Charm City

Canada Day USA: Montreal and Toronto Upset Southern Neighbours at ECDX

With both teams displaying excellent first-year players and deep benches, Montreal’s New Skids on the Block and Toronto’s CN Power scored hard-earned victories in exciting games against Charm City (153-131) and Maine (148-120) respectively on Saturday at Philly’s East Coast Derby Extravaganza. Montreal finished the tournament 1-1 including a 197-55 loss on Friday night to the South Central powerhouse Texas Rollergirls Texacutioners, while Toronto went 2-0, coupling their victory over Maine with a 375-60 victory over Harrisburg Area Roller Derby’s Nuclear Knockouts in a chippy, penalty filled bout.

Montreal increased its record to 7-5 in WFTDA games on the season and despite the loss to Texas on Friday night may have done enough to find themselves ranked as high as 3rd or 4th for the Eastern Regionals. Veteran Montreal blocker Lil’ Mama said that they were hoping to go at least 1-1 in the tournament, and that despite their narrow victory over Texas in 2011, they were still heading into that one very open-minded and hoping for a positive learning experience but remaining optimistic as well: “We went into (last year’s) game with no expectations either and it just turned out like that (a Montreal upset), so we knew they were coming for vengeance,” she said. But despite the loss to Texas (who are ranked #1 in WFTDA’s South Central Region and 5th on DNN), the victory over Eastern rivals Charm City made this weekend a massive success.

Last year when Charm and Montreal met at Anarchy in the UK, high hopes were met with great disappointment for the Skids when Charm took advantage of a short-handed Montreal team to blow them out 207-85. Charm was on a role this season as well, having won five in a row including a narrow victory over Minnesota who had themselves scored a narrow victory over Montreal recently. Skids’ rookie jammer Apocalipstick was ecstatic after the game, admitting that they “never expected (the win), so it’s even better.”  And Montreal seems to be rounding into form at just the right time with a recent victory over Steel City meaning that they have now recorded back-to-back victories over rivals ranked above them (4th and 3rd to Montreal’s 6th), leaving only (the virtually inactive–two games against unranked European teams) London Rollergirls in the way of a Top 3 ranking for Regionals.

Read Justice Feelgood Marshall’s blow-by-blow recap of Toronto vs. Maine on Derby News Network. (Photo by Dave Wood for Derby News Network)

Toronto’s CN Power entered the weekend with an almost absurd amount of injuries to starting players, making an already tough matchup against Maine (higher ranked, on the cusp of a playoff spot) suddenly seem overwhelmingly daunting.

“We were obviously hoping to go 2-0, yeah,” said Toronto blocker Mega Bouche at the end of the tournament.” But expecting? Not really.” The veteran skater explained that they actually used the lowered expectations as motivation (the whole team also wrote Tara Part’s #L7 on their legs in honour of their injured pivot who’d undergone surgery the week before). Complaining about the amount of “chatter” around their injuries, Mega said that on Saturday morning the team came together and “we just said ‘nope’: we can’t do this to ourselves…we can’t let (missing players) affect how we play together on the track as a team… We knew that (we were down players), but we are a strong blocking team, so we just wanted to prove that we could do this with or without these awesome players that we were missing.” And although they took a lot of time to adjust to the roster changes (they were behind until the very last jam of the first half), they stuck together and were relentless in their pursuit of the victory, even falling behind by 30 points again in the second half until they wore down Maine enough to start forcing mistakes late.

“Everyone just played together really strongly,” CN Power rookie jammer Kookie Doe said of the Maine victory. “We just remained calm and worked at it piece by piece.” Although she travelled to Brewhaha and got some late-game action in a loss to Ohio earlier this season, this weekend marked a breakout moment for Kookie, who scored a remarkable 171 points in the blowout win on Sunday against an overmatched Harrisburg Area Roller Derby. “I was really nervous,” she admitted about the increased workload, “but we have a great team of blockers and everyone is so supportive; I rely on them.”

When asked if she’d stepped up her game, she modestly deflected.  “Maybe (I’ve stepped up)…one thing I’ve realized is I feel like I can really trust my blockers…it was beautiful. When I approach the pack, I feel like they are there telling me (where to go).” But Mega Bouche chimed in at this point, a little more blunt in her assessment of the rookie’s big weekend: “(She was) so fucking awesome today.”

Read Justice Feelgood Marshall’s blow-by-blow recap of the Charm vs. Montreal game on DNN. (Photo by Dave Wood for DNN)

Montreal is not playing with a full roster this weekend either and also gave a ton of track time to rookie skaters and new comers. Apocalipstick was one of those skaters who found herself skating every third jam against one of the top teams in the game (Charm). “It was amazing; I had no expectations because I had nothing to compare it to…it was just one jam at a time.” But she is also quick to point out those missing players (superstar jammer Iron Wench [Team Canada MVP 2011 World Cup] and triple threat Smack Daddy [Tournament MVP 2011 World Cup]), and looking forward, knows that when they return, the depth that the team has developed will serve them well. “We’re not putting any numbers on what we’re going to do at Regionals,” she said. “We just want to go out there really strong.” That being said, Lil’ Mama feels the team has done enough to garner a coveted 3rd place ranking for the playoffs: “We’re hoping (for third), that’s our goal. We’ve been playing some hard teams (in) heavy hitting games so that we could learn.”

Despite going 9-1 in WFTDA bouts this season, Toronto is a little more realistic about their chances of a playoff birth. The win over Maine at least opens up the possibility of a Top 10 position, but the WFTDA rankings have not been kind to Toronto this year and the CN Power skaters may have to shift their focus to next year’s Regionals. “Absolutely,” Mega said confidently when asked about at least advancing to next year’s playoffs, but admits that “the (100-point loss) to Ohio stung,” and probably had a big impact on their chances at making Regionals.  But the North Central’s 9-15 positions are a tight mess right now, and who knows how it will all pan out.

There was a huge Canadian cheering section on hand for every one of Montreal and Toronto’s games, in large part due to the busload of Montrealers that followed the Skids to Philly. Once known for their after-party antics more than their on-track awesomeness, the Skids may not themselves be the partiers they once were, but still wanted to make sure they represented, “Why do you think we brought 80 people?” Lil Mama points out. But in the midst of an American roller derby tradition, the loud fans spurred on both Canadian teams, symbolic of the heightened performances by both teams. “The cheering was incredible,” said Apocalipstick. “I really felt like I was being lifted by everyone while I was playing.”


Montreal New Skids on the Block (6E) 55 vs. Texas Texacutioners (1SE) 197 (read Justice Feelgood Marshall’s DNN recap)

Montreal (6E) 153 vs. Charm City (3E) 131 (read Justice Feelgood Marshall’s DNN recap)

Toronto CN Power (15NC) 148 vs. Maine Port Authorities (11E) 120 (read Justice Feelgood Marshall’s DNN recap)

Toronto (15NC) 375 vs. Harrisburg Nuclear Knockouts (23E) 60 (read Justice Feelgood Marshall’s DNN recap)

***The interviews with the Montreal and Toronto skaters will appear in their entirety on this week’s Derby Deeds Done Dirt Cheap podcast, so tune in!

Canada heads to ECDX

Battered, beaten and bruised, Toronto Roller Derby’s CN Power is one of two Canadian teams heading to the East Coast Derby Extravaganza this weekend, joining Montreal’s New Skids on the Block in the popular Philadelphia tournament. What started as a promising season for Toronto has tailed off as of late due to a spate of injuries that has decimated the roster. So while the WFTDA playoffs may be out of reach this season, this tournament will represent a big stepping stone for Toronto’s visibility in WFTDA and a nice launching pad for a regrouped, refocused–not to mention more experienced–CN Power in 2013.

The New Skids, on the other hand, enter the tournament finding themselves in one of their most secure positions ever in terms of WFTDA standings. Locked into a playoff spot, this will be Montreal’s third season competing in the Eastern Championships and the second season they will (presumably) enter as one of the top six seeds (thus earning a direct path to the quarterfinals). What does remain to be seen is where in the top six they fall, this weekend’s games will very much impact that.

While Toronto (15th NC) is coming off of a successful  Midwest Brewhaha in which they demolished Fox Cityz (25th NC) by 400 points and held off Burning River (16th NC) 158-125 to pull to 7-1 on the WFTDA season, an injury bug that began to affect them before the tournament has run rampant over the roster. Missing four key jammers and a top pivot (to name a few) CN Power will have a far different look in their ECDX games. They kick things off in a tough contest against Maine Roller Derby’s Port Authorities (11th E) who are in the midst of a dog fight for a playoff spot that has slipped from their grasp this season. Maine has been inconsistent this season never winning more than one in a row (though they haven’t lost two in a row either) and enter the tournament having held off Suburbia (14th E) in a 227-199 victory and then falling to Boston (7th E) by a respectable 63 points.

On Sunday morning, Toronto should have a slightly easier time as they face off against Harrisburg’s Nuclear Knockouts (23rd E). After a 2011 season that saw Harrisburg win three of its final four games, 2012 hasn’t been kind to the team so far. 0-3 so far this season, they are coming off of 365 and 188 point losses to Providence (12th E) and Dominion (16th E) respectively.

Montreal’s New Skids on the Block have a chance to improve their Eastern Region playoff seeding this weekend.

Montreal (6th E) has a much stiffer test this weekend. Kicking things off with the marquee Friday night matchup, Montreal will take on the Texas Rollergirls Texacutioners (1st SC). Montreal is 6-4 this season, with losses coming to tough competition in Philly (2nd E), Naptown (3rd NC), Kansas City (2nd SC) and Minnesota (2nd NC).  Texas remains a juggernaut in the South Central and have been dominant this season once again compiling a 5-1 record with their single loss being a 149-117 loss to Rose City (3rd W). Montreal has the most to gain out of this matchup; coming off of a minor upset win against Steel City (4th E), a chance to score a victory over a highly ranked opponent could help them squeeze their way up another rung in the Eastern Region ladder. Montreal actually defeated the Texacutioners in 2011, beating them 104-88 during the Austin team’s early season slump.

Things don’t get any easier for the New Skids on the Block on Saturday with a matchup against regional rivals, Charm City (3rd E). Despite losses to a few key players, Charm has been dominant in 2012 brushing aside good teams in Queen City (13th E), Nashville (3rd SC) and the Chicago Outfit (5th NC), before finally being challenged by Windy City (1st NC) and Minnesota (2nd NC). On top of this, they also proved to be bi-trackually solid after winning the second Pro Roller Derby Invitational in Glendale (a banked-track tournament). Charm City and Montreal met at last year’s Anarchy in the UK, where Charm dominated 207-85.


Friday, June 22, 7:30 PM:  Montreal vs. Texas

Saturday, June 23rd, 2:30 PM: Toronto vs. Maine

Saturday, June 23rd, 6:30 PM: Montreal vs. Charm City

Sunday, June 24th, 11:00 AM: Toronto vs. Harrisburg

The 2012 ECDX will be boutcast live on WFTDA.TV.

Gores vs. Chicks in Toronto / Skids vs. The World in London.

The last time these two teams met was at the 2010 Battle for the Boot (won by the Gores, 107-31).

Gore-Gore Rollergirls (1-0) vs. Chicks Ahoy! (1-0)

Surprise, surprise.

After one round of ToRD’s 2011 regular season, the Gore-Gore Rollergirls and the Chicks Ahoy! find themselves battling for first overall. Historically, these are the two top teams in Toronto Roller Derby and not much seems to have changed this year. Neither were particularly tested in their opening bouts of 2011, as the Chicks dominated a disorganized Smoke City Betties squad 131-22, and the Gores were in control of an overmatched Death Track Dolls for most of their 107-43 victory. And although the Gores earned a one-sided victory the last time these teams met (at the 2010  Battle for the Boot), this is a much different Chicks team. The veteran Chicks squad that qualified for their third championship match in 2010 had the feeling of a “last-chance team,” and there was a certain predictability about them. The influx of fresh faces on the roster has given this year’s team a new spark, and a renewed focus. It was a change predicted by Gores co-captain Brim Stone. “I think the Chicks will have a much stronger and more consistent season [in 2011],” she said in a preseason interview, and so far that has played out after a strong exhibition bout and the one-sided home opener. “But the Gores will still be able to take them!” Brim was quick to add.

Brim Stone has joined the Gores' jammer rotation this season. (photo by Kevin Konnyu)

And until a team proves otherwise on the track, the Gores are still the team to beat in this league. The opening bout victory was their tenth straight ToRD win dating back to 2008, and they looked confident and collected in doing so. The Gores are much more experienced at integrating newcomers into the roster than the Chicks, and once again the rookies do not look out of place. Replacing Lunchbox though, has been a much bigger challenge. “She was a key personality…and always the calm voice of reason!” says Brim Stone, noting that the star jammer’s skates “were big skates to fill.” And at least in the first bout of the season that task has fallen straight to Brim’s feet; she will be important in matching up against the Chicks’ veteran jammers like co-captain Candy Crossbones. When asked how she thinks the Chicks will perform against the Gores in this bout, Candy exclaims, “Hopefully better than [the championship]!” The Chicks seemed frustrated during that last meeting and Candy admits as much. “The Gores can be frustratingly good,” she says, “I know we have the raw talent to match or beat them, but it remains to be seen whether we can challenge their awesome teamwork.”

And teamwork will undoubtedly tell the tale in this one.

Chicks' rookie, Kookie Doe was a go-to jammer in her ToRD debut agains the Betties. (photo by Sean Murphy)


1. Lead Percentage: Currently, the top 6 rated jammers in the league are on these two teams, and don’t expect the offensive matchups to change for this one. Both teams primarily rely on a three-jammer rotation, and each team’s rotation is anchored by two more-than-capable veterans. Current JQ rating leaders Dyna Hurtcha and Candy Crossbones lead the way for the Chicks, while the Gores respond with Bambi and Dust Bunny, who are, statistically, the two most dominant jammers in ToRD’s history. Neither team has much depth beyond their top two, but Brim Stone, who apprenticed somewhat in 2010, took on the role in the season opener, while the Chicks relied on Kookie Doe who was surprisingly effective against the Betties last month. With all four of the main jammers capable of playing solid jammer defence (Candy Crossbones seems to revel in it, while Dyna’s experience in the pack makes her a formidable physical presence), getting lead jammer status to control the outcomes will be key. While Dyna Hurtcha currently has the highest lead percentage (79%), when you look at overall team lead percentage, the two teams are virtually even at 67% (Chicks) and 65% (Gores). The key will come down to how well Kookie Doe is able to build on her impressive debut, and how well the Chicks are able to support her against a significantly stiffer challenge from the Gores. The difference maker here could be the much more experienced Brim Stone (who is still a relative rookie with the star) winning a one-on-0ne showdown with her Chicks counterpart.

Nasher the Smasher (lining up Betties' titmouse) has cleaned up her act in 2011. (photo by Sean Murphy)

2. Discipline: 29-5-7. These numbers represent the Chicks’ accumulated totals of minor penalties (29), major penalties (5), and penalty minutes served (7); significant because all three numbers are the lowest in the league. While it’s true that one clean game against the last-place team in the league doesn’t fully dispel years of major penalty woes, the Chicks’ newfound commitment to discipline should not be overlooked or underestimated. Nasher the Smasher is a prime example: In last year’s bout versus the Betties (which was even more one-sided than this year’s), Nasher still managed to pick up 13 minors, 3 majors and served 6 penalty minutes in 24 jams. This season against the Betties, Nasher stayed perfectly clean for 21 jams on her way to a league leading +57 plus/minus (she’s tied with teammate Tara Part, one ahead of Gores’ Hurlin’ Wall). Similarly, in the 2010 championship bout the Gores punished the Chicks by taking advantage of the Girls in Green’s 29 penalty minutes. On the flip side, while the Chicks are having one of the cleanest seasons in team history, the Gores find themselves uncharacteristically second in majors (8) and tied for second in minutes served (11). Staying out of the box will be key in this one.

For the most part, the Gores controlled the pack at the 2010 ToRD championships. (photo by Kevin Konnyu)

3. Pack Control: As much as the jammers are going to have a huge influence on this one, she who controls the pack controls the game. Aside from a few well-executed, Rebel Rock-It led power kills, the Gores seemed to have complete control over the pack the last time these two teams squared off, and the Chicks simply cannot let that happen again. With traditional lead-pivot Brim Stone joining the jammer rotaton, pivoting was spread out, especially with second-in-command Molly Boom suffering some penalty troubles against the Dolls.  But with a veteran stable capable of donning the stripe (Lady Gagya, Kandy Barr and Junkie Jenny) and a rookie who looks to be a pivot-in-training (Emma Dilemma), the Gores are still a pack to be reckoned with. However, with Rebel, Tara, Nasher and Mega Bouche pivoting for the Chicks, it’s not that they are lacking in experience or ability: the difference the last time these two teams met was that the Gores controlled the play—they created on the track—while the Chicks just seemed to be reacting to the Gores’ game. Whoever “creates” in this one, could come away with a victory.

The winner of this bout will move into first place in ToRD’s regular season standings, one step closer to that all important bye straight to the 2011 Battle for the Boot. The loser will be left to watch the April 16th Dolls vs. Betties bout scouting a potential semi-final opponent.

**Tickets for the April 9th bout are on sale online or at a number of downtown vendors. Doors at the Hangar open at 6:30p.m., with opening whistle set for 7:30 p.m.


Montreal’s New Skids on the Block, Canada’s top roller derby team (and 14th ranked overall) will be heading overseas this weekend to take part in the Anarchy in the UK tournament hosted by the London Rollergirls. This is the first WFTDA sanctioned tournament to be held overseas, and also taking part will be the Charm City Roller Girls (Baltimore) and the Steel City Derby Demons (Pittsburgh). The four teams will play in a two-day round robin, facing each other once in full, WFTDA sanctioned bouts. Since all of these teams play in WFTDA’s Eastern Region, the results are significant.  Charm and Steel City come in as the top ranked teams in the tourney (3rd and 5th respectively), while Montreal sits 7th and London remains unranked due to lack of activity. But, these rankings are still based on 2010’s end-of-year stats (2011 1st quarter rankings should be out shortly), and a lot has happened already this year. A more accurate pre-tournament predictor could be DNN’s power rankings and Flat Track Stats. DNN has Charm leading the way at 9th In WFTDA (all regions), but it’s Montreal next in their ranking (14) with Steel City (18) and London (22) rounding it out. Flat Track Stats is similar, but they have Montreal and Charm in a statistical deadlock at 10th and Steel City behind in 19th. Meaning that the bout to watch this weekend could be Montreal and Charm City’s Sunday match up (11 a.m. eastern, on DNN).

**Read Lord Copper’s DNN preview here. Catch every bit of the action live on DNN.

**Good News: Because of the time difference, all of Saturday’s bouts will be over well before the Gores and Chicks take to the track at the Hangar!

Nerd Meat Part 3: The “Moment”

Nerd Meat: The Nerd Does Derby

Part 3: The “Moment”

I don’t have any way to back this up, but I have a feeling that this is the largest intake of fresh meat that any league in Canada has seen (just under 90), at least since those first heady days of the sport’s emergence in this country when whole leagues formed in a matter of weeks. It speaks to the cultural prevalence of the sport; the level of media saturation and pop culture awareness that exists. Even just two years ago I’d meet people all the time who had no idea roller derby was making a comeback. That’s not usually the case anymore here in Toronto. People may not have seen flat track roller derby, or know the specifics, but they usually know it’s here and happening.

ToRD's WFTDA Apprenticeship has brought an increased visibility to CN Power.

The increased media prominence in Toronto is coming at a very opportune time. With ToRD on the verge of WFTDA status, the visibility of its travel team, CN Power, is only going to grow south of the border, and it seems that the Toronto media is finally catching on to the importance of CN Power in the larger world of roller derby. In the lead up to this weekend’s bout against Michigan’s Killamazoo Derby Darlins there has been front-page coverage on a major Toronto paper (The Toronto Sun) and prominent sports coverage on City TV’s evening news, all on top of the the usual media avenues. CN Power hasn’t yet drawn the sorts of crowds or inspired the sort of support that ToRD’s hometeams have, but all evidence points toward this weekend’s bout being the most successful and well attended CN Power bout ever—perhaps the travel team is finally starting to draw the sort of increased attention that it deserves.

Right along side this rise in media interest, has been the influx of interested partcipants. The reasons these women tell me they have for joining fresh meat are as varied as the body types and backgrounds. Some just thought it would be a unique “alternative” way to exercise (with the comfort of a large group of like-minded women—and a few guys); some caught a bout or two and were intrigued enough to take the next step, wanted to see if they had what it took to play; others have been watching the sport for much longer, have already skated and trained even, and know that at the end of the fresh meat the opportunity to be drafted to the D-VAS—or even directly onto one of ToRD’s hometeams—exists. These skaters gaze out at the Hangar during fresh meat sessions with a different look in their eyes. Now that they have seen the incredible crowd and felt the energy of ToRD’s season opener and are being swept up in the fervour surrounding this all star bout, they are getting even hungrier.

I won’t surprise anyone by saying that the first time I saw roller derby my life changed. I won’t surprise anyone because I wear my passion for this sport on my sleeve, but also because most people involved in flat track roller derby have had the same experience: The experience that I’ve most often heard described as “the moment.” A few skaters at Fresh Meat speak of having had this moment, and those ones—even if they can’t skate a lick right now—are hooked; it might take them a full year or even two to learn to skate, but they will; they may not be drafted for a draft or two, but they’ll persevere and end up on a roster. They may have undistinguished careers on the track, they may become superstars. But they’re in now, and they won’t get out.

A crowd lines up outside of Arena St. Louis for a 2008 Montreal Roller Derby bout.

My moment came in Montreal on May 31st, 2008, just after Montreal Roller Derby had hosted the inaugural Beast of the East. A few friends (two women) had caught wind of the sport and had gone to check it out. Neither were athletic in the slightest, nor—as far as I knew—had any interest in sports whatsoever. I don’t think either of them even skated very much. But they’d fallen in love at first sight. We saw them at a bar and they couldn’t stop talking about it, raving about it, actually. They told us that the following weekend, two of Montreal’s home teams, Les Filles du Roi and La Racaille, were hosting B-teams from Boston, The B Party, and Charm City (Baltimore), Female Trouble. My partner and I were eventually convinced to check it out.

Montreal plays its home games in Arena St. Louis, a modest-sized arena tucked away in Montreal’s laid back Mile End neighbourhood. It’s right off of The Main—Montreal’s busiest strip—but if you weren’t looking for it, you’d never find it, probably never even know it was there. I won’t lie and claim to remember what I was expecting when I walked into the arena, but I do know that what I discovered was not what I was expecting. It was absolutely packed that night, and in those days the crowd was still predominantly women. There was cheap PBR (and Old Milwaukee when that ran out) and the spectators were quickly rowdy. I couldn’t figure out who all these people were. They didn’t look like sports fans, they looked like people you’d see at a gig at Sala Rossa down the street, not at a sporting event. But they were rabid about the game, and their affection for the women on track was extraordinarily obvious. I was so amazed by what I was seeing around me that it took me a long time to even look at what was happening on the track.

La Racaille vs. Les Contrabanditas at MTLRD's Arena St. Louis. (Beast of the East 2010)

Of course, when I did turn my attention to the track, I had no idea what was going on. It was just absolute chaos to me. Up to ten women were flinging themselves around the track, seemingly haphazardly and with complete abandon. I could see the refs and hear the whistles but it was all meaningless. What I did know was that Montreal was getting beaten pretty badly in the opening bout. To my untrained eye, the teams on the track didn’t seem that different, but as much as I tried, I couldn’t figure what the American team was doing so differently. Every once in a while a particular skater would go onto the track for Montreal and the game would change, the crowd would shift expectantly. She was a small woman, wiry, but muscular. She was distinguished by the star on her helmet, and the awkward, hunched-over stride that brought her so low around the turns she could slap the floor if she wanted. It didn’t take me long to realize that whenever she was on the track Montreal’s score increased.  It gave me something to latch on to; I could match the cheers in the crowd with this skater’s ability to get through the pack, weave her way through the opposing blockers and take assists from her own. Gaining a centre point allowed me to see that within all the apparent chaos, there was a particular order to things. There were strategies, counter strategies. And no matter how out of hand the score got, we just waited for the skater with the distinctive gait to get back on the track so we could cheer. We were eventually able to read the number scrawled on her arm and checked her name in the program: Iron Wench.

The Iron Wench jams against CN Power at the 2010 Quad City Chaos.

Both Montreal teams got defeated that night, but it would mark the beginning of a journey that those skaters would take right to the highest levels of competition. The Iron Wench would become a respected star of the sport; Boston and Charm City would battle for National championships; Montreal would be the first non-US team to compete in the WFTDA playoffs: The three women I was with at that double header would all become skaters who continue to skate to this day.

I may not remember what my expectations were that night, and I certainly know that I didn’t learn that much about the sport, but I knew one thing right away, that my life had changed in a profound way.  Like so many of the people who I was skating with at fresh meat—and like so many others all over the world before them—roller derby had gotten to me: I’d had my moment.

**Visit the Nerd Meat Archives**

Word on the Track

ToRD's Chicks Ahoy! take on The Vicious Dishes


ToRD‘s 2010 preseason will end on Saturday May 8th in Kitchener, as The Tri-City Roller Girls host two ToRD teams in the “Psychedelic Melt Down” double header. The Chicks Ahoy! will get a quick chance at redemption after falling in the opening round of the Beast of the East for the second straight season, but they’ll be in tough against the Vicious Dishes who went 2-2 at the BOE and bowed out in a scrappy performance against La Racaille in the quarterfinals. The Dishes also looked good in their 157-53 season opening victory against The Venus Fly Tramps. The Tramps had a relatively successful BOE, which included a big victory of Rideau Valley’s Riot Squad and a tough loss to the Thames Fatales, but their one-sided season opening loss exposed some weaknesses.  The Death Track Dolls are also looking to bounce back after a surprising 0 and 2 exit in Montreal.

The Chicks have a talented and deep lineup and I don’t think we’ve seen the best of the this team yet. Missing key players, the Chicks looked as if they were just getting to know each other at the BOE, and I expect them to get better with each jam as the season goes on. A key for the Chicks will be to keep out of the penalty box to allow their pack to develop some chemistry and get comfortable on the track. There are some big hitters on this team, and they’ll need to be composed to keep physical threats like Bareleigh Legal, and po-

ToRD's Death Track Dolls face The Venus Fly Tramps

sitional threats like Anita Martini under control. The Chicks also have deep and varied choices at jammer with veteran skater Mach Wheels leading 2009 rookie of the year winner Kari Mia Beere and nominee Marvel S. Maven. Dependable veteran jammer Candy Crossbones can be counted on for consistency and triple threat Dyna Hurtcha will offer an intimidating physical presence at the jammer line.

After a shaky start, the Dolls started to come together in their second bout at this year’s BOE. This is another young team in the second year of a rebuilding process, and they’ll be relying on rookies to play big roles. Unfortunately for the Dolls, star jammer Land Shark will be out of the lineup with a knee injury. Look for Demolition Dawn to continue her return to jamming, and don’t be surprised to see Betty Bomber and maybe Audrey Hellborn wearing the star. Two rookies who who could get turns with the stars are the quick SlamWow and potential triple threat NutMeg.

Look for the recap next week.

The Oly Rollers continue to lead in the tough Western Region


WFTDA released its first quarter rankings for 2010, and DNN followed suit with its quarterly power rankings. Of course, the power rankings weren’t without controversy. While WFTDA stuck with regions, DNN ranked 2008 champions Gotham over current holders, The Oly Rollers in its top 25. This seemed to be based on a comparative margin of victory over a shared opponent (in this case being Charm City). Nonetheless, Oly still looks virtually unbeatable and will continue their unrelenting pursuit of the record for consecutive WFTDA sanctioned victories (the current record is Gotham’s 18, Oly is at 15). Next up on the march is the Boston Massacre, and then, on June 5th, Oly will face the Texas Rollergirls in a rematch of last year’s WFTDA nationals in what will undoubtedly be the most talked about bout of 2010 so far. More controversy arose in Montreal’s 25th place ranking, as many people seem to think that their recent dominant string of victories should have placed them in a better spot.

The Regions: West

The only change in the top 5 on the Pacific, is Rose City’s retaking 4th spot from it’s Washington state counterpart, Rat City. Oly, Denver, and Rocky Mountain held on to the top three spots. These three teams all finished in the top four of the 2009 WFTDA Nationals, concluding a dominating performance by the Western Region teams that seems to continue today. Rose City, Rat City and Oly all beat Charm City on its recent west coast road trip to show that the west isn’t relenting any time soon.

The Regions: North Central

There wasn’t much change at all in WFTDAs most overlooked division (top team Windy City ranked only 9th in DNN’s power ranking). The only change in the top five is Brew City’s taking of 5th place over North Star Roller Girls. Hammer City was unable to improve on its 17th spot after tough losses to Fort Wayne and Montreal.

The Regions: South Central

The Texas Rollergirls continue their dominance of the South Central. The girls from Austin just keep putting together solid teams, and are currently ranked 3rd in DNN’s Power Rankings. Kansas City remains 2nd in the south, while the only change is Nashville’s entry into the top 5 at the expense of Houston.

The Regions: East

New Skids on the Block

The biggest change in the East comes not in the top 5 (although Steel City did leap two spaces to sneak into 5th), but in Montreal’s tremendous progress. Currently ranked 9th (up from 13th at the beginning of the year), only two weeks ago, Montreal’s New Skids on the Block scored a smothering 135-29 victory over 6th ranked Carolina. If Montreal manages another big victory this weekend over 8th ranked Dutchland, they would have to be considered, at the very least, a dark horse contender in the East. But if they continue to adapt and develop at the same pace that they did in the first quarter of 2010, the just may be an unstoppable force by September.

For purely Canadian rankings check out The Nerd’s (mostly objective!) Rankings Page.


This past weekend GTA’s Derby Debutantes hosted Edmonton’s E-Ville Dead for another east-west roller  derby showdown. The bout started very close with GTA jammers Cleave Holt!, Getcha Kicks, and LeeWay Wreck’em going skate to skate with their E-Ville counterparts. But as the first half progressed, E-Ville’s Mary F’n Sunshine, Cheeky and Jenuine Draft started winning more and more of the jams, allowing Edmonton to open up a   66-48 halftime lead. In the second half, Edmonton started to dominate physically with Peaches throwing some big hits and BGF Hoochie controlling things up front. Despite a huge second-half effort by GTA’s Bruise Berry Pie and an almost desperate  determination by Daisy Dukes-it-out, Edmonton skated away with a 116-79 victory. You can watch highlights and skater interviews here.

Trash N' Smash


And finally, word on the track is that MTLRD’s battle to legalize Trash N Smash has reached a successful conclusion. This means that Trash will now be able to head south to help the New Skids On The Block continue their quick ascent through the WFTDA rankings. We  had the pleasure of seeing Trash play for the Skids in Toronto at last month’s Quad City Chaos and are all well aware of what she brings to that team on and off the track.

Congratulations Trash! US Border Services has no idea the punishment they’ve just unleashed on their unsuspecting American rollergirls…