When ToRD’s Bay Street Bruisers and Royal City’s Brute Leggers met in Guelph’s Sleeman Centre this past June, the newly formed B-Team from Toronto was playing its second competitive game since being reborn as a travel team (the home team version of the Bruisers disbanded in 2009). Meanwhile, the Brute Leggers, another relatively newly formed travel team, were already well into a busy breakout season, holding a 3-2 record coming off of a hard-fought eight-point victory over Kingston’s Disloyalists.
The Bruisers would burst out to a substantial early lead in the June showdown, and would hold off a significant Brute Leggers second-half pushback for a 176-153 victory. That Bruisers’ win was the first of four in a row, which included a Roller Derby Association of Canada (RDAC) Eastern Canadian championship. The Brute Leggers have continued their busy season and now stand at 5-7 on year, but currently find themselves on a three-game losing streak that includes losses to Tri-City hometeam (and Beast of the East champs) the Vicious Dishes, the Renegade Derby Dames Misfit Militia, and GTA’s G-sTARs.
ToRD’s other farm team, the D-VAS, played for much bigger stakes the last time they met Royal City’s farm team, The Top Herloins. In the semi-finals of this year’s Fresh and Furious tournament, the D-VAS took an early lead only to have the Herloins pull ahead and hold off a late D-VAS surge for a miniscule two-point victory.
Both teams, however, are composed of young, mostly inexperienced skaters who have been going through a season of massive growth. It has to be assumed that much has changed between both of these teams since that July showdown four months ago. The D-VAS recently exhibited that growth with an impressive victory over The Disloyalists, avenging an early season 259 point loss. They defeated the Kingston team by a similar margin as the Brute Leggers did, which implies that this D-VAS team has developed significantly this season.
But just because the Bruisers and Brute Leggers represent teams higher up each league’s competitive ladder doesn’t mean that there hasn’t been change in the teams. The Bruisers present a much different roster from the one that squared off against Royal City in the summer. Overall, there are nine new skaters on the team, and five on the game-day roster who weren’t on the team in June. The Brute Leggers, who contain skaters that also play on the Top Herloins, have gone through an immense change, and since they started playing publicly in May of last year, have played a remarkable 23 games, picking up a lot of valuable track experience along the way.
On top of the potential competitive nature of the bout, this D-VAS team will be playing its last game together before ToRD’s house league entry draft next month. Due to CN Power’s recent commitment to having its skaters commit fully to only the travel team roster, there are a lot of spaces open on ToRD’s four home teams; virtually all of the current roster of D-VAS will be drafted into the league for the 2013 season. The core of this team has been skating together for nearly two years now, and will soon find themselves distributed over four teams. As for the D-VAS: word on the track is that there is a very talented crop of fresh meat ready to fill the spaces that will be opened on the farm team.
For the Brute Leggers, this will mark the conclusion of a busy, ground-breaking season that saw them pick up third place in RDAC’s Eastern Canadian Championship (which they also hosted!), but even more importantly play a lot of games. They played a range of talent level and didn’t back down from any challenges and have set the stage for a big 2013 season.
The Bruisers now represent the all-star skaters of ToRD’s houseleague, and with a handful of games already scheduled for south of the border, are looking to finish 2012 strong with the roster that will represent the team for the bulk of 2013. After this weekend, the Bruisers will hit the road with their big sisters CN Power and head to Grand Rapids to take on the G-Rap Attack in a double header featuring CN Power’s WFTDA sanctioned showdown with Grand Raggidy. A win on Saturday would go a long way in building confidence for the trip.
***The games will be played at The Bunker in Downsview Park. Doors open at 5:00 PM, with the opening whistle of the D-VAS vs. Top Herloins game set for 6:00 PM. The Bay Street Bruisers vs. Brute Leggers bout will start at 8:00 PM. Tickets are available online or at a handful of locations downtown.