For the second straight year, a team from Quebec swept in to win the Fresh and the Furious tournament. Last year, Montreal’s Smash Squad were the stars of the show, and this year, Les Bûches—a team made up of skaters primarily from Quebec but also from Montreal, Rimouski and Trois Riviere—were the dominant team in the tournament, leading virtually every game from start to finish and going undefeated. It was actually clear early on that this was going to be a three-team tournament, as ToRD’s D-VAS and Hammer City’s Fresh Meat joined Les Bûches in distancing themselves from the competition.
But this is a “freshies” tournament, which means that there were the requisite surprises as well with Fergus (aided by a few key skaters from Grey Bruce) providing the Cinderella-like moments early on before Orangeville’s surprising final four appearance forced everyone to take notice. All in all, it was the grueling, epic, single-day tournament that everyone has come to expect from this tournament, only the level of play continues to advance at an impressive, almost unbelievable rate, showing that the future of the sport in the region is bright indeed.
DOUBLE ELIMINATION ROUND
In the arena, things got off to a tight start when Border City’s Windsor A-Salt took out Woodstock/GTA’s Debutante Warriors (there was a number of mixed-league teams in this tournament, most borne out of the necessity of having enough skaters to fit under the strict eligibility rules). Last year’s finalists, the Top Herloins out of Royal City were smacked around by the Renegade Derby Dames early and eventually eliminated by Windsor. Capital City—a league to watch this season—had a rough go of it as well, falling in two straight. While the top two teams in the pool—Les Bûches and Hammer City—battled early with Les Buches taking the tight 88-61 win, before Hammer City put in two dominant performances, culminating in a mind-boggling 198-13 win over Durham’s DRRDy Farmers, to advance.
Les Bûches, Hammer City, Alliston’s Renegade Derby Dames, and Windsor all advanced to the quarter finals from the main arena.
Aside from perennial contenders the D-VAS, the pool was wide open in the Bubble, allowing a few surprise teams to emerge. Fergus advanced straight through to the quarters with back-to-back victories over Queen’s Court (Buffalo) and the Smooth Operators (Peterborough’s 705 Roller Derby), becoming the only team in the first round to record multi 100+ point games in the process. After giving the D-VAS everything they could handle in the opener, Orangeville began its march to the final four with a tight victory over the Power Dames (made up mostly of Cornwall’s Seaway Roller Derby Girls) before eliminating 705 in a one-sided elimination game. The D-VAS advanced straight through with a 138-11 victory over a short-handed Crow City team (who easily won the spirit award for going 1-2 with only 7 skaters on their bench!). Finally, the NEOFights (a mixed team from Northern Ontario—a “fresh” version of the NORD team that recently finished second at the RDAC eastern championships) overcame an opening-game loss to knock off Queen’s Court and Crow City.
The D-VAS, Fergus Feims, Orangeville’s Pulp Affliction, and the NEOFights advanced to the quarterfinals from the Bubble.
After the double elimination round, the tournament shifted to a single-elimination knock out playoff. The NEOFights continued to round into form as the day went on (much like their big sisters counterparts did a few weeks before at RDACs) and gave Les Bûches all that they could handle in the quarters, but simply didn’t have the offense to penetrate Les Bûches increasingly stingy defense. Fergus’ shocking run finally came to an end against a very strong Hammer City team that managed a second-straight 100+ point game to advance. The D-VAS and Windsor continued a rivalry that has built in this tournament (they faced off twice last year, splitting the games) with the D-VAS providing too much depth for the Border City freshies, and Pulp Affliction extended its unlikely run by knocking off the favoured Renegade Derby Dames.
Orangeville’s exciting run came to an abrupt conclusion against Les Bûches, who dumped them 99-9 in the semi finals: It really was the point at which this mixed Quebec team truly came together. Nonetheless, it was an impressive, take-notice tournament for Orangeville who were lead by strong performances from Hall N Ass (who was actually a Tri-City fresh meat) and Starbust with the star and Kate Knevil and Red Hot Sonia in the pack to name a few. At a tournament of freshies, Pulp Affliction simply didn’t have a sophisticated enough offense to overcome Les Bûches increasingly stifling play.
The other semifinal was a contrast as Hammer City and the D-VAS renewed one of Canada’s oldest roller derby rivalries. Hammer City was every bit the equal to ToRD’s fresh team except for perhaps in depth (and discipline, as D-VAS power jams truly sealed the deal in this one). Led by a few astonishing fresh meat skaters in Jangerous (jammer) and Homewrecken Holly (pivot), Hammer City fell behind early and often on undisciplined play, and despite a valiant comeback in the end, simply ran out of time against Toronto, falling 77-61. It was the third-straight year that the D-VAS qualified for the final four, and their return to the final comes on the heels of last year’s third place performance.
By the final game—nearing twelve hours after the tournament commenced—the D-VAS were showing signs of strain, while Les Bûches were just rounding into top form. Les Bûches represent the first real boom in flat track roller derby in Quebec; despite the fact that they have one of the top leagues in the game in Montreal, the sport has been slow to take off in the province (there are about five women’s leagues in Quebec right now compared to around fifty in Ontario). But it has been a very good year for the leagues that do exist.
Roller Derby Quebec leads the second generation of roller derby in Quebec: their Rouge et Gore have had an impressive 2013 making the final eight at the Beast of the East before winning the Moncton Murder tournament. Three of those skaters, Nelson Mandale, Dina Myth and Vinny Neutron were key for Les Bûches this weekend (not to mention their leaguemate Dur a Queer who was dominant at times in the pack). Dey Moniak had a very strong tournament representing Rimouski, while a few Montreal Smash Squad skaters were key as well: Clara O’Key and Sugar Shane in the pack, while Gameboi was simply unstoppable with the star, while also performing exceptionally well in the pack.
Not that the D-VAS didn’t have their share of stars as well. Babushkill and Moose Knuckles were key in the opening victory against Pulp Affliction, while the trio of Full Deck, Emraged, and Android W.K. were difference makers all day. They all played multiple roles throughout the tournament, and the season of training with ToRD’s houseleague definitely showed as their track awareness and poise was evident.
But in the end, Les Bûches simply had too many weapons to contend with and overwhelmed a tiring D-VAS team late, pulling away for the convincing 122-45 victory and the Fresh and the Furious 2013 championship.
|Double Elimination: Arena Windsor A-Salt 56 vs. Debutante Warriors 55Hammer City 61 vs. Les Bûches 88
Renegade Derby Dames 87 vs. Top Herloins 31
Cannon Dolls 40 vs. DRRDy Farmers 58
Windsor 16 vs. Les Bûches 118
Debutant Warriors (eliminated) 39 vs. Hammer City 83
Renegade Derby Dames 69 vs. DRRDy Farmers 30
Top Herloins 76 vs. Cannon Dolls 26 (eliminated)
Windsor 67 vs. Top Herloins 28 (eliminated)
DRRDy Farmers 13 (eliminated) vs. Hammer City 198
|Double Elimination: BubbleNEOFights 52 vs. Area 705 66Queen’s Court 36 vs. Fergus Feims 113
Power Dames 38 vs. Crow City 43
Pulp Affliction 22 vs. D-VAS 52
Area 705 51 vs. Fergus 100
NEOFights 114 vs. Queen’s Court 34 (eliminated)
Crow City 11 vs. D-VAS 138
Power Dames 43 (eliminated) vs. Pulp Affliction 52
Area 705 26 (eliminated) vs. Pulp Affliction 96
Crow City 41 (eliminated) vs. NEOFights 85
Les Bûches 82 vs. NEOFights 33
Fergus Feims 64 vs. Hammer City 119
Renegade Derby Dames 53 vs. Pulp Affliction 56
D-VAS 58 vs. Windsor A-Salt 34
Les Bûches 99 vs. Pulp Affliction 9
Hammer City 61 vs. D-VAS 77
Les Bûches 122 vs. D-VAS 45