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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: