The early days of flat track roller derby in Canada were dominated largely by the Hammer City Roller Girls and especially by the Hamilton Harlots. Late in the summer of 2006 the Harlots won the Betties D-Day, the first inter-city flat track derby tournament in Canada, with victories over Montreal and ToRD‘s Smoke City Betties. They would continue to lead the pace in Canadian derby by scoring a lopsided victory over MTLRD‘s La Racaille in the 2008 Beast of the East final. (Derby Luv has archived all of the results from 2008) But there was a definite shift in power during the 2008 season and although the Harlots, based on their previous record, would enter the tournament as favourites, no one was counting out any of the teams from Montreal or Toronto. One thing was certain, BOE 2009 would usher in a new era of competitive roller derby in Canada.
THE EARLY ROUNDS
Aside from an only slightly surprising Death Row Dames victory over Thames Fatales (23-19), the early rounds went mostly as expected. Massive victories by ToRD’s Gore-Gore Rollergirls (103-11 over Capital Carnage), Hammer City’s Harlots (69-6 against the GTAR’s Derby Debutantes), and MTLRD’s Les Filles du Roi (77-6 vs. The Death Track Dolls) and La Racaille (67-10 over the Bay Street Bruisers, in their last appearance as a team) established the early front runners.
Despite opening losses, the Death Track Dolls and Rideau Valley’s Slaughter Daughters would battle their way through to the quarter finals with back-to-back must-win victories. One shocker could be the elimination of defending ToRD champs The Chicks Ahoy!, but they faced a tough draw, losing tight bouts to MTLRD champs La Racaille and Hammer City champs, the Harlots.
One of the most anticipated quarter-final match ups never actually happened. The improved and determined Smoke City Betties were looking to have a big year in ToRD and were fired up for a quarter-final test against the Gore-Gore Rollergirls. Unfortunately, shaken up by the devastating injury to one of their star players, Desmond Deck-Her (check out her 2007 and 2008 jammer stats), the Gores pulled out of the tournament, giving the Betties a clear path to the semis. MTLRD’s Contrabanditas advanced with a hard-fought victory over the surprising Slaughter Daughters while the other bracket would see La Racaille trounce the Dolls and Les Filles Du Roi handle the Harlots in a classic, low scoring bout. The Harlots’ loss ending their bid for consecutive BOE titles.
In only a minor surprise, three of the four semi-finalists were from MTLRD, with ToRD’s Betties being the only exception. They’d put up a great fight against the Ditas, but for the second time during the weekend, the Montreal skaters in black overcame the scrappy Betties squad 33-23. In the other semi, the two finalists from MTLRD’s previous season met for the second time in the tournament. The first round meeting had been an instant classic, a back and forth battle that saw Les Filles pull it out in the end. It would be a different story in the semis as La Racaille pulled ahead early and could not be caught, holding on for a 38-20 victory and setting up an all Montreal final.
Led by the likes of Trash N Smash, Ewan Wotarmy, and Georgia W. Tush, the Contrabanditas would throw everything they had at their league rivals. La Racaille would answer back with memorable jams from Izzy Skellington, Lyn-dah Kicks and, of course, the Iron Wench, while Wrath Poutine, Bone Machine, and No Holds Bard held the pack. In the end, La Racaille just had too much fire power and won their first BOE championship 49-34.
THE NERD’S PICKS
Breakout Team: Slaughter Daughters of the Rideau Valley Roller Girls
Despite entering the tournament as relative unknowns, The Daughters would announce their presence in their very first bout pushing the highly favoured Smoke City Betties to the limit before falling 32-24. They would go on to take their next two bouts with impressive victories over Tri-City’s Venus Fly Tramps (48-14) and Forest City’s Thames Fatales (68-28). Their tournament would end in the quarter finals, but not before Semi Precious, Dee Dee Tee, Sister Disaster, the awesome Soul Rekker, and their teammates made quite an impression.
Breakout Player: Land Shark (ToRD’s Death Track Dolls)
After a solid rookie campaign in 2008, there were high hopes pinned on Land Shark as she entered ToRD’s 2009 season. She didn’t disappoint at BOE 2009 and was phenomenal in the Doll’s run to the quarter finals. Particularly, it was her 15 point jam at a critical point in the a tight, must-win bout against the Vicious Dishes that put the game out of reach and sent the Dolls into the next round. Her break-out performance at the BOE would be a springboard for a breakout season in ToRD that would see her nominated for 2009 jammer of the year.
Best Bout: Contrabanditas (28) vs. Slaughter Daughters (25)–quarter-finals.
This was a very tough call. The other nominees were both first rounders: La Racaille and The Chicks Ahoy! battled through the closest bout of the tournament (36-35, La Racaille), while La Racaille and Les Filles had the most skill-filled and exciting bout (43-35, Les Filles). The fact that these were both first-round bouts would be the difference in the end; I picked the Daughters-Ditas bout because no one expected it to be so close (or so exciting), and it took place in the sudden death, quarter-final round. Despite being over-matched, the Daughters refused to bend under the Ditas’ attack, and in the end came within three points of what would have been a monumental upset.
* Full BOE 2009 results are available here. Preview continues on Thursday.
* All photos were taken by Derek Lang; visit bagelhot for more information.