This weekend Toronto Roller Derby will host the 7th annual Quad Chaos, an annual Canadian roller derby tradition dating back to 2010 when Montreal, Hamilton and Vancouver joined Toronto for a weekend-long round-robin tournament. That historic weekend also featured the first all-Canadian WFTDA matchup (Montreal and Hamilton were actually the first international participants to play a sanctioned game outside of the US).
Over time the tournament grew in prestige, and the 2014 and 2015 versions were full D1 competitive tournaments, annually providing the best flat track roller derby in the country. This year, the narrative is a little different, but the stakes are arguably higher as the tournament features a few up-and-coming WFTDA Canadian teams and three teams—Toronto, Tri-City and Queen City—battling for their Division 1 lives.
Toronto Roller Derby All Stars (42nd)
The hosts are the highest ranked team in the tournament and in 2015 ran the table, impressively knocking off Boston, Steel City and Rideau Valley to kick off its 2015 season and improve its overall record at the tournament to 12-6. This year, however, the team that will take to the track looks vastly different. Only three skaters return from the roster that swept last year’s Quad City Chaos. With so much change to the team, it’s hard to judge how things will go this year and QCC will mark the 2016 debut of the team that is coming off of a rough 2015 that saw them go 6-9 (including playoffs) but only 3-9 after the QCC sweep.
Toronto has a deep history with two of its competitors in the tournament, although in the case of Tri-City, it’s been a while since the two teams met on the track: four years to be exact. Toronto is 2-1 against Tri-City with both wins coming at the Quad City Chaos (2011, and ‘12 versions). Since 2010, Toronto has faced their Buffalo rivals five times, winning three in a row from 2011-2013 before getting upset 232-229 by Queen City in the first round of the WFTDA playoffs last year. Toronto has never faced Quebec.
Queen City Roller Girls: Lake Effect Furies (47th)
Queen City is coming off of a strong year in which they made their Division 1 playoff debut (where they had the distinct pleasure of getting stomped by Gotham). They were 4-4 in regular season sanctioned play before a 1-3 showing in the playoffs that included a thrilling last-jam three-point victory over Toronto in the first round, marking the first time they’d beaten them since 2010. This is the Queen City’s second QCC appearance, and they’ll be looking to improve upon the 0-3 mark they recorded the last time they were here in 2013.
The Furies will be playing two games this weekend, taking on the hosts and Tri-City. They should still be riding high from that last-minute victory over Toronto and with a roster virtually unchanged from last season may be able to make it back-to-back wins vs. the hosts. Queen City has had similar trouble with Tri-City over the years. The first meeting between the two teams was way back in 2010 when Queen City suffered a narrow 20-point loss. They tables were flipped in 2011, but in the three meetings since that time, Queen City has been unable to overcome their rivals, culminating in a tight 12-point loss at last May’s Beaver Fever.
Queen City kicked off its 2016 season with a crushing win over Roc City earlier this month.
Tri-City Roller Derby: Thunder (51st)
Tri-City is coming off its second straight Division 1 playoff appearance, but as with their Toronto counterparts, slipped to last in their division playoff last year. However, Thunder had a strong regular season going 7-3, and while a number of core skaters are gone from the team, their roster remains more consistent than Toronto’s and they have a deep, experienced coaching staff. Tri-City has twice appeared at QCC, but not since 2012. It has a total record of 3-3 at the tournament with two losses coming to Toronto and the other to Montreal.
Tri-City has not played Toronto since that 2012 tournament and last earned a victory over its southern Ontario counterparts in October 2010. Overall Tri-City has a favourable 4-1 record against Queen City dating back to 2010 as well, and since 2012 has managed narrow 16-, 2-, and then 12-point victories over the Furies. Last year’s win, a 12-point upset at Beaver Fever, kicked off a 4-1 run that essentially clinched Thunder’s D1 playoff spot. Tri-City Thunder has never faced its third opponent, Quebec.
Roller Derby Quebec: Les Duchesses (unranked)
The biggest question mark at QCC 2016 is the unranked Les Duchesses. A fresh face on the WFTDA scene, RDQ has yet to garner any ranking points although their close rivalry with 105th ranked Muddy River gives a sense of where they stand. Les Duchesses went 4-2 last season with their only losses coming to Montreal (both the Skids and the Sexpos). However, the league has been turning heads at every other level: both home teams squared off in last year’s Beast of the East final and their 9-skater farm team won the Fresh and Furious tournament. RDQ seems poised to break out.
However, Les Duchesses’ WFTDA career has gotten off to a rough start, with 2016 season-opening losses to Ottawa’s Capital City (146-113) and Muddy River (203-182), a team they had beaten three times over the previous two seasons. At this level, RDQ has never faced Toronto, Tri-City, or their Sunday opponent Royal City, whose 104th place WFTDA ranking puts them theoretically even with their Quebec opponents.
The Rest of the Pack
With Queen City’s Furies not playing on Sunday, Royal City’s Brute-Leggers (104th) will come to town to take on Quebec. 8-1 in sanctioned play in 2015, their first year as full members of the WFTDA, the Brutes are a tough, smart team capable of punching well above their weight, and opened 2016 with a decisive win over 98th-ranked Lansing. Their showdown with Quebec should be a fascinating matchup between two teams on the rise.
2013 marked the beginning of B-team play at QCC, and that tradition continues this year. Toronto will play Montreal’s Sexpos (who first appeared at QCC in 2014) and Queen City’s Sub Zero Sirens, while the Sirens and Sexpos will also square off. The Sub Zero Sirens have already picked up two wins in 2016, while the Sexpos suffered a loss to Capital City in its season opener.
**All games will be produced by William Clarke (in collaboration with producer/director Honey Boom Boom and tournament head announcer Mr. Whistler), broadcast at layer9.ca, and simulcast on WFTDA.TV. For a complete schedule click here.