on the bubble as impressive performances keep piling up, and the Anarchy Angels also follow the Dolly Rogers to the bubble and are one big upset away from making the leap.

TEAMS TO WATCHMuddy River Logo

Kootenay Kannibelles (West Kootenay Roller Derby)

Timber Rollers (Forest City Derby Girls)

Lumbersmacks (Muddy River Rollers)

Redneck Betties (South West Saskatchewan Roller Derby Association)

We’ve been watching the rebuilding Kootenay Kannibelles all season, but their relative lack of activity keeps them from advancing. Similarly, Forest City’s all stars have been on the radar all season, but their early season success hasn’t quite translated into late season dominance yet.  The first new team to the Rankings Crew’s watchlist is Muddy River’s Lumbersmacks (Moncton, New Brunswick) who remain the premier team on Canada’s East Coast (staying just a bit ahead of Saint John’s Fog City Rollers); since an impressively narrow loss to Montreal’s Sexpos in April, the Lumbersmacks have put together a string of five straight victories concluding with a surprisingly one-sided win over Quebec’s Les Duchesses (422-161) just a few weeks ago. Finally, Swift Current’s Redneck Betties jump into our sights after an upset over previously ranked Mindfox (Saskatooon) followed by a dismantling of Billings (Montana) and a tight loss to a very talented Calgary house league team.

*These rankings were compiled by the Derby Nerd, Captain Lou El Bammo, and Dick Pounder. Sadly, we have had to say goodbye to original Crew Member Andi Struction. Stay tuned in the coming months for a big announcement about a potential new member of the Power Rankings Crew!

*Read the Canadian Power Rankings preview and explanation here.

*Missed the June 1st Power Rankings post? Get caught up here.

-Respectful disagreement and debate is encouraged!-

Canadian Power Rankings: June 1, 2013 (Second Quarter)

Canadian Power Rankings: June 1st, 2013 (Second Quarter)

TEAM (League) CHANGE NOTES (Rollergirl.ca /WFTDA rank)
1. New Skids on the Block (Montreal Roller Derby)NewSkidsLogo2012 - Still the best until someone can knock them off, and while CN Power pushed them to the limit in Montreal, the Skids put in strong performances in losses to Bay Area and Philly, and managed a big win over Santa Cruz. They also climbed two spots in the latest WFTDA rankings. (1 / 15).
2. Terminal City All Stars (Terminal City Roller Girls)Terminal City All Stars - Terminal City clings to second spot despite slipping down into  WFTDA’s Division 2. Strong showings in losses to higher ranked Victorian and Sacred City allow them to hold their spot, despite the big loss to London and a so-so win over Silicon Valley. (3 / 43).
3. CN Power (Toronto Roller Derby)CN Power Logo - CN Power is starting to play with a lot more consistency, but their impressive performances in losses to higher ranked Montreal and Cincinnati were not enough to pull them into second. (2 / 49).
4. Tri-City Thunder (Tri-City Roller Girls)Tri-City Thunder Logo - The Thunder finally started rolling at Spring Roll, losing to CT Roller Girls before pulling out a big, surprising victory over the Chicago Outfit. That victory allows them to hold on to their position. They still cling to a WFTDA Division 2 playoff spot as well. (4 / 56)
5. Rideau Valley Vixens (Rideau Valley Roller Girls)Vixens Logo - The Vixens have not been able to build on their early season success and stalled somewhat in the second quarter losing to New Hampshire and narrowly defeating River City, which more than likely ended their chances at a WFTDA playoff spot this season. (5 / 73)
6. Belladonnas (Red Deer Roller Derby Association)Belladonnas Logo (unranked) The Belladonnas finally got on the track in 2013 and they lived up to preseason expectations, surging into the rankings with an impressive tournament victory at Flat Track Fever (defeating Calgary, The Sugar Skulls and The Mindfox in the process). (8 / -)
7. Sugar Skulls (Pile O’ Bones Roller Derby Club)Sugar Skulls Derby LOGO - The Regina skaters hold their spot after a solid performance at Flat Track Fever. They did manage a win over the Belladonnas in the preliminary round of the tournament, but Red Deer defeated the Sugar Skulls later in the tournament. (12 / -)
8. Calgary All Stars: Calgary Roller Derby AssociationCalgary All Stars Logo (unranked) After years of rolling under the radar, Calgary has  stepped things up in 2013 and is one of the more exciting teams in Canada right now. They had a strong showing at Flat Track Fever and traveled to Saskatoon and defeated The Mind Fox despite missing key players. A team on rise. (13 / -)
9. The Mind Fox (Saskatoon Roller Derby League)mindfoxlogo -3 (6th) The Mind Fox exploded out of the gates in 2013, but as the season has progressed, the rest of the west has started to catch up and even pass them. They defeated E-Ville, but suffered losses to the Belladonnas and Calgary that have dropped them. (14 / -)
10. E-Ville Dead (E-Ville Roller Derby)

E-Ville Logo

-  Despite rosters losses, this team keeps rolling along. They had a solid performance at Flat Track Fever (including trading wins with the Mind Fox) that has allowed them to cling to their Top 10 spot. (10 / -)

Belladonnas LogoThe main story may be that there wasn’t too much change in the Power Rankings this quarter (the Top 5 remains completely unchanged), despite the fact that two teams dropped out of the Top 10. The West Kootenay Kannibelles have been slipping since their peak at RDAC Westerns in 2012. The had a strong showing at Spokarnage, but against untested teams, and still are sitting on that loss to current #10 E-Ville. And due to some upheaval in Alliston (and a lack of action), the Misfit Militia have also slipped out of the Top 10. The recently separated from their league (the Renegade Derby Dames) to go it alone, and it remains to be seen how they will respond to this change. They did recently score a large victory over unranked Les Duchesses (Quebec), but their lack of action against top-level competition drops them.

Which, of course, means that we can say hello to two new teams. First off, Calgary enters the Top 10 in the 8th position. Formerly considered a “bubble” team, Calgary is the fastest climbing team in Canada right now and it seemed to just be a matter of time before they cracked this list. After years of relative competitive obscurity, it’s been fascinating to watch the rise. Also surging into the Top 10 are Red Deer’s Belladonnas. Despite a late start to 2013, they haven’t seemed to have lost a step from their strong 2012 and handily won Flat Track Fever. They followed that up with a thoroughly dominant performance against an overmatched St. Albert.Hammer City Logo

ON THE BUBBLE

Not too much shift here either. Forest City’s loss to Capital City, despite the fact that they were very shorthanded, means that the Timber Rollers fail to progress here, but their strong performances this season (including a recent win over Border City) keep them hanging out on the bubble. The West Kootenay Roller Derby’s Kannibelles fall from the Top 10 but remain on the bubble after their impressive performance at Spokarnage. Finally, the Hammer City Roller Girls continue their top season ever in the WFTDA (their three WFTDA victories this season represents a massive jump from the one they’d won in the last three years). Also quite tellingly, their B-team and Fresh Meat team have been putting in strong performances, speaking to an ever-strengthening base.

TEAMS TO WATCH

Word out of the west is that that Mainland Misfits’ Anarchy Angels (Cloverdale, BC) remain a team to watch: they went 2-2 at Spokarnage and soundly defeated The Raggedy Rollers. Out of the east, Capital City’s Dolly Rogers (Ottawa) have been slowly putting together a string of solid results and most recently defeated Forest City’s Timber Rollers to catch the attention of the rankings crew.

*These rankings were compiled by the Derby Nerd, Captain Lou El Bammo, Dick Pounder and Andi Struction.

*Read the Canadian Power Rankings preview and explanation here.

*Missed the first quarter Power Rankings post? Get caught up here.

-Respectful disagreement and debate is encouraged!-

Canadian Power Rankings: April 1, 2013

Canadian Power Rankings: April 1st, 2013 (First Quarter)

TEAM (League) CHANGE NOTES (Rollergirl.ca /WFTDA rank)
1. New Skids on the Block (Montreal Roller Derby)NewSkidsLogo2012 - They’ve unquestionably been the best team in the country since 2010, and they have yet to be challenged; strong wins to kick off 2013 (they are 4-1) and a well-played loss to Windy City mean that they remain the cream of the crop in Canadian roller derby (1 / 17).
2. Terminal City All Stars (Terminal City Roller Girls)Terminal City All Stars - Off to a solid 3-1 start to 2013, consistency allows this team to hold on to second spot (their only loss so far was a two-pointer to Santa Cruz). The fastest rising team in WFTDA throughout 2012, they are currently the only Canadian team other than Montreal in WFTDA’s Division 1 (2 / 39).
3. CN Power (Toronto Roller Derby)CN Power Logo - A lack of consistency (losses to beatable teams in Grand Rapids and Rideau Valley, yet a fantastic performance against Ohio) has CNP trapped at third. Firmly in a Division 2 playoff spot, they will need more consistent performances to move into Division 1 and climb up these rankings (3 / 49).
4. Tri-City Thunder (Tri-City Roller Girls)Tri-City Thunder Logo - Only one game in 2013 so far (a loss to Montreal), the team holds their fourth spot for now, but will have to prove themselves to keep it. Massive roster changes mean that Thunder will need solid performances against upcoming opponents (including Killamazoo and Cincinnati) to hold onto this position. (4 / 50)
5. Rideau Valley Vixens (Rideau Valley Roller Girls)Vixens Logo - A recent huge upset over CN Power was somewhat balanced out by a surprising collapse against Ohio, but they are definitely a team trending upward, and wins against scheduled opponents like New Hampshire and Tri-City will certainly propel them higher. (5 / 71)
6. The Mind Fox (Saskatoon Roller Derby League)mindfoxlogo - A fantastic performance at RDAC Nationals has this team leaping up the rankings. Clearly the dominant team of the tournament, they will have a chance to hold this spot at the upcoming Flat Track Fever. While the Top 5 is locked in pretty solidly, right now, The Mind Fox seems to have the best chance to make a run for it (11 / -).
7. Sugar Skulls (Pile O’ Bones Roller Derby Club)Sugar Skulls Derby LOGO - Another team trending upward; impressive second place finish at RDAC Nationals including a big win over E-Ville solidified this spot. However, there are a lot of teams gunning for them, and a strong performance at Flat Track Fever would help them solidify their ranking.(13 / -)
8. Misfit Militia (Renegade Derby Dames)

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

- Like the Thunder, the Misfit Militia are given the benefit of the doubt due to a lack of activity so far in 2013. After a breakout 2012, this spot is the Militia’s to lose, and with games only scheduled against Les Duchesses (Quebec) and Royal City, they will need to make a big impression in those games. (8 / -)
9. E-Ville Dead (E-Ville Roller Derby)E-Ville - A team trending downward right now on the backs of some transfers and roster changes, they hold this spot based on a strong third place performance at RDAC Nationals including last-jam victory over the Kannibelles; the upcoming Flat Track Fever should say a lot about the direction they are heading in (10 / -).
10. Kootenay Kannibelles (West Kootenay Roller Derby)kannibelles Logo - Another western team that seems to be trending downward  after a huge roster shakeup following a very successful 2012 season. The depth of this league will be tested in 2013 as the Kannibelles rebuild. A tough loss to E-Ville at RDAC knocks them to the bottom of the Top 10. (7 / -)

ON THE BUBBLE

Timber Rollers LogoWhile there are a number of teams that came up in the discussion of this opening power ranking, a few teams that we feel could have a very real impact on these rankings in 2013 are the CRDA All Stars (Calgary Roller Derby Association), The Belladonnas (Red Deer Roller Derby Association), and the Timber Rollers (Forest City Derby Girls).

Calgary and Forest City are both WFTDA apprentice leagues who have refocused their leagues recently and committed to producing top-level travel team rosters.  Recent transfers to Calgary have provided bench depth and leadership, while Forest City has restructured their league so that the travel team has a unique roster, and they’ve internally developed some strong new skaters who have helped push this team to a 3-0 start in 2013.

Red Deer is another team to watch that has a deep bench. The Belladonnas feature three skaters who were members of Team crdaallstars_logoCanada at the inaugural World Cup, and are on the bubble because of a lack of activity this year, and also inconsistency last year: a thrilling performance a Flat Track Fever followed by a disappointing RDAC Westerns. Nonetheless, they are a team that has the depth to work its way back up the rankings. They, along with with Calgary, have a huge opportunity to make an impression in the upcoming Flat Track Fever.

The Canadian Power Rankings will be updated on July 1st.

These rankings were compiled by the Derby Nerd, Captain Lou El Bammo, Dick Pounder and Andi Struction.

Read the Canadian Power Rankings preview and explanation here.

Respectful disagreement and debate is encouraged!