Beast of the East 2012

Tri-City Dishes out Punishment, wins 2012 Beast of the East

Tri-City's Vicious Dishes become the fifth Beast winner in five years. (Photography by Joe Mac)

For the second straight year parity was the word in Montreal as Eastern Canada’s traditional powerhouses from Montreal, Toronto, Rideau Valley and Tri-City put on an unpredictable and thrilling show in one of the sport’s last great houseleague tournaments: for the first time ever, all four semifinalists represented four different cities. But there were also a few big surprises –including the emergence of a new team to watch from northern Ontario—and the variety of styles of derby played had the crowd enthralled over two days and twenty-eight games. In the end, the Vicious Dishes, a supremely talented team that had never fared well at the Beast, pulled it all together at the right time and rode a thrilling Sunday push to the Championship final, and their first Beast of the East victory.

Pre-tournament favourites Chicks Ahoy! and Slaughter Daughters kicked off the tournament.


Set up by a random draw, the first round is always full of surprises and this year with a stacked upper bracket, was full of exciting action early. The tournament opener saw two pre-tournament favourites square off in a sleepy bout with ToRD’s Chicks Ahoy! taking the 10-point victory over the defending champion Slaughter Daughters out of Rideau Valley. But given the disparity in experience between some of the leagues, there were also some blowouts. Only twice in the tournament’s history had teams recorded shutouts (with 20 minute preliminary round games, this is certainly doable), yet the Vicious Dishes managed to pull it off twice defeating Muddy Rivers’ Reines of Terror and Quebec’s Les Duchesses by a combined score of 271-0 (although Les Duchesses would hit the century mark as well in their historic first-ever victory over an overmatched Debutantes team from GTA, part of a record-setting seven 100-point performances in the tournament). Despite these massive victories, the Dishes remained under the radar based on a sloppy, inconsistent performance resulting in a loss to co-hosts Les Filles du Roi.

2008 champs Hamilton Harlots returned to winning ways with a victory over first-timers Motor City Madames from Durham.

There were certainly a fair share of surprises as well, as pre-tournament favourites and last year’s finalists the Gore-Gore Rollergirls (who played very short-handed) never seemed to quite get their heads in it and were eliminated in the first round for the first time since 2008 (which was a single-elimination tournament). 2008 champs the Hamilton Harlots would get back in the win column this season, but would get dominated by the Daughters in an elimination game, and last year’s third place finishers, ToRD’s Death Track Dolls would see their tournament end early with a 59-31 loss to La Racaille. The Smoke City Betties picked up the slack for the ToRD contingent though, pulling off a demoralizing last-jam victory over the Thames Fatales to book their spot in the quarterfinal for the first time since 2009. Also short-handed, the Thames Fatales (one of eight teams playing in their fifth BOE) would never quite recover from that blow and would be overwhelmed in a surprisingly one-sided loss to an increasingly strong Babes of Thunder team from Thunder Bay (77-20), one of three teams debuting at the Beast (the others were the Reines and Durham’s Motor City Madames).

Led by excellent play from Mel E. Juana (among others), La Racaille would be the only of the three host teams to advance past the quarterfinals.



Although the Chicks handled the Babes fairly well in the first quarterfinal (an 85-22 win that was never in doubt), it certainly wasn’t easy, and the performance capped an incredible tournament by the skaters from Thunder Bay. Beyond that, the quarterfinals provided some thrilling, high-scoring bouts including a four-point victory by the Daughters over a resurgent FDR who, paced by the amazing return of Beater Pan Tease after a two-year absence, saw a fierce late-game comeback fall just short (71-67). The Smoke City Betties competed well with, but could never quite solve La Racaille (78-59), and in the most thrilling (and controversial) game of the round, Les Contrabanditas fell to the Vicious Dishes. It was the second-straight year that the Ditas, Montreal’s big hope for the past two years, fell in the quarterfinals in somewhat of an upset. Although there was controversy at the end, the Ditas didn’t bring their A-game and early on it actually looked as if the Dishes would run away with it. A late-game push proved to be too little too late as the Dishes held on 64-54.

Despite a tough semi-final loss for the second straight year, the Chicks Ahoy! won their first Beast of the East trophy.


For the first time in the tournament’s history four different cities were represented in the semifinals. In the first, highly anticipated semifinal (a match up most had seen coming prior to the tournament), the Chicks Ahoy! became unraveled in an uncharacteristically undisciplined game against the Slaughter Daughters that saw them spend almost the entire game shorthanded (including a near eight-minute run when they were down 4-2 in the pack). Against a team as experienced and focused as the Daughters, it was virtually impossible for the Chicks to stay in it, and the Daughters guaranteed themselves a chance to defend their titles with the 65-31 victory.

In the second semifinal, the host city’s last hope, La Racaille, seemed to run out of steam against a team that was just beginning to pick it up. Using smart, punishing pack work (beautiful bridging to the front and back), the Dishes ground down the very talented La Racaille, but never ran away with it, securing the team’s first visit to the championship final with the 67-48 win.


For the second time in the tournament, the  Chicks Ahoy! and La Racaille met, and although this Montreal team looks as if it has come a long way in the past year (and sports an exciting lineup including homegrown talent Mel E. Juana, Nameless Whorror and Sparkle ‘N Maim and impressive transfers Surgical Strike, Slavic Slayer and Pelvis Stojko), they were outmatched again by a composed Chicks team led by Tara Part and Nasher the Smasher (dominant in the pack), and a strong jammer rotation of Candy Crossbones, Dyna Hurtcha and Bala Reina. Although unhappy with not advancing to the final, the Chicks picked up their first Beast trophy ever in the 87-48 victory.

Stifling pack work helped the Dishes win their first Beast of the East.

More evidence of the parity amongst the elite leagues in Eastern Canada, the Vicious Dishes vs. Slaughter Daughters final marked the first time in the tournament that both finalists had lost a game on route to the championship. Despite losses to key skaters, the Daughters have managed to fill gaps with excellent pickups in Eh Nihilator (a Gainesville transfer) L.A. Clip-her and Amanda Pummeler, and seemed poised to defend against a Dishes team that had taken many by surprise. Skating without the injured Cleothrashya and key jammer Motorhead Molly (replaced by leaguemates Leigh-zzie Borden and Freudian Whip respectively), the Dishes grasped control of the final early and never relented. With a core of Thunder skaters creating solid packs (sin-e-star, Bareleigh Legal, Anita Martini, Sofanda Beatin, Stacie Jones and Suzy Slam) and solid jamming from Lippy Wrongstockings and the converted pivot Jill Standing,  the Dishes got better as the tournament progressed and seemed the fresher and more focused of the two teams in the final. Despite the usual excellent work by the likes of Semi-Precious Margaret Choke, Scotch Minx and Sister Disaster (who joined Bareleigh Legal in fouling out of the game) the phenomenal jamming of Soul Rekker (that included one of the best apex jumps many had ever seen), the Daughters could never completely control the Dishes’ packs as they had others throughout the tournament, and despite the rain of boos that cascaded down upon the perhaps unfairly unpopular Dishes, they were clearly the top team by the end of it and became the first team to score over a hundred points in the final (and the first to hit the mark three times in single a tournament), winning 118-63 and claiming the team’s first ever Beast of the East championship.

Always amazing one-on-one, Semi Precious (#10) has, frighteningly, taken her pack work up another notch.


MVP: Semi Precious  (Slaughter Daughters)

The strength of the team-play of the champion Dishes made it hard to single-out any one player (which probably says a lot about why they won the tournament), so for the second year in a row, the Rideau Valley blocker takes the prize. Despite not leading her team to a championship, the Team Canada standout put together yet another incredible tournament and was the talk of the weekend among commentators, fans and players alike. Her always ferocious one-on-one abilities are now complemented by amazing pack leadership and she has become a complete player and one of this country’s elite superstars.

Daughters' Amanda Pummeler looked unintimidated against more experienced jammers like Freudian Whip.

Breakout Player:  Amanda Pummeler (Slaughter Daughters)

There were amazing breakout performances by so many skaters including Cutsie Bootsie (the Motor City Madames) whose team’s early exit didn’t allow her to face the stiff, late-round competition. Freudian Whip (Vicious Dishes) and Bala Reina (Chicks Ahoy!) both entered the tournament riding impressive 2012 performances and the hometown Apocalipstick (Les Filles du Roi) and Mel E. Juana (La Racaille) have been training with the mighty New Skids on the Block. But Rideau Valley’s Amanda Pummeler (a Fredericton transfer) takes the cake for answering a question: how do the Daughters reach the final with the absence of key jammer Ripper Apart? To win the tournament requires a deep jammer rotation and Pummeler added that with an impressive, consistent breakout performance.

Babes of Thunder made a huge impression in their impressive debut.

Breakout Team: Babes of Thunder (Thunder Bay)

While ToRD’s Smoke City Betties certainly get some consideration for their return to form, the Babes of Thunder made this a fairly easy decision. With very little action under their belts, and a roster known by no one (with the exception of former Montreal and Rose City skater Boxcar Bethy), the Babes impressed. In their opening game against FDR, the Babes seemed to know what to do, they just couldn’t quite do it, but by the end of the first round (including consecutive must-win victories over Reins of Terror and Thames Fatales), the Babes were rolling and their quarterfinal appearance announces them as a team to watch.

* All the tournament action was covered by Canuck Derby TV and you can watch the archives here.

* A big thanks to Canuck Derby TV and Montreal Roller Derby, but the Nerd would like to send out a special thanks to Neon Skates for their support of the Nerd’s coverage of the 2012 Beast  of the East.

Beast of the East 5: Preview

The nature of the Beast is changing.

Montreal’s wildly popular annual Beast of the East tournament will be played out for the fifth time this weekend at Arena St. Louis. In the beginning, this tournament acted as a showcase of Eastern Canada’s top hometeams. All fifteen teams in the region took part in the first tournament in 2008, and Queen City’s Devil Dollies (Buffalo) were brought in to fill out the 16-team bracket. Once again in 2010 an American team (Vermont’s Green Mountain Derby Dames) were brought in to fill out the bracket. But around that time there was an explosion of derby happening all across North America: the post Whip It second wave of derby expansion that has continued unabated. Remarkably, it has only been two years since there weren’t quite 16 Eastern teams prepared to play in the tournament. Well, times certainly have changed.

With upward of 25 distinct leagues operating in Ontario and a major boom happening in the Atlantic provinces, finding 16 teams to play in the Beast of the East is certainly no longer a problem, limiting the number to 16, on the other hand, is a new challenge. While spaces were held for the eight teams that had taken part in every tournament, and an additional one held for the defending champions, for the first time in the tournament’s half-decade history a lottery had to be performed to determine which teams would fill out the rest of the bracket. This lead to an interesting mix of participating teams, ranging from the very experienced, to the very new. While this system may not have produced the most competitive tournament, it has successfully succeeded in continuing what has always been the underlying importance of the tournament: the idea of developing the competitive level of the Eastern Canadian hometeams. It’s an opportunity for some of our nation’s best skaters to face against some of our nation’s newest.


Rideau Valley's Slaughter Daughters defeated Toronto's Gore-Gore Rollergirls in last year's final. (Photo by Derek Lang)

Last year, because of Montreal’s 2011 travel-team realignment, it was widely known that the defending champion Les Filles du Roi (with an almost unrecognizable roster) would be hard pressed to repeat as champions; it left the field wide open. In 2012, the defending champion Slaughter Daughters are not facing the same kind of impossible odds, though they do have to contend with history: no team has successfully defended the Beast championship (La Racaille appeared in the first three finals, winning in 2009). The Daughters have suffered some big roster losses, but have gained some new skaters as well, and retain the core that carried them through last year’s stunning victory.

Toronto Roller Derby will be represented by all four hometeams, three of whom appeared in last year’s final four; the teams look strong again this year, and based on very early action in the 2012 ToRD season, the Smoke City Betties look the strongest that they have looked since their exciting run to the semifinals in 2009. Although all three Montreal teams appeared in the quarterfinals last year, none made it any further, the first time that has happened at the tournament. With one more year of experience under their belts, expect the host teams to look to change that. The final invited team is Forest City’s Thames Fatales. Although the team has only advanced out of the first round once (2010), they are always a hard-working team that provides exciting games.

The lucky lottery winners are the Tri-City’s Vicious Dishes (making their fourth appearance); GTAR’s Derby Debutantes (also for the fourth time); Roller Derby Quebec’s Les Duchesses returning after debuting last year; and first-time participants Reines of Terror (from Moncton’s Muddy River Rollers), Motor City Madames (Durham Region Roller Derby) and Thunder Bay’s Babes of Thunder.

Chicks Ahoy! have only been on the rise since last year's impressive 4th place finish. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)


Despite having a ton of success in ToRD’s house league (including finals appearances in 2007, 2010 and a championship in 2008), the Chicks Ahoy! could never find success at the Beast of the East. A quarterfinal loss in 2008 was followed by shocking first round exits in 2009 and 2010. Finally, last year the Chicks made it to the final four before being taken down by the eventual champion Slaughter Daughters (they were then upset by the Death Track Dolls for third place). But with another ToRD championship under their belt and a four game winning streak on the go, the Chicks Ahoy! could finally erase those bad memories and pull it all together this year. With a solid and now experienced four-jammer rotation, packs led by all star pivots and supported by all-star blockers, the Chicks Ahoy! look a lot like a roller derby juggernaut, and for the first time in the team’s history, may be steamrolling into Montreal at just the right time. With a deep bench and a winning swagger, the Chicks may be a hard team to beat right now.

One team that will have a lot to say about that is the defending champion Slaughter Daughters, and they’ll get to say it in the opening game of the tournament. The Chicks and Daughters will get things started on the opening day of the two-day double elimination tournament and the outcome of that game could inform a lot about how things shape up (no matter who wins this first game, both teams could—and should—still make it to the semifinals). Based on the way the bracket worked out this year, and based on continuously excellent performances, it is conceivable that this year’s final four could be same as last year’s (Dolls and Gores being the other two).

Les Filles du Roi won Montreal's season-opening round robin tournament, making them automatic contenders for this year's Beast. (Photo by Single Malt Scott)

The three co-hosts, of course, will be looking to keep that from happening. Although defending Montreal champions and Beast record setters (a 148-0 shutout last year), Les Contrabanditas lost to both La Racaille and Les Filles du Roi in Montreal’s season opening round-robin tournament, they have an amazing roster and should not be overlooked. They will get a chance to avenge a 2011 quarterfinal defeat to ToRD’s Dolls in another intriguing opening-round matchup. La Racaille, the winningest team in Beast history, also has a massive challenge in the first round, slotted to play last year’s finalists the Gore-Gore Rollergirls, and it may not get any easier after that (with either the Daughters or the Chicks after that). This year’s intriguing Montreal team, round robing winners Les Filles du Roi, will face off against BOE freshmen Babes of Thunder, and while they could face a daunting second match against the Vicious Dishes, should also have a clear path to the final eight. Without any significant action outside of Montreal, it is hard to judge how far these Montreal teams have grown. One thing is certain: it would be dangerous to underestimate them.

While this tournament has a tendency to be unpredictable in the early rounds, things usually settle down by the knockout stages, and this year should be no different. Expect the ten most experienced teams to compete for the final eight spots, with La Racaille and potentially Les Contrabanditas and the Gore-Gore Rollergirls facing the biggest challenges for a spot in the quarterfinals out of that elite group.

*** For the third year in a row, Canuck Derby TV will be covering all 28 bouts live. Tune in beginning at 8:00 AM on Saturday, April 21, 2012, for all the weekend’s action (the tournament opener is Chicks vs. Daughters; if that’s not enough to get you up at 8 on a Saturday morning, I don’t know what is!)

***The Derby Nerd’s coverage of this year’s Beast of the East is brought to you in part by the fine people at Neon Skates!

Beast of the East 2012 Update: Participants Named

It’s official! The 2012 Beast of the East draw has been complete and all 16 teams have been named. The Beast of the East is hosted by Montreal Roller Derby and will take place April 21st and 22nd, 2012 at Arena St. Louis.


Representing Montreal Roller Derby (MTLRD)

Les Contrabanditas

Les Filles du Roi (Beast Champs 2010)

La Racaille (Beast Champs 2009)

Representing Toronto Roller Derby (ToRD)

Chicks Ahoy!

Death Track Dolls

Gore-Gore Rollergirls

Smoke City Betties)

Representing Forest City Derby Girls (FCDG)

Thames Fatales)

Representing Rideau Valley Roller Girls (RVRG)

Slaughter Daughters (Beast Champs 2011)

Representing the Hammer City Roller Girls (HCRG)

Hamilton Harlots (Beast Champs 2008)

Representing the Tri-City Roller Girls (TCRG)
Vicious Dishes

Representing the Greater Toronto Area Rollergirls (GTAR)
Derby Debutantes

Representing Roller Derby Quebec (RDQ)

Les Duchesses

Representing Durham Region Roller Derby (DRRD)

Motor City Madames

Representing the Muddy River Rollers

Reines of Terror

Representing Thunder Bay Roller Derby

Babes of Thunder