From WFTDA Division 1 match ups to a Canadian provincial teams showdown to an annual eastern Canadian fresh meat tournament, this weekend has something for every derby fan.
It’s that time of year again! Once again the GTA Rollergirls have invited fresh meat teams from across Ontario and Quebec to compete in The Fresh and The Furious, a one-day, two-track, double-elimination tournament featuring the up-and-coming stars from some of eastern Canada’s top leagues.
There will be fifteen teams competing in the tournament this year, with teams divided between two tracks until the quarterfinals (which will feature crossover match ups) and then a final four that will take place on the main track in Ted Reeve Arena (the second track is located in Ted Reeve’s “Bubble”).
Last year, ToRD, Hammer City, and the mixed Quebec Team (Les Bûches) dominated the event. Hammer City won’t be returning this season, but ToRD’s D-VAS return and Les Bûches will be back to defend their crown (last year marked the second year in a row that a team from Quebec won the tournament).
PARTICIPANTS (including first-round matchups)
Northumberland Roller Girls’ Ganaraska Gravediggers will kick things off with the South Simcoe Rebel Rollers at 11:00 AM. The only US participants Queen City Roller Girls will face off against Border City Brawlers Windsor A-salt at 11:40 (Queen City is a regular at the event). Two multi-league teams are up next with the NEOFights representing Northeastern Ontario Roller Derby (NORD), which is a conglomeration of leagues from Northern Ontario, facing off against Les Bûches, the defending champs from Quebec, at 12:20. Finally, Forest City Derby Girls Thickets will take on the Renegade Derby Dames to close out the opening matches in the Bubble at 1:00 PM.
Ted Reeve Arena
Due to the odd number of teams in this year’s tournament, Our Ladies of Pain, representing the Royal City Roller Girls will get a bye past the first round, but will be in tough at 1:40 as they face the winners of a GTA showdown between ToRD’s D-VAS (finalists last year) and the DRRD’y Farmers representing Durham Region Roller Derby (11:40). The Orangeville Roller Girls’ Fox Force Five will open up their tournament facing off against the hosts, GTAR’s Derby Debutantes, at 12:20. Finally, Belleville Roller Derby’s Belleville Bombshells will be taking on Ottawa’s Cannon Dolls, representing the Capital City Derby Dolls at 1:00 PM.
While the 2014 WFTDA regular season is officially complete (teams are eagerly awaiting release of the final standings on July 15th), there are some key match ups this weekend, including a number that will feature Division 1 teams facing off.
Close to home, Toronto, Tri-City and Hammer City will be in action. Although they will not make the Division 2 playoffs this season, Hammer City (currently ranked 86th) has made massive strides in the past two years after suffering through years of futility. This weekend, they will be hosting another non-playoff squad in Ithaca (84th). Given the close ranking of these teams, the result is incredibly important. A big victory for either team would help propel them ever closer to one of those coveted D2 playoff spots. Speaking of playoff spots, Tri-City (42nd) is hoping to shore up a top-40 D1 spot, but either way will be playing playoff derby again this season. Ithaca should provide a good warm up when the two square off in a “hangover” bout on Sunday.
Toronto (20th and currently 5-9 on the season) and Charm City (26th, and 6-1 on the season) both know that they will be in the D1 playoffs, the question is where? These two teams have been on opposite trajectories over the last season and a half, with Toronto marching upward (briefly hitting a franchise high of 13th earlier this season) and Charm slipping downward from a high of 12th in 2013. Toronto has been inconsistent as of late (and will undoubtedly slip a little in the next ranking), and could use a big victory to build confidence heading in to this year’s playoffs. Both CN Power and the Bay Street Bruisers will be heading to Baltimore on the weekend for a Saturday night double header.
On the west coast, D1 playoff bound Terminal City (25th, 4-4) hosts Houston (33rd, 2-3). Terminal City is expected to nab a slightly higher playoff rank than it currently has, while Houston recently slipped six spots and will undoubtedly open the playoffs having to take part in a 7-10 play-in game.
Finally, in Europe, while Copenhagen (183rd) will face off against the historic (but unranked) Stuttgart Valley Rollergirlz in Germany, the spotlight has been stolen by the impending showdown between defending WFTDA champs Gotham and surging London in England. London (5-0 on the season), currently ranked 5th, had peaked at 3rd earlier in the season, while Gotham (also 5-0) has been firmly ensconced at 1st for a few years now. It would be a massive understatement to say that this is a highly anticipated matchup. While Gotham is, well, Gotham, the London Rollergirls have been playing like a team possessed this season. At the 2014 Anarchy in the UK, London crushed competition from Rocky Mountain, Detroit and Toronto, playing at a level even higher than they brought to the WFTDA Championship tournament last year. The game will be boutcast live (here at 7:00 PM BST).
THE TOBAN TUSSLE
Provincial teams have begun to sprout up across our nation, and while Saskatchewan and Alberta faced off last year, this weekend in Portage La Prairie, three provincial teams will face off in a round-robin tournament. Roller Derby Manitoba will be hosting its first ever tournament, the Toban Tussle. At the Tussle, Manitoba, Alberta and Ontario. will face off alongside a tournament featuring B-level travel teams from across the province of Manitoba. Unfortunately for Ontario, a number of Team Ontario’s skaters will be with their WFTDA teams this weeked, but it will still be sending a very strong roster including a core of skaters from the Rideau Valley Vixens.
In terms of provincial team games, Alberta and Ontario kick things off at 11:10 AM on Saturday, with Ontario and Manitoba squaring off at 3:50 PM. Manitoba and Alberta will face off on Sunday at 10:20 AM.
Along with the three provincial teams, squads representing PLAP City Rollers (Portage La Prairie’s Headstone Honeys), Winnipeg Roller Derby (Bombshell Brawlers), and Wheat City Roller Derby (Brandon’s Gang Green) will face off against a mixed-league team, Prairie Fusion.
For details and a complete schedule, visit the Toban Tussle Facebook page.