derby nerd

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.

Chicks and Gores Kick Off ToRD’s 8th Season

This will be the seventh regular season meeting between these two teams.

This will be the seventh regular season meeting between these two teams.

Toronto Roller Derby’s greatest feud will be reignited on Saturday night as the Chicks Ahoy! and the Gore-Gore Rollergirls face each other to kick off ToRD’s eighth season. This will be the seventh regular season meeting between the two historic teams, with the Gores dominating those meetings (winning five of six), including a thoroughly dominant 323-75 win in 2013 that amounted to the greatest loss in the Chicks’ history and ended a string of three-straight victories for the Chicks over the Gores dating back to 2011.

The one area where the Chicks have the edge over the Gores is in playoff showdowns. Over five playoff meetings (all in the championship game) the Chicks actually hold a 3-2 edge, including back-to-back wins in 2011/12, the first of which ended the Gores’ twelve-game winning streak (which remains a ToRD record). However, last year marked somewhat of a letdown for the perennial favourites.

When CN Power began to run with a distinct roster after the 2012 season, the Gores and the Chicks were the teams that suffered from roster losses the most, resulting in last year’s “rebuilding” season. The Gores responded much better to the roster shuffle in 2013, finishing second in the regular season standings before being upset by the Smoke City Betties in the semifinal. The Chicks, on the other hand, suffered mightily, finishing last in the regular season standings and being outscored by a remarkable (461 points) 743-282.

Both teams look to return to the form that saw them dominate for much of the early history of the league.

The 2014 Gore-Gore Rollergirls

Photo by Ashlea Wessel (ashleaw.com)

Photo by Ashlea Wessel (ashleaw.com)

Such has been the incredible success of the Gore-Gore Rollergirls, that last season’s second place finish in the regular season and semifinal loss amounts to a bad year: the worst in the team’s history, actually. After having its offense essentially gutted heading into the season (losing two of the league’s greatest jammers in Bambi and Dust Bunny), not much was expected from the three-time ToRD champs. But the skaters in leopard print had other ideas.

RETURNING SKATERS

Last year, the team was led by a core of veterans in the pack including Kandy Barr (who skated 53% of the Gores’ regular season jams in 2013), Gamma Rei (53%), and Emma Dilemma (42%) along with Chronic and Santa Muerte who were excellent when on the track, but also struggled with injuries. A strong rookie class was led by rookie track-time leader Purple Pain (47%). All of these skaters return to the track this season. Another vet, Miss Kitty La Peur also suffered through serious injury issues last year and will look to bounce back.

A number of second and third year skaters will also be looked upon to build on strong seasons, including Full Deck, Viktory Lapp and Wheely Nasty, while highly touted 2013 transfer Amefyst, who never made it to the track last season due to injury, will finally debut for the Gores in 2014.

The biggest surprise last season was how successful the Gores were from the jam line. Led by rookie of the year (and the first rookie to register the league’s highest JQ rating) Lexi Con (228 points, 6.0 points per jam, 76% lead percentage), the Gores also got strong jamming from rookie transfer Taranasaurus Rex (157, 4.6, 59%), and veteran R.I. Pink (85, 3.5, 62%). All three will form the core of the offense this season. Beaver Mansbridge emerged as a viable double threat as well, and put up solid numbers despite limited action (57, 5.2, 45%).

FRESH FACES

The Gores lost a few key pieces in the off season, non bigger than triple threat Foxy Sinatra and long-time blocker/pivot Junkie Jenny (who transferred to the Death Track Dolls). Foxy’s loss affects every aspect of the Gores game, from her punishing pack work to her explosive jamming.

But the Gores did well in an incredibly deep entry draft loaded with experienced transfer skaters. From nearby Royal City, Francesca Fiure is an intelligent skater with a wealth of derby knowledge who could be ready to log serious minutes in the pack. Machu Beatchu was one of the east coast’s biggest prospects when she transferred from Halifax, while Guardian Paingel makes sure the Gores have coast-to-coast representation after transferring from Vancouver’s Terminal City. Blocker, and potential pivot, Moose Knuckles and jammer Lumberjack Flash are both more familiar faces for ToRD fans as they were developed through the D-VAS system and both had strong 2013s.

THE OUTLOOK

The future looks bright for the Gores! Expect them to be right back where they normally are: In contention. This roster easily has the potential to get right back to the top. Look for the Gores to return to the Battle for the Boot in 2014.

The 2014 Chicks Ahoy!

Photo by Ashlea Wessel (ashleaw.com)

Photo by Ashlea Wessel (ashleaw.com)

The Chicks Ahoy! are coming off of their roughest season to date, but look to build upon what amounted to a solid rebuilding year. With the smallest amount of roster change in the off season, and the return of a few key players from injury, the Chicks hope to get back in to winning form this season.

RETURNING SKATERS

The good news for the Chicks is that a majority of the roster returns to pick up where they left off. The three track-time leaders Robber Blind (57% of the Chicks’ jams), Emraged (42%) and Biggley Smallz (42%) are all back and will form a solid core in the pack (Furious Georgia was also in this group and while on the roster, will be on leave this season). Add to that the expected and anticipated return of star blocker Marmighty and veteran leader Hoff, the experience of fourth-year blocker Tess D’Urb-Evil, and the expected improved play of a large number of second and third year skaters who were thrust into unexpectedly prominent roles last season (I’m looking at you Doris Doomsday, Joss Wheelin, R2-Smack-U, Machete Maiden, Heavy Knitter, Mean Streak, and Rosemary’s Rabies) and this looks like a team ready to break out.

Offensively things should be looking up as well. Last year’s jammer core was wracked with injuries but the return of a healthy Chevy Chase-Her and Roadside BombShel will go a long way in securing a consistent offense.

FRESH FACES

Arguably the most important fresh face is not that fresh a face at all; instead, it’s the recognizable face of Rebel Rock-It. A long time ToRD veteran (she began her career as a Bay Street Bruiser when the Bruisers were still a houseleague team), Rebel returns to the team with which she has had the most success and will be a big impact in the pack (and can jam as well). Sneaky Dee was a breakout star for the D-VAS in 2013 and the incredibly speedy skater could have an immediate impact on a jammer rotation that does lack depth. Speaking of that, Hyena Koffinkat is a transfer from Terminal City where she just completed her rookie season as a jammer. And finally, Wheels of Misfortune is another transfer, from nearby Durham Region, who brings considerable track experience to the Chicks’ pack.

THE OUTLOOK

Look for the Chicks to turn things around in 2014 and bounce back from a tough season. In a year where parity could be the dominant storyline, the Chicks provide a dark horse for the narrative and could easily surprise everyone.

***The season opener is this Saturday at The Bunker in Downsview Park. Doors at 5:00 PM, the opening whistle is at 6:00 PM. Stick around afterwards for a very special bout as Toronto Junior Roller Derby hosts Alliston Junior Roller Derby in a junior derby showdown. Tickets are available online or at a number of downtown locations.

Derby Day in Detroit! The Nerd heads to Motor City to catch up with the Detroit Derby Girls

The Grand Prix Madonnas moved into top spot in the league with the win over the Devil's Night Dames. (Photo by Joe Mac)

The Grand Prix Madonnas moved into top spot in the league with the win over the Devil’s Night Dames. (Photo by Joe Mac)

The wear and tear of the “American Century” can be seen clearly on the face of Detroit. One of the largest cities in North American, for centuries Detroit has acted as an important strategic, economic and industrial centre—ushering in the automobile era, nurturing transcendent musical forms, and producing extraordinary sports teams that once inspired the nickname “City of Champions.” Of course, the transition into the 21st century has not been an easy one for the Motor City. Famously mired in a bankruptcy and feeling the damaging effects of the decline of the automobile industry, Detroit is struggling to reshape its image in a new millennium.

In recent years there has been a clear attempt to rebrand the city as an entertainment centre, and the downtown core has been somewhat revitalized by the opening of a few new casinos and other tourist-drawing sites, yet wide swathes of the core remain underdeveloped and abandoned.

The Detroit Derby Girls play their games in the historic Masonic Temple.

The Detroit Derby Girls call the historic Masonic Temple home.

Near the intersection of Interstate 75 and Woodward Avenue is one such area. Massive buildings—beautiful beacons of the boom that occurred in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century—stand empty; some are simply intricate facades standing sentry over gutted innards and crumbling supports. There are large empty lots—one of which, notably, will be the site of a hockey arena, the new home for the beloved Red Wings. Right now, however, the one shining beacon in the downtrodden area is a massive ornate neo-gothic Masonic Temple, the largest of its kind in the world, built late in the 19th century, and home for the better part of eight years to the Detroit Derby Girls.

DDG kicked off 2014 with the fifth game in its 2013-14 houseleague season featuring a showdown between the defending champion Grand Prix Madonnas and the perennial underdogs, the Devil’s Night Dames. Having come into the league in a 2011 expansion, the Madonnas have essentially been the top team since and heading into the game were riding a 6-game winning streak dating back to last season. The Dames, on the other hand, were mired in a 5-game winless drought and in three previous meetings, had yet to defeat the Madonnas (including a 191-36 drubbing last season).

However, the Dames are a team on the rise and now include a handful of members of Detroit’s WFTDA Division 1 All Start team (currently ranked 28th in the 40-team division). Led by their tireless captain, Murder City Mistress, the Dames roared out of the gates at the opening whistle on Saturday night and seemed to catch the champs off guard with their level of intensity. Having opened the season with a loss to the Pistolwhippers, the Dames had a slightly different look in their matchup with the Madonnas, seeing Doom Shakalaka take on the star and Terror Ettes (who had led the team with a 40% lead percentage in the opener) jump into the pack to bolster the pack offense.

The Grand Prix Madonnas joined the league in 2011 and are the defending league champions.

The Grand Prix Madonnas joined the league in 2011 and are the defending league champions.

The first half was defined by huge shifts in momentum as each team battled through penalty troubles. Led by the astonishing Racer McChaseHer (who played in 73% of her team’s jams in the season opener and neared that number again in this one) and supported in the pack by Spanish Ass’assin, ShamWow and Peaches N. CreamYa, to name a few, the Madonnas ran into early penalty trouble that saw an early lead evaporate. The Dames, led offensively by team leading scorer Feta Sleeze (5.9 points per jam in the season-opening loss) pounced and took the lead midway through the first.

But once the Madonnas were able to ride out their penalty troubles, they roared back themselves with some consistent jamming from Racer and Lily I. Monster in particular, to rebuild a significant lead. Yet the Dames refused to relent and Doom (who started slowly) broke out late in the half, including registering a 20-point jam, to pull the team back within reach, down 104-73 at the break (significantly, the 73 first-half points was already more than the Dames had ever scored in a full game against their opponent). However, disaster struck in the final moments of the half when Murder City Mistress went down a significant injury (the third skater lost to a leg injury in two games for the Dames).

After the highs of such a competitive first half, the Dames never seemed to recover from the loss of their captain. Feta Sleeze (who led the team in scoring with 33 first-half points) took on the “C” in the second and wore it admirably, consistently drawing the unenviable matchup against Racer in the second half (Racer scored her career leading 1700th point in the half). Sufferin’ Sucka Bash stepped up in the pack in the second as well, playing a very strong half for the Dames with the stripe to lead her packs in the absence of Mistress—but despite her strong play, and consistent jamming from the likes of Lost and Found (who had been held to only 7 points in the first half), the Madonnas controlled the action in the second.

Despite the improved play this season, the Devil's Night Dames remain last in the league.

Despite the improved play this season, the Devil’s Night Dames remain last in the league.

Triple threat Rocky Brawlboa did it all for the Madonnas, with bruising pack work alongside some physical jamming, Rocky was all over the track in the second half (and was eventually named the game MVP). Sista Slit’chya followed a similar trajectory of increased level of play in the second, and the depth of pack supplied by Ana Matronique, Mega Bloxx and others was too much for the upstart Dames to handle. Only managing 27 points in a smothering second half, the Devil’s Night Dames couldn’t keep up and the Grand Prix Madonnas jumped back into first place in the DDG standings (2-0), while the Dames, at 0-2, remain on the bottom.

Injuries seem to be conspiring against an inspired and much improved Dames team this season, while the Madonnas (after surprisingly tight 7-point win in the opener against the Pistoffs) are rounding into form.

Although they briefly left the Masonic Temple a few years ago, DDG seems comfortably established in the beautiful old building. It was a packed house on Saturday night, featuring a raucous and appreciative crowd. Among the physical rubble of decline, the Detroit Derby Girls stand as a model of consistency, part of this city’s psychological hope for renewal.

The 2013-14 season is DDG's ninth.

The 2013-14 season is DDG’s ninth.

***A big thanks to the Detroit Derby Girls for having the Nerd as a guest announcer this weekend. A special, and personal, thanks goes to the fantastic announcing crew of AK 40oz, Hi-Death, Big Poppa Razzi, Handle Barbarian, and Mr. Mauler; and also to Rusty Wheeler for the excellent stats work.

The Preview of Previews! Welcome to 2014

First off, if you’ve been a reader of the Nerd over the years, you’ve probably noticed that things look a little different around here. It’s a fresh new look for a fresh new year! But don’t worry, in terms of content and derby nerdiness, nothing will change. However, due to the change, you may notice some formatting inconsistencies, particularly when reading archived material. Feel free to let me know if anything looks truly messed up!

Men's World Cup Logo2013 was an incredible year for roller derby, and any way you look at it, 2014 is going to be an even bigger year. Internationally, this will truly be the year that roller derby goes global. The second women’s world cup is coming up, but first, the inaugural men’s world cup will take place in Birmingham, England, in March, making roller derby truly a global undertaking open to all. This global gender equality could very well be the first tentative step toward mainstream (IE: Olympic) international recognition.

A little closer to home, in 2013 Canada certainly announced itself as a power in competitive roller derby. After such a successful World Cup showing in 2011, it seemed only a matter of time before Canadian teams started to emerge as contenders in the WFTDA. This season, it all started with Montreal’s high playoff seeding and Tri-City’s impressive run in the D2 playoffs and was capped off with Vancouver and Toronto’s string of upsets in the D1 Divisionals.

This has set expectations for 2014 very high. Tri-City was recently awarded one of the WFTDA’s D2 playoff Divisional tournaments, which is a great achievement, but perhaps one year too late as all indications show Tri-City making a run at D1 this season. Similarly, while Montreal will be hard pressed to ascend to the ranking heights they hit in 2013, Toronto and Vancouver are poised to make noise and advance up the standings. Also, Rideau Valley (who just missed out on D2 playoffs last year) and Hammer City (who had one of the largest ranking jumps in the WFTDA last year) are both solid contenders in the second division.

In 2013, Tri-City will become the first non-US league to host a WFTDA playoff tournament.

In 2013, Tri-City will become the first non-US league to host a WFTDA playoff tournament.

AND on top of that, we now welcome Forest City, Calgary, Border City and GTA Rollergirls into the WFTDA fold. Last year Calgary made massive competitive strides and could be a team to watch this year and could even be in the mix in the second division. Forest City should be able to build on an inconsistent 2013, while Border City (who are going through a big organizational change) and GTA probably lack the depth of organization to compete in 2014, but nonetheless will help bring more exposure to Canadian roller derby in general, and Ontario roller derby in particular (it’s amazing that there are seven [!] full WFTDA member leagues in Ontario alone).

All of this makes the Nerd very excited to cover 2014!

On this site, you can expect the same Toronto and Eastern Canadian roller derby coverage that you’ve had for years now, but there will also be a very specific global focus as I cover both the Canadian men’s and women’s teams as they prepare for their respective World Cups (expect profiles and interviews). As usual, I’ll be taking the odd road trip as well and reporting back. Actually, that begins this weekend, as I’ll be heading to Detroit to be a guest announcer for the Detroit Derby Girls 2014 house league opener.

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 released in April. Roller Derby figures prominently in the title story.

Also, after an incredibly fun and informative first season of working on the Canadian Power Rankings with Captain Lou El Bammo, Dick Pounder and Jenny Fever, we’ll be back to track 2014 as well! Stay tuned for a separate Power Rankings Preview coming soon.

And finally, on a more personal note, this spring, I will be travelling around promoting a collection of short fiction written by my alter ego D.D. Miller. Not surprisingly, roller derby features prominently in the title story, “David Foster Wallace Ruined My Suicide.” As some of you know, I am also currently working on a book-length project about roller derby: so every league in Canada (and beyond!) be prepared to be hit up for interviews if I happen to pass through your town in 2014.

Thanks so much for the continued readership and support! Here’s to a phenomenal 2014!

– Nerd

Photo by Todd Burgess

Canadian Power Rankings: November 1, 2013

Canadian Power Rankings: November 1st, 2013

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

Despite a disappointing WFTDA playoff (a tough win over Wasatch followed by losses to Ohio and London), the Skids remain at the top of the sport in Canada. Since beginning play in 2008, the Skids have yet to lose to a Canadian team.  (1 / 15).
2. CN Power (Toronto Roller Derby)

CN Power Logo

+1 (3) After spending the whole 2013 season in third spot, CN Power finally makes the leap to second. They had a busy few months, crushing Brew City and Grand Raggidy, and shocking the WFTDA with playoff wins over Sacred City and Boston before hard-fought losses against Atlanta And Victorian. (2 / 32).
3. Terminal City All Stars (Terminal City Roller Girls)

Terminal City All Stars

-1 (2) Terminal City slips one spot to third, but more due to Toronto’s impressive play than anything Vancouver did. The All Stars also had an amazing showing in the WFTDA playoffs, scoring upsets over Tampa Bay and New Hampshire, coming up just short against Jacksonville, and falling to the historic Texas Rollergirls. (3 / 37)
4. Tri-City Thunder (Tri-City Roller Girls)Tri-City Thunder Logo The Thunder hold the fourth spot after an extraordinary run in the WFTDA D2 playoffs, where only a controversial overtime loss to Santa Cruz kept them from potentially winning the whole D2 tournament. They knocked off Paper Valley, Carolina and Burning River in their divisional tournament. They followed that run with a position-confirming win over the Rideau Valley Vixens.  (5 / 46)
5. Rideau Valley Vixens (Rideau Valley Roller Girls)

Vixens Logo

Despite a loss to Ithaca, the Vixens hold their spot with a win over Dutchland and a strong performance in a loss to the Thunder. Consistency keeps the Vixens from climbing higher. (7 / 70)
6. Misfit Militia (Misfit Militia Roller Derby)
Misfit Militia Logo
+2 (8) Despite some near constant roster shuffling, the core of this Misfit Militia team remains extraordinary. They are 6-0 in 2013 with an average margin of victory of 325 points. They will need to start facing stiffer competition in 2014 if they want to hold their position, but the potential future looks incredibly bright. (6 / -)
7. Belladonnas (Red Deer Roller Derby Association)

Belladonnas Logo

-1 (6) Red Deer continues its impressive season, recently scoring one-sided wins over the Kootenay Kannibelles  and Saskatoon. 13-2 on the season, the Belladonnas are on a six game winning streak since a July loss against Terminal City. (4 / -)
8. The Eh! Team (Hammer City Roller Girls)

Hammer City Logo

+1 (9) Jumping one more spot, Hammer City continues its impressive 2013 rebirth. One of the biggest movers in the WFTDA, most recently they destroyed the Border City Brawlers then put in incredible efforts in losses to Grand Raggidy and Killamazoo, both teams ranked considerably higher than they are. (9 / 80)
9. Calgary All Stars (Calgary Roller Derby Association)Calgary All Stars Logo -2 (7) Calgary slips not so much due to their own play as much as the play of the teams ahead of them. A one-sided loss to Denver’s B-Team was somewhat buffered by a win over Rocky Mountain’s B-Team and a great performance against Pikes Peak. (14 / -)
10. Kootenay Kannibelles (West Kootenay Roller Derby)

kannibelles Logo

(unranked) The Kannibelles return to the Top 10 for the first time since April, taking advantage of some other teams’ slip ups. The Kannibelles lost this spot earlier in the year due to inconsistency, and two recent, wildly different results against Red Deer show that their may still be some consistency problems. (10 / -)

kannibelles LogoA lot of movement in this month’s power ranking, with only three teams holding on to their spots. Plus, one team, the Sugar Skulls, has dropped from the rankings completely allowing the Kootenay Kannibelles to slip back in. Toronto’s CN Power moves up into second spot, knocking down Terminal City who had held that position all season. Both teams had impressive, surprising WFTDA playoffs, but it was CN Power’s performance against Atlanta (not to mention a win over Boston) that really secured the second spot. The other big movers were Misfit Militia, who has dismantled any team that has gotten in their way this season–although an inconsistent roster and lower-level of competition brings their future and ability to maintain this pace into question. Calgary drops a few spots, but were more pushed out of the way than fell themselves. They are challenging themselves by taking on teams ranked well above them, which while potentially painful now, should pay dividends in the future.

Hammer City’s revival keeps them on an upward trajectory and a run to the WFTDA’s Divsion 2 next season does not seem out of the question at all. Finally, in one of the most anticipated matchups of the season, the Tri-City Thunder held off the Rideau Valley Vixens 199-156 to secure their spot. As with Hammer City, the Vixens are poised to jump to WFTDA’s Division 2 as well and just need to bring a little more consistency to their play. Although supposedly in the midst of a rebuild, The Thunder could very easily become Canada’s fourth Division 1 team next year.

ON THE BUBBLETimber Rollers Logo

Sugar Skulls (Pile O’ Bones Roller Derby Club)

Dolly Rogers (Capital City Derby Dolls)

Timber Rollers (Forest City Derby Girls)

While the Top 9 teams are fairly secure, the Bubble Teams are all close and potentially interchangeable. One thing is keeping all of these teams on the bubble: inconsistency. The Sugar Skulls drop out mostly from lack of recent play, while the Dolly Rogers and Timber Rollers have yet to put together a run of games that would get them on to the list. For example, the Timber Rollers were shocked by Kingston’s Disloyalists in September, only to turn around and put in a strong performance in their first ever WFTDA sanctioned bout (a loss to Lansing) in October.

winnipeg logoTEAMS TO WATCH

The Mindfox (Saskatoon Roller Derby League)

Lumbersmacks (Muddy River Rollers)

Redneck Betties (South West Saskatchewan Roller Derby Association)

Anarchy Angels (Mainland Misfits)

All Stars (Winnipeg Roller Derby League)

Not much change here as the Rankings Crew continues to keep a close eye on these teams. Two, the Lumbersmacks and Redneck Betties are on the rise, while two others, The Mindfox and the Anarchy Angels, are looking to crawl back into the upper echelons of Canadian flat track roller derby (The Mindfox were in the Top 10 as recently as June, and were ranked 6th in the April Power Rankings). One addition to the watch list, was just named a WFTDA Apprentice league: Winnipeg Roller Derby. After a shaky start to 2013, the All Stars have turned it around late in the year winning four in a row, including making up for an early season loss to the Pile O Bones B-Team with a dominant (255-131) win in the rematch.

*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.

*Missed the August 1st Power Rankings post? Get caught up here.

-Respectful disagreement and debate is encouraged!-

Introducing Dr. Jenny Fever: Newest Member of the Power Rankings Crew

The final Power Rankings for 2013 are currently being debated as we speak, and it is going to be a tough one! It’s been three months since the last power rankings were released and much has happened since, including, of course, the WFTDA D2 and Divisional playoffs!

As we approach our final Power Rankings of 2013, it seemed appropriate to take the time to introduce the latest member of the Power Rankings crew: Dr. Jenny Fever. She brings seven years worth of derby experience to the crew, and the insight of a former player and referee. Dr. Jenny Fever replaces former member Andi Struction.

Dr. Jenny Fever announces primarily for Terminal City and the Mainland Misfits. (Photo by Todd Holbrook)

Dr. Jenny Fever announces primarily for Terminal City and the Mainland Misfits. (Photo by Todd Holbrook)

“Since first becoming involved with roller derby in 2007, Dr. Jenny Fever has been involved in the sport in virtually every way possible: First as a derby fan, then player, referee and now she has settled in as an announcer.

She is currently the announcer for the Terminal City Rollergirls in Vancouver, the Mainland Misfits in Surrey and pretty much anyone else who will let her indulge in her never ending love of talking about roller derby.”

Stay tuned for the updated Canadian Power Rankings!

The rest of the crew includes Capt. Lou El Bammo, Dick Pounder, and the Derby Nerd.

Catch up on the previous Canadian Power Rankings here.

Canadian Power Rankings: August 1, 2013

Canadian Power Rankings: August 1st, 2013

TEAM (League) CHANGE NOTES (Rollergirl.ca /WFTDA rank)
1. New Skids on the Block (Montreal Roller Derby)NewSkidsLogo2012 For once, Montreal seems to be peaking at the right time! Winners of three in a row, featuring a 400+ point victory over plunging Carolina and a two-game sweep of Charm and Houston at ECDX, the Skids have entered the Top 10 of the WFTDA rankings for the first time. (1 / 8).
2. Terminal City All Stars (Terminal City Roller Girls)Terminal City All Stars Terminal City holds on to second spot after dominating the West Coast Dust Up, allowing them to slip back into  WFTDA’s Division 1 just in time for the playoffs. Their massive victories over Red Deer and Mainland Misfits were especially impressive. (3 / 38).
3. CN Power (Toronto Roller Derby)CN Power Logo CN Power has put together their most consistent and impressive streak of the season that culminated in an upset victory over Bleeding Heartland in Indiana that essentially launched them into the WFTDA Division 1 playoffs. They jumped 10 spots in the current WFTDA ranking and are securely in second in the rollergirl.ca Canadian rankings. (2 / 39).
4. Tri-City Thunder (Tri-City Roller Girls)Tri-City Thunder Logo A rough but tough loss to Cincinnati  was followed by a big victory over Windy City’s Second Wind. On the strength of their increasingly strong play, they have qualified for the WFTDA Division 2 playoffs. All of this despite being in the midst of a fairly significant rebuild. (4 / 60)
5. Rideau Valley Vixens (Rideau Valley Roller Girls)Vixens Logo The Vixens fell to Maine before taking both games at ECDX (over Low Country and Dominion), but the wins weren’t quite enough to get them into the Division 2 playoffs (although after some teams pulled out of the tournament, they ended up missing out by only two spots). (5 / 67)
6. Belladonnas (Red Deer Roller Derby Association)Belladonnas Logo After debuting in the rankings, The Belladonnas hold on to sixth spot for the second straight rankings. They followed up their Flat Track Fever tournament win with a 4-1 run (their only loss coming to Terminal City) including a dominant victory over the rising Mainland Misfits. (9 / -)
7. Calgary All Stars (Calgary Roller Derby Association)

Calgary All Stars Logo

+1 (8th) Calgary continues their impressive rise in the power rankings. Coming from seemingly nowhere at the start of the season, Calgary moves up yet another spot after big victories over St. Albert (Heavenly Rollers) and Regina (Sugar Skulls). They also, impressively, defeated Team Saskatchewan. (13 / -)
8. Misfit Militia (Misfit Militia Roller Derby)
Misfit Militia Logo
(unranked) After separating from their previous league, the Misfit Militia slipped out of the Top 10. A thoroughly dominant performance at the RDAC Easterns was somewhat hard to read given their roster contained borrowed players, but the incredibly impressive victory over Royal City’s all stars confirmed Misfit Militia’s spot. (6 / -)
9. The Eh! Team (Hammer City Roller Girls)Hammer City Logo (unranked) After years in the wilderness, the Hammer City Roller Girls are back. After going 2-6 to start the WFTDA season, Hammer City has roared back and has won their past three games in dominant fashion (over Glass City, Little Steel Derby Girls, and Hudson Valley). One of the fastest rising teams in the WFTDA rankings this season, they have leaped 40 spots (!) since the beginning of 2013. (11 / 93)
10. Sugar Skulls (Pile O’ Bones Roller Derby Club)Sugar Skulls Derby LOGO -3 (7th)  Regina’s Sugar Skulls slip due mainly to inactivity, but also because of a fairly one-sided loss to Calgary (their only action since the last ranking). (18 / -)

Hammer City LogoWhile the top six remains unchanged, this was, nonetheless, the most contentious power rankings yet! The bottom four got completely shifted around, seeing two teams dropped from the rankings all together. Terminal City just barely held on to their spot ahead of ToRD’s CN Power. Calgary’s fast and furious rise has them pushing up against and fighting for entry into one of those top six spots. E-Ville slips out of the Top 10 due to inactivity and Saskatoon slips out due to slowed activity as well, but also due to a surprising loss to Swift Current’s Redneck Betties (Swift Current wasn’t even on the Power Rankings radar, but we’ve certainly taken notice now).  Thunder and Vixens hold their respective spots as we near a highly anticipated fall showdown between these two WFTDA Division 2 teams.

But change has come once again to the Power Rankings. After years of rebuilding and relative obscurity, the Hammer City Roller Girls are back and doing well at all levels (from their B-team to their farm team to their WFTDA team). Since joining the WFTDA in 2009, the Eh! Team had compiled an overall record of 4-27 before coming in to the 2013 season. This year, they’ve gone 5-6 against tougher competition and seem to show no signs of slowing.  Reentering the Top 10 are the Misfit Militia, who had briefly slipped out of the Power Rankings after some organizational shifting and a split from their original league. Reborn as an independent team, they have looked dominant ever since, going 4-0 and outscoring their opposition by an astonishing 1831-195 over that span.

ON THE BUBBLE

Dolly Rogers (Capital City Derby Dolls)

Anarchy Angels (Mainland Misfits Roller Derby)

The Mindfox (Saskatoon Roller Derby League)

E-Ville Dead (E-Ville Roller Derby)

Saskatoon and E-Ville remain on the bubble after slipping out of the Top 10, for E-Ville it may just be a matter of getting back into action and showing that they haven’t lost a step, while Saskatoon, since winning RDAC Nationals early in 2013, has seen the rest of its region catch up and in some cases surpass them. The Dolly Rogers started as a team to watch and remains strongly on the bubble as impressive performances keep piling up, and the Anarchy Angels also follow the Dolly Rogers to the bubble and are one big upset away from making the leap.

TEAMS TO WATCHMuddy River Logo

Kootenay Kannibelles (West Kootenay Roller Derby)

Timber Rollers (Forest City Derby Girls)

Lumbersmacks (Muddy River Rollers)

Redneck Betties (South West Saskatchewan Roller Derby Association)

We’ve been watching the rebuilding Kootenay Kannibelles all season, but their relative lack of activity keeps them from advancing. Similarly, Forest City’s all stars have been on the radar all season, but their early season success hasn’t quite translated into late season dominance yet.  The first new team to the Rankings Crew’s watchlist is Muddy River’s Lumbersmacks (Moncton, New Brunswick) who remain the premier team on Canada’s East Coast (staying just a bit ahead of Saint John’s Fog City Rollers); since an impressively narrow loss to Montreal’s Sexpos in April, the Lumbersmacks have put together a string of five straight victories concluding with a surprisingly one-sided win over Quebec’s Les Duchesses (422-161) just a few weeks ago. Finally, Swift Current’s Redneck Betties jump into our sights after an upset over previously ranked Mindfox (Saskatooon) followed by a dismantling of Billings (Montana) and a tight loss to a very talented Calgary house league team.

*These rankings were compiled by the Derby Nerd, Captain Lou El Bammo, and Dick Pounder. Sadly, we have had to say goodbye to original Crew Member Andi Struction. Stay tuned in the coming months for a big announcement about a potential new member of the Power Rankings Crew!

*Read the Canadian Power Rankings preview and explanation here.

*Missed the June 1st Power Rankings post? Get caught up here.

-Respectful disagreement and debate is encouraged!-

Battle for the Boot 7: The 2013 ToRD Championship

Battle for the Boot 7: The 2013 TorD Champs PosterHistory will be made at the 2013 Battle for the Boot. Regardless of the outcome in this first ever championship showdown between the Death Track Dolls and the Smoke City Betties, a first time ToRD champion will be named, added to the list that so far has included only the Gore-Gore Rollergirls (2007, 2009, 2010) and the Chicks Ahoy! (2008, 2011, 2012). It’s a historic moment in this early history of ToRD, representing the first true power shift in the league from the early consistent dominance of the Gores and Chicks (who also met in five of the first six championship games). The 2013 season and the 7th Battle for the Boot represent nothing less the beginning of a new era in Toronto Roller Derby.

PAST

These two teams both have distinct histories. Formed in early 2006 in a pre-ToRD Toronto, the Smoke City Betties joined Hammer City, Montreal Roller Derby and Edmonton’s Oil City as the first wave of flat track roller derby in Canada and would form the pillars that would provide a foundation for the explosive growth of the sport in the country that would follow.

At the same time that the Betties exploded on to the scene, another team would rise in Toronto, the Terrors. Both the Terrors and Betties would see their numbers swell by the time that the Betties would host the first ever Canadian inter-league tournament, the Betties D-Day, in August 2006. Leading up to that tournament, the Terrors would split into four teams: the Chicks Ahoy!, the Bay Street Bruisers, The D-VAS and finally, the Death Track Dolls.

The Betties and the Gores face off in the 2009 Battle for the Boot. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

The Betties and the Gores face off in the 2009 Battle for the Boot. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

In the coming months, the Betties too would divide, giving birth to the Gore-Gore Rollergirls and the six teams in Toronto would unify to form Toronto Roller Derby. In 2007, the inaugural season, the Dolls would struggle, going winless, while the Betties competed but could not reel in the Chicks and Gores. It was a similar story in 2008 when both the Dolls and Betties would lose in the semifinals. Following contraction in 2009 (when the Bruisers and D-VAS were removed from the houseleague), the Betties surged while the Chicks stumbled and the Dolls slipped to last in the new four-team ToRD. Yet again, the Betties would find themselves held back by the team that had spawned from them, the Gores, in the Battle for the Boot 3. It was a historic loss for the team that would see the core of the squad gutted in the ’09-2010 off season and forced into a complete rebuild.

Since that time the fortunes of the Dolls and Betties has ebbed and flowed, with the Betties finishing last in the league in 2010 and 2011, and the Dolls stumbling to fourth in 2012. With losing seasons racking up and top draft picks coming their way, it was only a matter of time before the Dolls and Betties would emerge as contenders.

The Dolls dominated the regular season showdown between these teams, winning 265-63. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The Dolls dominated the regular season showdown between these teams, winning 265-63. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

PRESENT

Both teams entered 2013 with high hopes. After a two-year absence, the Betties returned to the ToRD semifinals in 2012 and hoped to build on that this season. The Dolls, on the other hand, missed the playoffs for the first time since 2009, but drafted experience and had clearly built a base that looked ready to compete in 2013. While the Dolls got off to a better start, the Betties stumbled out of the gates, losing to the Gores and then suffering the team’s worst loss in history to the Dolls to close out the season. But both have also been on the rise: The Dolls clumsily defeated the Chicks to kick off the season, then lost to Forest City’s Timber Rollers (a WFTDA apprentice travel tram), before taking out the Gores and finally rolling into form against the Betties to clinch a spot in the final. The Betties looked lost at times this season, before finally coming together as a team in the semifinal and eliminating the Gores, ending the Gores’ six-year run as Battle for the Boot participants.

In short, both teams are peaking at just the right time.

FUTURE

After battling through injuries in 2012, Audrey Hellborn is back menacing jammers in 2013. (Photo by Greg Russell)

After battling through injuries in 2012, Audrey Hellborn (right) is back menacing jammers in 2013. (Photo by Greg Russell)

The future is now for the Dolls and Betties, and there is no doubt that neither team is looking further into the future than this coming Saturday. The Dolls seem poised, riding a relentless pack and an untouchable four-jammer rotation, all indications point to this game being theirs to lose. Although they started strong, the Betties could mount little offense against the Dolls in their regular season showdown (only managing 22 points in the second half) and will need to find a way to produce some offense.

While both teams have a depth of experience on the bench, there are some key players to watch. The Dolls co-captains Scarcasm and Speedin’ Hawking have been leading excellent packs all season, and in the centre of it all has been Audrey Hellborn. Audrey was a dominant player in the league’s early history but a variety of injuries over the past few years have kept her out of the spotlight: in 2013 she’s roared back into the picture, and her relentless jammer killing has turned around jams and games. Also, the addition of transfer Rainbow Fight has given the Dolls a multi-faceted weapon to rely on. Rainbow has been incredible in the pack but has also put up jammer numbers (8.0 PPJ, 88% lead percentage) that have never been seen before.

Betties co-captains Hailey Copter (jammer) and Misery Mae will need to have strong games for the Betties to succeed. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Betties co-captains Hailey Copter (jammer) and Misery Mae (pivot) will need to have strong games for the Betties to succeed. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

For the Betties, the co-captains Misery Mae and Hailey Copter will be key. Hailey has struggled at times this season seeing her numbers drop from 2012’s career high 3.6 PPJ and 50% lead percentage to 2.6 PPJ and a 39% lead percentage this season (Slaptrick Swayze just inched out Hailey as the team’s leading scorer, 126-123, and will have to be strong as well). But Hailey clearly remains the heart and soul of the offense. Misery Mae, who was a key offensive blocker in the semifinal, will need to put in a similar performance in the champs if the Betties hope to crack the Dolls’ killer defense. And finally, Wolverina has emerged as a key triple threat for this team, and will need to provide go-to offense for the Betties while remaining steady in the pack.

* Get your tickets now for this historic showdown! They are available online or at a number of vendors in the city. Doors open at 6:00 PM and be sure to be there for the Toronto Junior Roller Derby exhibition. Opening whistle of the Battle for the Boot is 7:30.

Canadian Power Rankings: June 1, 2013 (Second Quarter)

Canadian Power Rankings: June 1st, 2013 (Second Quarter)

TEAM (League) CHANGE NOTES (Rollergirl.ca /WFTDA rank)
1. New Skids on the Block (Montreal Roller Derby)NewSkidsLogo2012 Still the best until someone can knock them off, and while CN Power pushed them to the limit in Montreal, the Skids put in strong performances in losses to Bay Area and Philly, and managed a big win over Santa Cruz. They also climbed two spots in the latest WFTDA rankings. (1 / 15).
2. Terminal City All Stars (Terminal City Roller Girls)Terminal City All Stars Terminal City clings to second spot despite slipping down into  WFTDA’s Division 2. Strong showings in losses to higher ranked Victorian and Sacred City allow them to hold their spot, despite the big loss to London and a so-so win over Silicon Valley. (3 / 43).
3. CN Power (Toronto Roller Derby)CN Power Logo CN Power is starting to play with a lot more consistency, but their impressive performances in losses to higher ranked Montreal and Cincinnati were not enough to pull them into second. (2 / 49).
4. Tri-City Thunder (Tri-City Roller Girls)Tri-City Thunder Logo The Thunder finally started rolling at Spring Roll, losing to CT Roller Girls before pulling out a big, surprising victory over the Chicago Outfit. That victory allows them to hold on to their position. They still cling to a WFTDA Division 2 playoff spot as well. (4 / 56)
5. Rideau Valley Vixens (Rideau Valley Roller Girls)Vixens Logo The Vixens have not been able to build on their early season success and stalled somewhat in the second quarter losing to New Hampshire and narrowly defeating River City, which more than likely ended their chances at a WFTDA playoff spot this season. (5 / 73)
6. Belladonnas (Red Deer Roller Derby Association)Belladonnas Logo (unranked) The Belladonnas finally got on the track in 2013 and they lived up to preseason expectations, surging into the rankings with an impressive tournament victory at Flat Track Fever (defeating Calgary, The Sugar Skulls and The Mindfox in the process). (8 / -)
7. Sugar Skulls (Pile O’ Bones Roller Derby Club)Sugar Skulls Derby LOGO The Regina skaters hold their spot after a solid performance at Flat Track Fever. They did manage a win over the Belladonnas in the preliminary round of the tournament, but Red Deer defeated the Sugar Skulls later in the tournament. (12 / -)
8. Calgary All Stars: Calgary Roller Derby AssociationCalgary All Stars Logo (unranked) After years of rolling under the radar, Calgary has  stepped things up in 2013 and is one of the more exciting teams in Canada right now. They had a strong showing at Flat Track Fever and traveled to Saskatoon and defeated The Mind Fox despite missing key players. A team on rise. (13 / -)
9. The Mind Fox (Saskatoon Roller Derby League)mindfoxlogo -3 (6th) The Mind Fox exploded out of the gates in 2013, but as the season has progressed, the rest of the west has started to catch up and even pass them. They defeated E-Ville, but suffered losses to the Belladonnas and Calgary that have dropped them. (14 / -)
10. E-Ville Dead (E-Ville Roller Derby)

E-Ville Logo

 Despite rosters losses, this team keeps rolling along. They had a solid performance at Flat Track Fever (including trading wins with the Mind Fox) that has allowed them to cling to their Top 10 spot. (10 / -)

Belladonnas LogoThe main story may be that there wasn’t too much change in the Power Rankings this quarter (the Top 5 remains completely unchanged), despite the fact that two teams dropped out of the Top 10. The West Kootenay Kannibelles have been slipping since their peak at RDAC Westerns in 2012. The had a strong showing at Spokarnage, but against untested teams, and still are sitting on that loss to current #10 E-Ville. And due to some upheaval in Alliston (and a lack of action), the Misfit Militia have also slipped out of the Top 10. The recently separated from their league (the Renegade Derby Dames) to go it alone, and it remains to be seen how they will respond to this change. They did recently score a large victory over unranked Les Duchesses (Quebec), but their lack of action against top-level competition drops them.

Which, of course, means that we can say hello to two new teams. First off, Calgary enters the Top 10 in the 8th position. Formerly considered a “bubble” team, Calgary is the fastest climbing team in Canada right now and it seemed to just be a matter of time before they cracked this list. After years of relative competitive obscurity, it’s been fascinating to watch the rise. Also surging into the Top 10 are Red Deer’s Belladonnas. Despite a late start to 2013, they haven’t seemed to have lost a step from their strong 2012 and handily won Flat Track Fever. They followed that up with a thoroughly dominant performance against an overmatched St. Albert.Hammer City Logo

ON THE BUBBLE

Not too much shift here either. Forest City’s loss to Capital City, despite the fact that they were very shorthanded, means that the Timber Rollers fail to progress here, but their strong performances this season (including a recent win over Border City) keep them hanging out on the bubble. The West Kootenay Roller Derby’s Kannibelles fall from the Top 10 but remain on the bubble after their impressive performance at Spokarnage. Finally, the Hammer City Roller Girls continue their top season ever in the WFTDA (their three WFTDA victories this season represents a massive jump from the one they’d won in the last three years). Also quite tellingly, their B-team and Fresh Meat team have been putting in strong performances, speaking to an ever-strengthening base.

TEAMS TO WATCH

Word out of the west is that that Mainland Misfits’ Anarchy Angels (Cloverdale, BC) remain a team to watch: they went 2-2 at Spokarnage and soundly defeated The Raggedy Rollers. Out of the east, Capital City’s Dolly Rogers (Ottawa) have been slowly putting together a string of solid results and most recently defeated Forest City’s Timber Rollers to catch the attention of the rankings crew.

*These rankings were compiled by the Derby Nerd, Captain Lou El Bammo, Dick Pounder and Andi Struction.

*Read the Canadian Power Rankings preview and explanation here.

*Missed the first quarter Power Rankings post? Get caught up here.

-Respectful disagreement and debate is encouraged!-