Recap

End of an Era: Betties Knock off Defending Champs in ToRD Semifinal

Smoke City Betties jammer WackerHer attempts to power through a Death Track Dolls wall in the ToRD semifinal. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Smoke City Betties jammer WackedHer attempts to power through a Death Track Dolls wall in the ToRD semifinal at The Bunker in Dowsnview Park on Saturday night. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

At the midway point of the opening half, it was still anyone’s game.

From the opening whistle, the Smoke City Betties had managed to keep one step ahead of the defending champion Death Track Dolls, but with a scoreline that read 66-40, they hadn’t been able to distance themselves. It was still anyone’s game.

And then, suddenly, it wasn’t: A methodical fourteen-minute, 50-0 run (in which they managed to nab eight out of nine lead jammers) extended the Bettie’s lead to 76 points. The Dolls would never get closer again, and after a second-place regular season and two-straight ToRD championships, they fell short in their attempt to make it three in a row in the 200-123 loss.

Betties blockers (l to r) Brickhouse Bardot, SewWhat?, and Jammher'head Shark contain Dolls jammer Common Dominator. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Betties blockers (l to r) Brickhouse Bardot, SewWhat?, and Jammher’head Shark contain Dolls jammer Common Dominator. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

On Saturday night the Betties (who finished third in the regular season) delivered a complete game effort from a determined, focused and unified team that seems to have saved its best efforts for the most important time of the season, and after dominant quarterfinal and semifinal wins looks poised to challenge the three-time champion Gore-Gore Rollergirls in Toronto Roller Derby’s ninth Battle for the Boot.

The Betties played such a complete game that it is actually difficult to pull out standout performances. Part of the key to the success that the team has displayed in this year’s playoff run seems to be that everyone is buying into her role on the track. In a post-game interview, blocker/pivot SewWhat? attributed this partially to an off-season turnover in leadership that required everyone to step up and take responsibility—something that the team obviously did not shy away from. And from emerging leaders like SewWhat?, Honey Boom Boom and LowblowPalooza, to first-year transfers like Anne Bulance and Brickhouse Bardot, to the veteran core of Tushy Galore and titmouse, the Betties have built the depth to compete against anyone in the league.

Dolls blocker Hannibelle looks to contain Betties jammer Wolverina. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Dolls blocker Hannibelle looks to contain Betties jammer Wolverina. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

As they have all season, the Betties used a deep, consistent jammer rotation led by the unflappable duo of WhackedHer (43 points and an 83% lead percentage at half, that translated to 51, 73% for the game) and Wolverina (who was the game’s leading scorer with 69 on a 77%) to terrorize the Death Track Dolls, who didn’t have the defensive depth to match the consistent turnover of diverse jammers. Overall the Betties had a 65% lead percentage at halftime (and an even more impressive 73% over the second half of the opening period, ) accounting in large part for the considerable 118-54 lead at the break.

Playing desperation derby, the Dolls actually had a better second half (eventually outscored 82-69 in the period) that was a little deceiving as their most sustained push (a 30-7 run) came over the last five minutes when the Betties had taken their skates off the gas and the game was out of reach.

The Dolls got a monumental effort from Sleeper Hold, who donned the star for a remarkable 22 jams on the night. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The Dolls got a monumental effort from Sleeper Hold, who donned the star for a remarkable 22 jams on the night. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Part of the change could be attributed to a momentous effort from second-year jammer Sleeper Hold who appeared in twelve jams in the second half alone (and finished the game with 66 points and a 41% lead percentage on 22 jams). The lack of depth in the position was the result of the bad luck that seemed to follow the Dolls this season. With rookie of the year candidate PrEditor unavailable for the remainder of the season (along with Scarcasm being unavailable for this game) and Devochka having just returned from injury (she got stronger as the game went on, and was excellent as pivot—receiving some key passes and managing 15 points on 60% in limited action with the star), the Dolls were left with Sleeper, rookie Common Dominator (who only had 18 jams worth of experience under her belt coming into the game), and D-VAS call up Battering Ma’am (who didn’t look out of place at all, recording 20 on 42%) to try to match the Betties offensive depth. The Betties rotation was rounded out by CN Power jammer Smoka Kola (54, 69%) and six-year veteran titmouse, whose numbers seem to pale compared to her counterparts (18, 27%). But upon closer inspection, the crafty veteran found ways to deliver and had the Nerd’s “stat of the night”: an incredible 7 stolen points, including 4 in the second half.

Similarly, the Dolls’ pack was lacking some key pieces as well, as both Dawson and Bloc Quebecois were not yet ready to return (Slam Wow and Junkie Jenny were already gone for the season). Another D-VAS call up (and former Doll) Lucid Lou was excellent given the circumstances, and Robotomy, Getcha Kicks, Hannibelle and Stringer Belle continue to provide a consistent core to the pack, but it simply wasn’t enough against a Betties team that was firing on all cylinders.

In the end, the 77-point victory allows the Betties to return to battle for the boot for the third time in history. The showdown with the Gores marks a rematch of the 2009 Battle for the Boot, and is the first appearance for the Betties since a 2013 loss to the Dolls.

Nerd Glasses

* The game was broadcast on Rogers TV. Stay tuned for rebroadcasts. Also, the thrilling preliminary game between the D-VAS and Royal City’s Our Ladies of Pain was also broadcast. Definitely find the time to tune in to this thrilling game. (You can also watch track-side footage of both games on layer9.ca)

These two teams will be meeting again in Guelph on June 13th. If this game was any indication, it might be a road trip worth making for Toronto fans!

*Battle for the Boot 9 is on June 6th at the Bunker. Tickets are on sale now.

Lay of the Land: Where Canadian Teams Stand Midway Through WFTDA Season

The Nerd breaks down the rankings and records of Canada’s top WFTDA teams as the playoff push continues.

DIVISION 1

All four Canadian D1 teams have seen considerable action this season, and at the midway point, all seem fairly secure in their D1 status for the season. Barring any disastrous summers, the next few months should be dedicated to improving placement.

Photo by Bob Ayers (from TCRG All Stars home page)Terminal City All Stars

Current Ranking: 17th / 2015 Record: 4-0

Terminal City is officially the top team in the nation, but they have not in any way distanced themselves from Montreal and Toronto. Impressive wins over Helsinki and Nashville to kick off the season were followed by the narrow streak-stopping victory over Montreal (182-177) and an even narrower win over Boston (177-174). Interestingly, despite the loss to Vancouver, Montreal has better results against Nashville and Helsinki, and Toronto has a better result against Boston but lost (barely) to Montreal. It seems that there is nothing really separating Canada’s top three teams right now.

The Terminal City roster returns largely unchanged from last season but there have definitely been internal shifts, with the likes of Eve Hollows and Sundown taking on more on-track leadership and Maiden Sane rising to the top of the jammer rotation.

Next up for Terminal City are Wasatch (39th) and Rocky Mountain (14th) at Besterns on May 29th.

Photo by Ulrick Wery (from Skids home page)

Montreal Roller Derby: New Skids on the Block

Current Ranking: 20th / 2015 Record: 4-1

Montreal started the season very well holding off frantic pushes from both Rideau Valley (166-140) and Toronto (180-171) before handling Nashville and Helsinki with relative ease and then suffering the team’s first ever defeat to a Canadian team in the last-minute loss to Terminal City.

Montreal is going through a minor rebuild this season from the bench staff right through to the jammer rotation. And while skaters like Ohi(0) and Demanda Lashing in the pack and Falcon Punch with the star have emerged as prominent pieces, there is still a very experienced core at the heart of this team that includes Jess Bandit, Mange Moi El Cul, Cheese Grater and Mel E. Juana.

The Skids have a busy June coming up with tough games against Boston (21st), Stockholm (32nd), and a tumbling Windy City (13th) scheduled.

CNPOWER 2015

Toronto Roller Derby: CN Power

Current Ranking: 24th / 2015 Record: 4-3

Toronto has been very busy so far this season and despite a considerable roster shuffle in the off season has looked strong in 2015. An impressive three-game winning streak over Rideau Valley, Steel City and Boston built up CN Power’s confidence going into a showdown with long-time rival Montreal, a game they led most of the way before losing narrowly. An up-and-down Spring Roll saw them sneak by Kansas City (191-188) before strong performances in losses to higher ranked Arch Rival (18th currently) and the surging Dallas Derby Devils, who have jumped 31 spots in the standings so far this season.

Toronto, largely, has a new-look jammer rotation with transfers Mad Megz, Smoka Cola, and Bay Street Bruisers graduate Bellefast all in the top four of the depth chart. Blocking, Misery Mae has added some much-needed power to the pack while Ames to Kill has emerged as a more-than-capable team leader.

Toronto faces some old (and also rebuilding) rivals in Naptown (35th) and Ohio (22nd) next.

vixens2014_logo-resize

Rideau Valley Vixens

Current Ranking: 34th / 2015 Record: 3-4

The Vixens remain somewhat of an enigma. Although their record speaks to the quality of competition the team has faced in 2015, they have had some inconsistent results. Starting the season with a big win over Steel City, Rideau Valley looked very good in losses to the higher ranked Toronto (32 point loss), Boston (23) and Montreal (26), they then crushed Green Mountain and held off a cagey Tri-City before coming up flat in a loss to Queen City (a team that, to be fair, has often seemed to baffle the Vixens—for whatever reason).

While the Vixens have been slowly extending their bench (and the B-Team Sirens are developing well), depth remains a problem. Skaters like Jamie’s Got a Gun (who has transitioned nicely from the junior to the senior game) and Restless Ross are taking on more responsibility in the pack, but they still have problems at the jammer position. With Shania Pain once again missing most of the summer schedule, they have yet to find a consistent third jammer capable of replacing her at this level, a gap that was evident in the loss to Queen City.

The Vixens do, so far, have a quiet summer planned, but have a very important showdown scheduled against Baltimore’s Charm City in July.

DIVISION 2

Canada has two teams securely in Division 2 playoff spots, and although both would love to advance to D1 by the season’s end (and it remains a possibility), either team could do some serious damage in the D2 playoffs and would both be considered contenders if they remained.

Photo by Brangwyn Jones from CRDA All Stars home page

Calgary Roller Derby Association All Stars

Current Ranking: 43rd / 2015 Record: 3-6

A very busy Calgary team is getting a crash-course in how hard it is to stay competitive in WFTDA’s Division 1. The darlings of the Association last season (built upon a record-setting surge up the standings), Calgary briefly slipped into D1 early in 2015 before settling back high in the D2 standings. Calgary hasn’t yet managed the big wins this season as they’ve faced some stiff competition, losing one-sided decisions to strong teams from Arizona, Jacksonville, Arch Rival and Dallas. However, most surprising was their recent loss to 54th ranked Tri-City (208-196) in a thrilling game between the cross-nation teams.

Calgary retains its core after last year’s run up the rankings and their jammer rotation (led by Team Canada’s Kryss Myass) has been shored up by the strong play of Mulan Bruise and Easy Break Oven.

Calgary awaits its schedule for Beach Brawl 2015 in June, and also has yet to announce an opponent for a June 6th home game.

TCRD travel team 2015

Tri-City Thunder

Current Ranking: 54th / 2015 Record: 6-2

After a seemingly ominously auspices start to the 2015 season (a one-sided loss to a rebuilding Ohio), Tri-City has turned its fortunes around and anchored by a solidly rebuilt jammer rotation has won six of the last seven games to all-but-secure a spot in the D2s once again (they were in the D1 playoffs last season, but the D2s in 2013). The only loss in that run was to the higher-ranked Rideau Valley (186-156) and included considerable upsets over Calgary (43rd) and Queen City (30th).

Changes all around have helped to shore up Tri-City’s game. Recent transfers Andy Slamberg and Anne Tastic join Fox Hadley, Wylde Leigh Coyote, and Fraxxure in a deep pack, while the jammer rotation has been completely rebuilt around transfers Honey Badger and Crazy Squirrel (with double threat AnneX providing the most consistent relief with the star).

Up next is a tough June meeting against 45th ranked Chicago Outfit in Chi-town.

THE BEST OF THE REST

The rest of Canada’s WFTDA teams are either currently unranked due to lack of sanctioned games (Muddy River and Winnipeg, for example, who both just picked up a handful of games after strong performances at Mayday Mayhem and will enter the rankings shortly) or have either fallen far out of D2 (Hamilton continues its slide, down now to 141st) or haven’t yet climbed their way into it (Forest City, for example, whose inconsistency has them still hovering at 136th).

However, the best of the rest is easily the Royal City Roller Girls’ Brute-Leggers, who after winning their first three sanctioned bouts, have leap-frogged the rest of the Canadian competition to find themselves ranked 105th and on the cusp of Division 2. The Brute-Leggers’ next sanctioned action comes in June at ECDX where they will square off against Salisbury (107th) and Connecticut (112th). It will easily be the stiffest test the team will have faced yet in sanctioned play, but they are both winnable games that provide a quality opportunity to build on what has been an incredibly successful start to their WFTDA run.

Nerd Glasses

*I’ll be at the Bunker in Downsview Park this weekend working with Rogers TV to broadcast Toronto Roller Derby’s playoffs! After their quarterfinal win on May 9th, the Smoke City Betties have advanced to take on the defending champion Death Track Dolls for an opportunity to play in this year’s Battle For the Boot. The night will begin with the D-VAS hosting Royal City’s Our Ladies of Pain (5:00 PM), with opening whistle for the semifinal scheduled for 7:00 PM. Tickets are now available.

Weekend Recap: Terminal Ends Montreal’s streak; Betties advance in ToRD; Hammer City wins second in a row

A busy weekend in Canadian derby at all levels, from WFTDA sanctioned competition to B-team play to house league playoffs.

The final score also showing the 14-7 score of the frantic final jam (from the All Stars Facebook page; photo by Bob Ayers)

The final score also showing the 14-7 score of the frantic final jam (from the All Stars Facebook page; photo by Bob Ayers)

Terminal City All Stars 182 vs. Montreal’s New Skids on the Block 177

It’s been a long time coming. Forever, actually. At least in derby time.

On Saturday, May 2, 2015, Montreal Roller Derby’s New Skids on the Block lost a full-length WFTDA sanctioned game to a Canadian team for the first time in history when Vancouver’s Terminal City All Stars defeated them on a frantic last jam, 182-177, at The Big O in Eugene, Oregon.

It put an end to a streak of national dominance that I doubt we will ever see again. Although Terminal had defeated Montreal once before in a short, non-regulation game, beginning in July 2008, The Skids have been on a nearly eight-year, seventeen-game winning streak against the top teams that this country has to offer. During that time, they defeated Hammer City, Toronto, Rideau Valley, Tri-City, Oil City, Calgary and Terminal City; essentially, the cream of the crop of Canadian flat track.

Teams have been breathing down Montreal’s neck for two years now, most notably Toronto (who have 13- and 9-point losses to the Skids in that stretch) and Terminal City (who lost to them by 22 last year), and the Canadian Power Rankings crew had already shifted Terminal ahead of Montreal to kick off 2015’s rankings. But it’s one thing to do it on paper, and another to do it on the track.

Just last week in Montreal, Toronto had the Skids on the ropes for much of their game, including holding an 86-64 lead at halftime, but couldn’t hold off Montreal in the end. Similarly, Terminal City actually looked as if they were going to run away with it in the early going, amassing a lead that stretched to as much as 50 points before Montreal made it close at half, down 88-79.

A back-and-forth second half saw no team with a clear advantage and Montreal taking a two point lead into the final minute and jam. A Mel E Juana lead seemed to wrap things up, but with a scrappy Evada Peron on the track and time remaining, Mel was forced to engage and picked up a forearm penalty that allowed Terminal City to lock down the jam and outscore Montreal 14-7 for the 5-point win.

After opening the season with a 215-185 win over Helsinki, 18th ranked Terminal City ran the table this weekend, slightly upsetting Montreal, while also knocking off Nashville (182-122) and Boston (in another tight one, 177-173) to improve to 4-0 on the season. Meanwhile, after opening the season with four straight wins, the loss to Vancouver drops the 17th ranked Montreal to 4-1 on the season.

Nerd Glasses

ToRD House League Quarterfinals: Chicks Ahoy! 129 – Smoke City Betties 218

Monster Muffin battles through a Betties wall of Zomboney, pivot Honey Boom Boom, and Brickhouse Bardot. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Monster Muffin battles through a Betties wall of Zomboney, pivot Honey Boom Boom, and Brickhouse Bardot. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

A closing 26-10 jam for Chicks Ahoy’s! Monster Muffin (aided by some monstrous pack work from the excellent line of Morton, Biggley Smallz, Rosemary’s Rabies, and Furious Georgia) concluded a strong end to what had threatened to be a slaughter in the early going.

Toronto Roller Derby’s ninth house league playoffs got underway this past weekend with three-time Battle for the Boot champs Chicks Ahoy! falling to two-time finalists the Smoke City Betties in a quarter final showdown at Ted Reeve Arena in Toronto’s east end. The Betties advance to play the defending champion Death Track Dolls in the semi final on May 23rd.

The Betties were missing key pieces this weekend—most notably in the jammer rotation—but it didn’t phase them as they continued the dominance they’d shown in the regular season meeting between these two teams. Veteran titmouse returned to the rotation on Saturday, a position she’d seemingly transitioned out of, and tore up the track for the Betties, with whom she’s skated for six seasons now, joining Smoka Cola and WhackedHer as a trio for which the Chicks had no answers (not to mention some late-gaming jamming from another long-time Betties blocker Genuine Risk). However, the difference was more in the depth of the pack, one led by another six-year vet Tushy Galore and emerging leader SewWhat?, but increasingly dependent upon the offense of LowBlowPalooza and the considerable depth bulking up the rest of the bench.

Despite the fourth straight ToRD loss of the season, strong performances across the bench indicate this team is on the right track. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Despite the fourth straight ToRD loss of the season, strong performances across the bench indicate this Chick’s team is on the right track. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The Betties got off to a thoroughly dominant start, and were in complete control at half, up 161-41.

The second half was a different story, however, a combination of the Betties taking their foot of the gas and the Chicks refusing to end their season without a fight. Led by retiring nine-year skater Furious Georgia (who was eventually named the team’s blocking MVP) and her aforementioned linemates, and a jamming rotation built around an increasingly confident trio of Monster Muffin, R2-Smack-U, and Wheels of Misfortune, the Chicks actually outscored the Betties in the second half 108-58.

The Betties vs. Dolls semi final will be back at The Bunker on May 23rd.

Nerd Glasses 

Bay Street Bruisers Upend Plan B / Hammer City Crushes Striking Vikings

A number of Bruisers  excelled despite playing back-to-back games (including Morton, Joss Wheelin and Tushy Galore) seen here blocking SlaughterHouse Streeter. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

A number of Bruisers excelled despite playing back-to-back games (including Morton, Joss Wheelin and Tushy Galore) seen here blocking SlaughterHouse Streeter. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The Hammer City Eh! Team picked up its second straight win overall, but first sanctioned win, in 2015 with a thoroughly dominant 477-51 victory over their WFTDA D3 counterparts the Striking Vikings of Alliston’s Renegade Derby Dames. It was the second straight sanctioned loss to begin the season for the Vikings after a 219-104 loss to Windsor’s Border City Brawlers.

Hammer City has had an up-and-down few seasons to say the least. After challenging for a D2 playoff spot in 2013, Hammer City has been on a rough tumble since, beginning this season in 109th, outside of D2 altogether; it was a run that included nine-straight losses. But after defeating Ohio’s Gang Green 140-148 last week, the Eh! Team seems to have some swagger back: the 477 points is the most ever scored by the team in a regulation or sanctioned game.

Finally, back in Toronto, two of Canada’s top team’s B-teams faced off when the Bay Street Bruisers hosted Tri-City’s Plan B. It was the first meeting between the two and was reminiscent of some of the old Thunder-CN Power struggles.

The Bruisers got off to a hot start, but couldn’t stay much more than a step or two ahead of Plan B, leading 25-15 ten minutes into what ended up being a fast, hard-hitting and relatively low-scoring game.

Missing a few jammers allowed Murdercat! to have her busiest game with the Bruisers, teaming up with Lexi Con, Monster Muffin and titmouse (the last two doubling up after the Betties/Chicks game earlier in the evening). It was strong, full-team effort that allowed the Bruisers to control much of the play in the first half on the way to a narrow 69-65 lead.

Picking up where they left off in the first, Plan-B came out hard in the second half, led by a 19-0 jam for the jukey Crazy Squirrel who seems to have found a home in Tri-City. She was part of a diverse jammer rotation along with Aggrosaurus, Kristy Skelton and SlaughterHouse Streeter, a combination that forced constant defensive adjustments from the Bruisers. Tri City took the lead 6 minutes in and managed to hold it for nearly 15 minutes before the Bruisers retook it and held on to the end for the 166-144 lead in a thrilling first match up between these two quality B-teams.

All Quebec Final at Beast 2015

Photo by Ulrick Wery (www.ulrick.be)

Casse-Gueules came out on top of an all Roller Derby Quebec final (161-142) to win Beast of the East 2015. (Photo by Ulrick Wery / http://www.ulrick.be)

Only moments had passed since Les Filles du Roi’s unlikely last-jam comeback in the third place game of the 2015 Beast of the East and Arena St. Louis was still abuzz. The raw emotion generated by the sole remaining host team in the tournament coming back mightily against a former champion had threatened to blow the roof off the place. The roar of the partisan crowd lingered.

In the upper reaches of the stands, first-time attendee and Kingston Derby Girl announcer Dr. Sneaks was standing dumbfounded, glowing from the emotion, taking long sweeping glances to reel it all in. He had that look in his eye that only a first-timer truly has; it’s that look that people get when in they are wrapped up in the early throes of a new love.

After taking a moment to gather himself, he turned to me and said without hesitation, “I’m never missing another Beast of the East.”

It’s a moment that has happened countless times in the eight-year history of what, many argue, remains flat track roller derby’s greatest weekend of the year. There is just something about it: maybe it’s the downtownish venue, the raucous crowd, the cheap PBR, or maybe just the city of Montreal itself, but the Beast of the East is like the beating heart of the flat track roller derby in this country and every year offers something amazing.

While this year’s version of the tournament didn’t have the across-the-board parity of last year’s, what the 2015 Beast did have in abundance was engrossing narratives. It was a tournament of stories.

Storyline #1: The Rise of the Roller Derby Quebec

This is actually a story that has been playing out over the past three Beasts (and really, since 2011 when the league debuted), but this year the narrative reached its dramatic conclusion. It was the first time since 2010 that two teams from the same league faced off in the final (Montreal did it two years in a row from ‘09-10), and eventual champions Casse-Gueules joined La Racaille (2008-2010) and the Slaughter Daughters (2011-2013) as the only teams to reach consecutive finals.

Two years ago, the Rouge et Gore shocked the tournament, first by setting a scoring record (159 points—a record that was broken this weekend) and then by advancing to the quarterfinals. Not to be outdone, their leaguemates did one better last year by advancing all the way to the final, losing in a heartbreaker. But this year, both teams stole the show.

The Casse-Gueules started slowly (as they did last year), but eventually got rolling, including eliminating the team that had defeated them the year previously (the Gore-Gore Rollergirls) in a low-scoring, yet still fairly one–sided game (55-25) before putting together a truly dominant quarterfinal win and eventually holding off their surging sisters in the final. The Rouge et Gore also saved their best for the later stages of the tournament playing their most complete game in a dominant semifinal win over the Slaughter Daughters (84-10).

Their final was a thrilling one, with Casse pulling away early and holding on in the end for the 161-142 win (the Rouge et Gore outscored them in the second half 84-61).

How this all translates to Roller Derby Quebec’s travel-team season will be remarkable to watch.

Storyline #2: Team Breakout Story: Skateful Dead

It’s so predictable by now that no one should be surprised when a team comes from out of nowhere and goes on a spirited run. In its somewhat fractious history, Kingston Derby Girls have had to deal with division (there was a second Kingston league in the early going) and debates over direction, but they have remained a strong league in spite of it all. Their travel team Disloyalists have been up and down over the years, but if the strength of this Skateful Dead home team is any indication, things seems to be improving from the ground on up.

After a one-sided trouncing at the hands of Rouge et Gore in their opener, you’d be excused for thinking that the tournament would be short for the Dead. But then stunning back-to-back upsets of perennial powerhouses (ToRD’s Death Track Dolls followed by Montreal’s La Racaille) sent shockwaves through the tournament. Although their tournament ended in the quarterfinals, they acquitted themselves exceptionally well there, losing by 10 (88-78) to the Slaughter Daughters in the closest game of the round.

Story #3: Skater Breakout Story: Le Grande Noirceur

FDR's Le Grande Noirceur tries to power her way through a Casse-Gueules wall. (Photo by Joe Mac)

FDR’s Le Grande Noirceur tries to power her way through a Casse-Gueules wall. (Photo by Joe Mac)

There are always so many breakout stories at the Beast that it’s hard to keep track. This year was no exception with Kingston’s Kazi anchoring the most surprising offense of the tournament, Rouge et Gore’s Minnie Small showing the depth of Quebec’s rotation, and the Slaughter Daughter’s Wreck Therapy emerging from Rideau Valley shadows, it was a weekend where new jammers stole the show.

But in one jam, Les Filles du Roi’s Le Grande Noirceur broke out in the biggest way. It was she who, despite an apparent upper-leg injury, flung herself viciously around the track on that final jam of the third-place game to win the beastly trophy for FDR. This is a story that close watchers of the eastern game have seen coming. First, at last year’s Clam Slam she surprised with her poise in the opening game, and then poured it on again at the Fresh and the Furious, playing for Quebec’s Les Bûches.

Actually, many of the breakout stories from this weekend can, not surprisingly, trace their tales back to last year’s Fresh and Furious. Kingston’s Kazi formed part of a strong—tournament winning—Capital City jammer rotation along with Labrosse and Kaio-kensi (both of whom also made their Beast debuts with their CCDD home team, the Beauty School Dropouts).

Story #4: The Return of the Slaughter Daughters

After completely rebuilding the roster two years ago, this Daughters team could have fallen into the “breakout team” category with their performance this year. Last season after a massive Rideau Valley re-rostering, the traditional powerhouses had slipped all the way to the bottom of the three-team league. But this team has rebuilt and rebuilt quickly. With two of (arguably) our nation’s top-ten jammers on the bench (Shania Pain and Melanie Austin[Tatious]), the Daughters stuck to their guns and kept those weapons in the pack (where they were awesome) and instead allowed their newer jammers to flourish; and flourish they did. Wreck Therapy, Angel Poison, and Knotty Knitter were solid all weekend (and got some great support from double threat Anderson). The pack was led by another new Vixen (and former junior skater) Jamie’s Got a Gun. The Daughter’s reemergence should make for a very interesting houseleague season in Ottawa in 2015.

In the end, it was another successful Beast, but then, that’s never truly in question. There’s been a power shift at the home team level with a Quebec taking over (it was the first time in five years a ToRD team did not make the Top 3) and fascinatingly, it’s not Montreal at the helm.

Nerd Glasses

***As has become tradition, on Friday night Montreal’s New Skids on the Block hosted Toronto’s CN Power. It was another incredibly tight match-up between these two teams with The Skids eventually taking it by a measly 9 points (180-171) to maintain top spot in the country. Layer9 has posted his track-side footage; watch it here.

Beast of the East: 2008-2014

To get ready for the 2015 Beast of the East, take a look back at the history of the tournament.

Beast 15 BannerBeast of the East: By the Numbers

YEAR

CHAMPION

RUNNER UP

THIRD PLACE

2008 Hamilton Harlots (HCRG) La Racaille (MTLRD) Les Filles du Roi / Les Contrabanditas (MTLRD)
2009 La Racaille Les Contrabanditas Les Filles du Roi / Smoke City Betties (ToRD)
2010 Les Filles du Roi La Racaille Les Contrabanditas
2011 Slaughter Daughters (RVRG) Gore-Gore Rollergirls (ToRD) Death Track Dolls (ToRD)
2012 Vicious Dishes (TCRD) Slaughter Daughters Chicks Ahoy! (ToRD)
2013 Slaughter Daughters La Racaille Death Track Dolls
2014 Gore-Gore Rollergirls Casse-Gueules (RDQ) La Racaille

Hamilton Harlots won the first Beast of the East in 2008. (Photo by Derek Lang; AKA: Bagelhot)

NOTABLE NUMBERS (Records etc.)

Wins: 25 (La Racaille 2008-2014); La Racaille has the most podiums (1 champ, 3 runners up, 1 third place)

Points Per Game (tournament): 110 (Death Track Dolls 2013)/ 109.5 (Slaughter Daughters 2013) / 102.5 (La Racaille 2013)

Points Against (tournament): 9 (Les Filles du Roi, 2010)

Most Points (single game–20 mins): 159 (Rouge et Gore 2013) / 148 (Les Contrabanditas 2011)

Combined Points (single game–20 mins): 184 (Rouge et Gore 159 vs. Debutantes 32 2013)/ 181 (La Racaille 117 vs. Contrabanditas 64 2013)

Biggest Differential: 148 (Les Contrabanditas 148 vs. Chrome Mollys [GTAR] 0, 2011)

[*The Gore-Gore Rollergirls were the first team to score 100 points in a bout–a 103-11 victory over Capital Carnage in 2009; Les Filles du Roi did it vs. the Vicious Dishes in 2010; four different teams accomplished it in 2011; the Vicious Dishes did it three times themselves in 2012, while three other teams did it that year as well. Since then, it has become common].

[*2012 was the first time both finalists (Vicious Dishes, Slaughters Daughters) lost a game on the way to the finals]

PARTICIPANT HISTORY

(BOE 8: 2015 participants first)

Team League BOE Record Notes
thames-fatales-logoThames Fatales FCDG 7 – 13 Eighth appearance. Quarter final in 2010, 13.
la-racaille-logoLa Racaille MTLRD 25 – 10 Semis 12. Second in 08, 10, 13. Champs in 09. 3rd in 2014
Contrabanditas LogoLes Contrabanditas MTLRD 17 – 10 2nd place in 2009. 3rd in 2010. Quarters 2011,12, 13.
Les Filles du Roi LogoLes Filles du Roi MTLRD 19 – 8 Semi-final 08, 09, 13. Champs in 2010. Quarters 2012
prime sinsiters logoPrime Sinisters RVRG 2 – 2 Second appearance
slaughter daughters logoSlaughter Daughters RVRG 17 – 8 Sixth appearance. Champs 2011, 13; 2nd place 2012
Tramps logoVenus Fly Tramps TCRD 2 – 6 Fourth appearance (2009-2011)
tko logoTotal Knock Outs TCRD 2 – 4 Third appearance (2011, 13). Quarterfinals 2013
deathtrackdolls_logoDeath Track Dolls ToRD 12 – 11 Quarter finals in 2009, 14; 3rd place in 2011, 13.
Chicks Ahoy! logoChicks Ahoy! ToRD 10 – 10 Seventh appearance. 2008-2013. 4th in 2011. 3rd 2012
Gore-Gore Rollergirls logoGore-Gore Rollergirls ToRD 16 – 8 Forfeit 2009 at 3-0. Runners-up 2011; Champs 2014
casse gueules logoLes Casse-Gueules RDQ 4 – 3 Finals 2014
rouge et gore logoLe Rouge & Gore RDQ 4 – 4 Quarter final 2013, 14
Atom Smashers logo 2013Atom Smashers DRRD 1 – 2 Second appearance (2014)
SkatefulDead_logoSkateful Dead KDG First appearance
Beauty School logoBeauty School Dropouts CCDD First appearance
 

Past Participants

Hamilton Harlots HCRG 8 – 6 2008-2010, 2012. Champs in 08.
Death Row Dames HCRG 3 – 5 2008-2010. Quarter final in 2010.
Steel Town Tanks Girls HCRG 1 – 1 2008
Bay Street Bruisers ToRD 1 – 3 2008, 2009. Now ToRD B-travel team.
D-VAS ToRD 0 – 1 2008. Now ToRD houseleague farm team.
Smoke City Betties ToRD 6 – 12 2008-2014. Semi final 2009, quarter final 2012
London Thrashers FCDG 0 – 1 2008
Bytown Blackhearts ORD 0 – 1 2008
Capital Carnage ORD 0 – 2 2009
Devil Dollies QCRG 1 – 1 1st US team (2008)
Derby Dames Grn Mtn 2 – 1 2nd US team, 1st to reach quarter finals (2010)
Derby Debutantes GTAR 2-10 2009-2013
Chrome Mollys GTAR 0 – 2 2011
Vicious Dishes TCRG 10-9 2009-2013. Quarter finals 2010, 11. Champs 2012
Riot Squad RVRG 5-8 Four appearances (2010, 11, 13, 14). Quarterfinals 2014
Luscious Lunch Ladies FCDG 2-3 Quarterfinals in 2014
Les Duchesses de Quebec RDQ 1-4 2011, 2012. Promoted to RDQ travel team
Babes of Thunder TBRD  2-2 2012. Quarter finals in 2012
Reines of Terror MRR  0-2 2012

YEAR-BY-YEAR RESULTS

(Generally, all games 20 minutes until final, which was 30, but by 2012 had become 2 20s)

Beast of the East 2008 PosterBeast of the East 1: 2008

First Round

POOL A

Steel Town Tank Girls 40 vs Smoke City Betties 18
La Racaille 65 vs The Bytown Blackhearts 29
Death Row Dames 17 vs Devil Dollies 54
D-VAS 27 vs Les Contrabanditas 50

POOL B

Gore-Gore Rollergirls 13 vs. Hamilton Harlots 52

Bay Street Brusies 45 vs Thames Fatales 38
London Thrashers 13 vs Chicks Ahoy 65
Death Track Dolls 23 vs Les Filles du Roi 37

Quarter Finals

Steel Town Tank Girls 30 vs La Racaille 32

Devil Dollies 16 vs. Les Contrabanditas 42

Chicks Ahoy 30 vs Les Filles du Roi 38
Hamilton Harlots 53 vs Bay Street Bruisers 15

Semi Finals

Hamilton Harlots 58 vs Les Filles du Roi 29

Les Contrabanditas 32 vs La Racaille 39

Final

Hamilton Harlots 55 vs. La Racaille 18

* Read the Derby Nerd’s reflections.

Beast of the East 2009Beast of the East 2: 2009

First Round (Double Elimination)

Capital Carnage 11 vs. Gore-Gore Rollergirls 103

Death Row Dames 23 vs. Thames Fatales 19

Les Contrabanditas 59 vs. Venus Fly Tramps 26

Slaughter Daughters 24 vs. Smoke City Betties 32

La Racaille 67 vs. Bay Street Bruisers 10

Chicks Ahoy! 48 vs. Vicisou Dishes 32

Les Filles du Roi 77 vs. Death Track Dolls 6

Derby Debutantes 6 vs. Hamilton Harlots 69

Gore-Gore Rollergirls 32 vs. Death Row Dames 5

Capital Carnage 20 (eliminated) vs. Thames Fatales 67

Les Contrabanditas 34 vs. Smoke City Betties 20

Venus Fly Tramps 14 (eliminated) vs. Slaughter Daughters 48

La Racaille 36 vs. Chicks Ahoy! 35

Bay Street Bruisers 16 (eliminated) vs. Vicious Dishes 21

Les Filles du Roi 34 vs. Hamilton Harlots 25

Death Track Dolls 61 vs. Derby Debutantes 20 (eliminated)

Gore-Gore Rollergirls 35 vs. Les Contrabanditas 26

Death Row Dames 15 (eliminated) vs. Smoke City Betties 24

Thames Fatales 28 (eliminated) vs. Slaughter Daughters 68

La Racaille 35 vs. Les Filles du Roi 43

Chicks Ahoy! 21 (eliminated) vs. Hamilton Harlots 38

Vicious Dishes 27 (eliminated) vs. Death Track Dolls 32

Quarter Finals

Gore-Gore Rollergirls (forfeit) vs. Smoke City Betties

Les Contrabanditas 28 vs. Slaughter Daughters 25

Les Filles du Roi 24 vs. Hamilton Harlots 11

La Racaille 77 vs. Death Track Dolls 17

Semi Finals

Smoke City Betties 23 vs. Les Contrabanditas 33

La Racaille 38 vs Les Filles du Roi 20

Final

Les Contrabanditas 34 vs. La Racaille 49

* Read the Derby Nerd’s commentary.

* Read DNN’s bout-by-bout recap by Justice Feelgood Marshall

Beast of the East 2010 PosterBeast of the East 3: 2010

First Round (Double Elimination)
Thames Fatales 38 vs. Smoke City Betties 11
La Racaille 81 vs. Chicks Ahoy!12
Green Mountain Derby Dames 40
vs. Riot Squad 17
Death Row Dames 63 vs. Venus Fly Tramps 6
Les Contrabanditas 72 vs. Death Track Dolls 9
Gore-Gore Rollergirls 43 vs. GTA Derby Debutantes 20
Vicious Dishes 37 vs. Slaughter Daughters 20
Les Filles du Roi 92 vs. Harlots 6
La Racaille 91 vs. Thames Fatales 0
Chicks Ahoy! 89 vs. Betties 15 (eliminated)
Green Mountain Derby Dames 29 vs. Death Row Dames 15
Venus Fly Tramps 43 vs. Riot Squad 14 (eliminated)
Les Contrabanditas 63 vs. Gore-Gore Rollergirls 17

Derby Debutantes 38 vs. Death Track Dolls 29 (eliminated)
Les Filles du Roi 115 vs. Vicious Dishes 7
Harlots 28 vs. Slaughter Daughters 24 (eliminated)
Thames Fatales 24 vs. Venus Fly Tramps 15 (eliminated)
Death Row Dames 42 vs. Chicks Ahoy! 34 (eliminated)
Gore-Gore Rollergirls 45 vs. Harlots 20 (eliminated)
Vicious Dishes 52 vs. Derby Debutantes 24 (eliminated)

Quarter Finals

La Racaille 57 vs. Vicious Dishes 4
Les Contrabanditas 64 vs. Death Row Dames 11
Gore-Gore Rollergirls 45 vs. Green Mountain Derby Dames 22
Les Filles du Roi 91 vs. Thames Fatales 12

Semi Finals

La Racaille 69 vs. Les Contrabanditas 46
Les Filles du Roi 65 vs. Gore-Gore Roller Girls 1

Third Place

Les Contrabanditas 91 vs. Gores 21

Final

Les Filles du Roi 36 vs. La Racaille 20

*Read the Derby Nerd’s preview and recap.

*Watch the archived bouts.

Beast of the East 2011 posterBeast of the East 4: 2011

First Round (Double Elimination)

Duchesses de Quebec 4 vs. Derby Debutantes 124

La Racaille 55 vs. Riot Squad 7

Chicks Ahoy! 63 vs. Total Knockouts (TKOs) 7

Filles du Roi vs. Death Track Dolls 47

Vicious Dishes 50 vs. Gore-Gore Rollergirls 48

Contrabanditas 148 vs. Chrome Mollys 0

Slaughter Daughters 38 vs. Venus Fly Tramps 28

Thames Fatales 75 vs. Smoke City Betties 12

Derby Debutants 8 vs. La Racaille 100

Duchesses du Quebec 4 vs. Riot Squad 97 (Duchesses eliminated)

Chicks Ahoy! 40 vs. Death Track Dolls 21

TKOs 0 vs. Filles du Roi 81 (TKOs eliminated)

Vicious Dishes 21 vs. Contrabanditas 27

Gore-Gore Rollergirls 131 vs. Chrome Mollys 10 (Mollys eliminated)

Slaughter Daughters 62 vs. Thames Fatales 12

Venus Fly Tramps 66 vs. Smoke City Betties 14 (Betties eliminated)

Derby Debutants 29 vs. Filles du Roi 62 (Debutantes eliminated)

Death Track Dolls 84 vs. Riot Squad 8 (Riot Squad elimanted)

Vicious Dishes 49 vs. Venus Fly Tramps 3 (Tramps eliminated)

Thames Fatales 36 vs. Gore-Gore Rollergirls 49 (Thames eliminated)

Quarter Finals

La Racaille 11 vs. Gore-Gore Rollergirls 88

Contrabanditas 49 vs. Death Track Dolls 58

Chicks Ahoy! 48 vs. Vicious Dishes 8

Slaughter Daughters 81 vs. Filles du Roi 3

Semi Finals

Gore-Gore Rollergirls 51 vs. Death Track Dolls 11

Chicks Ahoy! 19 vs. Slaughter Daughters 33

Third Place

Death Track Dolls 42 vs. Chicks Ahoy! 31

Final

Gore-Gore Rollergirls 85 vs. Slaughter Daughters 87

* Read the Derby Nerd’s preview and recap.

* Watch the archived bouts

Beast of the East 5 (2012)Beast of the East 5: 2012

First Round (Double Elimination)

Chicks Ahoy! 51 vs. Slaughter Daughters 41

La Racaille 46 vs. Gore-Gore Roller Girls 30

Motor City Madames 36 vs. Hammer City Harlots 57

Les Contrabanditas 54 vs. Death Track Dolls 20

Vicious Dishes 139 vs. Reines of Terror 0

Les Filles du Roi 79 vs. Babes of Thunder 8

Derby Debutantes 6 vs. Thames Fatales 112

Smoke City Betties 108 vs. Les Duchesses 13

Chicks Ahoy! 10 vs. La Racaille 39

Slaughter Daughters 72 vs. Gore-Gore Rollergirls 52 (Gores eliminated)

Hamilton Harlots 39 vs. Les Contrabanditas 84

Motor City Madames 28 vs. Death Track Dolls 95 (Motor City eliminated)

Vicious Dishes 30 vs. Les Filles du Roi 47

Reines of Terror 34 vs. Babes of Thunder 71 (Reines eliminated)

Thames Fatales 64 vs. Smoke City Betties 69

Derby Debutantes 30 vs. Les Duchesses 120 (Debutantes eliminated)

La Racaille 59 vs. Death Track Dolls 31 (Dolls eliminated)

Hamilton Harlots 30 vs. Slaughter Daughters 131 (Harlots eliminated)

Vicious Dishes 123 vs. Les Duchesses 0 (Duchesses eliminated)

Thames Fatales 20 vs. Babes of Thunder 77 (Thames eliminated)

Quarter Finals

Chicks Ahoy! 83 vs. Babes of Thunder 22

Les Filles du Roi 67 vs. Slaughter Daughters 71

Les Contrabanditas 54 vs. Vicious Dishes 64

Smoke City Betties 59 vs. La Racaille 78

Semi Finals

Chicks Ahoy! 31 vs. Slaughter Daughters 65

Vicious Dishes 67 vs. La Racaille 48

Third Place

Chicks Ahoy! 87 vs. La Racaille 48

Final

Vicious Dishes 118 vs. Slaughter Daughters 63

* Read the Derby Nerd’s preview and recap

* Watch the archived bouts

BOE 2013 PosterBeast of the East 6: 2013

First Round (Double Elimination)

Chicks Ahoy! 58 vs. Riot Squad 50

Vicious Dishes 25 vs. Les Filles du Roi 50

Death Track Dolls 129 vs. Casses Gueules 7

Thames Fatales 34 vs. Les Contrabanditas 76

TKOs 133 vs. Debutantes 8

Rouge et Gore 12 vs. La Racaille 116

Gore-Gore Rollergirls 29 vs. Slaughter Daughters 105

Luscious Lunch Ladies 37 vs. Smoke City Betties 47

Les Filles du Roi 91 vs. Chicks Ahoy! 13

Vicious Dishes 33 vs. Riot Squad 44 (Dishes eliminated)

Contrabanditas 30 vs. Death Track Dolls 96

Thames Fatales 29 vs. Casses Gueules 18 (Gueules eliminated)

La Racaille 103 vs. TKOs 32

Rouge at Gore 159 vs. Debutantes 32 (Debutantes eliminated)

Smoke City Betties 2 vs. Slaughter Daughters 117

Luscious Lunch Ladies 50 vs. Gore-Gore Rollergirls 94 (Ladies eliminated)

Thames Fatales 53 vs. Chicks Ahoy! 46 (Chicks eliminated)

Riot Squad 57 vs. Contrabanditas 86 (Riot Squad eliminated)

Gore-Gore Rollergirls 42 vs. TKOs 85 (Gores eliminated)

Smoke City Betties 56 vs. Rouge et Gore 58 (Betties eliminated)

Quarter Finals

Les Filles du Roi 76 vs. Rouge et Gore 26

Contrabanditas 64 vs. La Racaille 117

TKOs 35 vs. Death Track Dolls 79

Thames Fatales 31 vs. Slaughter Daughters 113

Semi Finals

Filles du Roi 60 vs. La Racaille 85

Death Track Dolls 40 vs. Slaughter Daughters 68

Third Place

Death Track Dolls 136 vs. Filles du Roi 29

Final

La Racaille 74 vs. Slaughter Daughters 103

Read the Derby Nerd’s preview and recap.

VIDEO: Watch Double Elimination Archives Part 1 here.  Watch Part 2 here. Watch quarter finals here. Watch the third place and championship games here.

BEAST 2014 posterBeast of the East 7: 2014

First Round (Double Elimination)

Smoke City Betties 49 vs. Casse Gueules 54

La Racaille 117 vs. Riot Squad 32

Gore-Gore Rollergirls 125 vs. Motor City Madames 22

Les Filles du Roi 78 vs. Atom Smashers 50

Slaughter Daughters 40 vs. Lunch Ladies 80

Les Contrabanditas 122 vs. Thames Fatales 23

Killer Queens 30 vs. Death Track Dolls 91

Rouge et Gore 61 vs. Prime Sinisters 79

Casses Gueules 106 vs. La Racaille 69

Smoke City Betties 36 vs. Riot Squad 66 (Betties eliminated)

Gore-Gore Rollergirls 53 vs. Les Filles du Roi 47

Motor City Madames 57 vs. Atom Smashers 122 (Madames eliminated)

Luscious Lunch Ladies 60 vs. Les Contrabanditas 39

Slaughter Daughters 60 vs. Thames Fatales 45 (Thames eliminated)

Death Track Dolls 55 vs. Prime Sinisters 26

Killer Queens 29 vs. Rouge et Gore 135 (Queens eliminated)

La Racaille 101 vs. Atom Smashers 33 (Smashers eliminated)

Les Filles du Roi 47 vs. Riot Squad 89 (FDR eliminated)

Les Contrabanditas 35 vs. Rouge et Gore 40 (Ditas eliminated)

Prime Sinisters 57 vs. Slaughter Daughters 21 (Daughters eliminated)

Quarter Finals

Casses-Gueules 50 vs. Prime Sinisters 46

Luscious Lunch Ladies 62 vs. Riot Squad 71 (Overtime)

Gore-Gore Rollergirls 64 vs. Rouge et Gore 61

Death Track Dolls 61 vs. La Racaille 86

Semi Finals

Casses-Gueules 75 vs. Riot Squad 68

Gore-Gore Rollergirls 68 vs. La Racaille 67

Third Place

La Racaille 148 vs. Riot Squad 131

Final

Casses Gueules 114 vs. Gore-Gore Rollergirls 129

*Read the Derby Nerd’s preview and recap.

*Video: Watch Day 1 here (begins without commentary); Watch Day 2 here.

 

Canadian Power Rankings: April 1, 2015

Captain Lou El Bammo, Dick Dafone, Dr. Jenny Fever and Derby Nerd rank Canada’s top A-level travel teams every two months (or so). This is the first Power Ranking of 2015.

TEAM (League) CHANGE NOTES (Rollergirl.ca /WFTDA rank)
1.Terminal City All Stars (Terminal City Roller Girls)Terminal City All Stars Idle thus far in 2015, but Terminal City has seen very little turnover on a team that played its way to the top last season.   (/ 18)
2. New Skids on the Block (Montreal Roller Derby)

Montreal Roller Derby: New Skids on the Block

Another untested team thus far in 2015, and one that has seen considerable turnover in the off season. But until there is evidence to the contrary, the Skids hold their spot. (1 / 17)
3.CN Power (Toronto Roller Derby)New CNP Logo Despite big off-season changes, Toronto kicked off 2015 with three straight wins over quality competition (Boston, Steel City, and Rideau Valley) to hold onto third spot. (3 / 28)
4.Rideau Valley Vixens (Rideau Valley Roller Girls)

Vixens Logo

The Vixens come into the season with their roster virtually intact and looked solid with a 1-2 record at Quad City Chaos that included a significant upset over Steel City’s Steel Hurtin’.  (5 / 39)
5. Calgary All Stars (Calgary Roller Derby Association)Calgary All Stars Logo Calgary surged up the WFTDA (and Power) Rankings last season, and have picked up right where they left off, going 3-1 to kick off 2015 (2-1 in sanctioned play) with a loss to Arizona. (4 / 53)
6. Tri-City Thunder (Tri-City Rller Derby)Tri-City Thunder Logo A team in the midst of a rebuild (evidenced by a big loss to a similarly rebuilding Ohio), the Thunder did pick up some nice pieces in the off season and remain a D2 threat. (7/46)

7.Les Duchesses (Roller Derby Quebec)Duchesses Logo

Les Duchesses have picked up right where they left off last season with a one-sided win against Bangor. This team has been on an upward trajectory for a few years now and should be poised to jump even higher. (8 / -)
8. Anarchy Angels (Mainland Misfits Roller Derby)

Angel-logo-bw

 No action yet in 2015, so they get the benefit of the doubt and hold their spot. (10 / -)
9. Lumbersmacks (Muddy River Rollers)Lumbersmacks Logo  After skirting the Top 10 for the majority of 2014, Muddy River’s all stars make the leap. They’ve only got one result this season, but it was an impressive one-sided sanctioned win over the Rock Coast Rollers.  (11 / – )
10. Avalanche City Roller Girls (Fernie Roller Derby Society)Avalanche City Logo A WFTDA apprentice league, Avalanche City makes its Top 10 debut after a 1-1 start to the season including a win over Flat Head Valley and a loss to Snake Pit. (14 / -)

The top two teams in the rankings have not seen any action yet in 2015, but they get the benefit of the doubt. Terminal City ended last season with the strongest, most accomplished roster, and virtually nothing has changed since, so until there is evidence to the contrary, they hold onto top spot. Montreal gets the benefit because, well, they are Montreal. However, in 2014 it was a dog fight to keep their (sanctioned/regulation) undefeated record against Canadian competition and with upwards of seven new faces on the roster this year, they will be challenged to do so again. They’ve got some stiff tests against Rideau Valley and Toronto coming up that should give us a clear picture of how this Skids team will look in 2015.

Toronto, Rideau Valley, and Calgary have all gotten off to strong starts this season and are very tightly bunched from 3-5. Both Rideau and Toronto played in the Quad City Chaos and looked very good, with Toronto running the board, including a convincing 55-point win over 25th ranked Boston. Calgary were the biggest movers and shakers in 2014 and although it will get harder to make those massive leaps in the WFTDA rankings now, they are solidly in a D2 payoff position and based on the strong start to the season (their only loss being to under-ranked Arizona) and a bolstered 2015 roster, they could challenge for a D1 spot when all is said and done.

Tri-City slipped out of D1 last year, and is in the midst of a continued rebuild. They have picked up some transfers that could help bolster their jammer rotation especially, but it remains to be seen how far the Thunder can go this year. However, a strong organizational foundation helps prop up the team. Quebec’s Les Duchesses leap up to their highest spot in the rankings after a one-sided win over Bangor and are followed by the Anarchy Angels (who are the only non-WFTDA affiliated league in the Top 10).

The Top 10 is rounded out by two teams making their Top 10 debuts: both Muddy River’s Lumbersmacks and Fernie’s Avalanche City were on the bubble or certainly on close watch in 2014 and should both make a competitive jump this season. Muddy River is now a full WFTDA league and coming off of their busiest and most challenging season to date, could be set to make some noise in 2015 (and started off the year with their first ever sanctioned win). Similarly, a newly appointed WFTDA Apprentice, Avalanche City, looks to be finally making the jump into more competitive territory in 2015.

**A few things to note: Perennial Top 10ers Red Deer’s Belladonnas have ceased operation after the 2014 season, although some of the roster have dispersed to other leagues. We’re sorry to see the team go, but wish the skaters the best of luck in their new endeavors. Also, The Rankings Crew has decided not to include Alliston’s Misfit Militia this season. Not a knock on this team’s excellent training and commitment, but just that a vast majority of the members of their roster play in other leagues, with a considerable number now on the already-ranked Toronto team.

TEAMS TO WATCH IN 2015

Teams may come and go on this list as the season progresses, but to kick things off, these are the teams that are making the most noise on the Ranking Crew’s radars, representing a threat to crack the Top 10 at some point (with Rollergirl.ca rankings in parentheses):

E-Ville Dead (E-Ville Roller Derby) (13th)

Sugar Skulls (Pile ‘O Bones Derby Club) (15th)

All Stars (Winnipeg Roller Derby League) (16th)

Shipyard Sirens (Fog City Rollers) (18th)

Deadlies (Tournament City Derby Dolls)   (19th)

Brute-Leggers (Royal City Roller Girls) (20th)

Timber Rollers (Forest City Derby Girls) (23rd)

Mind Fox (Saskatoon Roller Derby League) (26th)

Rated PG Rollergirls (29th)

PLAYERS TO WATCH IN 2015

Each year, the Rankings Crew likes to point out some skaters that may fly under the radar but deserve some extra attention and could be primed for breakout years.

First up, out west there are a couple of Calgary skaters who could help put that team over the top in 2015. Taz may not be so new a name to fans of Canadian roller derby (she was a member of Team Canada in 2011 while with Red Deer), but now on Calgary, this strong, agile skater will get a chance to shine on a grand stage as part of Calgary’s impressive jammer rotation. Similarly, her teammate at CRDA, Knox Hersoxoff, is a blocker poised for a breakout season. One of new Top 10 teams, Avalanche City, also has a skater to watch in the explosive Jenna Jammerson. Jenna’s been around for a few years, but with Avalanche City now a WFTDA Apprentice league, look for her profile to rise. Similarly, fast-climbing Anarchy Angels boast a solid double threat in Mala Justed, a strong all-around skater who will benefit from the Angels’ increased level of competition.

In the east, Tri-City Roller Derby has picked up a few new skaters including Crazy Squirrel. After playing for a variety of leagues in southern Ontario, this jukey jammer has now landed at Tri-City and will have an opportunity to shine on a considerable stage. Another team to watch, the Brute-Leggers, features an impressive blocker in Allie Artuso. A third-year skater with a background in figure skating, look out for this smart, agile blocker (with definite jamming capabilities), known for playing well above her size. Toronto’s CN Power has a new-look jammer rotation filled with excellent transfers that will undoubtedly turn heads, but we’re going off the board a little for this pick: Sleeper Hold. Although a B-team skater at present (with ToRD’s impressive Bay Street Bruisers), Sleeper Hold is arguably the future of Toronto Roller Derby’s offense. She’s got all the tools: size, strength, smarts and a calm focus on the track. And finally, although Muddy River’s Burnie is well known to fans on the east coast, look out for this super-fit, multi-position skater to turn heads all across the country as the Lumbersmacks continue their ascent up the WFTDA ladder.

Nerd Glasses

*These rankings were compiled by the Derby Nerd, Captain Lou El Bammo, Dick Pounder, and Dr. Jenny Fever.

*Can’t remember how last year ended? Read the final Canadian Power Rankings of 2014 here.

-Respectful disagreement and debate is encouraged!-

Toronto Teams Go 6-0 at a Thrilling 2015 Quad City Chaos

Toronto proved to be ungracious hosts on the track, sweeping both the A and B-team portions of an extraordinarily exciting tournament.

The 2015 QCC featured incredibly close action, with an average differential of 36 points in the six D1 games.

The 2015 QCC featured incredibly close action, with an average differential of 36 points in the six D1 games. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Early on in Toronto Roller Derby’s 6th annual Quad City Chaos, the dominant narrative looked as if it would the upsets, but as they games progressed that story was tweaked and what emerged was a tournament dominated by parity, at least on the A-team level, with the average point-differential over the six-game round robin tournament being a measly 36 points, with most (if not all) of the games looking like they could have gone either way. The widest gap of the weekend was a 55-point Toronto win over Boston that was actually much closer than even the score would indicate, evidenced by the seven lead changes that occurred in the game (although they all did occur in the opening half). It was an extraordinary bit of scheduling for the organizers from Toronto Roller Derby, so much so that all of the teams can leave feeling pretty happy about their results.

DIVISION 1 GAMES

An expected CN Power rebuild looks more like a rebirth after a 3-0 weekend. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

An expected CN Power rebuild looks more like a rebirth after a 3-0 weekend. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

One of the questions coming into the game was how a rebuilding Toronto roster would perform against three WFTDA D1 teams whose rosters remained relatively intact from the 2014 season; by the end of the weekend, it was clear that this CN Power team is going through a rebirth more than a rebuild: with a new jammer rotation and a completely new bench staff, Toronto actually looked reenergized and refocused after a somewhat bland 2014 season in which the team appeared to have plateaued. Bolstered by some experienced transfers and a core of internally developed skaters who represent the first wave of graduates of the B-team program, Toronto seems ready for a competitive push up the D1 rankings this season. It was the first time since 2012 (and only the second time ever) that 28th ranked Toronto has gone 3-0 at their own tournament, holding their rankings against the Rideau Valley Vixens (39th) and (29th) Steel City, while upsetting 25th ranked Boston.

Rideau Valley (1-2 on the weekend) also has to be incredibly happy with the results. With the same roster that brought them all the way to the WFTDA D2 championship last year, the Vixens continue to defy expectations and climb the ladder with a team whose core has been together for years now. The Ottawa-based team played above their rankings on the weekend, looking every-bit the equal to all of their opponents. Kicking off the tournament with a significant upset over Steel City, the Vixens gave Toronto all the hosts could handle on Saturday night in a game that featured an incredible eleven lead changes (including nine in the opening half), but as they did all weekend, Toronto seemed to get stronger deep into games and Rideau couldn’t replicate the upset they managed the last time the teams squared off at QCC 2013. The Vixens had a remarkably similar result against Boston, a game in which they could not maintain their intensity through to the end, but looked strong throughout.

Boston jammer Maya Mangleyou duels with Toronto's Renny Rumble while Lil Paine looks on. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Boston jammer Maya Mangleyou duels with Toronto’s Renny Rumble while Lil Paine looks on. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Boston (2-1) had an up and down weekend. Although they went nose-to-nose with Toronto for the first half of their Saturday showdown, the hosts pulled ahead early in the second, and Boston simply could not catch them. But the loss seemed to charge the team up, and after a shaky start against Steel City, managed to pull ahead of Pittsburgh at the midway point of the first half and held off their opponents through to the end; it was a similar performance against Rideau Valley on Sunday.

Steel City (0-3) went winless on the weekend, although they certainly didn’t seem like a team defeated and led for portions of all of their games; the difference early on in the 2015 season seemed to be consistency and focus for this Steel Hurtin’ team that had a hard time maintaining momentum. In particular, Pittsburgh led for much of the second half against Toronto, but could not put the team away, and CN Power patiently held on, eventually blowing by Steel Hurtin’ over a dominant final five minutes.

Despite the results, all four teams leave the 2015 Quad City Chaos having certainly improved their position in the WFTDA’s ranking system, showing that despite some criticism to the contrary, all things being equal, the ranking system rewards close, evenly matched games.

REGULATION GAMES

Rideau Valley's Sirens and Toronto's Bay Street Bruisers faced off for the first time ever. (Photo by Joe Mac)

Rideau Valley’s Sirens and Toronto’s Bay Street Bruisers faced off for the first time ever. (Photo by Joe Mac)

We didn’t see quite the parity in the B-team portion of the tournament, as the Bay Street Bruisers continued a three-year unbeaten streak (7-0) at the event with an at times dominant run through the competition (including a 250-point rout of the Steel Beamers). However, the hosts were certainly challenged against the B-Party, with Boston leading for the vast majority of the game, and virtually the whole second half. But they could not put the hosts away, with the Bruisers managing to stay within 20 for most of the game. And then in the final moments, they surged past their Boston counterparts for the most thrilling, not to mention closest, result of the weekend: a 4-point win that highlighted the perseverance of Toronto’s B-team.

THE PERFORMERS

Steel City's Nick Rollfiliac (seen here staying a step ahead of Boston's Ginger Kid) was named blocker MVP. (Photo by Joe Mac)

Steel City’s Nick Rollfiliac (seen here staying a step ahead of Boston’s Ginger Kid) was named blocker MVP. (Photo by Joe Mac)

On a weekend where there was barely anything separating the competition on the track, choosing MVPs was a challenging feat that lead to some interesting (but certainly always deserving) choices. Both Toronto and Boston’s packs were dominant at times, and pulling one out of the cohesive units was impossible, so it was Steel City’s relentless Nick Rollfiliac who took the honours as A-team blocker MVP. Most of the jammers also had a hard time maintaining consistency over the course of the weekend, but in the end it was Soul Rekker’s tireless play over all three games that led to her selection of MVP. Boston B-Party blocker MC SlamHer took home MVP for the regulation portion along side Bruisers’ jammer Devochka who had three strong, clean and consistent games for the hosts.

THE PENALTIES

Early on in the tournament, during the first B-team game, there were over 100 penalties called, filling the board and leading to large stretches of chaos on the track. It became, momentarily, a thrilling anomaly, with pictures of the white board snapped and buzz spreading from the venue and onto social media; but then, it quickly became clear that this was actually going to be close to a norm for the weekend, and the giddy buzz dissipated. Not only that, there were murmurs on social media indicating that early in 2015 this is a trend certainly not limited to the Quad City Chaos.

I write this not as a criticism of the officiating (the ref crew was staffed with some of the finest, highest certified refs in the region), but just to point out the apparent disconnect between the way the game is being officiated right now and the way it is being played on the track; it was, for some, as fascinating as it was frustrating, but it is clear that something’s got to give. It is reminiscent of the way things were leading up to the elimination of minors.

In sports, the roles of the officials are generally to ensure safety and fairness; in roller derby there is also a third, punitive arm to officiating; however, we’ve started to move away from this (with the slight relaxing of inadvertent cutting penalties, for example), but there still seems to be genuine confusion at times on behalf of the skaters on impact assessment but also on failure to return/reform penalties that were often called in rapid-fire succession against multiple players simultaneously, making it challenging (and confusing) for skaters to quickly and clearly reform (for example, there were twenty two out of play penalties called in the Toronto vs. Steel City game (and 116 penalties in total), leading to multiple instances of only four, three, or even just two blockers on the track). Historically, the WFTDA has shown the willingness and ability to cautiously evolve over time, and certainly these issues will be resolved. But in a time when the new norm seems to be 80, 90, and even 100 penalties in a game, there is a conversation that needs to happen, and it should be a constructive one, because I think everyone (officials and skaters alike) would agree that the current norm is not sustainable.

Nonetheless, the consistency with which calls were made across teams and games did mean that the parity between the clubs still won out in the end, providing the spectators with thrilling games and narrow results despite of the steady stream of skaters to the penalty box.

Quad City Chaos 2015 Banner

WFTDA DIVISION 1 RESULTS

Steel City Roller Derby (Steel Hurtin’) (29th) 142 vs. Rideau Valley Roller Girls (Vixens) (39th) 165 (watch)

Boston Derby Dames (Boston Massacre) (25th) 174 vs. Toronto Roller Derby (CN Power) (28th) 229 (watch)

Boston 169 vs. Steel City 127 (watch)

Toronto 186 vs. Rideau Valley 154 (watch)

Boston 182 vs. Rideau Valley 159 (watch)

Toronto 235 vs. Steel City 191 (watch)

REGULATION RESULTS

Bay Street Bruisers 253 vs. Rideau Valley Sirens 144 (watch)

Bay Street Bruisers 184 vs. Boston B-Party 180 (watch)

Bay Street Bruisers 319 vs. Steel Beamers 69 (watch)

Nerd Glasses

 

**The games were streamed live by layer9.ca, with Saturday night’s games and the final game on Sunday simulcast on WFTDA.TV. Watch the archives here.

**Toronto Roller Derby skater Pr’Editor provided game-by-game recaps for Derby Central all weekend. You can read her work here.