Vicious Dishes

Beast of the East 2011: Daughters Go Undefeated to Tame the Beast

The top three teams at the 2011 Beast of the East (Slaughter Daughters, Gore-Gore Rollergirls and the Death Track Dolls). (Photography by Derek Lang)

Last year, at the 2010 Beast of the East, amidst all of that Montreal dominance, there were some major surprises. The Toronto Roller Derby League had a terrible tournament by their own standards, with the Smoke City Betties, Death Track Dolls (both 0-2), and Chicks Ahoy! (1-2) all eliminated unceremoniously in the first round. Similarly, Rideau Valley’s Slaughter Daughters—who had an amazing 2009 and came into the tournament with high hopes—were two and done on Saturday. At the 2011 Beast of the East it was a different story, as the Ontario teams were the talk of the tournament and the Slaughter Daughters would be the only squad to go through both days undefeated to deservedly hoist the award, that to trophy-designer Tommy Toxic’s credit, was the by far the most beastly yet created.

La Racaille (MTLRD) and The Derby Debutantes (GTAR) face off in the double elimination round.

DOUBLE ELIMINATION ROUND

The cliché is that records are made to be broken, and although coming into the tournament there was a lot of talk about parity among the top teams, records were set and then broken continuously on day one. It began right with the opening game of the tournament when the GTAR’s Derby Debutantes became the third team to lay down 100 points in a BOE bout with a 124-4 victory against BOE newcomers Les Duchesses de Quebec (who were playing their first-ever bout). It was just the beginning of record setting scores as four teams would be capable of putting down 100 points (the Debutantes would become the first team to have 100 points scored for and against in the same tournament). When all was said and done, it was Montreal’s new-look Contrabanditas setting all of the records in a 148-0 shutout against the GTAR’s Chrome Mollys (who were the second of three teams playing in their first BOE).

For the most part, the opening bouts of the double elimination round went as expected; if there was an upset, it would be the Death Track Dolls victory over the defending champion Filles du Roi (who were tracking an almost unrecognizably young lineup after MTLRD’s off season shake-up)—a bit of foreshadowing of the Dolls-as-Montreal-killers on the weekend. The top game of the opening round easily went to the much anticipated matchup between the Vicious Dishes and the Gore-Gore Rollergirls. Two of the pre-tournament favourites—the top teams from Tri-City and ToRD—did not disappoint. Although the two teams had never played before, there was considerable history built up in recent, tense bouts between the all star teams of the two leagues. This one came down to the final jam, with the Dishes pulling out a thrilling two-point victory.

The Dishes would also be involved in another close first round bout, on the losing end this time to the Ditas (27-21) although both teams would make it through to the round of eight. Joining them in the quarterfinals were the Ditas’ MTLRD league mates La Racaille (who went 2-0), and defending champs FDR who had to win a qualification showdown against the Derby Debutantes. The quarters were rounded out by the Slaughter Daughters and three Toronto teams, the perennial powerhouses Gore-Gore Rollergirls along with Chicks Ahoy! (first quarterfinal experience since 2008), and the Death Track Dolls who returned to the second round for the first time since 2009.

ToRD's Gore-Gore Rollergirls saved their best for day two, scoring one-sided victories in both the quarter and semifinals.

PLAYOFFS

Quarterfinals

From the opening bout of the quarterfinals, it was clear that the top teams were able to step it up to another level when it mattered most. MTLRD’s La Racaille, who had a solid opening day, were dominated by the considerably more experienced Gores, 88-11, marking the first time that La Racaille, the most successful team in the tournament’s early history, would not qualify for the final. Two of the other bouts were somewhat one-sided as well, with the Slaughter Daughters throwing down their “A” game in a 71-3 victory, knocking out the defending champion Filles du Roi; similarly, pre-tournament favourites the Vicious Dishes just couldn’t ever wrestle momentum away from a very physical, very tight Chicks Ahoy! team, going down 48-8, in what was an extremely close bout until the Chicks were able to pull away on the strength of a well-executed power jam with Dyna Hurtcha sporting the star.

ToRD's Death Track Dolls recorded the biggest upset of the tournament in their quarterfinal win over MTLRD's Les Contrabanditas.

But it was the Death Track Dolls and Les Contrabanditas who would provide the greatest excitement in the second round. Montreal’s hopes were clearly on the backs of the experienced Ditas, who looked to be the strongest, most consistent team in day one of the tournament. The Dolls, on the other hand, were already pleased with a return to the second round of competition, which, regardless of what happened, qualified as a success. Not surprisingly, the experienced team from Toronto came into the bout loose and relaxed; taking advantage of early penalty troubles from the Ditas, the Death Track Dolls rode some consistent pack work and fine jamming from Land Shark and breakout player Santilly In Yo Face to an early lead that they would hold onto in the face of a considerable push back at the end of the bout, holding on for the 58-49 upset to push three of the four Toronto teams into the semifinals.

The Slaughter Daughters' bench watches the scoreboard during the final jam of the 2011 Beast of the East.

Semifinals

In the first all-ToRD semifinal, the Death Track Dolls just couldn’t summon the kind of performance that had led them to their win over the Ditas, what may have been the biggest victory in the team’s history. After a so-so Saturday that saw them hold on for a victory over Thames Fatales in a qualifying bout, the Gore-Gore Rollergirls continued to step it up on Sunday. They’d had some slow starts in the first round and certainly remedied that, pulling away from the Dolls early to qualify for their first ever BOE final. It was vindication of sorts for the team that has been the tops outside of Montreal for the past two years.

In the second semifinal, the Chicks Ahoy! continued their strong play on Sunday, creeping out to a slim 8-4 lead in what was another scrappy and defensive performance from the ToRD team. But the Slaughter Daughters showed the same kind of focus and determination that they had all tournament and stayed close, taking their first lead, 11-9, at the midway point of the bout. It would remain close through to the very end, with both teams displaying fantastic pace control defensively to keep things tight and low scoring. It was 19-19 with just under two minutes left when Soul Rekker took a lead on a hard-fought, slow moving jam that allowed her to pick up a double grand slam to break the stalemate and give the Daughters a 10-point lead that they defended, riding a 33-19 victory to advance to the finals.

RVRG's Slaughter Daughters: 2011 Beast of the East champions

Finals

The Death Track Dolls capped off a hugely successful tournament with a historic 42-31 victory over their ToRD rivals, Chicks Ahoy!, in the third place bout. The Chicks didn’t have much left in the tank, their previous two bouts being defensive grinders against very physical opponents. For the Dolls, it represented their first victory over the Chicks after some very close bouts over the past two seasons, and their best showing in this tournament.

When all was said and done, and 14 teams fell away, it was clear that the two best teams of the tournament remained. Rideau Valley’s Slaughter Daughters and ToRD’s Gore-Gore Rollergirls were set to make history as the combatants in the first ever all-Ontario final. The final lived up to and eventually surpassed all possible expectations, coming down to a remarkable final jam. Five-on-five these two teams were well matched, keeping the crowd guessing through numerous lead changes (including three on a Ripper A. Part vs. Bambi jam that had no lead called). What it came down to was special teams and who could take advantage on power jams. Despite leading by 16 at the start of the final jam, the Gore’s jammer Bambi took her fourth minor on her initial scoring pass to send the inexhaustible Soul Rekker on a power jam. Semi Precious and Assassinista led an indestructible trap that kept the pack crawling, and with only 9 seconds left, Soul Rekker was finally able to complete the comeback and take the 20110 Beast of the east 87-85. (*There seemed to be some confusion about scoring at the end, although it looked like Rekker made four, five-point scoring passes).

The Daughters were more than worthy champs, facing any style of play they encountered with confidence and adaptability. They had extraordinary depth at jammer (easily the top 1-2-3 jammer rotation in the tourney), and played special teams simply, but masterfully, owning pace lines and setting hard traps.

The Nerd's 2011 MVP: Semi Precious of the Slaughter Daughters

THE NERD’S PICKS

MVP: Semi Precious (Slaughter Daughters)

After last year’s pack-play-evolution, it was obvious that the team with the top pack would do very well this weekend: that was certainly the case with the champion Slaughter Daughters who could dole out timely punishing hits, positionally block one-on-one with the best of them, and set devastating traps. At the centre of it all was Semi Precious. Big-time recognition has been a long-time coming for this extraordinary blocker.

Breakout Player: Assassinista (Slaughter Daughters)

There were at least a few players in the running for this one, but once again, the packs were the difference all weekend and Assassinista was undeniably a force in the Daughters’ championship pack. This is almost a cumulative recognition for Assassinista whose play for both her hometeam and the travel team Vixens has been turning a lot of heads for some time. This weekend, she proved that she deserves recognition among the elite.

The Nerd's 2011 Breakout Team: The Death Track Dolls (ToRD)

Breakout Team: The Death Track Dolls (ToRD)

In 2009, Dolls’ star jammer Land Shark took home this recognition as a player; two years later, and she’s leading her team to the award. The Dolls recorded an early minor upset over a young FDR squad, and then looked lacklustre in a loss against leaguemates, the Chicks Ahoy!, but things got rolling in a must-win, 84-8 surprisingly dominant victory against the Riot Squad. A major upset over Les Contrabanditas in the quarterfinals, and a third place rematch win over the Chicks cemented this teams’ status as breakout team of the tourney.

* The Beast of the East in its entirety was boutcast live by Canuck Derby TV and has been archived for your viewing pleasure.  Keep an eye out for layer9′s trackside archive as well.

***A special thanks to Montreal Roller Derby who hosted another amazing tournament and Canuck Derby TV for making sure that everyone could see it.

2011 Beast of the East: Preview

This is the fourth edition of the important tournament.

Although the role of the Beast of the East tournament has shifted over the years, its value, and its importance in the development of a stable, sustainable Canadian roller derby community is undeniable. More and more the shift in focus in roller derby in general is toward the travel teams: the teams striving to compete at WFTDA’s highest level. All over North America the growing trend is for more travel-team based tournaments as a way in which to get a handful of sanctioned bouts done in a short period of time (necessitated by the realities of travel expenses, scheduling and the other trivialities that get in the way of a rollergirl’s derby life). So to have a tournament devoted solely to hometeams is becoming an increasing rarity; it also casts an aura of levity around the event: it becomes as much about a celebration of the sport than anything else. But that’s not to imply that teams don’t want to win (they do), and certainly there is a particular expectation in the air this year, as the recalibration of the Montreal Roller Derby League means that its new-look hometeams will not be as formidable a juggernaut as they have been in the history of this tournament, and certainly were last year.

In the beginning the Beast was an opportunity to learn the sport, both on and off the track. On the Friday before the inaugural 2008 tournament, the participants gathered for a viewing of Hell on Wheels, the documentary that tracks roller derby’s revival at the turn of the millennium, and inadvertently the birth of the flat track version of the sport. By 2010, when all three of Montreal’s hometeams completely dominated the tournament, the Beast had become an opportunity for Montreal to introduce the ever-evolving strategies of the sport that they’d learned toiling at the front lines of roller derby’s highest competitive levels. There was a distinct culture shift last year: it became evident that to remain competitive at flat track roller derby, it was necessary to reach for a higher level of physical training and strategic consideration.

One year later, it will be fascinating to see how the teams have adapted; which teams accepted the formidable challenge and have stepped up their games.

THE COMPETITION

Hammer City's absence will be felt (The Death Row Dames were quarterfinalists in 2010). (Photo by Derek Lang)

The noticeable absence this year is Hammer City. Three HCRG teams have played in the Beast of the East, with the Harlots winning the first BOE in 2008, and even last year they were a serious presence as the Death Row Dames went on a spirited run to the quarterfinals. The league has refocused, and reshaped with a clearer focus on travel teams (word on the track is that the historic Harlots will be retained as a B-Team). Nevertheless, 13 teams will be returning from last year including six of the eight teams from the quarterfinals (Vermont’s Green Mountain Derby Dames are the other absent quarterfinalists). Three new teams will be debuting including fresh league additions in GTA (The Chrome Mollys) and Tri-City (The Total Knock Outs), while the newly formed Les Duchesses de Quebec will be making their bouting debut.

ToRD's Gore-Gore Rollergirls have been the top non-Montreal team for the last two years; this could be their opportunity. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

The biggest change in competition comes through Montreal’s realignment. All three of Montreal’s teams have qualified for the semifinals in every tournament (a run that has included all-Montreal finals in the last two tournaments, won by La Racaille and Les Filles du Roi respectively), but this year with the top fourteen players being lifted from their hometeams to play exclusively with the New Skids in the Block, there will obviously be some growing pains for the Montreal teams (only one team, La Racaille, has played with its new roster, scoring a 60 point victory over the GTA’s Derby Debutantes). This opens the window for a handful of teams who have the experience and depth to do very well in 2011 including ToRD’s Gore-Gore Rollergirls, Tri-City’s Vicious Dishes, and Rideau Valley’s Slaughter Daughters. While the Montreal teams remain largely mysterious, they have all retained an important core and shouldn’t be counted out; on paper anyway, Les Contrabanditas look to be most dangerous as they retain seven skaters from last season’s impressive team and picked up two more vets in the off season (Beats Per Minute from Les Filles du Roi, and Low Dive Jenny from La Racaille).

Death Track Dolls and Les Filles du Roi will meet in the opening round; they last met in the opening round of the 2009 BOE. (photo by Derek Lang)

EXPECTATIONS

The timing and nature of this tournament make predicting what will happen tricky. A team could potentially play up to six bouts over the course of the weekend which means that energy conservation and roster juggling become important aspects of the game. Also, the 20 minute mini-bouts mean that often anything can happen: a good power-jam could be the difference, and teams that take longer to warm up could be at an obvious disadvantage. On top of this, there are also differences in the amount of track time these teams have had as well, with the ToRD teams potentially already rounding into mid-season form.

Only the opening match ups in the double elimination round are set, with paths getting complicated after that. While it doesn’t appear that there will be any major upsets, there are a few intriguing pairings. At the top of the list is the Gore-Gore Rollergirls vs. Vicious Dishes bout. Either of these teams are capable of winning this tournament, and if all goes as predicted may even cross paths again in the semi-finals (regardless of who wins this one). The Smoke City Betties and Thames Fatales game could also be an entertaining one, with both teams already having some bouts under their belts this year (and the Betties improving quickly). Finally the Death Track Dolls vs. Les Filles du Roi bout could be surprising. Les Filles (the defending champs) lost a lot of skaters to the Skids realignment and look like they will be tracking a very inexperienced team: because of that, there could be an upset up the Dolls’ sleeve. The harsh reality is, is that one win is not enough and half of the teams will be done by Saturday night.

This could finally be the year Les Contrabanditas rise to the top in MTLRD.

While Montreal may not have the dominant squads they once did, I still think all three teams will make it through to the quarterfinals, joined by three ToRD teams (The Gores, Chicks Ahoy! and Death Track Dolls), the Vicious Dishes and the Slaughter Daughters. Unfortunately for the hosts, I think the round of 8 will mark the end of the road for two-time finalists and ’09 champs La Racaille and the defending champion Les Filles du Roi, with the final four being the Dishes, Gores, Ditas and Daughters. I honestly think anything could happen between these four teams, but it would be nice to see the Gores (or Dishes) and Daughters meet in the final to truly bring an end to Montreal’s dominance. In both 2009 and 2010, the Gores were clearly the top team outside of MTLRD, and this could finally be the opportunity they need. The Ditas, though, who always seemed a step behind one of their Montreal counterparts will be extremely motivated to finally break through and win this.

Whoever manages to prevail, to be capable of pulling it off nothing less than a monumental effort will be required.

***The Beast of the East 2011 gets under way at 8:00 am on Saturday, April 30 at Arena St. Louis. If you’re not going to be in Montreal on the weekend, no need to worry! For the second-year in a row, all of the action will be boutcast live on Canuck Derby TV beginning at 8:00 AM (eastern) and running straight through until a champion is crowned on Sunday.

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:

Hello 2011 (Part 1): Toronto hosts the world; Montreal tries to take it over.

The Federation of International Roller Sports has officially recognized roller derby.

WORLD DOMINATION

2010 was a coming out party for roller derby. From the wildly successful 2010 WFTDA Championships to the first ever German Flat Track Roller Derby Championship, the sport has taken the world by storm. While already the fastest growing sport in North America, with 600 leagues operating in 20 countries it is quickly becoming the fastest growing sport on the planet. With such growth comes legitimacy, and for flat track roller derby that meant acceptance into the Federation of International Roller Sports (FIRS), which (more close to home) translated into acknowledgment by the Toronto Sports Council. This official recognition marks the first baby steps toward taking part in international sporting events such as the Pan-Am, Commonwealth, and Olympic games.

ToRD will host the inaugural world cup in December

ToRD HOSTS CANADA AND THE WORLD IN 2011

The Toronto Roller Derby League enters its fifth season in 2011 as a WFTDA apprentice league (one of three current Canadian apprentice leagues), and the league has altered its hometeam schedule to mirror those in the US. After a year in which ToRD set attendance records and that culminated in a sold-out championship bout broadcast by Rogers TV, expectations are high. Things kick off on February 5th with the defending champion Gore-Gore Rollergirls taking on the up-and-coming Death Track Dolls in what should be an exciting bout. CN Power and the D-VAS will play a double header February 26th, while the revamped Chicks Ahoy! and the vastly improved Smoke City Betties open their seasons on March 12th  in what should be a very telling bout. The regular season continues until June, with the playoffs beginning on June 11th.

Blood & Thunder Magazine selected Toronto as the host of the first World Cup of roller derby.

ToRD will also be hosting the second annual Quad City Chaos on March 26th and 27th. This season’s QCC will have reverberations beyond the city as it features all WFTDA-affiliated teams. Defending champions Montreal and the host CN Power will be joined by new WFTDA members the Tri-City Thunder and the recently named WFTDA apprentices, Rideau Valley Vixens.  As it was last year, this tournament will represent the highest level of Canadian derby to be seen this year. This all will be a prelude to ToRD’s biggest venture to date: hosting the first ever World Cup of women’s flat track roller derby. There had been rumours and whispers about this event since organizers Blood & Thunder Magazine announced that they would be holding a training camp at The Hangar (which happened this past December), and it is now official. Details are still being worked out, and this will be a massive undertaking for everyone involved, but this–along with the FIRS announcement–could begin to change the nature of the sport. The World Cup will be held on December 1-4, 2011 and will feature at least eleven countries.

Toronto Junior Roller Derby is entering its second season of operation and continues to expand. With a range of young skaters from 9-18 years old, TJRD will soon be graduating skaters to the senior ranks, which will be another game-changer for the sport. Junior Leagues, which are popping up all over North America, represent yet another step in the evolution of flat track roller derby and speak to the strong future that the sport has.

Montreal looks to build off of an exceptional 2010

NEW HEIGHTS FOR THE SKIDS

After a simply extraordinary 2010 that saw them become the first non-US team to qualify for the WFTDA Regionals, Montreal’s New Skids on the Block are not slowing down in 2011 (not to say we won’t be seeing some slow derby from the pack masters from La Belle Province). Montreal took WFTDA by storm in 2010 due to their willingness to play any team at any time no matter the ranking or reputation (which resulted in a meteoric rise in ability) and that will hold true this season as well. The Skids kick off 2011 with a west coast road swing that will see them take on Western Region powerhouses including the mighty Oly Rollers (February 13), the team currently ranked second on the planet and one of the great teams in flat track roller derby’s early history. Despite the success of 2010, the Skids know that there is another level out there to attain and seem focused on attaining it.

Skids' skaters will focus solely on the travel team in 2011.

Over the past few seasons, Montreal has taken the lead in Canadian roller derby and will continue this season as they have completed a precedent-setting league restructuring that will see the members of the Skids no longer playing on any of MTLRD’s hometeams. In what could be a model for leagues in the future, skaters will now have to work their way through the B-team Sexpos (which will remain a roster of hometeam skaters) to eventually earn a spot with the Skids. This also means that MTLRD has just had its largest intake of rookie skaters ever, changing the face of La Racaille, Les Contrabanditas and Les Filles du Rois. This has to have the rest of the top eastern Canadian hometeams salivating for the Beast of the East IV (April 29-May1), as the tournament is suddenly a wide open affair. With the makeup of the MTLRD teams virtually unknown at this point (outside of Montreal), new front runners have emerged to challenge the Montreal dominance, including ToRD’s Gore-Gore Roller Girls and Tri-City’s Vicious Dishes.

** Please feel free to use the comment section below to promote any important dates, tournaments, non-mentioned leagues, events, etc. To a successful and exciting 2011!

** Tomorrow: Part 2 will feature Tri-City, Rideau Valley, Forest City, Hammer City and more!

Hello 2011 (Part 2): Thunder to take WFTDA by storm; Vixens on the rise

Tri-City will compete in WFTDA's North Central Region this year.

A Few to Watch in 2011

In eastern Canada in 2010, no league turned more heads than Tri-City. Top hometeam the Vicious Dishes scored huge victories over ToRD runners-up the Chicks Ahoy! and both hometeams from Hammer City. This season, TCRG has added a third hometeam as well, the Total Knock-Outs, who look to help drive uip the competitive level during the home season. The Thunder clapped loudly this season as well, when the Tri-City travel team closed out the year with somewhat of  an upset in a one-sided victory over ToRD’s CN Power. Having attained full WFTDA status (they’ll join Hammer City’s Eh! Team in WFTDA’s North Central Region), the Thunder will embark on an ambitious first season in the big leagues challenging a number of North Central foes including Chicago Outfit (in Chicago on May 14) and Killamazoo (at home in October); they’ll also play Montreal’s New Skids on the Block in a closed bout in March, which could be their toughest challenge of the year. With such a challenging and exciting schedule, the Thunder could be this year’s New Skids on the Block.

RVRG recently became Canada's latest WFTDA apprentice league.

If the Thunder are this year’s Skids, than this year’s Thunder will be the  Rideau Valley Vixens. Adding a second hometeam late in 2009 and then creating the Vixens early in 2010, last year the Ottawa league suffered some early growing pains. So-so performances at the Beast of the East were a far cry from the Slaughter Daughters’ run to ’09 quarterfinals, but it all proved to be for the best: Both the Daughters and the Riot Squad picked up some big late season victories.  Taking the Montreal approach and jumping into competition head on, the travel team Vixens took their lumps early in 2010 with losses to tough teams in Toronto, Montreal and Pittsburgh, but they continued to reach wide and aim high for competition and spent the rest of the year turning the tides with a series of big victories south of the border over New Jersey (Jerzey Derby Brigade) and Utica.  They begin 2011 as Canada’s latest WFTDA apprentice league.

Thames Fatales had some big victories against US competition in 2010.

The Expanding Eastern Canadian Scene

The Thames Fatales had another strong season in 2010. Starting with a solid showing at the Beast of the East, the Thames Fatales made forays south as well, scoring some big victories in the US, while making inroads in Canada too with some improved performances against Hammer City and two one-sided victories over GTAR’s Derby Debutantes. With a new Fresh Meat squad (The Luscious London Lunch Ladies), and a continued acceptance of all challenges, the skaters from Forest City could be the next break-out Canadian league. A potential WFTDA apprenticeship in the future?

GTAR was another league to make some big steps forward in 2010 with the Debutantes shocking the competition at the Beast of the East and putting in a hard-fought performance against Edmonton’s E-Ville. An addition of a second team, the Chrome Mollys, could help them narrow the gap between them and the other eastern Canadian leagues. Canada’s original WFTDA league, Hammer City, will also look to rebound after an up-and-down year. With the Eh! Team unable to work their way up the WFTDA rankings, suffering some big losses, including their first ever loss to ToRD’s CN Power. Hammer City hometeams also suffered setbacks to Tri-City and saw the gap narrowed between them and Forest City. But with the realigned hometeam rosters creating a competitive parity between the Death Row Dames and the Harlots that hasn’t been seen in years, Hammer City could get that competitive edge back in 2011.

Halifax is leading the development of a buoyant Maritime roller derby scene.

New roller derby leagues continue to sprout at a surprising rate as well. In Ontario, leagues in Sudbury (Nickel City Roller Derby–who will be playing ToRD’s D-VAS in February), Guelph (Royal City Rollergirls), Oshawa (Durham Region Roller Derby), and Kingston (Kingston Derby Girls) are on the verge of bouting, and there are so many other leagues sprouting up that this is really just the tip of the iceberg of the sport in this province. But the sport is moving further east as well with leagues forming in Quebec City, Moncton (Muddy River Rollers), St. John (Fog City Rollers), Charlottetown (Red Rock ‘N Roller Derby) and St. John’s (709 Derby Girls). The Nerd has a personal interest in the development of a stable league in the city of his birth, Halifax, Nova Scotia. And is excited to say that after a few false starts in the city, the Halifax Roller Derby Association finally has solid leadership and is up and running and gaining a lot of momentum. With Muddy River set to host the region’s first major flat track roller derby training camp in July, 2011 will see a huge surge in the participation in and popularity of roller derby in eastern Canada. This bodes well for the future.

**The Derby Nerd will be business as usual in 2011 continuing here and also my work behind the mic for ToRD.TV. One change is that I will be writing about learning the sport from the inside as well, as I embark on ToRD’s latest Fresh Meat training session. You can follow my growing knowledge of the practical side of roller derby on the Nerd Meat: The Nerd Does Derby page (beginning Friday). Also, I’ve done a little reorganization of the site (to the stats and results pages) and you can now subscribe and share!

**Please feel free to use the comment section below to promote any important dates, tournaments, non-mentioned leagues, events, etc. To a successful and exciting 2011!

ToRD Playoff Preview: Dolls vs. Chicks

#3 Death Track Dolls (1-2) vs. #2 Chicks Ahoy! (2-1)

The semifinal matchup that everyone seems to be have been talking about (and maybe even hoping for) all season is finally upon us. The last two meetings between the Death Track Dolls and the Chicks Ahoy! were classics, with the Chicks managing to squeak out both victories. Expectations for each team were high high leading into 2010, but they both got off to sluggish starts. Each team improved as the season went on, and after strong ends to the season, seem to peaking at just the right time.

Year in Review: Death Track Dolls

After two up-and-down seasons with a slowly shifting lineup, 2009’s off season saw a further shakeup of the Dolls’ lineup including the departures of key players (and both captains). With new captains, a fresh presence behind the bench, a group of carefully selected rookies and a solid core of veterans and second-year players, the Dolls entered 2010 riding the same high that they’d skated out of 2009 on.

A shaky, two-loss performance at the Beast of the East represented a period of adjustment, and by the time the team rolled into Tri-City for an exhibition bout against the Venus Fly Tramps, the Dolls’ were showing signs of coming together and pulled off a solid victory. With the echoes of 2009’s tension-filled classic still lingering in The Hangar, the Dolls and Chicks delivered another in their season opener, only this time the Dolls were the aggressors who couldn’t hold the lead in the second half. Nonetheless, it was a solid, confidence-boosting performance that inspired them to a dominant victory against the Smoke City Betties. They closed out the regular season with a hard- fought loss to the defending champion Gore-Gore Rollergirls, a bout they lead for much of the first half.

Veteran bench Boss The Big Chees has been joined on the Dolls' bench this season by Sonic Doom

The Doll’s steady improvement can be attributed to the skaters growing into their specific roles. Joining steady veterans Monichrome and Dolly Parts’em with the stripe, Panty Hoser has had a fantastic season pivoting the ever-improving Doll’s pack; and it’s a pack gathering strength, anchored by strong positional blocking from vets Lucid Lou, Bonky Kong, and complemented by sophomore Downright Dirty Dawson and rookie Speedin Hawking. Jubilee, Seka Destroy and Audrey Hellborn provide a deep contingent of heavy-hitting strikers. Land Shark is the only remaining natural jammer from the original 2009 lineup, but Demolition Dawn stepped up to take some of the load, and rookie SlamWow has begun her apprenticeship. The Dolls’ triple threat Betty Bomber fills out the lineup, and is in the midst of a career season.

Strategically minded Sonic Doom joined The Big Chees behind the bench this season, and the two have worked well together to create a team that not only seems ready to compete now, but in the seasons to come as well.

2010 Death Track Dolls

(Current Rollergirl.ca ranking: 17th among hometeams, 29th overall)

Death Track Dolls 9 vs. Les Contrabanditas (MTLRD) 72 (@ Montreal/Beast of the East)

Death Track Dolls 29 vs.  Derby Debutantes (GTAR) 38 (@ Montreal/ Beast of the East)

Death Track Dolls 101 vs. Venus Fly Tramps 89 (TCRG) (@ Tri-City)

Death Track Dolls 109 vs. Chicks Ahoy! 121 (ToRD regular season)

Death Track Dolls 213 vs. Smoke City Betties 53 (ToRD regular season)

Death Track Dolls 54 vs. Gore-Gore Rollergirls 133 (ToRD regular season)

2010 ToRD Record: 1-2

2010 Exhibition Record: 1-2

Year in Review: Chicks Ahoy!

The Chicks followed their 2008 championship with a 2009 season that saw them two points away from slipping all the way to fourth. Believing that a return to contention was possible, the Chicks retained the core of that championship team, filling out their lineup with a few veterans and drafting only one rookie. Experienced, focused after a disappointing season, the Chicks entered 2010 with only one goal: a return to the finals.

As with the Dolls, the Chicks got off to a shaky start at the Beast of the East as well, going 1-2 and bowing out in the first round. Another pre-season loss to Tri-City’s Vicious Dishes, in which they looked disorganized and out-strategized, seemed to galvanize the team. They opened their regular season with a stunning, come-from-behind victory over the Dolls before looking flat in a loss against their traditional rivals, the Gores. Then, in their final bout of the regular season, the Chicks finally pulled it all together and delivered one of the most dominant performances in ToRD’s history with a 244 point victory over a much-improved Smoke City Betties.

Despite being the sole rookie on the Chicks' lineup, Marmighty has not looked out of place

A big key to that victory was the solid strategic play of the pack. The Chicks have a deep and diverse group of pivots with Rebel Rock-It and Hoff leading the way positionally, Nasher the Smasher is capable of physically dominating a bout. Any number of other blockers on this veteran lineup are capable of taking on the role as well, from Mega Bouche, Humdinger, Fireweed to sole rookie, Marmighty. The smooth-skating Mach Wheels is also more than capable of dominating a pack, but this season saw her return to dominance with the star, posting huge jammer numbers in the opening two bouts of the season. Candy Crossbones picked up where Mach Wheels left off late in the season, and Kari Mia-Beere continues to grow into her role as one of the team’s go-to jammers. The late-season return of triple threat Dyna Hurtcha only adds to the depth of this team.

Inspirationally, not enough can be said about the return of Tara Part to the lineup. It hasn’t taken her long to ingratiate herself back into a key role for this team, and she will certainly be a factor in the bout against the Dolls. With so many players at the peaks of their careers, this is a key opportunity for the Chicks to compete for another championship.

2010 Chicks Ahoy!

(Current Rollergirl.ca ranking: 11th among hometeams, 22nd overall)

Chicks Ahoy! 12 vs. La Racaille (MTLRD) 81 (@ Montreal/Beast of the East)

Chicks Ahoy!  89 vs. Smoke City Betties (ToRD) 15 (@ Montreal/ Beast of the East)

Chicks Ahoy! 34 vs. Death Row Dames (HCRG) 42 (@Montreal / Beast of the East)

Chicks Ahoy! 63 vs. Vicious Dishes (TCRG) 121 (@ Tri-City)

Chicks Ahoy!121 vs. Death Track Dolls 109 (ToRD regular season)

Chicks Ahoy! 80 vs. Gore-Gore Rollergirls 124 (ToRD regular season)

Chicks Ahoy! 266 vs. Smoke City Betties 42 (ToRD regular season)

2010 ToRD Regular Season: 2-1

2010 Exhibition Record: 1-3

The regular season meeting between these teams was a thrilling, hard-fought bout

WHAT TO EXPECT

Two season’s in the making, this bout promises to be one of the most thrilling of the season. Expect what the last matchups between these two teams delivered: a close, epic, hard-hitting bout. Watch for the Dolls to attempt to frustrate the Chicks and lure them into one-on-one encounters; while the Chicks will undoubtedly look to control things in the pack always vigilant for that big jammer take out. Discipline will be key as penalties and power jams have been the difference in the last two bouts. The experience of the Chicks is a huge advantage in this pressure-packed situation. While many of the Chicks have won (and lost) championships, a few Dolls veterans won their first-ever bouts this season. Success is something new to the Dolls; the Chicks are looking to regain it.

The bout is at The Hangar in Downsview Park on Saturday, October 23rd. Doors at 6:30, bout at 7:30. Tickets are available online and at various outlets in the GTA.

Read the recap of this season’s bout between the two teams here. Also, take a look at ToRD TV’s forward-looking recap: (edited by Tiffany Beaudin).

Weekend Recap: Hammer City Hosts Tri City

DOUBLE HEADER IN HAMMER CITY

Comparatively speaking, the Tri-City Roller Girls (TCRG) are the new kids on the block in Canadian competitive roller derby. As a burgeoning power in the east (and a WFTDA apprentice league), they are following the road paved by their big sisters in Hammer City, Canada’s original flat track roller derby league. The debt that the sport and its practitioners in Canada owe the Hammer City Roller Girls is great. On Saturday night TCRG’s two hometeams paid their respects by heading across the province to engage in on-track battle: The apprentice versus the mentor; the results: an excellent display of the evolution of the sport.

Vicious Dishes (TCRG) 100 vs. Death Row Dames (HCRG) 50

Despite the lack of a few key veterans on either side, this bout had all the promise of a great one. A reordered Dames lineup has found some success this season (particularly at the Beast of the East), and is certainly one of the strongest lineups this team has ever put on the track. The Dishes, on the other hand, have stuck with a core that has slowly evolved into a great hometeam. With a big part of their travel team (The Thunder) leading the pack for the Dishes, the Dames were never fully able to wrestle control away from them and were doubled up in the end.

Jill Standing with a big jammer take out on Mean Little Mama.

Cut Off got things off to a great start for the Dames, and got the best of Motorhead Molly on the jam line throughout the first half. But that early 2-0 lead was quickly eradicated when the Dishes pack were able to take control. With emerging power pivot Jill Standing leading the way, Skate Pastor scored a double grandslam to take a lead that the Dishes would not relent. Points were hard to come by in the early going, a sign that the Dishes were controlling as TCRG has shown a penchant for thriving in scrappy, defensive, low-scoring bouts. For the Dames, Lock N Roll seems to have returned to her traditional role as pivot and was an effective physical presence all night often trading jammer take outs with sin-e-star. Veteran Ivy Rupted also ran things well for the Dames, and Cut Off was their best weapon throughout the first half. Anita Martini was once again key for the Dishes, and by the time she scored a massive jammer take out on Bitchslap Barbie (who took her share of knocks in the opening half), the Dishes were looking like they were going to run away with it (the score was 48-11 with less than ten minutes to go). But on the final jam of the half, with fired-up vet Barbie at the jam line hungry for redemption after a rough half, the Dames got a power jam and played it brilliantly. They set a solid trap, slowed the pack and frustrated the Dishes (who also went down two in the pack in the midst of it) and manged to narrow the score to 58-31 at the half.

Skate Pastor was a key jammer for the Vicious Dishes.

Some of the Dames vets came out driven  in the second half, hoping to build on the momentum. Miss Carriage and Lock with the stripe, Mean Little Mama with the star and Barbie doing a little bit of everything, led the push back. But it was not to be. The Dishes look increasingly well organized, and were able to adjust to the Dames’ counter attack. Matching Skate Pastor up against Cut Off neutralized the jammer who’d done the most damage for the Dames in the first half, and Stobbelicious had somewhat of a breakout bout putting up some nice numbers from the jam line. And although the big three in the pack (Bareleigh Legal, Anita and sin-e-star) still carried the work load, better management at pivot (rotating Great Garbage and Jill Standing in particular) allowed both to be consistent forces throughout the bout. Although the Dishes ended up pulling away with a 100-50 victory, it was, on all sides, a great display of how far flat track roller derby has come. Fantastic pack control (whether it be isolation and trapping or defensive pacing), big, clean hits and cagey jammers (add a touch of attitude and posturing to the mix), this bout had it all.

Harlots' blockers holding up the Tramps' jammer

Venus Fly Tramps (TCRG) 66 vs. Hamilton Harlots (HCRG) 114

While one could argue that the Steel City Tank Girls was Hammer City’s original team, it is the Harlots who gained much wider recognition in the early going, winning The Betties D-Day in Toronto and Montreal’s inaugural Beast of the East. While there are a few remaining veterans from those days, this is a shiny new Harlots team full of youth and emerging players who are in the process of returning this team to its former glory. The Tramps, on the other hand, is a team in the midst of its initial rise, and a team that seems to be improving each bout.

Early on it was the veteran jammer trio of Vicadoom, Dicey and Perky Set who got things off to a great start for the Harlots, taking the first five leads and building an early advantage for the team. But teams on the rise must have rising stars, and in this bout it was Cell Block Bettie who stepped up for the Tramps.

Cell Block Bettie continued her stellar 2010 with a strong bout for the Tramps

Bettie, who has also been a standout recently for the Thunder, was a key jammer all night for the tramps, leading Konky and Kitty Krasher (with Leighzzie Borden coming on strong in the second half). She also proved to be a capable matchup against the Harlot’s physical jammer, Vicadoom, a further sign of her growing abilities and confidence. Led by strong jams, The Tramps were able to stay within reach, and with just under 10 minutes left in the first, they found themselves on a power jam and down 36-19. In what may have been the turning point in the bout, the Harlots’ Scooby Doom pivoted an excellent defensive pack on the jam, not only denying the Tramps points but actually holding them off until Perky Set returned from the box and took the lead jam. Harlots led 56-26 at the half.

The Harlots went out with a vet heavy lineup in the second half in an attempt to preserve the lead. Chainsaw Mary continued her strong return to form in 2010 with an extremely physical bout, including forcing two jammer take outs against Leighzzie deep in the second half, that allowed the Harlots to put some distance between themselves and the Tramps. But the Tramps never backed down form the challenge. Lillith No Fair and Freudian Whip both had great bouts in the pack for the Tramps, and Gunmoll Mindy continues to develop into an excellent, dependable blocker. As a consolation for their great effort, Konky was able to take to the lead on the final jam, and a jammer take out from Dicey forced the call and ended the bout, a 114-66 victory for the Hamilton Harlots.

NOTE: Carla Coma was a noticeable absence from the Harlots’ lineup, and word on the track is that she has hung up her skates, which is a loss for all roller derby fans and skaters. Truly a legend in early Canadian flat track roller derby;  if there were a Hall of Fame, she’d be well on her way.

IN LA BELLE PROVINCE

La Racaille 73 vs. Les Filles du Roi 116

Montreal continued its extraordinary home season with another classic bout between two amazing teams. With a birth in the final on the line, the last two MTLRD champions faced off. Having lost their opening bout of the season, defending champs Les Filles du Roi needed a victory, and one by a fairly comfortable margin, to get through; 2008 champs La Racaille, who were coming off of a tight victory over Les Contrabanditas, needed any victory to secure their spot. FDR got off to a fast start securing an early lead that they would defend for the whole bout. A late tactical error by La Racaille and a fifteen point jam by Smack Daddy ended La Racaille’s hopes for a shop at the championship. FDR will battle the Ditas on August 7th for the MTLRD championship. Last time these two teams faced each other it was a one-point classic. No reason to expect anything different in the final.

Weekend Preview: Pride + ToRD = Clam Slam!

ANOTHER ALL-STAR LINEUP FOR CLAM SLAM

Clam Slam II, a Pride-ToRD collaboration, takes place this Friday night at The Hangar and it once again features some of the finest skaters Toronto, Canada and even the United States has to offer. The Clam Slam will feature two teams of all stars: The Vagine Regime, managed by The Death Track Dolls‘  bench boss Big Chees, and The Clam Diggers who will be managed by Tri-City’s Boss Applesauce. It’s anyone’s guess as to the outcome of the bout will be, as both rosters are stacked with talent.

VAGINE REGIME

Jackie Daniels of the Windy City Roller Girls

In a lineup full of big hitters, ToRD’s Land Shark and Sail-Her Poon, along with Hammer City’s Lock N Roll, will be relied upon to carry a good part of the jam load for the Vagine Regime, but they could be gamely aided by Windy City‘s triple threat Jackie Daniels, a well known and respected skater who helped start the Grand Raggidy Roller Girls and now plays for the #1 ranked team in WFTDA‘s North Central Division (and also appeared in last fall’s Whip It). But given the celebratory nature of the event, expect to see some players more known for their blocking than jamming don the star, and there are definitely options. Aside from outstanding ToRD blockers like Mega Bouche, Nasher the Smasher, and Lucid Lou, and great pivots like Rebel Rock-It, Brim Stone and Bionichrome (AKA the Dolls’ Monichrome), the Vagine Regime also boasts big-hitting visitors Mirambo (Forest City Roller Girls), Grouchy LadyThug (Assault City Roller Derby), BruiseBerry Pie (GTA Rollergirls’ Derby Debutantes), Sofanda Beatin (Tri-City) and Nameless Whorror  (Montreal). Primarily a team of veterans, P Doddy joins her Betties teammate Poon as the only rookies on the lineup.

Mexican Jumping Mean from San Fransisco's Bay Area Derby Girls

CLAM DIGGERS

Despite that intimidating roster, the Clam Diggers have nothing to fear.  While they might not boast as much of a powerful pack, the may be able to lay claim to more natural jammers. Familiar face Sista Fista (who played two season with ToRD’s Dolls before returning to Victoria’s Eves of Destruction) will lead Getcha Kicks (GTAR’s Derby Debutantes), Kari-Mia Beere (ToRD’s Chicks Ahoy!), and ToRD veteran Memphis Kitty (Smoke City Betties) at the jam line.  There’s also a good chance that Dyna Vagina (AKA the Chicks’ Dyna Hurtcha),  Firweed (Chicks) and Mexican Jumping Mean (From the Bay Area Derby Girls) will be thrown the star as well. What the Diggers’ pack lacks in pure power, it may make up positionally. The three Tri-City skaters on the roster (Anita Martini, sine-e-star and Bareleigh Legal) play together on both the Tri-City Thunder and the Vicious Dishes and are all key components of the recent successes of that league and its teams, and the great development of their pack control and pace strategies. Waxey McBush is a rookie with Montreal’s defending champion Les Filles Du Roi and has looked strong positionally early on in her first season. Two ToRD rookies will be joining her for their first Clam Slams as well (The Gores’ Shiver-Me-Timbers [AKA Aston Martini] and Hot Boxx [AKA Chronic]); a few veterans, Victoria’s Lady Cuntessa, Hammer City’s Perky Set and ToRD’s Hot Roller and Hoff will be relied up to hold things together in the pack.

However you look at it, both teams balance out in the end which is a bonus for fans. While you can expect all the big hits and strategic packs as you would in any roller derby bout, there will be a more playful element to the proceedings: If last year’s Clam Slam is any indication this will be an exciting celebration of roller derby and a can’t miss Pride event.

* I was recently interviewed by Bryan Mcwilliam from Gear Up for Sports. He has been doing a great job following ToRD this season introducing it to a new audience and giving roller derby the sports-page treatment that it deserves. The interview was part of his Clam Slam preview. You can read it here.

THE ROSTERS

Clam Diggers

Anita Martini 9 (Tri City Roller Girls, Kitchener)
Bareleigh Legal 18 (TCRG, Kitchener)
Dyna Vagina 21 (ToRD)
Fireweed -40  (ToRD)
Getcha Kicks 76 (GTA Rollergirls, Toronto)
Hoff 65+ (ToRD)
Hot Boxx 60gritt (ToRD)
Hot Roller 48 (ToRD)
Kari Mia Beer 6 (ToRD)
Lady Cuntessa 702w (Eves of Distruction, Victoria)
Memphis Kitty 56 (ToRD)
Mexican Jumping Mean 7 (B.A.D Girls, San Francisco)
Perky Set 3 (HCRG, Hamilton)
Scissor-Me-Timbers 510 (ToRD)
sin-e-star 306 (TCRG, Kitchener)
Sista Fista 54u (Eves, Victoria)
Waxey McBush 200$/hr (MTLRD, Montreal)

Manager: Boss Applesauce (TCRG)

Vagine Regime

Bionichrome 35 (ToRD)
Brim Stone 2:18 (ToRD)
BruiseBerry Pie 31 (GTA Rollergirls, Toronto)
Fubar Bundy 765 (ToRD)
The Grouchy LadyThug 12:00 (Assault City Roller Derby, Syracruse NY)
Jackie Daniels No7 (Windy City Roller Girls, Chicago Ill)
Land Shark 33 (ToRD)
Lock N Roll 00 (HCRG, Hamilton)
Lucid Lou 12:34 (ToRD)
Mega Mouth 26 (ToRD)
Mirambo (Forest City Roller Girls, London)
Nameless Whorror 202  (MTLRD, Montreal)
Nasher the Smasher 2×4 (ToRD)
P Doddy 32 (ToRD)
Rebel Rock It  7 (ToRD)
Sail Her Poon 090w (ToRD)
Sofanda Beatin 420 (TCRG, Kitchener)

Manager: Big Chees (ToRD)

ToRD Takes on Tri-City

Motorhead Molly takes the outside; Dyna Hurtcha looks for the jammer take out.

PSYCHEDELIC MELTDOWN (@ Kitchner, Ontario)

Game One: Chicks Ahoy! (ToRD) 63 vs. Vicious Dishes (TCRG) 121

With injured players Mach Wheels and Marvel S. Maven looking on from the bench, the Chicks got off to a quick start against a nervous looking Dishes team that was playing in front of a sell-out crowd in its new home (the Arena St. Louis-like Activia Sportsplex). 2009 Rookie of the Year Kari-Mia Beere and veteran jammer Candy Crossbones (who scored an early grand slam) led the attack with much strong support from Fireweed, while Nasher the Smasher (whose absence was felt at the BOE) returned to add more power to an already deep pack.

Once settled, The Vicious Dishes soon began to display the improved patience and pack control that had led them to such success in the early part of the season, and a  double grand slam by Lippy Wrongstockings paced the Dishes as they took the lead and pulled ahead.  As has been the story in recent bouts, the Chicks Ahoy! once again found themselves in penalty trouble. In what may have been the turning point of the first half, following a well executed panty pass between the pivot Mega Bouche and an exhausted Fireweed, Bouche got called on an inadvertent cutting major and was sent off, giving the home team a power jam. Motorhead Molly also had some big jams for the Dishes who took nearly a 50 point into half time (77-28). Dyna Hurtcha was a physical, and effective  jammer in the second half for the Chicks, but the continued penalty problems never allowed them to stage any sort of comeback. The Chicks were obviously frustrated over some of the calls being made and let their displeasure be known; it was the penalty problems that kept them from gaining any sort of pack consistency or advantage.

Skate Pastor looks to avoid Mega Bouche.

In a year when derby is seeing the emergence of a more clearly defined management role on the track for the pivot, Jill Standing looks as comfortable as any at the position and she and the other Dishes pivots (including Meg N Plead) led the pack offensively through key power jams as well as they did defensively during pack  disadvantages. Greta Garbage looked good in the pack too and had a key jammer take out early in the first half. Barleigh Legal gave the Chicks’ jammers (particularly Candy Crossbones and G Force) a hard time all night, and whether it was blocking positionally or delivering big hits, she was often a dominant presence on jams.

Speedin Hawking holds the Tramps' jammer as the Dolls clear the inside line for Demolition Dawn.

Game Two: Death Track Dolls (ToRD) 101 vs. Venus Fly Tramps (TCRG) 89

The second bout of the night was a much closer and more exciting match up featuring two teams with nothing to lose, and both came out swinging. The Dolls entered the track with a swagger that was missing at this year’s BOE, and led by the return of Demoliton Dawn as a key jammer got out to an early led. She was also key defensively too, capable of reeling in the opposing jammer and forcing a call on those occasions when she didn’t take the lead. With an injury to star jammer Land Shark, rookies Slam Wow and Nut Meg took a lot of jams with the star on and looked comfortable  even against the more experienced Tramps’ jammers (including Kitty Krasher, Konky and Cell Block Bettie). Betty Bomber continued her rise as a triple-threat contender and  had some key jams to help the Dolls pull out to a 55-35 point lead at the half.

One of Audrey Hellborn's many big hits on the night.

The Tramps came out determined in the second half and slowly chipped away at the lead. Leigh-zzie Borden did double duty in the pack and jamming, and as a whole, the Tramps came together to take advantage of a penalty troubles by the Dolls, even pulling ahead by as much as ten points at one point. The Dolls managed to stay within reach and took a key timeout after a long string of penalties threatened to frustrate the team. Second year stand out Panty Hoser continued her strong play at pivot in the second half, while Monichrome also looked comfortable on the track considering she was playing in her first regulation bout in almost a year. Betty Bomber put in some determined jams including a key power jam with the Tramps clinging to a slim lead and only eight minutes remaining.  But it was the physical play–led by Audrey Hellborn, Seka Destroy and Jubilee–that would be the difference in the end. A string of huge jammer takeouts by a determined Audrey Hellborn late in the bout was key in fending off a final charge by the home team. The Dolls were able to pull away in the final few jams to claim their first victory since the 2009 BOE. (Keep an eye out for the video footage from layer9)

A BUSY DERBY NIGHT IN CANADA

It was a busy night for Eastern Canadian roller derby as five leagues had teams involved in bouts, none more important than the second half of the double header in the Montreal. The 9th ranked New Skids on the Block continued their seemingly inevitable march up the standings in WFTDA‘s Eastern Region, posting their second consecutive lopsided victory (186-65) over a team ranked ahead of them in the standings. The 8th ranked Dutchland All Stars provided a scrappy challenge for the Skids and their physical play and fast packs managed to frustrate Montreal’s potentially stifling pack management, and kept them to within 30 at the half. The win was the Skid’s ninth in a row. The evening in Montreal began with a frighteningly efficient 213-59 victory by the Sexpos over the Dutchland Blitz. Just when you thought there was only one dominant travel team in Montreal to worry about… (Watch the archived boutcasts on Montreal’s ustream channel.)

Forest City’s Thames Fatales also scored a lop-sided victory over an American opponent with an impressive 169-35 road win over Toledo’s Glass City Roller Girls. Hammer City kicked off its 2010 season with the Hamilton Harlots redeeming a first round elimination at a this year’s BOE with a  158-106 victory over BOE quarter finalists the Death Row Dames.

In an attempt to keep track of all the Canadian roller derby results this year, I’ve created a results page. It isn’t fully complete and I would appreciate any additions, corrections, etc.

Word on the Track

ToRD's Chicks Ahoy! take on The Vicious Dishes

ToRD’S PRE-SEASON COMES TO A CLOSE IN  TRI-CITY

ToRD‘s 2010 preseason will end on Saturday May 8th in Kitchener, as The Tri-City Roller Girls host two ToRD teams in the “Psychedelic Melt Down” double header. The Chicks Ahoy! will get a quick chance at redemption after falling in the opening round of the Beast of the East for the second straight season, but they’ll be in tough against the Vicious Dishes who went 2-2 at the BOE and bowed out in a scrappy performance against La Racaille in the quarterfinals. The Dishes also looked good in their 157-53 season opening victory against The Venus Fly Tramps. The Tramps had a relatively successful BOE, which included a big victory of Rideau Valley’s Riot Squad and a tough loss to the Thames Fatales, but their one-sided season opening loss exposed some weaknesses.  The Death Track Dolls are also looking to bounce back after a surprising 0 and 2 exit in Montreal.

The Chicks have a talented and deep lineup and I don’t think we’ve seen the best of the this team yet. Missing key players, the Chicks looked as if they were just getting to know each other at the BOE, and I expect them to get better with each jam as the season goes on. A key for the Chicks will be to keep out of the penalty box to allow their pack to develop some chemistry and get comfortable on the track. There are some big hitters on this team, and they’ll need to be composed to keep physical threats like Bareleigh Legal, and po-

ToRD's Death Track Dolls face The Venus Fly Tramps

sitional threats like Anita Martini under control. The Chicks also have deep and varied choices at jammer with veteran skater Mach Wheels leading 2009 rookie of the year winner Kari Mia Beere and nominee Marvel S. Maven. Dependable veteran jammer Candy Crossbones can be counted on for consistency and triple threat Dyna Hurtcha will offer an intimidating physical presence at the jammer line.

After a shaky start, the Dolls started to come together in their second bout at this year’s BOE. This is another young team in the second year of a rebuilding process, and they’ll be relying on rookies to play big roles. Unfortunately for the Dolls, star jammer Land Shark will be out of the lineup with a knee injury. Look for Demolition Dawn to continue her return to jamming, and don’t be surprised to see Betty Bomber and maybe Audrey Hellborn wearing the star. Two rookies who who could get turns with the stars are the quick SlamWow and potential triple threat NutMeg.

Look for the recap next week.

The Oly Rollers continue to lead in the tough Western Region

WFTDA RELEASES FIRST-QUARTER RANKINGS

WFTDA released its first quarter rankings for 2010, and DNN followed suit with its quarterly power rankings. Of course, the power rankings weren’t without controversy. While WFTDA stuck with regions, DNN ranked 2008 champions Gotham over current holders, The Oly Rollers in its top 25. This seemed to be based on a comparative margin of victory over a shared opponent (in this case being Charm City). Nonetheless, Oly still looks virtually unbeatable and will continue their unrelenting pursuit of the record for consecutive WFTDA sanctioned victories (the current record is Gotham’s 18, Oly is at 15). Next up on the march is the Boston Massacre, and then, on June 5th, Oly will face the Texas Rollergirls in a rematch of last year’s WFTDA nationals in what will undoubtedly be the most talked about bout of 2010 so far. More controversy arose in Montreal’s 25th place ranking, as many people seem to think that their recent dominant string of victories should have placed them in a better spot.

The Regions: West

The only change in the top 5 on the Pacific, is Rose City’s retaking 4th spot from it’s Washington state counterpart, Rat City. Oly, Denver, and Rocky Mountain held on to the top three spots. These three teams all finished in the top four of the 2009 WFTDA Nationals, concluding a dominating performance by the Western Region teams that seems to continue today. Rose City, Rat City and Oly all beat Charm City on its recent west coast road trip to show that the west isn’t relenting any time soon.

The Regions: North Central

There wasn’t much change at all in WFTDAs most overlooked division (top team Windy City ranked only 9th in DNN’s power ranking). The only change in the top five is Brew City’s taking of 5th place over North Star Roller Girls. Hammer City was unable to improve on its 17th spot after tough losses to Fort Wayne and Montreal.

The Regions: South Central

The Texas Rollergirls continue their dominance of the South Central. The girls from Austin just keep putting together solid teams, and are currently ranked 3rd in DNN’s Power Rankings. Kansas City remains 2nd in the south, while the only change is Nashville’s entry into the top 5 at the expense of Houston.

The Regions: East

New Skids on the Block

The biggest change in the East comes not in the top 5 (although Steel City did leap two spaces to sneak into 5th), but in Montreal’s tremendous progress. Currently ranked 9th (up from 13th at the beginning of the year), only two weeks ago, Montreal’s New Skids on the Block scored a smothering 135-29 victory over 6th ranked Carolina. If Montreal manages another big victory this weekend over 8th ranked Dutchland, they would have to be considered, at the very least, a dark horse contender in the East. But if they continue to adapt and develop at the same pace that they did in the first quarter of 2010, the just may be an unstoppable force by September.

For purely Canadian rankings check out The Nerd’s (mostly objective!) Rankings Page.

BOUT REVIEW: GTA DERBY DEBUTANTES VS. E-VILLE DEAD

This past weekend GTA’s Derby Debutantes hosted Edmonton’s E-Ville Dead for another east-west roller  derby showdown. The bout started very close with GTA jammers Cleave Holt!, Getcha Kicks, and LeeWay Wreck’em going skate to skate with their E-Ville counterparts. But as the first half progressed, E-Ville’s Mary F’n Sunshine, Cheeky and Jenuine Draft started winning more and more of the jams, allowing Edmonton to open up a   66-48 halftime lead. In the second half, Edmonton started to dominate physically with Peaches throwing some big hits and BGF Hoochie controlling things up front. Despite a huge second-half effort by GTA’s Bruise Berry Pie and an almost desperate  determination by Daisy Dukes-it-out, Edmonton skated away with a 116-79 victory. You can watch highlights and skater interviews here.

Trash N' Smash

UPDATE: TRASH N’ SMASH LEGALIZED!

And finally, word on the track is that MTLRD’s battle to legalize Trash N Smash has reached a successful conclusion. This means that Trash will now be able to head south to help the New Skids On The Block continue their quick ascent through the WFTDA rankings. We  had the pleasure of seeing Trash play for the Skids in Toronto at last month’s Quad City Chaos and are all well aware of what she brings to that team on and off the track.

Congratulations Trash! US Border Services has no idea the punishment they’ve just unleashed on their unsuspecting American rollergirls…