Belles of the Brawl

Timmins’ Daughters Mine for Gold at 2 Fresh 2 Furious

The Gold Miners' Daughters (Timmins), 2 Fresh 2 Furious Champions. (Photo by Joe Mac)

When the Gold Miner’s Daughters opened up their 2 Fresh 2 Furious with a slight upset over the more experienced Violet Uprising from Royal City, it didn’t turn too many heads. And when the unheralded team had a setback in their second bout, it seemed that would be the end for the upstarts from Timmins. But by the end of a grueling one-day, two-track tournament, the small-town skaters would find themselves face-to-face with their big city counterparts from ToRD, and more surprisingly would stare them down; the Daughters saved their best for last as they overcame ToRD’s D-VAS in a 43 point championship victory.

A TALE OF TWO TRACKS: The Double Elimination Round

Durham Region defeated Kingston (Shirts) to kick off the tournament. (Photo by Sean Murphy)

The Battle for the Bubble

The two teams from Guelph’s Royal City were the pre-tournament favourites in this pool, and while Violet Uprisings was two and done in the double elimination (losing a heartbreaker 47-42 against the Kingston “Shirts” team in the elimination game), the mixed team of Queens of Pain kicked things off with what turned out to be the dominant performance of the tournament, a 99-15 victory over another hybrid team made up of players from Ottawa (ORD), Timmins (TRD), and Soonami (Sault St. Marie); they followed that victory with a tougher 32-17 win over Belle City’s (Brantford’s) Belles of the Brawl to assure themselves a spot in the quarterfinals.

Belles of the Brawl defeated Kingston (Shirts) to stay alive in the tournament. (Photo by Joe Mac)

Durham Region Roller Derby entered the tournament with a long and winding history to get to this point, but they are a team on the rise and proved that early on as well defeating Kingston (46-22) and then the Gold Miners’ Daughters (38-30) to book their spot in the quarterfinals. The Daughters looked out of sorts in that bout, suffering too many jammer penalties to get any sort of offense going, and couldn’t overcome the solid pack work from Durham. But the loss may have been exactly what they needed as they bounced back to trample the ORD/TRD/SSM mixed team in the elimination game to set up a rematch against Durham in the quarters. In the other elimination match, the Belles of the Brawl overcame the impressive Kingston Shirts team 51-24 to set up the second quarterfinal rematch.

Royal City's Queens of Pain emerged as favourites after the most dominant victory of the tournament (99-15). (Photo by Joe Mac)

Belle City ran out of steam in the quarterfinal. For much of this round, the Belles had ridden the extraordinary play of jammer Vitamin K, who was especially dominant in their opening victory over Peterborough’s Electric City Rollers, but the Queens of Pain (with a very balanced attack led by Hot Cross Guns and triple threat Mandy Maggotbone) were too much and moved through to the final four with a 38-13 victory. The second quarterfinal was another rematch, this one between Durham Region and the Gold Miners’ Daughters. And while in the early going, it seemed like it would be another tight one, the Timmins skaters were just warming up. Despite strong jamming from Cutsie Bootsie and String Blade, and solid pack work led by pivots Karma Screwya and Hitz Miller, Durham had no response for the extraordinary jamming from the Daughters’ Kill’er Princess and Nasty Nads as the Timmins team pulled away in the end to get their revenge and, more importantly, their spot in the seminfinals.

Playing their first competitive derby, Windsor's Border City Brawlers picked up their first win ever (over the Ottawa Delinquents). (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The Tangle in Ted Reeve

There was no clear favourite on the other track which featured fresh meat teams from two WFTDA leagues (ToRD and Queen City) and the host, GTAR’s Chrome Mollys. The Mollys and D-VAS did their part, both going 2-0 to earn a bye to the quarterfinals (though both faced early challenges, D-VAS from Queen City, Molly’s from South Simcoe in an exciting and controversial game). Just to complicate matters, South Simcoe Roller Rebels threw their name into the mix when they kicked things off with a one-sided trouncing (83-36) over Windsor’s Border City Brawlers, who were making their competitive debuts. But Border City would improve as the day went on and would earn their all-important first ever victory, 53-47 against the Ottawa Delinquents.

ToRD's D-VAS eliminated Kingston (Skins) in the quarterfinals. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Border City, who were led by workhorse Tulkamania, would see their journey come to an end  in another nail-biter that went down to a final pass that saw the Kingston Derby Girls’ Skins team pull out a 44-42 hard-fought victory. Buffalo’s Queen City made up for an opening bout loss to pull out two victories in a row to get back to the quarterfinals (including an 85-4 shellacking of Peterborough’s Damaged Dollz who, shorthanded, were playing with borrowed D-VAS). They ended South Simcoe’s impressive tournament in the elimination game, holding off a stiff challenge to win, 39-19, and set up a quarterfinal showdown with the defending champ Chrome Mollys.

ToRD’s D-VAS ended the tournament for the Kingston Derby Girls when they eliminated the Skins in the quarterfinals, but it rounded out an impressive showing for the Kingston league, which saw both teams pick up at least a victory, and the Skins make it to the final eight. Queen City and the Chrome Molly’s sparred in the other quarterfinal in a great battle that saw the hosts pushing the Buffalo team to the very end. It was only a timely, game-saving jammer take out by the standout Day TripHer that allowed Queen City to hang on for the 43-37 win that eliminated the hosts.

The D-VAS and Queen City met in one semifinal. (Photo by Sean Murphy)

THE CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND

The final four featured two very intriguing matchups that did not disappoint. Two of the pre-tournament favourites, Queen City and ToRD’s D-VAS, squared off in the opening bout. These two established leagues have a long history from home team scrimmaging to travel team showdowns, and this first-time freshies matchup lived up to all expectations. Led by co-captains Skinned Knee Crosby and Tammunition in the pack, the D-VAS pulled away early, but their Hell Bat led offense, which had been explosive all day, faced a tough test from the Queen City packs and they never let ToRD pull away and kept it close to the final jam, but couldn’t quite narrow the gap, dropping the 28-23 decision. The second semifinal was equally as compelling. Heavily favoured Queens of Pain pulled ahead in the early going and controlled things for much of the game. But the Gold Miner’s Daughters were improving continuously all day, and it was visible in this bout. Pivot Ames to Mame kept things calm in the pack and pulled out big moves one-on-one. The tenacious skaters from Timmins never seemed out of it and with only two minutes left, jammer Kill’er Princess gave the Daughters their first lead of the bout, 32-28. Kill’er Princess was back out with the star for the final jam as well and as she’d done all day, calmly took the lead to call it and earn a berth in the championship.

The Gold Miners' Daughters were at their best in the final against the D-VAS. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

There was just something about the swagger that had crept into the Gold Minters’ Daughters’ game by the time the championship rolled around that made things seem like they were inevitable. After feeling things out in the early part of the tournament, gaining valuable track experience, the Daughters had continuously honed their game. When the opening whistle blew in the final bout of 2 Fresh 2 Furious, it looked like this team from Timmins had only just found its stride. This is not to take anything away from their opponents, ToRD’s D-VAS, who entered the tournament with heavy expectations on their shoulders and carried them well. Paced by an agile jammer rotation of Hell Bat, Keri Daway and Scrappy Skins, and anchored by the solid pack work of Renny Rumble, Laya Beaton and Bridget Bones, the D-VAS had the deepest roster in the tournament, but they seemed gassed by the end of the night and didn’t have enough to contain the extraordinary jamming by the Daughters’ duo of Nasty Nads and tournament Future Star (MVP) Kill’er Princess, which, by the end of things, was the not-so-secret to their success. It was an extraordinary showing for a team that came, seemingly, from out of nowhere, but has now let it be known that they have most definitely arrived.

* In the battle of royalty, the Queens of Pain (Guelph) defeated Queen City (Buffalo), 38-14, for third place, to end a strong showing for both teams. Guelph’s Royal City continues to show that they are a league on the rise, and are the leaders of the second-wave of Ontario roller Derby that is currently sweeping the province.

* Layer 9 captured much of the tournament in HD from his usual trackside location. Watch the final here!

*A special thank you to the GTA Rollergirls and all the tournament volunteers for their hospitality.

* Stay tuned: On Friday, the final Nerd Meat post will include a more personal reflection on the tournament.

COMPLETE RESULTS:

Ted Reeve Bubble Ted Reeve Arena
Double Elimination

DURHAM REGION ROLLER DERBY 46 VS. KINGSTON – SHIRTS 22

VIOLET UPRISING [RCRG] 30 VS. GOLD MINERS DAUGHTERS (TIMMINS) 47

ELECTRIC CITY ROLLERS (PETERBOROUGH) 30 VS. BELLES OF THE BRAWL 75

ORD/TIMMINS RD/SOONAMI 15 VS. QUEENS OF PAIN (RCRG) 99

DRRD 38 vs. GM Daughters 30

K-Shirts 47 vs. Violet Uprising 42 (eliminated)

Belles 17 vs. Queens of Pain 32

Electric City 24 (elimin.) vs.  ORD/TRD/SSR 56

GM Daughters 48 vs. ORD/TRD/SSR 23 (elim.)

Belles 51 vs. K-Shirts 24 (elim.)

Quarter Finals

DRRD 29 vs. GM Daughters 42

Queens of Pain 38 vs. Belle City 13

Double Elimination

BORDER CITY BRAWLERS 36 VS. SOUTH SIMCOE REBEL ROLLERS 83

CHROME MOLLYS (GTAR) 45VS. OTTAWA DOLLINQUENTS 24

D-VAS (ToRD) 59 VS. QUEEN CITY 32

KINGSTON – SKINS 65 VS. DAMAGED DOLLZ (PETERBOROUGH) 36

South Simcoe 42 vs. Mollys 44

Border City 53 vs. Delinquents 47 (eliminated)

D-VAS 85 vs. K-Shirts 12

Queen City 85 vs. Dollz 4

South Simcoe 19 (elim.) vs. Queen City 39

K-Skins 44 vs. Border City 20 (elim.)

Quarter Finals

Mollys 37 vs. Queen City 43

D-VAS 70 vs. K-Skins 20

 

 

 

Semi Finals

QCRG 23 vs. D-VAS 28

GM Daughters 32 vs. Queens of Pain 28

Third Place

Queen City 14 vs. Queens of Pain 38

Finals

D-VAS 24 vs. GM Daughters 67

2011 2 Fresh 2 Furious Champions: Gold Miners’ Daughters (Timmins)

2 Fresh 2 Furious Features the Future Stars of Eastern Canadian Roller Derby

The D-VAS in 2008 featured current skaters Betty Bomber, Land Shark and Mia Culprit. (pictured in a bout against Rebel Rock-It and the Bay Street Bruisers). (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

On June 16, 2007, The Deadly Viper Assassination Squad (D-VAS) defeated the Smoke City Betties 96-78 to win what was each team’s first ever bout in Toronto Roller Derby (ToRD). While the Smoke City Betties would quickly emerge as a contender in ToRD (reaching the semifinals in 2008 before Battling for the Boot in 2009), the D-VAS would struggle, posting a 2-6 record in ToRD’s frst two seasons before falling under the knife in ToRD’s 2009 contraction (when they and the Bay Street Bruisers folded). ToRD veteran Mia Culprit (and current Betty) was the first captain of the D-VAS and sports a tattoo of the logo on her right leg. “It was difficult to say goodbye,” she admits. “I have the best memories of the D-VAS. Specifically getting to meet people like Betty Bomber….Dolly Parts’Em, Seka Destory…” The astute ToRD fan will recognize those names as current skaters with the Death Track Dolls. Other skaters from those two D-VAS teams have made their way in the derby world as well. ToRD fan favourite Land Shark (another Doll) was a rookie on the team in 2008, Rollergettes founder and skater Goldie Lock ‘N Load was on the original roster, and so was JJ Bladez, who now skates for Hammer City’s Eh! Team.

In 2010, as ToRD went through a period of intense, but stable, growth, the league resurrected the D-VAS as a farm team for ToRD’s draftable skaters, a development role that, in retrospect, has always seemed to be its calling. The program has already successfully graduated skaters into the league, and this weekend, the next generation of ToRD rookies will face off against other fresh meat teams and new leagues in the 2 Fresh 2 Furious tournament hosted by the GTA Rollergirls.

THE TOURNAMENT

The concept for 2 Fresh 2 Furious actually has roots as far back as 2008 when GTAR’s Derby Debutantes hosted the Virgin Suicides Brawl, a similar tournament for young, inexperienced teams. “I think 2 Fresh 2 Furious is a great opportunity for new players and teams to get their derby feet wet, so to speak,” says My-call Buble long-time bench manager/coach of the Derby Debutantes. “It’s a less intimidating forum for newer players…as their opponents will be of a similar level to them.” D-VAS co-captain Skinned Knee Crosby echoed these sentiments, “The whole tournament is a great, fun idea, and it shows…that roller derby is growing fast and local.”

And right now, flat track roller derby in Ontario may be growing faster than in any other region in North America with leagues forming (seemingly) by the month in locations as varied as Windsor and Minden. Considering the extraordinary growth of the sport in this province, this tournament is now more important than ever. 16 teams will be featured on two tracks in a 20-minute, double-elimination format that will be familiar to anyone who has been to the Beast of the East in Montreal (it should be noted that Buffalo’s Queen City-which has been competing in Canada since 2007-will be sending its fresh meat team as well). This format guarantees that each team will get to play at least two bouts, providing invaluable experience to the participants.

The Chrome Mollys and Royal City have already met this year (May 14). (Photo by Joe Mac)

THE COMPETITION

Things kick off on Saturday morning at 11:00 AM when two very new leagues, the Border City Brawlers (Windsor) and South Simcoe Rebel Rollers face off, while Durham Region Roller Derby will take on one of two teams from Kingston. “We expect strong showings from the WFTDA leagues of Queen City and ToRD,” predicts My-Call Buble, and while this could be case, it’s hard to handicap this event as even some of the more established teams will be sending fresh-faced lineups. The D-VAS, for example, will be using this opportunity to dress ToRD’s latest crop of fresh meat graduates, many of whom have yet to even put on the uniform. The same goes for GTAR’s Chrome Molly’s who will sit some of their more experienced skaters to give the fresh meat a chance to gather the all-important experience.

ToRD's D-VAS have warmed up with a home and home series against Nickel City's Sister Slag. (Photo by Joe Mac)

Despite this mystery, there will, though, be teams to watch. “I looking forward to watching Royal City play; they have some great girls on their team,” says Crosby. My-call Buble also takes note of the quickly emerging Royal City Rollergirls (who will be sending all three of their home teams), “Royal City, Belle City and South Simcoe, although new this year, are playing every chance they get.” Word on the track is that this hard-training South Simcoe Rebel Rollers team may very well be a team on the rise, while Belle City’s Belles of the Brawl (Brantford) just got some valuable experience at CWRDA’s Eastern ChampionshipDurham Region has also been busy in 2011. After some struggle to get off the ground, DRRD  seems to have found its footing and has had some impressive showings lately. Any track time is valuable in a young skater’s career, so this activity will be a big advantage for these teams.

But the beauty and excitement of a tournament like this is in the inability to predict things. Any one of the teams participating has a viable shot at winning. For these young teams, it may come down to which roster gels the quickest, which team has the strongest leadership and organization, and, as with any tournament, which teams simply wants it more.

* 2 Fresh 2 Furious kicks off at 11:00 am at Ted Reeve Arena. For a complete schedule visit the gtarollergirls.com. Tickets are available at Way Cool Tattoos and Red Tent Sisters, or online.

* Here is a complete list of tournament participants. (For a complete schedule, click here).

Forest City Thrashes the Field to Take CWRDA East

Forest City All Stars defeated the Rideau Valley Vermin 166-90 to win the inaugural CWRDA Eastern Championship. (photo by Neil Jeffery)

When the smoke cleared from the track in Navan, Ontario, only the Forest City All Stars were left standing at Blood Spill on the Hill, CWRDA’s Eastern Champioship. Two very full days of bouting saw seven other teams fall, and in a tournament full of one-sided affairs, some fell harder than others. It was a well-deserved and even fitting win for a team that has toiled for years on the front lines of eastern Canadian roller derby without a major win yet to their credit.

DAY ONE

The winners of the four first round bouts advanced to the semi-finals, while the losers moved on to the relegation semis later in the day. The historic (though rebuilding) Hamilton Harlots kicked things off by returning to their winning ways against a Belles of the Brawl team (Brantford) whose history pales in comparison to their southern Ontario neighbours. The 234-61 victory (first in 2011 for this new-look Hammer City squad) kicked off a round of blowouts that culminated in a 456-6 whitewashing of the overmatched Ottawa Roller Derby by the GTAR’s newly formed G-Stars travel team. Sandwiched between these bouts were two blowouts of a different sort. Forest City (who were merging players from the Luscious Lunch Ladies and the Thames Fatales for the first time) toppled a smart-looking, but inexperienced Royal City All Star team (Guelph), while hosts Rideau Valley (playing as the Vermin—a team put together specifically for this tournament) took it to a wide-eyed and excited Muddy River Lumbersmacks (Moncton). Both of these teams seemed to revel in their losses, soaking up the experience and often immediately recycling the knowledge gained.

That set up relegation round showdowns featuring the four least experienced teams in the tournament. But even amongst these freshmen squads there was clearly a divide. Muddy River was cruising against a Belles of the Brawl team that finally had to throw in the towel when injuries and ejections depleted the Brantford bench to dangerously low levels, giving the New Brunswick team its first victory outside of the Atlantic provinces. In the second relegation semifinal, the Royal City All Stars continued their solid play, putting together a dominant performance against an Ottawa Roller Derby team that bowed out of the tournament having been outscored 852-13 in its two games.

Guelph's Royal City Royal Girls, in their first major tournament, won the relegation final to finish fifth overall (defeating Moncton's Muddy River 116-73).

DAY TWO

Since the two leagues first faced off on July 7, 2007, Hammer City seemed to have Forest City’s number. Four years of dominance finally came to an end earlier this year when both Forest City teams defeated both Hammer City teams in a double header in Hamilton. So when they met in the first of two semifinals they brought with them a great deal of flat track history. In a striking coincidence this was the first time since 2007 that Forest City was tracking a team playing under the league banner and their opponents, the Harlots, were those same opponents who initiated them four years earlier. Sometimes revenge is a long time coming, and Forest City got it this weekend, advancing to the semifinals with a convincing 218-58 victory.

The second semi-final looked like it was heading to blow-out territory as well with Rideau Valley jumping out to a dominant 101-19 half-time lead over the G-Stars, but the GTA team reeled it in during the second half getting stronger as the bout wore on to lose in a scrappy, entertaining game, 163-52.

Muddy River's travel team, the Lumbersmacks, handled themselves well in their first out-of-region competition.

The relegation final was a highly anticipated bout featuring the two more inexperienced and exciting teams in the event, the Muddy River Rollers and the Royal City Roller Girls. The first half lived up to the expectations and then some as these two precocious teams left it all on the track, trading leads seemingly as often as they traded hits, with Royal City just able to inch ahead 51-41 at the half. Muddy River captain Burn ‘N RubHer and fellow triple threat Brandy Swifter led the way for this New Brunswick team that also had strong performances from Ms. Hate (who alternated helmet panties throughout the weekend as well), Thora Thunder and Malicious Kitty jamming and Lulu LeBomb pivoting. But as the game wore on, Royal City’s more sophisticated pace control (led in large part by excellent pivot Mandy Maggotbone) toppled Muddy River’s hit and run game. Kim Scarsmashian and Ginger Slaughters also had a strong tournament in the pack while Hot Cross Guns, Hellcat and Lady GoreJess led the offense and paced the Royal City to a fifth place finish with the 116-73 victory. It is clear though, that both of these teams have a very bright future, and Moncton, as the leaders of the pack on the east coast, gained invaluable experience to bring back with them.

The G-Stars capped a successful tournament taking the third place bout against the Harlots, 128-53. While the Harlots continue their rebuild, GTAR has now added a travel team to its roster which gave valuable experience to its less experienced Chrome Mollys players. While the usual suspects starred (Getcha Kicks, Lee Way Wreck’em, Canadian Psycho, Newfie Bullet and Splat Benatar) it was a coming out weekend for jammer Beaver Mansbridge who turned heads with her fearless play and excellent conditioning.

This tournament marked the first time a Forest City team had skated under the unified league name since 2007 (in orange vs. the Harlots in Hammer City). Photo by Derek Lang

It was clear though, that the top two teams had deservedly made it to the finals. With both teams dominating competition all weekend, expectations were high. It was set up to be an intriguing battle between two very experienced leagues  who were experimenting with new-look rosters. Rideau Valley had the potentially brutal, defensively sound packs led by Vixens’ standouts Semi Precious, ASSASSINista, Screaming Meanie Massacre and Margaret Choke, yet didn’t roster any of their all-star jammers (giving all-important track time to the likes of Death From Below, Crash Karma and eventually Mudblood). Forest City, on the other hand, shortened its jammer bench to (virtually) two for the final, the Thames Fatales standouts Killson and Slacker Smacker (though Lunch Ladies Andi Slamberg and Mighty Thor took their turns when needed later in the game as they had throughout the tournament). Killson, the tournament’s top jammer and perhaps MVP, was excellent in the early going while the frightening duo of Semi-Precious and ASSASSINista had their way with the Forest City packs and devastated the less experienced Slacker Smacker whenever she wore the star (who, though often overwhelmed, always pulled herself off the ground and threw herself back into the fray). When Forest City vet Anya Face went down with a significant ankle injury about midway through the opening half (and Sufferjet pulling out with her leaving only 11 skaters on the bench), things did not look good for London. But after a long timeout as Anya was helped off the track and eventually carted off to the hospital, Forest City came out with a single-minded focus and an increased level of determination that saw them threaten to pull away, taking a 78-50 lead into the locker rooms. They wouldn’t look back.

Congratulations to the Forest City Derby Girls on winning their first major championship.

While the Rideau Valley jammers were excellent all weekend, their comparative inexperience was exploited by the veteran London squad who forced numerous jammer majors and used a simple yet effective pace strategy to take full advantage. (It was a split-pack, separated-lane set up that relies on having a jammer strong and independent enough to face opposition blockers on her own). The heavily pace-controlled power jams were orchestrated by the experienced blocking crew led by pivot Mirambo and featuring Back Alley Sally, Freez’er Burn and None-ya Biz. It was an extremely innovative play that left the Rideau Valley bench struggling for a response, and allowed Forest City to build a gap in the second half that could not be overcome. With the 166-90 victory, the Forest City All Stars were crowned champions at the first ever CWRDA Eastern Championship.

***A big thank you to Rideau Valley for begin such gracious hosts! A personal thanks goes to the dynamic duo of Tipsy McStaggers and Sister Disaster. The Nerd’s participation in Blood Spill on the Hill was made possible, in part, by the fine people at Neon Skates:

***Weren’t in Ottawa! You can get all the scores AND relive all of the moments (including the exciting championship game) by checking the archives at Canuck Derby TV.

Blood Spill on the Hill: CWRDA’s Eastern Championship.

Blood Spill on the Hill is the first ever CWRDA Eastern Championship tournament.

Blood Spill on the Hill, hosted by the Rideau Valley Roller Girls, is the first ever Canadian Women’s Roller Derby Association (CWRDA) Eastern Championship tournament. An eight team tournament featuring some of the top teams in the east, this potentially gruelling two day grind will test not only the endurance of the skaters, but the teams’ organizational management as well, as they will have to juggle their rosters accordingly. There are some noticeable absentees in the tournament with the top three teams out (Montreal, Toronto and Tri-City), which makes this tournament an opportunity for the rest of the top competitive teams in the east to step up.  For some, like Muddy River (Moncton) and Belle City (Brantford), this will be their first chance to face top-flight competition, while for others, like Forest City and Rideau Valley, this will be a test of their ability to handle the pressure of being the favourites.

ROUND ONE

Day one will mean game over for two of the eight teams, while for the other six it’ll be another day of derby and a chance for a top five finish (with the day-one winners moving directly to the semifinals). The Hammer City Harlots will kick off the tournament facing a new team from Belle City (Brantford), the Belles of the Brawl. While on paper this one looks like a washout (the most experienced team taking on the least experienced), this is not the same Harlots teams as years past. While a few veterans remain (including former Eh! Team skater Judge Jodie), this team (and the league as a whole) has gone through a major overhaul and has taken some tough, one-sided losses to teams they used to routinely beat (Forest City and Queen City). Nonetheless, Belle City has the disadvantage of having limited play against outside competition, while the Harlots have gotten a few under their belts this season already.

The Rideau Valley Vermin will consist of rookie and experienced skaters, including members of the 2011 Beast of the East Champion Slaughter Daughters. (photo by Derek Lang)

Next up, the Rideau Valley Vermin take on the upstarts from the Atlantic, the Muddy River Lumbersmacks. Moncton has lead the recent explosion of flat track derby on the east coast (six leagues and counting), and with recent victories over Halifax and Fog City (Saint John) have proven that they deserve this spot in the tournament. As quickly as this Moncton team has come along, they are in tough against the Vermin, a mixed team of veteran and new skaters from RVRG that has yet to play together, but will boast members of the WFTDA apprentice Vixens. The Muddy River skaters are aware of the challenge they face. “We’re super excited (to be) schooled by Rideau Valley right from the get go!” says Muddy Rivers’ Brandy Swifter. “We definitely hope to use (the tournament) as a great learning process.” A sentiment echoed by the other inexperienced leagues, and the experienced ones as well. “It’s a great opportunity for us to train our newer players in an actual competitive game environment” says RVRG veteran Dee Dee Tee discussing the forward thinking decision behind entering the Vermin into the tournament. “We expect nothing but good to come from the experience we are poised to gain this season,” she concludes.

The Forest City travel team will be led by an experienced core of Thames Fatales skaters. (photo by Joe Mac)

Like Moncton, Guelph’s Royal City has been turning some heads in its first year of operation, putting up increasingly great fights against considerably more experienced competition from GTA and Tri-City. But they too, being a comparatively inexperienced team, have gotten a tough draw in a Forest City All Stars team that hasn’t played since the earliest days of the league’s existence, but will have an experienced lineup regardless. No doubt it will draw heavily from Thames Fatales, which has had an excellent 2011 thus far. The new hometeam, the Luscious Lunch Ladies, has developed very quickly as well, scoring a huge victory over the Harlots in May. Veteran skater Anya Face is relaxed about the tournament, and sees it as an opportunity to improve. “We are there to play some roller derby, and see if our strategies work,” she says, adding “we are always learning new off-the-wall strategies … so to try them out in a game situation (allows us) to see what works.” Depending on how the skaters from the two teams merge, Forest City could be a team to watch.

GTA's Derby Debutants gave the Royal City All Stars their first taste of competitive derby in May. (photo by Joe Mac)

Finally, two veteran leagues that are still waiting for that competitive breakthrough will close out the opening round match ups. Despite their similarities in lineage, the GTA Rollergirls have had a much more consistent run than Ottawa Roller Derby and will be tracking a team of all stars brought together from its two home teams. Another clear advantage for GTA is how much track time they’ve already logged this season as both the Derby Debutantes and the Chrome Mollys are deep into their seasons. ORD, on the other hand, has been out of the top level of competition since its last appearance at the Beast of the East in 2009, but could use this as a stepping stone to greater competitive heights.

Moncton's Muddy River will be hosting the Atlantic Jamboree where experience gained at the Blood Spill will undoubtedly be shared.

WHAT TO EXPECT

Given the mix of teams, it might be worth expecting the unexpected. With Forest City, Rideau Valley, and GTA sending new mixed teams, and Hammer City sending its B team, the tournament is actually wide open and could come down to which of these teams is able to gel the quickest. This could actually work to the advantage of those newer teams (Royal City and Muddy River) who have been picking up considerable experience playing together as of late. But the core players who will make up each of the more experienced teams will certainly given them the edge. Rideau Valley has been dominating all levels of play, with their only losses in the past two years coming against some of the top teams in the country in Montreal, Toronto and Tri-City. But their experience here and abroad will make them clear front runners. Similarly, Forest City has come a long way in the past few years, developing into a tough, strategically sound league and also have to be considered front runners. But the importance of this tournament stretches far beyond who wins and losses. “By hosting and participating we hope to raise more awareness of the sport in Canada, raise the level of play and promote a nationwide competition.” Dee Dee Tee answers when asked about the goal of the tournament. The new Ontario leagues will be able to measure themselves up against the next stage of competition, while Muddy River will gain valuable experience just in time for the Atlantic Jamboree where they can, in turn, share it with their sister leagues back east.

** For more information visit the event page on Facebook. Tickets are available online and at select vendors in Ottawa.

**Not going to be there!? Catch all the action live on Canuck Derby TV.

**The Nerd’s participation in Blood Spill on the Hill was made possible, in part, by the fine people at Neon Skates:

**Tournament Schedule:

Saturday, June 18, 2011

ROUND ONE

Game 1  Hamilton Harlots (Hammer City Roller Girls) vs Belles of the Brawl (Bell City Roller Girls—Brantford ) 9am
Game 2  Rideau Valley Vermin (RVRG) vs  Lumbersmacks  (Muddy River Rollers—Moncton) 11am
Game 3 Forest City All Stars (FCDG—London)  vs Royal City All Stars (Royal City Rollergirls—Guelph) 1pm
Game 4 G-Stars (GTA Rollergirls) vs Ottawa Roller Derby  3pm

RELEGATION

Game 5 (Loser of Game 1 vs Loser of Game 2) 5pm
Game 6 (Loser of Game 3 vs Loser of Game 4) 7pm

Sunday, June 19, 2011
SEMIFINALS

Game 7 (Winner of Game 1 vs Winner of Game 3) 9am
Game 8 (Winner of Game 2 vs Winner of Game 4) 11am

RELEGATION

Game 9 (Winner of Game 5 vs Winner of Game 6) 1pm (for 5th Place)
Game 10 (Loser of Game 7 vs Loser of Game 8 ) 3pm (for 3rd Place)

CHAMPIONSHIP

Game 11 (Winner of Game 7 vs Winner of Game 8 ) 5pm