Building the Future: The 2013 ToRD Entry Draft

The 2012 D-VAS bench in an early season game against Kingston’s Disloyalists. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

The four home teams that make up Toronto Roller Derby’s house league held their annual entry draft this past weekend at Cardinal Skate shop in Toronto.  The developing competitive structure of the league has seen the timely development of the D-VAS, which in 2012 has—more so in this generation than ever before—become a true farm team, developing smart, game-ready (and experienced) skaters who will be able to fill immediate roles on the teams.

On top of the usual retirements, ToRD’s WFTDA-level travel team, CN Power, is now built of a (mostly) unique twenty-skater roster, meaning that there were plenty of spots to be filled on the home teams this season. So much so, that this year’s draft will actually be conducted in two parts. This past weekend, each team filled their roster to sixteen skaters, and early in 2013, there will be a top-up draft that will include the remaining current D-VAS and also the skaters who make up the most recent graduating Fresh Meat class.

Joss Wheelin (jamming) and R2-Smack-U were both drafted by the defending champion Chicks Ahoy!. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The two teams who combined have won the first six ToRD Championships, the Chicks Ahoy! and the Gore-Gore Rollergirls, saw the greatest off-season roster shakeups, leaving room for six skaters apiece. Last year’s third-place finishers, the Smoke City Betties, were able to pick up five skaters, while the comparatively unchanged Death Track Dolls had only two openings to fill.

Despite the potentially appealing desire to just try to replace the exiting skaters with carbon copies from the D-VAS, none of the teams took that approach to the draft, yet each team still had a particular approach in mind. “We approached it a lot like (the Chicks) have in the past,” explained Chicks Ahoy! co-captain Kookie Doe, “a lot on personality.” Her co-captain Dyna Hurtcha further refined their stance. “Teamwork,” she said when asked about what qualities they were looking for . “And how they fit in with the team; how they will affect the team dynamic.” During a slight rebuild a few years ago, the defending champion Chicks took on a “We’re number fun!” mantra that they will look to continue this year.

Lexi Con (now of the Gores) jams in her last game as a D-VAS (vs. Royal City’s Top Herloins). (Photo by Greg Russell)

Attitude was also something the attitude-rich Gore-Gore Rollergirls were also looking for. More than any of the teams in the league, the Gores emanate a particular aura that has always been hard to define even as it remains so unmistakable. First-year captain Santa Muerte cited that as the number one criterion for the Gores: “We look for skaters who have that same Gore attitude,” she said, adding that on the track that translates to skaters who “try really hard and want to be better than everybody else.” This Gore attitude was what first drew draftee Lexi Con to the team: “I met some of the Gores before Fresh Meat and felt a connection to that team for personality reasons,” she explained, saying that she knew she wanted to be a Gore even before she began to skate. “I’m super excited.”

In terms of filling positions, returning Gores co-captain Kandy Barr says that despite their loss of key jammers this season, they “were looking for triple threats,” but acknowledges that “jamming was definitely on (their) mind.” And that suits Lexi Con just fine. “I’m excited to develop my game (as a jammer) and to get a lot of play time because there is a lack of jammers on the team,” the draftee said, before adding, “I’m just excited to be on the team, and I’ll do whatever they tell me to do.”

New Doll Canadian Psycho pivots for the Bay Street Bruisers in a recent showdown against Royal City’s Brute-Leggers. (Photo by Greg Russell)

But drafting diverse, multi-position skaters seemed to be a trend. It was something that the Death Track Dolls could do as well. Having veteran skaters locked into many key positions on the team, they were able to choose well established transfers capable of playing in any capacity. Getcha Kicks and Canadian Psycho were just two of a number of those veteran transfers who were a part of this year’s draft, and Getcha Kicks, who has skated primarily as a jammer during her career, is looking forward to the opportunity to play on a Dolls team known for developing some successful triple-threats.

The Betties were extremely pleased with the way things went in 2012, and for the first time in years were able to enter the draft not looking to rebuild, but to fill gaps. “We thought of it as a chance to build on complementing the skaters that were currently on the roster,” said co-captain Misery Mae. “We looked for skaters who were game ready, and who were driven to be competitive,” she explained. But attitude had something to do with it too. New Bettie LowBlow Palooza admitted that in retrospect, there’d been hints that she could be a Bettie. “At the Beast of the East Misery Mae said to me, ‘You’re crazy; you’re meant to be a Bettie,” she laughs.

But her former D-VAS and now new Bettie teammate Mazel Tough admitted that, like Lexi Con had been drawn to the Gores, there was something that drew her to the Betties: “Before I really knew anything about the league, I felt aligned with the Betties,” she said

Gore draftee Viktory Lapp gets a helpful shove from new Bettie Mazel Tough. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

The talk of the draft was the level of play of the skaters entering the league. Because of the active game and tournament schedule, this batch of D-VAS has more track-time than any cohort has had previously. Add to that the handful of transfers, and there shouldn’t be too much of a dip in the league’s competitive level in 2013 (“Some of the rookies [on ToRD home teams] didn’t get to play as much as the D-VAS did,” Mazel Tough points out.). The way Santa sees it, these experienced rookies mean that the teams can essentially continue where they left off to the end the 2012 season: “We get to skate next week and work on team integration and not so much on picking up basic skills.”

What this means to most, is that every team has the potential to develop a competitive team. While Betties co-captains Hailey Copter (formerly titmouse) and Misery Mae both strongly believe the Betties had a competitive roster before the draft, Misery Mae does acknowledge that the additions will help, “with the draftees we have now,” she said confidently, “I feel that we are definitely at a competitive level.” But everyone admits that it’s hard to get a read on how things will play out next season, which makes for 2013 an exciting time for Toronto Roller Derby. “It’s unchartered territory,” said Dyna Hurtcha. Kookie Doe agrees, “We don’t know if all of the teams will be close or if there will be weaker and stronger teams.” Dolls co-captain Scarcasm echoes the sentiment as well, “I think it’s an exciting year for ToRD; it’s going to push everyone a little bit further and harder.”

LowBlowPalooza was drafted by the Smoke City Betties. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

And with the Death Track Dolls and the Smoke City Betties losing the least amount of core players, there could be a potential power shift in the league. “Last year we gained huge momentum from what we did the year before,” said Misery Mae, “and we hope to do that this year…this year we’ve gotten to the point where we feel our improvement level is Boot level.” Both teams also boast a high number of members of the Bay Street Bruisers. New Doll ( and current Bruiser) Canadian Psycho acknowledges that “the familiarity will be good for the team competitively.  Her captain Scarcasm agrees that the extra training won’t hurt, but cautions against relying on that, “It’s only half the team that ‘s on the Bruisers,” she mentions, “and we really need to work together as the Dolls and keep those teams separate.”

While this weekend only built up the core sixteen of the team, the competitive heart of each of the four teams is essentially in place. The January top-up draft will provide a unique opportunity to pick up some long- term prospects and even take risks on skaters based purely on potential. All in all, with a nearly level playing field, nineteen new skaters ready to take ToRD by storm, and a crop of rookies brandishing more track time than any other class in history, Toronto Roller Derby’s 2013 season is quickly becoming the most heavily anticipated season yet.

2013 ToRD HOME TEAM ROSTERS

(*R* signifies 2013 rookie skater)

  Chicks Ahoy!
Biggley Smallz 1017
Chevy Chase-Her 7 *R*
Doris Doomsday 818
Dyna Hurtcha (C) 21
Furious Georgia 2
Hoff 65+
Joss Wheelin 5by5 *R*
Kookie Doe (C) 807
Machete Maiden 613 *R*
Marmighty 41
Mean Streak 529 *R*
R2-Smack-U 1977 *R*
Roadside BombShel 3165
Robber Blind 34A
Rosemary’s Rabies 15 *R*
Tess D’Urb-Evil 1891
  Death Track Dolls
Ames to Kill 747
Audrey Hellborn 1134
Bellefast 5678
Canadian Psycho 1000*R*
Demolition Dawn 36
Dolly Parts ‘Em 925
Dawson Z682
Getcha Kicks 76 *R*
Monichrome 35
Rhage InA Cage 2112
Santilly In Yo’ Face 1129
Scarcasm (C) 204
Sinead O’Clobber 87
SlamWow 1995
Speedin’ Hawking (C) 3E8
UpHer Cut TK0
  Gore-Gore Rollergirls
Beaver Mansbridge 422 *R*
Chronic 60
Draculaura 467
Emma Dilemma 716
Foxy Sinatra 13
Gamma Rei 300
Gypsy Nose Bleed 1066 *R*
Junkie Jenny 37
Kandy Barr (C) 8
Lexi Con 66 *R*
Miss Kitty La Peur 44
Purple Pain 2627 *R*
Santa Muerte (C) 111
Taranosaurus Rex 4*R*
Viktory Lapp 148.5*R*
Wheely Nasty 705
Smoke City Betties
Genuine Risk 1301
Hailey Copter (C) 1
Laya Beaton 83-5
LowBlowPalooza 483*R*
Mazel Tough 18*R*
Misery Mae (C) 101
Mouth of the South 17
Platinum Bomb 78
Renny Rumble 1205
Sin D Drop-Her 1983
Slaptrick Swayze 79
Tomy Knockers 416*R*
Tropic Thunder 47
Uncivil Servant 8305*R*
Wolverina 111
Zom-Boney BON3*R*
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