Eager Beavers and Slammin’ Clams: 2013 Clam Slam kicks off Pride Weekend in TO

The participants of the 2013 Clam Slam (Photo by Joe Mac)

The participants of the 2013 Clam Slam (Photo by Joe Mac)

There was a time in the not-so-distant-past when walking into a hockey rink in Toronto’s east end and seeing a sea of rainbow flags and a raucous pride celebration going on would have been an anomaly. And on a weekend when Pride parade participants in Russia were being rounded up and arrested, to do so was a great reminder of the beautiful freedom we have in this city and this country. Pride has become an essential aspect of this city’s identity, a loud, proud weekend celebrating Toronto’s distinct sexual diversity. But it is also a symbol, a beacon of freedom that the population of not only this city, but also this country, should hold high.

As has become custom, Toronto’s Pride Weekend kicked off on Friday night with the fifth annual Clam Slam, a traditional Toronto Roller Derby event that was co-hosted this year with the GTA Rollergirls.  The Clam Slam is a Pride-affiliated event, an annual all-queer all-star bout featuring skaters from across North America playing this year for two teams, the Clam Diggers and the Eager Beavers. In the past, such derby superstars as Rose City’s Mercy and Windy City’s Jackie Daniels have taken part.

The opening bout was dominated by a Core of Hammer City skaters led by pivot Whacks Poetic (hitting Royal City's Bent Barbie (AKA: Steamy Steelborn). (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The opening bout was dominated by a Core of Hammer City skaters led by pivot Whacks Poetic (hitting Royal City’s Bent Barbie (AKA: Steamy Steelborn). (Photo by Neil Gunner)

While the core of this year’s rosters were once again made up primarily of skaters from Ontario, there were some special guests. Montreal’s Nameless Whorror was at her fourth Clam Slam, while Rachel Mad Ho came up from DC Rollergirls, Trudy Bauchery was in town from Circle City, and Eve Anne Hellical and Maiden America were representing the mighty Naptown Rollergirls from Indianapolis, Indiana. The event has become so popular that for the first time ever, two games were scheduled for the evening. The first game featured less experienced skaters from southern Ontario, many playing in their first ever Clam Slam.

Both Eager Beavers team benches were run by Swaggy and Mrs. Swaggy (the retired Aston Martini and ToRD’s Ames to Kill), and put up a good fight despite being slightly overmatched in the opening game. Led by South Simcoe’s Ladykiller Jane and ToRD’s Femmebot (AKA: Full Deck from ToRD’s Gore-Gore Rollergirls) in the pack and a triple threat in Half Rack (AKA: Android WK of the Death Track Dolls) who was excellent in the opener. But the story of the game was the core of Hammer City skaters at the heart of the Clam Diggers. Led in the pack by Whacks Poetic (who had her way offensively during this game with some excellent blocking) and Rock E. Road, Hammer City jammer Cancer Candy was the standout with the star in this one (Whacks and Candy would also play in the second game). Up by 33 at the half, the Diggers, who were managed by Flyin’ Bryan (of the Bay Street Bruisers) and Rear Factor (AKA: Sonic Doom of CN Power), held on the win the opener, 191-95.

Circle City's Trudy Bauchery (skating for the Diggers) battles Montreal's Nameless Whorror and ToRD's Nasher the Smasher. (Photo by Greg Russell)

Circle City’s Trudy Bauchery (skating for the Diggers) battles Montreal’s Nameless Whorror and ToRD’s Nasher the Smasher. (Photo by Greg Russell)

The second game of the night contained the most talented rosters in the event’s five-year history, and it showed on the track , as the teams produced the fastest, hardest hitting, and most talent-laden display of derby in Clam Slam history. Paced on the jammer line by Naptown’s Maiden America, but also featuring ToRD’s Santilly All Over Yo Face, the Clam Diggers exploded out of the gates. Featuring a formidable pack that included ToRD’s BruiseBerry Pie, Peterborough/Durham’s Lous Ur Pants, and Tri-City’s Sofanda Beatin, the Diggers pulled ahead early, but couldn’t pull away.

The Eager Beavers featured an equally impressive roster. ToRD rookie Lexxi joined her ToRDmates Getcha Licks, Ruby Pubie (AKA: Bellefast) and Rainbow (Fight) to form the core of the jammer rotation (Rainbow was all over the track, continuing her emergence as a true Canadian superstar). But the pack was loaded as well, led by Nameless Whorror, but also featuring ToRD’s Dyna Squirtcha and Nasher the Smasher, Forest City’s Mirambo and GTA’s Newfie Bullet. They were within reach at half, down by only 18 points, but couldn’t make up the gap in the second, falling 180-140 in a thoroughly entertaining game.

Naptown's Maiden America fights to break up a wall of Eager Beavers. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Naptown’s Maiden America fights to break up a wall of Eager Beavers. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Despite the intensity on the track and level of talent on display, wins and losses don’t count for much at Clam Slam. One of the event’s key organizers (and five year Clam Slam vet) Monichrome (skating as Chromosexual in what would be the final game of her seven-year career) echoed the sentiments. “In some ways, it’s just a fun bout; you’re learning on the track to play with other skaters,” she explained when asked about the importance of the event. “But,” she added, “it’s also important to have LGBTQ visibility in the roller community.” While roller derby has always been a diverse and welcome community in terms of sexuality, it is important that the sport continues to display this and not take its celebrated diversity for granted. Indeed, in 2013 roller derby is leading the way in this regard.

The Eager Beavers' jammer Rainbow breaks through the pack. (Photo by Greg Russell)

The Eager Beavers’ jammer Rainbow breaks through the pack. (Photo by Greg Russell)

“A lot of sports are just getting to the point where there is a little bit of talk of acceptance, but there aren’t a lot of athletes coming out,” Chrome said, alluding to the NHL’s “If You Can Play” campaign and the NBA’s Jason Collins, who became the first active player in North America’s “big four sports” to come out.  “The whole point of this event is about being out and being a strong ally for the Queer community.” And in the world of sport, there is no stronger ally than the Clam Slam.

**The bout was produced by Layer9 and boutcast on Canuck Derby TV. Watch the archive!

Clam Slam 2013 Rosters

Game 1

Clam Diggers

Eager Beavers
 3BUX  Cancer Candy (HCRG)
15  Rosemary’s Gayby  (ToRD)
17  Forca (RCRG)
52  Rock E. Road (HCRG)
73  Nellie McStung (GSRD)
83  Snatch Bandit (RCRG)
86  Whacks Poetic  (HCRG)
91  Red Hot Vagilly (GTAR)
862  VAGilante (ToRD)
1923  Tittyana Vaganova (GTAR)
6969  Kunt KillHer (GTAR)
B0TM    Fisting! Balls!  (ToRD)
 12  Ladykiller Jane (SSRR)
52  Femmebot (ToRD)
99  Beat Boxxx McRocks (PRD)
121  Zooey Smash’em Well (GTAR)
313  Suzy SlamHer  (SSRR)
737  Half Rack (ToRD)
1618  Bent Barbie (RCRG)
2468  Malcuntent (RCRG)
3845  Pandora’s Box (ToRD)
4444  Hematoma Hotrod (NRG)
S1  Kate Kane (ToRD)
5BY5  Willow Rosenblock (ToRD) 

Game 2

Clam Diggers

Eager Beavers

3BUX  Cancer Candy (HCRG)
14 Anne XXX (TCRG)
3S0X SewGay  (ToRD)
31 Bruiseberry Pie  (ToRD)
35 Chromosexual (ToRD)
60 HotBox (ToRD)
76 Maiden America (NRG)
86 Whacks Poetic (NCRG)
316 Eve Anne Hellical (NRG)
420 Sofanda Beatin (TCRG)
5PM Trudy Bauchery  (Circle City)
911 Fraxxure (FCDG)
1013 Fox Smoulder  (TCRG)
1129 Santilly All Over Yo Face (ToRD)
1234 Lous ur Pants (PRD)
L7 Hairy Pooter  (Crow City)
111 Nympha Is My Middle Name (ToRD)
2X4 Nasher the Smasher (ToRD)
21 Dyna Squirtcha (ToRD)
25 Lexxxi (ToRD)
26 Mega Bouche  (ToRD)
52 So Fear Me (GTAR)
69 Mirambo (FCDG)
76 Getcha Licks  (ToRD)
87 Sinead O’Clobber (ToRD)
101 Stacie Jones (TCRG)
202 Nameless Whorror  (MTLRD)
709 Newfie Bullet (GTAR)
5678 Ruby Pubie (ToRD)
6107 Kilary Tough (FCDG)
9ET Rachel Mad Ho (DCR)
C3P0 Rainbow (ToRD)
L7 Tara Part (ToRD)
2112 Rhage In Her Cage (ToRD)

Eager Beavers Bench: Swaggy, Mrs. Swaggy
Clam Diggers Bench: Flyin’ Bryan, Rear Factor

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