ToRD Playoff Preview: Nerd Guest Blogs on torontorollerdebry.com

The Chicks and Betties meet in ToRD's 2015 quarterfinal under a new playoff format. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The Chicks and Betties meet in ToRD’s 2015 quarterfinal under a new playoff format. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Over the years, ToRD has consistently tweaked its regular season/playoff model. Back in Season 1 in 2007, the then six teams in the ToRD house league were divided into two pools (the Bruisers and D-VAS were both still run as home teams at that point), but only the top two teams made the championship (regardless of the team’s pool). For the following season, four of the six teams made the playoffs, but by 2009, with the league down to four squads, once again only two teams made the Battle for the Boot. Since that time, the league has been (mostly) consistent in having a three-team playoff with the top team getting a bye to the championship game (in 2010, all four teams were given a spot).

This season, ToRD is experimenting with a new “tiered” playoff system that gives all four teams a shot at the Boot, but gives a marked advantage to the top team, who now gains a huge two-round bye directly to the championship game. This year, by the slimmest of margins, that advantage goes to the Gore-Gore Rollergirls… [continue]

**This preview was written as a guest blogger on the ToRD site. You can read the rest, and get all the information about this year’s playoffs, at torontorollerderby.com.

Weekend Round Up: Dolls Edge Betties to Close Out ToRD Regular Season on Busy Night in Canadian Derby

The Dolls wrapped up second spot in the regular season standings with the victory over the Betties. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The Dolls wrapped up second spot in the regular season standings with the victory over the Betties. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The Canadian roller derby season truly got underway this weekend with teams clear across the nation in action. In Toronto, ToRD closed out its house league regular season with a highly anticipated showdown between the defending champion Death Track Dolls and the Smoke City Betties. Tied in the standings heading into the game, the Dolls clinched second spot and a bye to the semifinals with a tense 175-138 victory that was not sewn up until the final moments of the second half. The Betties will now face off against the Chicks Ahoy! in a second-chance quarterfinal matchup.

Dolls' rookie jammer PrEditor had a breakout game. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Dolls’ rookie jammer PrEditor had a breakout game. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The Dolls led from start to finish, but the 37-point differential in the end was actually the largest lead of the game. There was some concern over the Dolls’ jammer rotation coming into this one: with veteran blocker Dawson out after an off-track injury, Scarcasm slipped from the rotation back into the pack leaving rookies PrEditor and Common Dominator with a bulk of the track time, but the first-year jammers did not disappoint, with PrEditor in particular skating a break-out performance with the star. But it was the more experienced jammers, Devochka and especially Sleeper Hold, who were the difference makers in this one.

It was tight at the start, with the Betties countering with their usual jammer rotation of the jukey Wolverina, WackerHer, Kil’Her At Large and the tireless Smoka Cola; it wasn’t until seven minutes into the opening half when a Dolls’ power jam let them pull ahead 29-7 that either team seemed to make a move. But whenever the Dolls threatened to pull away, the Betties responded, and the biggest lead of the half (30 points with ten to go) was whittled back down to 12 points after a 23-0 Betties run. The teams traded leads and points the rest of the way with the Dolls ahead narrowly, 93-83, at the break.

Betties' pivot LowBlowPalooza had another strong game (blocking here with Genuine Risk and Mazel Tough). (Photo by Greg Russell)

Betties’ pivot LowBlowPalooza had another strong game (blocking here with Genuine Risk and Mazel Tough). (Photo by Greg Russell)

A late-half collision between the Dolls’ Hannibelle and the Betties’ Honey Boom Boom, saw Boom bloodied and taken out of the game, a huge loss for the Betties’ pack, who got strong performances from the usual suspects including SewWhat? and Tushy Galore (not to mention another monster performance from LowBlowPalooza), but were also debuting rookie Juggernaut J and saw first games of the year for Jenny Spector and Genuine Risk. The Dolls’ packs took advantage of the comparative lack of experience with two solid lines held down by offensive-blocking leader Getcha Kicks, Stringer Belle and Scarcasm on one side and Robotomy and Hannibelle on the other, but also welcomed to the track converted referee Lace Frehley in her Dolls’ debut.

The Dolls held the lead for the opening five minutes of the second before the Betties put forth their most sustained offensive push of the game, going on a 22-3 run over the next ten minutes to pull within 3, down 117-114, nearing the midway point of the second.

Betties' jammer Smoka Cola and Dolls' jammer Sleeper Hold duel in the second half. (Photo by Greg Russell)

Betties’ jammer Smoka Cola and Dolls’ jammer Sleeper Hold duel in the second half. (Photo by Greg Russell)

In the end, you could boil the difference in the game down to two things: match-ups and discipline. First off, the Dolls played one of the cleanest games in recent ToRD history, picking up a total of eighteen penalties (and no jammer penalties, to the Betties’ four), while they also made subtle matchup adjustments throughout the game. Both of these things were the in play at the turning point of the game.

Throughout the first half, Smoke Cola had often found herself matched up against the Dolls’ rookie jammers, and the experienced jammer took advantage (including picking up lead on her first five jams); however, in the second half, Smoka could barely move an inch without Dolls’ more experienced Sleeper Hold stuck to her side, and it was a shift that worked: with the Betties threatening and within three points, Sleeper was actively involved in drawing a cut on Smoka Cola to give the Dolls a crucial power jam and letting them pull away. Another power jam on the final jam sealed the deal and allowed the Dolls to hold on for the statement-making 37-point victory, wrapping up second place in the 2015 regular season standings.

**This game was boutcast live on Layer9.ca. Watch the archive here.

**The ToRD house league teams get a break now as they gear up for Montreal’s Beast of the East, with the quarterfinal showdown tentatively scheduled for May 9th.

Nerd Glasses


Calgary All Stars LogoIt was a busy weekend all across the country at all levels of play. Perhaps most significantly, Calgary (60th and in WFTDA’s Division 2) was making its 2015 WFTDA sanctioned debut at How the West Was Won and seemed to pick up right where they left off in 2014, scoring a major upset win over St. Chux Derby Chix (38th in D1) 137-103 before falling to a strong Arizona (34th) team, 270-139. They wrapped up the weekend with another upset, this time a 187-108 win against Brew City (50th). Calgary closed out 2014 by surging into a D2 playoff spot, but at this rate they may just propel themselves right into D1 before the year is out! Full results from HTWWW are available here.

Royal City’s Brute-Leggers were on the road for their WFTDA debut this weekend, and picked up two big wins, first 253-102 over Hellions of Troy (126th, D3) and then 157-109 over other WFTDA newcomers Albany Roller Derby.

Speaking of regular seasons, while Toronto’s was ending, Montreal’s was just getting under way with Les Filles du Roi winning this year’s annual round-robin tournament to kick off the season. FDR defeated Les Contrabanditas 125-99 and La Racaille 136-92 to emerge as front-runners in the league this season. The Ditas and La Racaille played a tight bout, 110-100 for the Ditas, to round out the night.

Also, Orangeville hosted a full-day men’s and women’s round robin tournament that saw the GTA Rollergirls G-sTARs go 2-0, knocking off Kingston Disloyalists 195-66 and Orangeville 243-139. The hosts, Orangeville Pulp Affliction, defeated Kingston 228-141. At the same event, Toronto Men’s Roller Derby put in a strong showing against Montreal’s Mont Royals, holding the 15th ranked MRDA team to a respectable 278-86. Full results available here.

Finally, the Border City Brawlers B-team, the Canadian Clubbers, managed to knock off the Woodstock Warriors 159-133 in Woodstock.

**Other Canadian roller derby scores? Please post them in the comments section below.

Flat Track Overload! Fresh and Furious, ToRD vs. Charm City, Toban Tussle and Gotham vs. London ALL Compete for Attention This Weekend.

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.

Fresh and Furious 2014 posterFRESH AND FURIOUS

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).

Both tracks will be boutcast live all day long beginning at 11:00 AM and concluding with the championship game at 9:00 PM. Catch all the action live here.

PARTICIPANTS (including first-round matchups)

The Bubble

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.

Click here for the complete schedule. And don’t forget to tune in live!


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).


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.

Toban Tussle Poster

Big Wins for Rideau Valley and Toronto in WFTDA Showdowns over the Weekend

Toronto stomps Brandywine, while Rideau Valley held off Roc City in an important D2 battle with playoff implications. Meanwhile, the Dolls in ToRD and Riot Squad in RVRG both take strides toward their respective house league championships.

It was a busy weekend of derby all across the nation with Flat Track Fever dominating stories from the west and Ontario overwhelmed with derby in its WFTDA centres (non-sanctioned or house league matchups were happening in both Tri-City and Forest City on Saturday). But the key games were in Toronto and Ottawa, which featured mirroring house league/WFTDA double headers.

Rideau Valley Hosts Roc City

RVRG's Soul Rekker battles one-on-one with Roc City's Terminal Trend. (Photography by James Rosster; ionaphoto.ca)

RVRG’s Soul Rekker battles one-on-one with Roc City’s Terminal Trend. (Photography by James Rosster; ionaphoto.ca)

With a five-spot jump in the last WFTDA rankings, the Rideau Valley Vixens found themselves ranked 64th (24th in Division 2) and on the cusp of the 20-team D2 playoffs. Coming off of an impressive win over 72nd Maine last weekend, the Vixens knew that they would need a convincing win over their Rochester rivals if they were to make that final leap forward. And an impressive performance they got, riding two hot jammers and the usual relentless pack work you’ve come to expect to pull of the 199-116 victory.

The Vixens jumped out to a 4-0 start on the back of a quick lead pick up from breakout jammer Shania Pain. While the Roc Stars were able to get right back into it on the next jam with a Kell’d on Impact 4-pointer, the hosts took the lead on Jam 3, built that lead to 21-6 by the five minute mark of the first, and never looked back after that.

RVRG's Shania Pain picks up lead jammer status.

RVRG’s Shania Pain picks up lead jammer status.

The Vixens, known traditionally for running a short bench, have now even tightened up the jammer rotation in their quest for a first WFTDA playoff berth, and it’s a roster that would be more than qualified to play in the D-2 event. Using only two jammers (blocker Brennan would skate two jams in relief—and would pick up 18 points in those two jams) the Vixens rode Shania Pain and Soul Rekker for the whole game, an impressive feat of endurance from the two jammers. Rekker’s endurance and skill is no secret to fans of Canadian roller derby: a skater on Team Canada 2011 and currently on the roster of Team Ontario, Rekker will return to the World Cup in 2014, and picked up 35 points in the opening half on Saturday night.

Shania Pain, on the other hand, is probably under a lot of people’s radars. She won’t be for long. A potential game-changer for Rideau Valley, Shania Pain is one of a young generation of uber-athletic jammers who are taking the game by storm out east and giving a glimpse of what the future of the sport will look like in these parts (Montreal’s Miracle Whips and Toronto’s Rainbow Fight are also in that category). She led all scorers with 45 at the half, and just seemed to be getting warmed up.

Roc City's Asa Clubs tries to get around Vixens' Bottema at the froth of the pack.

Roc City’s Asa Clubs tries to get around Vixens’ Bottema at the front of the pack.

Roc City is a team whose fortunes have ebbed and flowed, and this loss will further distance them from a coveted playoff spot. Led by a core of vets, the team lacks the depth of Rideau Valley and the other potential playoff teams. Nonetheless, they are a scrappy, emotional team that seems to play in surges. The offense was paced by veteran Asa Clubs (who had 39 points at the half) and Kell’d on Impact (28 pts at half), while captain Natasha Musquasha led a solid group of pack skaters that featured the feisty Jacky Spades, the hard-hitting Roxy D. Sniper, Jojo Thrasher and eventual MVP Terminal Trend.

With about five minutes left in the opening half, Rideau Valley looked to be on the verge of running away with it, but a 22-9 run over the final minutes had the visitors back in it, down 25 (98-73).

The win helped move the Vixens one step closer to a WFTDA D2 playoff spot.

The win helped move the Vixens one step closer to a WFTDA D2 playoff spot.

The Rideau Valley packs were led by the usual suspects, with Team Canada’s Hannah Murphy continuing to lead the way. But the tenaciousness of Sister Disaster (who had some of the biggest hits on the night) and Bottema (who always seemed to the be the last line of defense) and the positional excellence of Brennan and Margaret Choke contribute so much to the front-line strength of the team. But the base of the team is growing. After missing much of last season, Rudolph has returned with a vengeance and Kiki Von Carnage and Restless Rose provide depth as they emerge as front-line players. Finally, transfer BLackeyE seems to have found the perfect derby fit after stints in Kingston and Toronto and is playing the best derby of her career.

The Vixens essentially put the game away over the opening ten-minute stretch of the second half. They outscored the Roc Stars 30-12 over the initial five, and then 12-0 over the next to secure a formidable 140-80 lead. While back-to-back power jams at the midway point would allow Roc City a bit of a resurgence (almost halving the lead), once the Vixens righted the ship, they were able to rebuild the gap, shutting out the visitors over the last five minutes of the game (and scoring 32 of their own) to secure the 199-116 win.

Nerd Glasses

With the win, the Riot Sqaud moves to 1-0, while the Sinisters drop to 1-1 on the season.

With the win, the Riot Sqaud moves to 1-0, while the Sinisters drop to 1-1 on the season.

The night opened with a very important houseleague showdown between traditional RVRG home team, the Riot Squad, facing off against its first-year counterpart, the Prime Sinisters. 2014 is the first season that Rideau Valley has organized a full regular season and championship, adding a third home team (and completely reshuffling the rosters of all three teams) to accommodate the new structure. The Sinisters opened the season with a 158-130 win over the Slaughter Daughters and were looking to stay undefeated.

The Riot Squad is lead by a strong core of vets including Hannah Murphy and Sister Disaster, but have a bench defined by depth. BLackeyE, Restless Rose, Kiki Von Carnage, and eventual blocker MVP Acute Bruiser led the charge for the team. The offense was paced by vet Amanda Pummeler and supported by Unita Bruisin and Savage Mind (with double threat Restless Rose offering relief). While things started off tight (the score was tied at 29 ten minutes in) Riot Squad took advantage of some late power jams to build their biggest lead (41) at half, up 91-50.

The Prime Sinisters also have a solid core to build around, led by a quadrant of veterans (Margaret Choke, Brennan, Rudolph, and Pix E. Cutz) with solid support offered by Drunky Brewster and Purella DeVille. CarnEDGE led the way on the jam line, with InfoMainiac and Slaughterberry Shortcake rounding out the rotation. The Sinisters found themselves down by as much as 60, but roared back with three straight power jams at the midway point. However, they couldn’t come all the way back and Riot Squad held on for the 191-142 victory.

Toronto Hosts Brandywine

There was an important double header in Toronto on Saturday night as well, with CN Power picking up its third-straight win in a one-sided stomping of Brandywine (296-90). It was an important win for CN Power, as they look to slip back into the WFTDA D1 Top 20 and secure a favourable playoff position.

The night was kicked off with a regular season showdown between the defending champion Death Track Dolls and the second place Chicks Ahoy!. The Dolls still look like the team to beat walking all over the short-handed Chicks. The Dolls held the Chicks to only 15 points in the opening half, and were almost as stingy in the second as they skated to a dominant 272-35 win. The win places the Dolls undefeated and in top spot at 3-0 at the midway point of the regular season and all but assures them of a playoff spot. The loss dropped the Chicks to 1-2 on the season and leaves them battling for a playoff berth.

Check out pictures of the double header courtesy of Neil Gunner and Greg Russell. Neil’s pics can be found here. Greg’s can be found here.

WFTDA and House League Showdowns in Toronto and Ottawa This Weekend

Both Rideau Valley’s Vixens and Toronto’s CN Power will have opportunities to confirm their rankings against less-ranked competition, while in house league competition, ToRD’s defending champs, The Death Track Dolls, have an opportunity to put a strangle hold on the regular season standings, and in Ottawa, the Riot Squad will take on the Prime Sinisters in their first-ever regular season meeting.

Toronto Roller Derby Hosts Brandywine

ToRD_May-24-2014-Poster-Preview_RS_041614A double header in Toronto will kick off with a key showdown between ToRD’s Chicks Ahoy! (currently 1-1 and tied for second in the standings) and the Death Track Dolls (2-0, in top spot).

The Dolls have looked every bit the defending champs so far this season with surprisingly one-sided wins over the Gore-Gore Rollergirls, and more recently, the Smoke City Betties. The key to the season so far has been the ability to maintain form despite a fairly significant roster overhaul. Their offense, for example, has been built around skaters with mixed levels of experience (Sleeper Hold and Devochka are first-year Dolls, while Bellefast and Getcha Kicks have been the steadying forces for the team).

However, some rifts began to show in the Dolls’ seeming invincibility. At last month’s Beast of the East tournament in Montreal, the team looked vulnerable at times in a closer-than-expected win over Royals City’s Killer Queens and then couldn’t summon the focus or intensity in a loss to Montreal’s La Racaille. But despite missing some vets (including injured co-captain Getcha Kicks), the Dolls still have the depth to pull it off.

The Chicks have slowly gotten better as this season has progressed, and have a surprising depth that has taken some time to gel. It all seemed to have come together by late in their last ToRD game, when it took a late game comeback to overcome the Smoke City Betties by 20 points. The team already looked far different from the one that had struggled defensively against the Gores in January to kick off the season. The resurgence has been led by a development of a supporting cast around last year’s team leaders. They made some strong jammer draft picks (Sneaky Dee and Hyena Koffinkat) and found some veteran depth in the pack from a returning Rebel Rock-It and converted blocker Rosemary’s Rabies.

The Chicks didn’t play in this year’s Beast of the East, so they have not played a competitive game since that March victory over the Betties. It remains to be seen what impact this has on the team, but they have had some competitive scrimmages since then. As with the Dolls, they too will be missing some key players. You have to look back almost two years to June 9th 2012 to see the last time the Dolls lost a game in ToRD. It was, notably, against the Chicks.

The night will cap off with CN Power (23rd in the WFTDA) hosting the Brandywine Roller Girls (47th, out of Pennsylvania). Toronto has improved its record to 4-9 on the season after picking up back-to-back victories over Jet City and Cincinnati to snap a nine-game losing streak. It should be a favourable matchup for Toronto against a team that seems to have cooled down a bit after a scorching close to the 2013 season.

Brandywine is 5-1 on the season, but has had only so-so performances in wins against 90th ranked Charlotte (a 26-point win) and 66th ranked Green Mountain (34 points). Their one loss was a 103-point loss to Nashville. Toronto’s losing streak had a lot to do with the quality of their opponents who included 3rd ranked London, 8th ranked Rocky Mountain and 12th ranked Montreal. So the quality of opponent cannot be overlooked. However, they did get upset by Detroit (41st) and seemed to have already lost a step on Montreal, whom they have faced twice, and will need to use these last two wins as momentum builders.

While Toronto and Brandywine don’t have any common opponents this season, the last time Brandywine ventured north of the border, the team upset Tri-City 165-153. Last weekend Tri-City and Toronto both played Jet City, with the Thunder losing by 30 and CN Power winning by 149.

Rideau Valley Roller Girls Host Roc City

April6-Sirens-vs-DRRD_Rockland_Poster-LegalRideau Valley Roller Girls will be hosting a double header in Kanata this weekend as well with the same home-teams / travel-teams structure. The only difference being that many of the Rideau Valley skaters will be pulling double duty as members of the Vixens are sprinkled all through the rosters of the Prime Sinisters and the Riot Squad.

This will be the first ever meeting between these two teams, and the first regular season game for the Riot Squad in 2014 (the Prime Sinisters opened the season with a 158-130 win over the Slaughter Daughters). This season, Rideau Valley reshuffled its two home team rosters into three teams, and the effects are already showing. Both of these teams made it through to the quarterfinals at last month’s Beast of the East with the Riot Squad eventually finishing 4th. Both teams are loaded with talent with the Riot Squad led in the pack by veterans Hannah Murphy, Sister Disaster and Da Big Block, and on the jammer line by Amanda Pummeler and first-year transfer BLackeyE. The Prime Sinisters, meanwhile, are also built around a solid veteran core of Brennan, Margaret Choke, Rudolph, and Drunky Brewster in the pack with double threat Pix E. Cutz and CarnEDGE as their most experienced jammers. Both teams, though, are also deep in less experienced talent. It could be that bench depth that decides this game.

The night will end with the Vixens (64th in the WFTDA) facing off against their old rivals from Rochester, New York, the Roc City Roc Stars (84th). It’s been nearly two years since these two teams met with Roc City taking that one by 45 points (186-141). However, that was the Vixens’ second ever WFTDA game and they have rocketed past Roc City since then. They are currently 2-0 on the season (3-0 counting a regulation win against the Misfit Militia) and are coming off of a road win against Maine. Roc City has been much busier so far this season, going 2-3 so far, with wins over Ithaca and that same Maine team the Vixens defeated. The differential only slightly favours the Vixens (32-point win vs. 23-point win), but with home court advantage, the Vixens should have the edge.

***Skaters and fans in Ottawa, I will also be appearing as D.D. Miller at the Carleton Tavern on Friday night (details here) to promote my first book of fiction.

Canadian Power Rankings Preview

Captain Lou El Bammo, Dick Pounder, Dr. Jenny Fever, and the Derby Nerd return for another season of ranking the country’s top teams.

Montreal started at the top of the rankings and has never slipped (seen here in a 2013 game against Windy City). (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Montreal started at the top of the rankings and has never slipped (seen here in a 2013 game against Windy City). (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Last year, The Power Rankings crew was born out of a desire to provide subjective comparative analysis (based on objective observations, of course) of the top roller derby teams in Canada. So a quartet of derby nerds came together to hash out how the process would work, and what those rankings would look like. We’re back once again in 2014.

2014 was a fascinating year in roller derby in general and Canadian roller derby in particular. At the top, three Canadian teams qualified for WFTDA’s Division 1 playoffs and another made massive waves in the D-2 tournament. But what is most impressive for Canadian roller derby is the build up of the competitive base. All across the country, new teams are rising. Last year Calgary and Alliston, Ontario’s, Misfit Militia shot up the rankings, while old powers like Hammer City returned to competitive derby, all of this was played out in the Power Rankings. The goal of this exercise is not to replace the statistical ranking system, but to act as a parallel discussion of the excellent work done by Rollergirl.ca (in partnership with Flat Track Stats). But one of the advantages we have, is that we aren’t tied to statistics and we can take into account things like injury, personnel moves, home-track advantage, etc.

“The Power Rankings are great at highlighting the failings of the statistical model that Flat Track Stats and Rollergirl.ca use to create their list,” agrees Captain Lou El Bammo, one of the founders of the Power Rankings.  “That model employs data from years gone by which allows for large fluctuations because it does not take into account current information that we use to make our decisions. The Power Rankings brings the human factor back into the process and I think we’ve shown, through 2013, that we can adapt more quickly than the other system can.”

Another founder, Dick Pounder, echoes that sentiment. “The rankings have the potential to create good debate outside of the statistical ranking system…and I think if we can get more people into the sports-mentality of looking at everything we look at, the discussion around the power rankings will become more interesting.”

Currently third in the rankings, read the recap of Terminal City's 2103 Playoff game against New Hampshire by Danger (ismymiddlename) on Derby News Network. (Featuring photography by Tom Klubens)

Currently third in the rankings, read the recap of Terminal City’s 2013 Playoff game against New Hampshire by Danger (ismymiddlename) on Derby News Network. (Featuring photography by Tom Klubens)

One of the stories last year, and in Canadian derby since 2008, was Montreal’s reign at the top of the rankings. However, for the first time in years, both Terminal City and Toronto made up ground against the Skids. “We may see a battle among these three all year,” says Dick. “I think it’s only a matter of time before someone knocks Montreal from its perch in Canadian Derby,” says Dick.

Captain Lou is even more definitive in his predictions, “I expect to see the Skids slide in 2014, and we could see Toronto beating them once, if not twice, this year. My prediction is Toronto and possibly Terminal City finishing ahead of Montreal in the WFTDA standings by the time playoffs come around. We have seen the end of Canadian roller derby domination by Montreal.” Lou cites the losses of Bone Machine and Iron Wench as massive blows to the team. And although Terminal City also lost Beretta Lynch and Toronto Bambi, in both cases there are skaters ready to take over those roles, more so than in Montreal, where Wench had become such a key to the offense. Dr. Jenny Fever likes Terminal City’s chances as well, “What can I say but Terminal City AllStars? I know the training and passion that is driving them this year. Making it to the WFTDA Divisionals in Richmond, VA, last year was so inspiring, and I know that the All Stars want to hit the playoffs again, and win!”

There is consensus right now that the team to watch in Canadian flat track roller derby this year is Calgary. The CRDA All Stars have already made a big splash, wiping the track with their competition at the recent Wild West Showdown, destroying Dockyard (406-59), Ark Valley (264-105), and Slaughterhouse (223-92), to get their first WFTDA season off to a 3-0 start. On top of some impressive roster additions last year, a few more transfers from Oil City, Red Deer and Hammer City have bolstered their roster.

The Kootenay Kannibelles are another team that has the Rankings Crew intrigued. “I am very excited about the Kannibelles this season,” says Dr. Jenny Fever. “Having Bobb (AKA Berretta Lynch) back, even as a coach, is really going to help them.” Dr. J also likes what’s going on with the Mainland Misfits Anarchy Angels, who have added built a coaching staff that includes three members of Canada’s national men’s team.

On the other side of things, after some pretty significant roster and coaching changes due, largely, to retirements, the rankings crew thinks that perennial contenders the Red Deer Belladonnas will slide this season as they begin a potential rebuild, although Dr. Jenny does hold out hope for a return to form in the midst of the excitement surrounding their WFTDA Apprenticeship.

Toronto's CN Power jumped up to 2nd in the Power Rankings to end 2013 (seen here in their season-opening win against Team Ontario). (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Toronto’s CN Power jumped up to 2nd in the Power Rankings to end 2013 (seen here in their season-opening win against Team Ontario). (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The story of 2014 though is clearly Canada’s continued infiltration of the WFTDA. Captain Lou points out that Canada now as 20 teams in the WFTDA (including 10 apprentice leagues). “I think we’ll continue to see those teams outperform the other leagues because of the level of competition available to them and the requirement to be more organized and focused that the WFTDA brings to a league,” he predicts. “I’m hoping we’ll see more leagues heading in that direction.”

Dick Pounder agrees, and likes that the WFTDA link is encouraging more east vs west competition. “We are seeing the start of east vs. west matchups this season and hopefully that will continue to happen more going forward. I am super excited about Maple Stir Up in Hammer City this year,” he says, referring to the all-Canadian WFTDA tournament scheduled for Hamilton this August (it will be the first all-Canadian WFTDA-sanctioned tournament after Quad City Chaos 2011 featured three full-member teams and on apprentice.)

“I’m also hoping that we’ll see more provincial All-Star teams form in 2014,” adds Captain Lou. “Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, New Brunswick have all made the leap. I’ve witnessed the benefits that this process can bring to skaters and I think other provinces will too. With any luck, this will lead to a Canada Cup for Roller Derby in 2015!”  Team Ontario and Toronto’s CN Power played an exhibition game last month, and it lived up to all the hype, showcasing a phenomenal level of talent. The knowledge and experience share gained from these kinds of partnerships is undeniable.

“I find the increasing level of competitive teams on the world stage very exciting,” says Fever, alluding to Canada’s prominent place on that stage.  “I love that we have the training, dedication and drive to boost the sport. On the other hand, my favorite derby games to announce are the smaller, home team games where the teams are made of women who want to have a great time and play derby. Those crowds are always my favorite. They might not know all the rules, but they are having a great time enjoying a sport that we are so passionate about.”

****The first Canadian Power Rankings of 2014 will be released on April 1. Check here to see the final Canadian Power Rankings of 2013.


Here are five skaters who you may not have seen a lot of, but who the rankings crew thinks could turn some heads in Canadian derby this season.

Kris Myass: Jammer (Calgary Roller Derby Association)

Easy Break Oven: Jammer, Blocker (Calgary Roller Derby Association)

Fraxxure: Blocker (Tri-City Roller Girls)

Meow Wallace: Blocker (Tri-City Roller Girls)

Rainbow Fight: Jammer, Blocker (Toronto Roller Derby)

Roller Derby At the Olympics?? The Nerd Guest Blogs for SISU Mouth Guards

The fine folks at SISU Mouth Guards asked me what I thought about roller derby’s chances of making it into the Olympics.

As the 22nd Winter Olympics in Sochi slip away from memory and the Paralympics ramp up in their place, the usual chatter from derby fans and participants can be heard at games and in practice spaces across North America and the world: Should roller derby be an Olympic sport?

The questions has gained even more traction given that the first ever Men’s Roller Derby World Cup is now only days away, and the second Women’s World Cup will have played out by the end of the calendar year. Fifteen countries will be represented at the Men’s World Cup, but the remarkable stat may be that twenty-nine nations are scheduled to be represented at the 2014 Women’s World Cup, a phenomenal increase over the thirteen present in 2011, and with the inclusion of South Africa and Japan, all six inhabited continents will be represented…

Read the rest of the article here.

***Sticking with this international theme, stay tuned tomorrow for a preview of the Men’s World Cup including interviews with Toronto-based Team Canada player Harrassin’ Ford and assistant coach BruiseBerry Pie.