derby nerd

Canadian Power Rankings: December 1, 2014

Captain Lou El Bammo, Dick Pounder, Dr. Jenny Fever and Derby Nerd rank Canada’s top A-level travel teams every two months. Read the August 1st Power Rankings here.

TEAM (League) CHANGE NOTES (Rollergirl.ca /WFTDA rank)
1.Terminal City All Stars (Terminal City Roller Girls)Terminal City All Stars +1 It’s happened. A new team at the top of the power rankings for the first time ever. After absolutely dominating the West Coast Dust Up, Terminal City lost a hard-fought game against Rat City in the first round of the WFTDA playoffs followed by two big consolation round wins and another nail-biter, a 26-point loss to Tampa to close out their season. After their narrow loss to Montreal at ECDX, it seemed like only a matter of time. (/ 18).
2. New Skids on the Block (Montreal Roller Derby)

Montreal Roller Derby: New Skids on the Block

-1  After fighting off challenges all season, the Skids finally slip a single spot in the rankings. Yet another heartbreaking playoff loss (by a single point to their rivals from Charm City) was followed by an impressive run through the consolation bracket.  (1 / 17)
3.CN Power (Toronto Roller Derby)New CNP Logo -  A challenging season for Toronto was capped off with a nice playoff win over Steel City in the 7th place consolation game in their division. After a strong start, inconsistencies plagued CN Power all season. (4 / 27)
4.Calgary All Stars (Calgary Roller Derby Association)Calgary All Stars Logo +2 (6)  After a record-setting climb up the WFTDA rankings ladder, where they now sit in a D2 playoff position, Calgary continues its climb up the power rankings as well. A perfect 12-0 season (8-0 in sanctioned play) was capped by a stunning performance at the Maple Stir Up in August that included a win over D2 finalists Rideau Valley.  (3 / 57)
5. Rideau Valley Vixens (Rideau Valley Roller Girls)

Vixens Logo

-  The Vixens topped off a strong season with a thrilling run through the WFTDA D2 playoffs, falling in the final to a mighty Detroit team for only their second loss on a 10-2 season. (5 / 36)
6. Tri-City Thunder (Tri-City Rller Derby)Tri-City Thunder Logo -2 (4)  The Thunder had a busy 2014 that saw them compile a 9-9 record that reflects some of the highs and lows they encountered this season. A 5-point win over Oklahoma in their final consolation round playoff game took away some of the sting after back-to-back blow out losses to Montreal and Arch Rival. This is the first time the Thunder have slipped out of the top five. (7/44)

7.Misfit Militia (Misfit Militia Roller Derby)
Misfit Militia Logo

-   Although the enigmatic Misfit Militia had a quiet year, they looked very impressive when they did play. The only blemish on their 7-1 record was a season-opening loss to the Vixens. They capped off the year by picking up their second-straight victory over ToRD’s Bay Street Bruisers. (6 / -)
8. Belladonnas (Red Deer Roller Derby Association)Belladonnas Logo +1 (9)  After a late re-entry into the rankings this year, the Belladonnas move up another spot. Their loss to Calgary this season after four straight wins over CRDA dating back to 2011 signaled a power shift in the Canadian West. The team finished a quiet 2014 with a 3-3 record. (8 / -)
9.  Les Duchesses (Roller Derby Quebec)Duchesses Logo +1 (10)  Les Duchesses went 7-0 this season with an average margin of victory of 200 points against a lot of teams that only a short time ago would have been considered their equals. Back-to-back wins against Muddy River this summer remain a season highlight for this team from Quebec. (10/ -)
10. Anarchy Angels (Mainland Misfits Roller Derby)

Angel-logo-bw

unranked  Welcome to the power rankings Anarchy Angels! After being on the “Teams to Watch” list all season, Mainland Misfits’ all stars finally debut after compiling a 6-3 record this season (primarily through July and August), with two of their losses coming to the power-ranked Belladonnas and Terminal City (against whom they managed to notch 119 points). (12 / – )

The debate has raged all year. And after a season in which they seemed to repel onslaught after onslaught against their status as the top team in the country, the Terminal City All Stars have slipped ahead of Montreal’s New Skids on the Block to take top spot in the final power rankings of 2014. Consistent performances all year long and an ever-strengthening roster that seems as if it still has more time to continue to develop has made this team a national powerhouse with staying power. Both Vancouver and Toronto were nipping at Montreal’s heels to start the season, but while CN Power faded, Terminal City continued to flourish.

Calgary was the biggest mover and shaker yet again, concluding the season they same way they started it: winning big games. This team seems to have it all, depth in the pack and an explosive jammer rotation, and will be the recipients of even more depth as veteran skater Taz from perennial Top 10ers, the Belladonnas, will be transferring there for next season. She is one of at least two transfers parting ways with Red Deer next season, leaving the Belladonnas with some questions about their roster.

The lone debutantes on the list are the Mainland Misfits’ Anarchy Angels, a team that the rankings crew has been watching for quite a while now. They leap into the rankings based as much on the tumble of some other teams, namely Hammer City, as the strength of their own season, which was solid, but lacked some comparable competition.

ON THE BUBBLE

Lumbersmacks (Muddy River Rollers)

It was truly a great season for Muddy River, who made some brave forays into Quebec and Ontario this year on road trips that may not have led to victory, but were undeniably valuable nonetheless. They finished 2014 with a 9-6 record, including a dominating performance at the 2014 Slay Of Fundy where they managed to distance themselves a bit from their chief east-coast rivals, Fog City with a 228-127 win. As undisputed queens of the Maritimes, Muddy River will need to continue its travels to ensure the level of competition they will need to keep building itself up. They picked up a lot of momentum this season that they will hopefully build on in 2015.

TEAMS TO WATCH

All Stars (Winnipeg Roller Derby League)

Sugar Skulls (Pile ‘O Bones Derby Club)

E-Ville Dead (E-Ville Roller Derby)

Avalanche City Roller Girls (Fernie Roller Derby Society)

Mind Fox (Saskatoon Roller Derby League)

These are basically the teams we’ve been watching all season and we will continue to do so to see if they can build on some advances made this year or overcome some inconsistencies. Former Top 10ers, the Mind Fox, return to the list after briefly falling from our radar.

PLAYERS WE WATCHED

At the beginning of the season, we listed five players to watch, players we thought might have a big impact on their teams. Thinking that Calgary was due for a big season, we pointed out two of their jammers to watch and both have had an impressive 2014. Easy Break Oven and Kris Myass were solid this year, with Kris perhaps earning the nod as the biggest standout of the bunch, perhaps even in the country as a whole, leading her team’s offense through their impressive first season in the WFTDA, while also earning herself a spot on Team Canada; she seems to be working her way up the depth chart on that team as well and look for her to be a key piece of the Canadian jammer rotation at this week’s Roller Derby World Cup.

We thought it may have been a similar story for Toronto’s Rainbow Fight, and it started out that way. She was dominant in a pre-season game against Team Ontario and then again in the WFTDA season opener against Killamazoo despite the fact that she suffered a lacerated kidney in that game. The injury kept her out for the duration of the season, and she is now taking some time away from the sport.

We also picked two skaters from Tri-City to watch, and while Meow Wallace was a steady presence in her team’s pack, Fraxxure, the team’s co-captain, emerged as one of the Thunder’s top blockers, logging heavy minutes all season but particularly in the playoffs when it mattered most.

Nerd Glasses

*These rankings were compiled by the Derby Nerd, Captain Lou El Bammo, Dick Pounder, and Dr. Jenny Fever.

*Read the Canadian Power Rankings 2014 preview here.

-Respectful disagreement and debate is encouraged!-

Canadian Power Rankings: August 1, 2014

Captain Lou El Bammo, Dick Pounder, Dr. Jenny Fever and Derby Nerd rank Canada’s top A-level travel teams every two months. Read the June 1st Power Rankings here.

TEAM (League) CHANGE NOTES (Rollergirl.ca /WFTDA rank)
1. New Skids on the Block (Montreal Roller Derby)

Montreal Roller Derby: New Skids on the Block

- Sometimes experience can overcome everything else. Despite finally slipping to second in both the Canadian Rankings and WFTDA (one spot behind Terminal City), the Skids keep overcoming the odds and winning when they need to. Their 199-177 victory over Terminal City at ECDX allows them to maintain their power ranking lead. However, they looked inconsistent in a blowout loss to Victorian followed by a strong showing against Windy City.  (/ 19).
2. Terminal City All Stars (Terminal City Roller Girls)Terminal City All Stars - Vancouver enters the  WFTDA playoffs as the top Canadian team by virtually every metric out there except on: wins and losses. Terminal City’s only loss in the last three months has come against the Skids, but they are most recently coming off of solid wins against Boston and Houston.  (1 / 18)
3.CN Power (Toronto Roller Derby)New CNP Logo - After an inconsistent start to the season (including a nine-game losing streak), Toronto had knocked off three wins in a row before a fairly one-sided loss to Charm City (282-146) ended the streak. They seem to be reeling as they prepare for playoffs, but last season came together when it mattered most, so don’t count them out just yet. (3 / 23)
4. Tri-City Thunder (Tri-City Roller Derby)Tri-City Thunder Logo - Since the last Power Rankings, Tri-City has knocked off three-straight wins (including a crushing 281-67 win over former D1ers Bleeding Heartland) and, of course, became the fourth Canadian team to qualify for the D1 Playoffs, thereby missing out on their own party.  (4 / 40)
5. Rideau Valley Vixens (Rideau Valley Roller Girls)

Vixens Logo

- The Vixens have only played two games since the last Power Rankings, but they were both solid wins over NEO and Green Mountain that allowed them to continue their meteoric rise up the D2 standings. They will have the pleasure of being the first Canadian team to play a playoff game on home soil, and are positioned well for a solid run through the D2 playoffs. (5 / 48)
6.Calgary All Stars (Calgary Roller Derby Association)Calgary All Stars Logo +1 (7)  The reality of the WFTDA slog has seen Calgary slip back a  bit after a ferocious start. Nonetheless, they have continued to impress against Canadian competition, winning three in a row against tough teams in the Kannibelles, The Belladonnas and Winnipeg. They’ll have a chance to live up to this ranking this weekend at the Maple Stir-Up.  (7/105)

7.Misfit Militia (Misfit Militia Roller Derby)
Misfit Militia Logo

+1 (8)  The Misfit Militia continue to baffle. With sometimes seemingly makeshift rosters, the team continues to compete at an incredibly high level. Although they’ve only played once since the last rankings, that game was a monstrous 441-97 win over Forest City. There still doesn’t seem to be much interest in making the leap to the WFTDA, so they may be hard pressed to get many games with top-level competition. (8 / -)
8. The Eh! Team (Hammer City Roller Girls)Hammer City Logo -2 (6) In 2013, Hammer City was one of the hottest teams in the WFTDA. Unfortunately, that hasn’t completely carried over to 2014. Although still favourably ranked in D2, Hammer City has lost all seven of its sanctioned bouts this year by increasingly larger margins. They will be in tough this weekend at their first ever Maple Stir Up tournament, but will have a chance to redeem themselves on their home track. (20 / 83)
9. Belladonnas (Red Deer Roller Derby Association)Belladonnas Logo Unranked The perennial Top 10ers were late to the party this season, but are back and sneak into the Top 10. Tough losses to Treasure Valley and Calgary (despite solid offensive performances) should harden them for the rest of the season. (9 / -)
10. Les Duchesses (Roller Derby Quebec)Duchesses Logo  (-) Les Duchesses were able to hold off another hot team in Muddy River in a home-and-home series that allows them to retain their spot. From the bottom up, this remains an organization on the rise and certainly one to watch as a potential new consistent Canadian powerhouse. (12 / – )

With Hammer City’s historic Maple Stir Up coming up this weekend, the Rankings Crew decided to stagger the release of this month’s Power Rankings. While there wasn’t much change, what there was, was significant. Notably, Calgary jumps two spots based on the Power Rankings Crew’s prediction of a strong showing at the tournament in Hamilton.

Speaking of Maple Stir Up, Hammer City, the hosts, tumble two spots based on increasingly inconsistent play and another long losing streak. The Belladonnas return to action and to the Top 10, knocking out the injury-riddled and roster-shuffling Sugar Skulls, who may have some rebuilding to do. Les Duchesses faced off twice against a bubble team, the Muddy River Rollers, and won both games, if not definitively, then certainly close to that. Finally, the Kootenay Kannibelles are hanging up their skates for the season, so slip from the list for now.

ON THE BUBBLE

Lumbersmacks (Muddy River Rollers)

All Stars (Winnipeg Roller Derby League)

Sugar Skulls (Pile ‘O Bones Derby Club)

The Sugar Skulls have had some roster adjustments recently, and it remains to be seen how the teams respond. Nonetheless, they have proven resilient in the past and remain on the Bubble. Both Winnipeg and Muddy River continue to impress, but each missed opportunities to climb into the Top 10 after suffering losses to ranked opponents.

TEAMS TO WATCH

Anarchy Angels (Mainland Misfits)

E-Ville Dead (E-Ville Roller Derby)

Arch Angels (St. Albert Heavenly Rollers)

Avalanche City Roller Girls (Fernie Roller Derby Society)

Not much change here, except to see the addition of Fernie’s Avalanche City, which has been a hard working team in 2014, compiling an impressive 13-4 record that includes a current six-game winning streak.

*These rankings were compiled by the Derby Nerd, Captain Lou El Bammo, Dick Pounder, and Dr. Jenny Fever.

*Read the Canadian Power Rankings preview and explanation here.

-Respectful disagreement and debate is encouraged!-

Canadian Power Rankings: June 1, 2014

Captain Lou El Bammo, Dick Pounder, Dr. Jenny Fever and Derby Nerd rank Canada’s top A-level travel teams every two months. Read the April 1st Power Rankings here.

TEAM (League) CHANGE NOTES (Rollergirl.ca /WFTDA rank)
1. New Skids on the Block (Montreal Roller Derby)

Montreal Roller Derby: New Skids on the Block

- By the narrowest of margins, the Skids retain top spot. They got roughed up against stiff competition on a recent West Coast road trip, but have also picked up victories over Boston and, most importantly, a 63-point win over a Toronto team that had pushed them to the limit earlier in the season. An ECDX matchup with prime contenders Terminal City is looming. (/ 12).
2. Terminal City All Stars (Terminal City Roller Girls)Terminal City All Stars +1 Vancouver has completely swapped places with Toronto, and as CN Power did earlier in the season, Terminal City seems on the verge of knocking the Skids off of top spot. Terminal City had a rough time against top competition at the Tinseltown Showdown, but looked strong in defeat, and used the experience to roll over their competition at the Big O (including a narrow win over the Oly Rollers, a team who also narrowly beat Montreal). (1 / 37)
3.CN Power (Toronto Roller Derby)New CNP Logo -1 After an explosive end to 2013 and a surging start to 2014, Toronto seemed to take its foot of the gas for a bit, suffering some big losses on a nine-game losing streak. However, they seem to have begun to pull themselves back up, rattling off three-straight wins, including one-sided victories over Cincinnati and Jet City at Spring Roll. They’ve slipped just below Vancouver and Montreal, but remain well above the rest of the competition. (3 / 23)
4. Tri-City Thunder (Tri-City Roller Derby)Tri-City Thunder Logo -  The Thunder have had an up-and-down 2014, sporting a 5-7 record based on some inconsistent wins/losses. However, they went 2-2 with a tough schedule at Spring Roll and notched victories over Glasgow and Big Easy. They remain on the cusp of the WFTDA D1 playoffs; it’s going to come down to the wire. (6 / 40)
5. Rideau Valley Vixens (Rideau Valley Roller Girls)

Vixens Logo

- Despite massive league-overhauls and the rebuilding of the house league, the Vixens continue to roll along fairly consistently. They are undefeated so far in 2014 (4-0) and are currently on a three-game WFTDA winning streak with victories over DC, Maine, and Roc City. A D-2 playoff spot is tantalizingly within reach. (5 / 64)
6.The Eh! Team (Hammer City Roller Girls)Hammer City Logo +2 (8)  Hammer City has picked up 2014 right where they left off 2013: surging up the WFTDA rankings. They made another recent 11-spot jump based on solid performances in losses to higher ranked teams in Fort Wayne, Bleeding Heartland and Paper Valley. A D2 playoff spot may be out of reach for this season, but the steady improvements show that it is just a matter of time. (10 / 78)

7.Calgary All Stars (Calgary Roller Derby Association)

Calgary All Stars Logo

-1 (6)  While Calgary has a busy summer ahead, they’ve been relatively quiet since the last rankings, with only one closer-than-expected victory over the Kannibelles to base our opinions on. However, this remains a team to watch. (11 / 91)
8. Misfit Militia (Misfit Militia Roller Derby)
Misfit Militia Logo
-1 (7) Things have gone silent from the Militia recently as well, and the dearth of top-level competition scheduled for them this summer means that they will not have much of a body of work to base a ranking on. They are a team loaded with talent, but without much of a competitive push, they slip a spot in the rankings. (8 / – )
9. Sugar Skulls (Pile O’ Bones Derby Club)Sugar Skulls Derby LOGO (-)  Welcome back to the party Regina! Last seen in these parts in August of last year, the team returns to the Top 10 on the back of a 5-2 record and impressive wins over former Top 10ers in the Mind Fox and most impressively the Kannibelles (194-80) at Spokarnage. (12 / -)
10. Les Duchesses (Roller Derby Quebec)Duchesses Logo  It’s about time to stop underestimating this team, and really, this league as a whole. While they have yet to face off against truly high level competition this season, they have absolutely destroyed everyone they have faced. They’ve also had considerable success at the house league level showing that this is a travel team with a truly solid foundation. An upcoming home-and-home series against bubble team Muddy River could solidify this spot in the Top 10. (14 / – )

Pile O' Bones LogoThis month’s Power Rankings were defined by long discussions and some tough decisions. As with Toronto at the end of last season and beginning of this one, Vancouver’s Terminal City could arguably have stolen the top spot and has now emerged as the greatest threat to Montreal’s long-time dominance of Canadian roller derby. Terminal City was able to narrowly defeat the Oly Rollers, only to have Montreal fall to the former champs from Olympia a week later. However, taking into considering some roster changes and other factors we’ve got Montreal (barely) holding on to Top Spot. Currently, there seems to be zero statistical difference between these two teams. Luckily for Canadian derby fans, the two teams themselves will solve this debate when they meet at ECDX later this month.

Toronto rounds out the top three remaining well ahead of Tri-City and Rideau Valley (who round out the Top 5). One thing the Rankings Crew has noted is that the top three teams in Canada are currently well above the competition, humming along at a completely different level right now than anyone else in the country. All three teams have played, quite literally, the best there is in the world this season, which is keeping them at that heightened competitive level.

Tri-City and Rideau Valley also led to quite a bit of debate in rounding out the Top 5, as the Thunder have waned ever-so slightly while the Vixens just seem to be heating up. However, Tri-City holds its spot based on the calibre of competition they have been facing. Hammer City, Calgary and Misfit Militia juggle spots a bit in the middle but remain solidly in position, but things have changed at the bottom.

Regina’s Sugar Skulls (representing the Pile O’ Bones Derby Club) returns to the Top 10 after nearly a year-long absence, quite literally knocking the Kannibelles out of the Top 10 with their victory over them at Spokarnage.

ON THE BUBBLE

Lumbersmacks (Muddy River Rollers)

Anarchy Angels (Mainland Misfits)

Kootenay Kannibelles (West Kootenay Roller Derby)

Moncton’s Lumbersmacks remain on the bubble, but are now joined by a handful of other teams. The Kannibelles find themselves here after just barely slipping out of the Top 10; the Anarchy Angels have been on our radar for quite some time, and are still under scrutiny but have yet to face (or defeat) a high-enough level of competition to make the leap.

TEAMS TO WATCH

Eville Logo

All Stars (Winnipeg Roller Derby League)

E-Ville Dead (E-Ville Roller Derby)

Belladonnas (Red Deer Roller Derby Association)

Arch Angels (St. Albert Heavenly Rollers)

 

As the season wears on, the Crew has narrowed its Teams to Watch list. Winnipeg has been on this list for quite a while, and we’re just waiting to see how they respond to some stiffer competition than they have currently faced. The Belladonnas have been perennial Top 10ers, but some roster changes and uncertainty have caused them to slip; nonetheless, they remain on the radar. On the other side of the coin is E-Ville Dead: once considered a top team in the nation, the league has gone through a bit of a rebuild but is beginning to climb once again. Also jumping onto the radar after a second-place performance at Flat Track Fever are St. Albert’s Arch Angels.

 

*These rankings were compiled by the Derby Nerd, Captain Lou El Bammo, Dick Pounder, and Dr. Jenny Fever.

*Read the Canadian Power Rankings preview and explanation here.

 

-Respectful disagreement and debate is encouraged!-

Nerd to Release First Work of Fiction; Launch Dates Set for Toronto, Tri-City

The Nerd takes a moment for some shameless self promotion of book launches set for April 16 in Toronto and April 17 in Waterloo.

Writing as D.D. Miller, the Nerd's first book of fiction will be released in April. Roller Derby figures prominently in the title story.

Writing as D.D. Miller, the Nerd’s first book of fiction will be launched on April 16 in Toronto and the next night in Waterloo. Those old blue roller skates on the cover play a significant role in the book.

As some of you may have known, the Derby Nerd doesn’t just write about roller derby; I also write fiction as D.D. Miller.

Next week, my first work of fiction, a short story collection called David Foster Wallace Ruined My Suicide and Other Stories, will be published by Wolsak & Wynn (through its new Buckrider Books imprint).

This book has been a long time coming and features a wide variety of stories all dealing in some way with the vagaries of life in the early 21st century. Of course, roller derby played a part in the writing of the book—as it does in most aspects of my life—but it has a particularly large role in the title story.

The title story is about a character who has a brief, but to him intense, relationship with a significantly younger girl with whom he has remained obsessed, to the point where he’s found a lookalike online cam girl replacement for her. The second obsession that he has is with replacing a David Foster Wallace book that he’d lent to her and never gotten back. Eventually, he discovers that she has become a roller girl and goes to see her play:

“The Toronto Roller Derby League played its games north of the city in the Hangar in Downsview Park. It was a massive space, with huge windows that spread the late-evening summer sunshine across the hard concrete floor and the round track in the middle. Metal bleachers lined the track and they were full of a strange mix of people: punks and jocks and grandmothers and children, hipsters, nerds, a whole posse of women on a stagette. Loud rock and roll blared from speakers sprinkled among the bleachers, and a mohawked man in a slim suit and skinny tie prowled the zone between the track and the seats, stepping over and around the people who sat on the floor lining the track. He yelled into the mic, his face beet red and eyes gleaming: I could barely make out what he said. The louder he got, the louder the crowd got.”

**You can listen to me read from this particular section of the book at the 14:25 mark of this interview I did recently on CIUT’s (89.5) Howl radio show.**

The Toronto launch is set for April 16 at the Gladstone.

The Toronto launch is set for April 16 at the Gladstone.

For those derby people “in the know” there are a lot of “insider” references specifically for you in this story but there is also some “literary license” taken (for example, in this story, ToRD was playing in the Hangar in 2008—they didn’t actually move there until 2009).

While I will be making appearances across the country throughout the summer and fall (stay tuned!), there are a few specific launch dates set for Toronto and Tri-City (Waterloo specifically).

First up, for those in the GTA, I’ll be launching at the Gladstone Hotel on Wednesday, April 16, 2014, with doors opening at 7:00 PM. This is NOT going to be your typical stuffy literary affair: we’re hoping it will turn into a raucous celebratory party! For more information, check here.

The very next night, I’ll be in Waterloo at Words Worth Books. This will be a (slightly) quieter event, but refreshments will be served!. Check here for further details.

In both cases, I’d love to see roller derby take over these events! You guys have actually read more of my writing than anyone else (for which I am perpetually and eternally grateful), and would love to see some of you there! Thanks! And once again, apologies for the shameless self-promotion!

**For a further preview of the book, read this interview I did about writing and roller derby with Open Book Toronto.

**Also, for those in Toronto who can’t make the launch, I’ll also be reading on April 23rd at the Press Club as part of the Pivot Reading Series.

lanch date ain Waterloo set for apirl 17

The book will launch at Words Worth Books in Waterloo on April 17th.

 

 

Canadian Power Rankings: April 1, 2014

Captain Lou El Bammo, Dick Pounder, Dr. Jenny Fever and Derby Nerd return for another year of ranking Canada’s top A-level travel teams. Read the 2014 preview here.

TEAM (League) CHANGE NOTES (Rollergirl.ca /WFTDA rank)
1. New Skids on the Block (Montreal Roller Derby)

Montreal Roller Derby: New Skids on the Block

- The Skids have kicked off 2014 with a three-game winning streak against Division 1 opponents that includes a blowout over Bleeding Heartland, some measure of revenge against Ohio (who beat them in last year’s playoffs), and a 17-point victory against their chief Canadian rivals, Toronto. (1 / 17).
2. CN Power (Toronto Roller Derby)

New CNP Logo

- Off to a 2-2 start against some stiff competition (dominant wins over Bleeding Heartland and Killamazoo, and a heart-breaking loss to Ohio), Toronto pushed Montreal further than any other Canadian team has yet, in a 17-point loss at QCC. Nonetheless, CN Power’s amazing run in last year’s playoffs has proven not to be a one-off as they approach elite status. (2 / 29)
3. Terminal City All Stars (Terminal City Roller Girls)

Terminal City All Stars

- Although they have yet to play in 2014, with a majority of last year’s playoff-bound roster returning this season, Terminal City should continue to build on what has been an impressive run. They have a very competitive schedule lined up for spring/summer (including games against the Oly Rollers, Bay Area and Denver) as they try to improve their playoff position. (3 / 37)
4. Tri-City Thunder (Tri-City Roller Derby)Tri-City Thunder Logo - The Thunder, representing the newly renamed Tri-City Roller Derby, are on the cusp of WFTDA’s Division 1, and have a solid schedule coming up (they’ll kick off 2014 with a game against the Ohio Roller Girls). (5 / 41)
5. Rideau Valley Vixens (Rideau Valley Roller Girls)

Vixens Logo

- Creeping ever closer to D-2 playoffs, boasting a newly, and more competitively organized house league, a fully developed B-team and a season-opening (unsanctioned) win against Misfit Militia, not to mention a decent upcoming WFTDA schedule, 2014 is off to a good start for this Ottawa-based team. (6 / 66)
6. Calgary All Stars (Calgary Roller Derby Association)Calgary All Stars Logo +2 (8) Although currently unranked in the WFTDA, Calgary will certainly debut in the next release (May 1). They dominated competition at Wild West Showdown, posting three one-sided wins against Slaughterhouse (223-92), Ark Valley (264-105) and Dockyard (406-59). (9 / -)

7.Misfit Militia (Misfit Militia Roller Derby)
Misfit Militia Logo
 

-1 (6) After dominating all competition in 2013, the Alliston-based team kicked off 2014 with a tight 168-126 loss against the Rideau Valley Vixens, a WFTDA Division 2 team. That may have been their biggest challenge of the season (at least based on the current schedule). (8 / -)
8. The Eh! Team (Hammer City Roller Girls)

Hammer City Logo

+1 (9) Hammer City is all set to build off of what was their most competitive season since 2009. After shooting back up the WFTDA rankings, they’ve already opened 2014 with a strong performance against the 54th ranked Paper Valley in a 12-point loss. (10 / 85)
9.Kootenay Kannibelles (West Kootenay Roller Derby)

kannibelles Logo

 

+1 (10) The Kannibelles slipped back into the Top 10 at the end of 2013, and they are given the benefit of the doubt here after opening this year with a 204-point victory over Fernie’s Avalanche City. They’ve got a much tougher schedule coming up, featuring games against Calgary and Red Deer. (12 / -)
10. Belladonnas (Red Deer Roller Derby Association)

Belladonnas Logo

-3 (7) Red Deer tumbles in the power rankings after major off-season roster changes boldy alters one of the country’s more consistent teams over the last few years. They remain on the list for now, but it remains to be seen how quickly the newly built team will come together on the track. (4 / -)

New name, new logo. Tri City Roller Derby 2014 LogoThere are no major alterations to the Top 10 with the Top 5 not shifting at all (though Toronto has inched ever-closer to Montreal after a tight game in Toronto last weekend. They’ll have a rematch in Montreal on April 25); however, Red Deer, based on having a significantly different roster from last year’s 15-2 team that dominated western and central Canadian competition, has fallen three spots but remains in the Top 10 for now. This allowed the Kannibelles and Hammer City to jump up a spot.

Based on Calgary’s head-turning dominance at this year’s Wild West Showdown, the CRDA All Stars jump two places from 8th to 6th, barely leap-frogging the Misfit Militia (who narrowly lost to the Vixens). This just makes Hammer City’s inaugural Maple Stir Up (August) all the more intriguing, as both Calgary and Rideau Valley will be there.

ON THE BUBBLE

Lumbersmacks (Muddy River Rollers)Lumbersmacks Logo

Being so early in the season, we have only one team on the bubble: Moncton’s Muddy River Lumbersmacks. They opened the season with a 12-point loss to Montreal’s Sexpos (B-team) before scoring one-sided victories against Maine’s Rock Coast Rollers (377-178)  and the Rideau Valley Sirens (366-40) (B-team). They also played a closed scrimmage against the the Vixens, staying virtually even with them for the first half before the Vixens were able to pull away in the second. The WFTDA Apprentice team has a busy eastern Canadian schedule lined up including an April 26th game against their chief east-coast rivals, Fog City.

TEAMS TO WATCH

Anarchy Angels (Mainland Misfits)

All Stars (Winnipeg Roller Derby League)

Timber Rollers (Forest City Derby Girls)

The Mindfox (Saskatoon Roller Derby League)

Sugar Skulls (Pile O’ Bones Roller Derby Club)

Dolly Rogers (Capital City Derby Dolls)

Les Duchesses (Roller Derby Quebec)

Redneck Betties (South West Saskatchewan Roller Derby Association)

At this early point in 2014, these are the teams that top the Rankings Crew’s list of teams to keep an eye on in the coming months. Although not exhaustive, these are the teams that have been most consistently on the radar over the past twelve months. Some, such as The Mindfox and the Sugar Skulls, have even made appearances in the Top 10.

*These rankings were compiled by the Derby Nerd, Captain Lou El Bammo, Dick Pounder, and Dr. Jenny Fever.

*Read the Canadian Power Rankings preview and explanation here.

 

-Respectful disagreement and debate is encouraged!-

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Dolls (vs. Gores) and Betties (vs. Chicks) Set for 2014 Debut

DollsGores ChicksBetties 14 PosterOn Saturday night at the Bunker, the 2013 Toronto Roller Derby Champions, the Death Track Dolls, will make their debut as they face off against the Gore-Gore Rollergirls, who are coming off of a season-opening win against the Chicks Ahoy!. Last year’s Battle for the Boot finalists, the Smoke City Betties, will also kick off their season against a much-improved Chicks Ahoy! team. Both showdowns will say a lot about how the season will play out.

The night will kick off with the Betties and Chicks facing off for the seventh time in ToRD’s regular season history. The Chicks have a 4-2 edge in the regular season meetings beginning with a 119-96 matchup in 2008 (they did not meet during the 2007 regular season). However, the tides turned last season when the Betties scored their first win over the Chicks since 2009. The two teams, remarkably, have never faced each other in the playoffs.

Similarly, despite a long history of competition, the Dolls and Gores have also never met in the playoffs, but their regular season history dates all the way back to June 2007 and the first public game ToRD hosted (the Gores won 117-78). After knocking off the Gores in 2008, it would be another four years (and four-straight losses) before the Dolls would take one away from the Gores again, last year’s 233-153 victory sealed the Dolls first-place finish in the standings and their place in the Battle for the Boot.

Both the Dolls and Betties are looking to continue the power shift they orchestrated last season when they battled for the boot against each other for the first time.

The 2014 Death Track Dolls

Photo by Dan Lim

Photo by Dan Lim

2013 was a banner year for the Dolls and one that will be tough to repeat after going undefeated and winning their first ever championship. Between retirements and CN Power call-ups, the Dolls roster was gutted in the off-season. While a veteran core remains, they had more turnover than any other team in the league.

RETURNING SKATERS

The Dolls have eleven returning skaters from last season’s championship team, including co-captions Android W.K. (second year blocker/pivot) and triple threat Getcha Kicks. In the pack, a strong, experienced core of Audrey Hellborn, Canadian Psycho, Dawson, Demolition Dawn, Slam Wow and Speedin Hawking will be supported by second-year skater Robotomy, who missed virtually all of her rookie year with injury. However, the Dolls’ pack is bolstered by the transfers of two former Gores: seven-year blocking veteran Junkie Jenny and Just Jes (the skater formerly known as Aston Martini). Jes is returning after a single-year hiatus, but has already looked impressive playing for the Bay Street Bruisers.

Amidst all of the off-season change, it’s actually the jammer rotation that took the biggest hit, losing two of the league’s most dominant scorers in 2013 (Rainbow Fight and Santilly In Yo Face). However Bellefast returns and second-year skater Chicken Sluggets will be called upon to step up. Also, Getcha Kicks, though blocking more than ever, is still more than capable of taking the star when needed and will probably jam more early in the season as they develop rookies.

On the bench, the Dolls will have both Panty Hoser (of CN Power) and Wencer back to give consistency to the management team.

The Dolls won their first championship in 2013. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The Dolls won their first championship in 2013. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

FRESH FACES

No team has more fresh faces than the Dolls, but it is an intriguing mix of rookies and more experienced transfers that will don the “skull and blood” in 2014. Arguably leading the way is Devochka, who is no stranger to fans of derby in Ontario. Having played for numerous leagues, most notably in Durham for their travel-team Durham Derby Devils, Devochka is a double threat, and could be relied upon to help in the jammer rotation right away. Similarly, Hannibelle, Stringer Belle and Free Range Clam have skated for either the Rollergettes or GTA Rollergirls before making the transition to the DVAS, while Sleeper Hold got her start in Toronto’s LOCO league. Wheatabitch and Block Quebecois were developed through the DVAS system.

THE OUTLOOK

Given the amount of change the team has sustained, it may be unrealistic to expect another run to the championship this season. But a strong performance against the 1-0 Gores would go a long way in convincing everyone that it is a possibility.

The 2014 Smoke City Betties

Photo by Jonathan Wallace

Photo by Jonathan Wallace

Last year, the Betties upset the Gores in the semifinals to return to the championship game for the first since 2009, losing to the Dolls. But with the core of that team still in place, expectations should be high once again.

RETURNING SKATERS

Although some key pieces of last year’s team have been lost through retirement, there is a strong core in place, starting with team captains Tushy Galore (who is a pillar of this pack) and triple-threat WolveRina. There is a lot of toughness in the pack, and the Betties could be the hardest hitting team in the league. Misery Mae, Laya Beaton, Mouth of the South, Mazel Tough, Zomboney and Genuine Risk are all back in the pack this season.

Although they lost last year’s leading scorer (Slaptrick Swayze) to retirement, the offense remains mostly in place. Let by titmouse, Udre, and second-year skater Kill-Her At Large, double threats SewWhat? and LowBlow Palooza could also be called upon to bolster the jammer rotation.

CN Power bench coach, Wade Wheelson, returns for the start of the 2014 season.

FRESH FACES

The Betties did well in what was, arguably, the deepest ToRD draft ever. Darth Kater could provide some immediate help in the jammer rotation, having dominated in Durham’s houseleague and for their travel team Devils for a few seasons. Honey Boom Boom is also track ready, having starred last season for the DVAS and the Rollergettes before that. Jenny Specter comes to ToRD having gotten her start in LOCO derby, while former DVAS WackedHer and Babushkill will make their long-anticipated debuts this season. Jammher’head Shark is another DVAS-developed skater.

THE OUTLOOK

With such a strong returning core, the Betties have a shot to reproduce last year’s considerable success, and with their opponents, the Chicks, having improved so much from last year, this Saturday’s matchup could tell a lot about how things are going to play out for the Betties in 2014 and what it will take for them to get back to the Battle for the Boot.

***Doors open at 4:00 PM at The Bunker in Downsview Park with Betties and Chicks kicking things off at 5:00 PM. Tickets are available online or at a number of outlets throughout the city.

Gores Take Down Chicks to Kick Off ToRD’s 2014 Season

Chicks Ahoy! 157 vs. Gore-Gore Rollergirls 218

The Chicks and Gores season opener was the seventh regular season meeting between the two teams. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The Chicks and Gores season opener was the seventh regular season meeting between the two teams. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

When last they met, the Chicks Ahoy! and the Gore-Gore Rollergirls were on different paths. The Gores were wrapping up a second place finish in the 2013 regular season standings while the Chicks were putting to rest a rough, rebuilding season that saw them suffer historic losses (all of this in the wake of back-to-back ToRD championships). The Gores took the final game of the 2013 regular season 323-75 in a lopsided, hard-to-watch game. Fast forward half a year and the Chicks Ahoy!, despite not too many changes to the roster, are suddenly back in the conversation, and it’s not that the Gores have slipped, as they too seem poised to contend.

Toronto Roller Derby kicked off its 2014 house league season in style at The Bunker in Downsview Park on Saturday night in front of a packed house of fans who braved the frigid temperatures in order to ring in ToRD’s 8th season. Despite a much more competitive match than their last tilt, in the end the Gores continued their regular season domination over their long-time rivals Chicks Ahoy! with a hard fought 218-157 victory. It was the seventh time the two teams have met in ToRD’s regular season, and the sixth time the Gores emerged victorious.

Chicks Hyena Koffinkat lines up next to Lumberjack Flash. Rookies (and transfers) would have big roles in this game. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The Chicks’ Hyena Koffinkat lines up next to Lumberjack Flash. Rookies (and transfers) would have big roles in this game. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Both the Chicks and the Gores were bolstered this season by choosing wisely in an entry draft that featured a number of experienced skaters transferring from leagues as far away as Halifax and Vancouver: some of these so called “rookies” had a major impact on the season opener. Both teams seemed hesitant off of the starting whistle, but it was the Chicks who took advantage of some early Gore penalty trouble. One question the Chicks had entering the season was with their jammer rotation and they answered that quickly. Second-year Chicks Heavy Knitter and Chevy Chase-Her (fully healed from injury) were joined by draftees Hyena Koffinkat and the blazingly fast Sneaky Dee to form a rotation that has the potential to see out the season. The Gores also threw a rookie into the rotation as Lumberjack Flash joined Lexi Con, Taranasaurus Rex and R.I. Pink with the star in the opening period. With depleted packs, the Gores couldn’t get much going early on, while the Chicks pulled ahead 29-13 ten minutes in.

Lexi Con (who lef all scorers) attempts to break through a Rebel Rock-It and Rosemary's Rabies two wall. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Lexi Con (who led all scorers) attempts to break through a Rebel Rock-It and Rosemary’s Rabies two-wall. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

But the Gores roared back. After riding through the penalty troubles, the Gores took off, picking up a string of five straight lead-jammer statuses and going on a 48-0 run to retake the lead. Indicative of a season opener, the first half had wild swings in momentum as the rust fell off and both teams struggled through penalty issues and loose packs, with neither able to take control. A final-jam power jam for the Chicks (skated by Sneaky Dee who had 34 first-half points) had them within 9, down 91-82 at the half.

The Gores made a slight adjustment at half time, swapping in rookie transfer Guardian Paingel to the jammer rotation and slipping last year’s second-leading scorer T-Rex into the pack (she had 29 points in the first half to lead the Gores in scoring). The Chicks stuck with the plan and led off with Hyena Koffinkat (who had made a big impression with 35 points in the opening period); unfortunately, the Terminal City transfer found herself sitting for back-to-back penalties that allowed her Vancouver counterpart, Paingel, to make her mark on the game. The Gores came out flying to start the second half and took advantage of the penalty trouble for a 31-0 run that helped them amass a lead that the Chicks, despite determined play, could not overcome. Paingel would pick up three leads in her first three jams and fourteen points in the process (she’d finish with 21 in the half).

Sneaky Dee tries to sneak past Gores vets Santa Muerte and Kandy Barr. Sneaky Dee scored 68 points to lead the Chicks. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Sneaky Dee tries to sneak past Gores vets Santa Muerte and Kandy Barr. Sneaky Dee scored 68 points to lead the Chicks. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Last year’s leading scorer, Lexi Con, who had a relatively quiet first half, simply took over in the second, picking up 76 points (for 104 on the game). But it was also the pack work that was the difference. Veterans Santa Muerte and Chronic were simply dominant at times, and the leadership of pivot Kandy Barr was undeniable as well. But depth players also stood out with Viktory Lapp playing the most effective game of her career, while rookie (and Halifax transfer) Machu Beatchu looked incredibly comfortable in her first game in Toronto, despite running into some penalty trouble.

The Chicks also saw some depth players step up into big roles, perhaps none more so than R2-Smack-U who often donned the stripe as pivot, Rosemary’s Rabies who has transitioned from jammer to blocker this season and was excellent on the track with some timely snipes and demoralizing drag backs, and Emraged who seems ready and willing to build off of an impressive rookie season in 2013. But it was the veterans who led the way with Robber Blind and an inspired Tess D-Urb-Evil picking up heavy minutes and Rebel Rock-It and Hoff (both returning to the Chicks after Rebel spent last season on CN Power and Hoff spent it on injured reserve) adding depth; Biggley Smallz, who was having a big game, fell into penalty trouble early and eventually fouled out.

Although the Chicks were never down by more than 61 in the half, they were never able to get closer than 30 either and a balanced Gores’ half allowed them to take their victory comfortably. In the end, the Gores showed that they are a team to beat this season, but perhaps more importantly, the Chicks are back as well. The close game is nice a season-opening promise of parity in Toronto Roller Derby.

TJRD Torontosaurus Wrex 236 vs. AJRD Blister Sisters 82

TJRD hosted Alliston for their first JRDA sanctioned game of 2014. (Photo by Joe Mac)

TJRD hosted Alliston for their first JRDA sanctioned game of 2014. (Photo by Joe Mac)

But it wasn’t all about ToRD on Saturday, as the night was capped off by a thoroughly entertaining junior bout that saw Toronto Junior Roller Derby’s Torontosaurus Wrex hold off Alliston’s Blisters Sisters 236-82.

The incredible growth of flat track roller derby has continued unabated and is establishing a system of grassroots support that will provide a platform of continued stability for the growth of the sport; something that is never more apparent than when the juniors take to the track.

AJRD Joe

Alliston’s Blister Sisters enter the track at The Bunker. (Photo by Joe Mac)

Toronto hosted Alliston to kick off their 2014 season and they looked very strong. It was close in the early going, as the hosts led 111-45 at halftime of the JRDA-sanctioned game, but they simply overwhelmed Alliston in the second half to record the 154-point win. It was a thoroughly enjoyable game—high in strategy, stratospheric in effort—a fine showcase of the future of the sport.

Fans will get another chance to watch Toronto’s juniors play on May 10th when they once again team up with their big sisters from ToRD for a game at The Bunker.

***Next up for Toronto Roller Derby: On February 8th ToRD’s marquee team, CN Power, will host Team Ontario in a preseason matchup that will feature some of the finest skaters in the province.