Toronto Roller Derby’s top-up draft completed the roster selection for the 2013 home season, and with a set of draftees ranging from experienced transfers to the freshest of D-VAS, it marked a stark contrast to the experience-heavy December draft. The lack of comparative experience allowed the teams to draft with an eye more to the future, as most core rosters had already been sent. Not to say there aren’t some clear impact players in this draft, because there certainly are (6 of the 15 skaters have significant experience outside of ToRD); yet a majority of the skaters have yet to gain any track experience.
Death Track Dolls
As they did in the December draft (when they picked up two of the most experienced players in Getcha Kicks and Canadian Psycho), the Death Track Dolls managed to grab highly touted transfer Rainbow Fight, formerly of the 709 Derby Girls in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. One of the founding members of that league and a member of Canada’s World Cup team, Rainbow Fight is another game-ready weapon in the Dolls’ arsenal; a noted jammer, Fight is a potential triple threat in the same vein as former Dolls triple threats like Betty Bomber and Panty Hoser. Rainbow herself speculates that this may be the case behind her selection: “Maybe they hope that I will build on my blocking…they are looking for another PBJ (Pivot/Blocker/Jammer).” Whatever her role, she is excited to be on a team that, on paper, looks like a contender. “I feel like it’s going to be a great year of the Doll.”
With one of the most experienced rosters in the league, the Dolls give us a glimpse of the future in their other picks. Android W.K., Chicken Sluggets and Robotomy are all fresh D-VAS who have yet to gain track experience, but will make for good long-term prospects. But it seems that the future is now for the lone ToRD team to never have battled for The Boot.
“If the Betties and Dolls aren’t in the championship, I’m going to eat my hat,” concludes Rainbow Fight, confident that there has been a power shift in the league.
Smoke City Betties
Kil’Her At Large
The Betties went for experience in this draft, with a clear eye toward building on last year’s breakthrough season. Of their three pickups, only KillHerAtLarge is lacking significant game experience. Back in Canada for a year, jammer SewWhat comes to ToRD after taking a three-year winding road through Australia (picking up the sport with the Sun State Roller Girls and helping to found Malice Springs Roller Derby) and then Toronto’s Rollergettes before arriving on the D-VAS, ready, she says, to play in a competitive league. “The Betties were my favourite team last season,” she says of her new team. “They were the underdog…but they are really building to win…My goal is to work really hard,” she says, adding that she believes the Betties have a roster that is capable of pushing her to a new level.
Also transferring to ToRD with three years’ experience is Finnish skater, Udre. A former member of Kallio Rolling Rainbow (a district of Helsinki), Udre was also a member of Finland’s somewhat surprising 5th place team at the Roller Derby World Cup (making her the second World Cup skater who has transferred to ToRD for this season).
The Betties add experience to an already solid roster. After last year’s fantastic (though inconsistent) season, hopes haven’t been this high since 2009, the year of their one-and-only trip to championship.
The Gore-Gore Rollergirls
Cirque du So-laid
Last year was a challenging year for the three-time ToRD champions. Wracked with injuries and a lack of offensive depth, the Gores managed to slip into the ToRD playoffs on a tiebreaker after a demoralizing regular season loss to the Smoke City Betties. It was their worst regular season showing ever, but buoyed by the return of some of those injured skaters, the Gores were able to make it to their sixth consecutive Battle for the Boot.
In the initial draft, the team looked to shore up these inefficiencies (only exacerbated by the loss of the two highest scoring jammers in league history to CN Power), and continued to do so with the Top-Up Draft. While Cirque and Full Deck are rookies, Tarantulove and Amefyst are experienced transfers. Amefyst spent the past two seasons helping to develop Durham’s Atom Smashers (she was key part of their Gibson’s Cup victory this season) and DRRD’s travel Team, the Devils. She is smart pack player capable of wearing the stripe. Tarantulove, meanwhile, was one of Rideau Valley’s most highly touted prospects last season and gained valuable experience at the WFTDA level with the travel team Vixens. She will fit in nicely with the Gores young jammer rotation, and admitted after the draft, that she had a feeling she’d be a Gore.
Smack Mia Round
The winners of back-to-back ToRD championships in the past two seasons (and three overall), the Chicks roster was left in tatters after CN Power separated from the home teams this year. The rebuild begins in earnest with four more skaters added to a very young roster. Kingston transfer (B)lackey(E) is probably the most experienced in the group, but Smack Mia Round has spent the better part of two seasons with the D-VAS and has picked up valuable track time along the way.
It could be a challenging season for the Chicks who have barely faced any adversity since the 2009 season. But Smack Mia Round, who did not hide her desire to be drafted by the Chicks (“I’ve been a Chicks fan from the start,” she openly admits) believes that the positive attitude at the foundation of the team will pull them through. “The spirit of the Chicks is still there. That’s still clear,” she says, despite the massive shake up of the roster in the off season (they lost the most skaters to the new CN Power team). “In the past few months I really figured out what about derby was most important for me…they are ‘Team Number Fun,’ ” she says of their famous motto, “and that’s what I wanted.” She’s confident that the team can get over the roster shake up.
“Also,” she points out, “You can practice really hard when you are happy.”
**ToRD’s regular season kicks off on March 2nd with all four home teams in action. Stay tuned for a full preview.**
2013 ToRD HOME TEAM ROSTERS
(Before the Top-Up Draft; *R* signifies 2013 rookie)