Weekend Round Up: Dolls Edge Betties to Close Out ToRD Regular Season on Busy Night in Canadian Derby

The Dolls wrapped up second spot in the regular season standings with the victory over the Betties. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The Dolls wrapped up second spot in the regular season standings with the victory over the Betties. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The Canadian roller derby season truly got underway this weekend with teams clear across the nation in action. In Toronto, ToRD closed out its house league regular season with a highly anticipated showdown between the defending champion Death Track Dolls and the Smoke City Betties. Tied in the standings heading into the game, the Dolls clinched second spot and a bye to the semifinals with a tense 175-138 victory that was not sewn up until the final moments of the second half. The Betties will now face off against the Chicks Ahoy! in a second-chance quarterfinal matchup.

Dolls' rookie jammer PrEditor had a breakout game. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Dolls’ rookie jammer PrEditor had a breakout game. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The Dolls led from start to finish, but the 37-point differential in the end was actually the largest lead of the game. There was some concern over the Dolls’ jammer rotation coming into this one: with veteran blocker Dawson out after an off-track injury, Scarcasm slipped from the rotation back into the pack leaving rookies PrEditor and Common Dominator with a bulk of the track time, but the first-year jammers did not disappoint, with PrEditor in particular skating a break-out performance with the star. But it was the more experienced jammers, Devochka and especially Sleeper Hold, who were the difference makers in this one.

It was tight at the start, with the Betties countering with their usual jammer rotation of the jukey Wolverina, WackerHer, Kil’Her At Large and the tireless Smoka Cola; it wasn’t until seven minutes into the opening half when a Dolls’ power jam let them pull ahead 29-7 that either team seemed to make a move. But whenever the Dolls threatened to pull away, the Betties responded, and the biggest lead of the half (30 points with ten to go) was whittled back down to 12 points after a 23-0 Betties run. The teams traded leads and points the rest of the way with the Dolls ahead narrowly, 93-83, at the break.

Betties' pivot LowBlowPalooza had another strong game (blocking here with Genuine Risk and Mazel Tough). (Photo by Greg Russell)

Betties’ pivot LowBlowPalooza had another strong game (blocking here with Genuine Risk and Mazel Tough). (Photo by Greg Russell)

A late-half collision between the Dolls’ Hannibelle and the Betties’ Honey Boom Boom, saw Boom bloodied and taken out of the game, a huge loss for the Betties’ pack, who got strong performances from the usual suspects including SewWhat? and Tushy Galore (not to mention another monster performance from LowBlowPalooza), but were also debuting rookie Juggernaut J and saw first games of the year for Jenny Spector and Genuine Risk. The Dolls’ packs took advantage of the comparative lack of experience with two solid lines held down by offensive-blocking leader Getcha Kicks, Stringer Belle and Scarcasm on one side and Robotomy and Hannibelle on the other, but also welcomed to the track converted referee Lace Frehley in her Dolls’ debut.

The Dolls held the lead for the opening five minutes of the second before the Betties put forth their most sustained offensive push of the game, going on a 22-3 run over the next ten minutes to pull within 3, down 117-114, nearing the midway point of the second.

Betties' jammer Smoka Cola and Dolls' jammer Sleeper Hold duel in the second half. (Photo by Greg Russell)

Betties’ jammer Smoka Cola and Dolls’ jammer Sleeper Hold duel in the second half. (Photo by Greg Russell)

In the end, you could boil the difference in the game down to two things: match-ups and discipline. First off, the Dolls played one of the cleanest games in recent ToRD history, picking up a total of eighteen penalties (and no jammer penalties, to the Betties’ four), while they also made subtle matchup adjustments throughout the game. Both of these things were the in play at the turning point of the game.

Throughout the first half, Smoke Cola had often found herself matched up against the Dolls’ rookie jammers, and the experienced jammer took advantage (including picking up lead on her first five jams); however, in the second half, Smoka could barely move an inch without Dolls’ more experienced Sleeper Hold stuck to her side, and it was a shift that worked: with the Betties threatening and within three points, Sleeper was actively involved in drawing a cut on Smoka Cola to give the Dolls a crucial power jam and letting them pull away. Another power jam on the final jam sealed the deal and allowed the Dolls to hold on for the statement-making 37-point victory, wrapping up second place in the 2015 regular season standings.

**This game was boutcast live on Layer9.ca. Watch the archive here.

**The ToRD house league teams get a break now as they gear up for Montreal’s Beast of the East, with the quarterfinal showdown tentatively scheduled for May 9th.

Nerd Glasses


Calgary All Stars LogoIt was a busy weekend all across the country at all levels of play. Perhaps most significantly, Calgary (60th and in WFTDA’s Division 2) was making its 2015 WFTDA sanctioned debut at How the West Was Won and seemed to pick up right where they left off in 2014, scoring a major upset win over St. Chux Derby Chix (38th in D1) 137-103 before falling to a strong Arizona (34th) team, 270-139. They wrapped up the weekend with another upset, this time a 187-108 win against Brew City (50th). Calgary closed out 2014 by surging into a D2 playoff spot, but at this rate they may just propel themselves right into D1 before the year is out! Full results from HTWWW are available here.

Royal City’s Brute-Leggers were on the road for their WFTDA debut this weekend, and picked up two big wins, first 253-102 over Hellions of Troy (126th, D3) and then 157-109 over other WFTDA newcomers Albany Roller Derby.

Speaking of regular seasons, while Toronto’s was ending, Montreal’s was just getting under way with Les Filles du Roi winning this year’s annual round-robin tournament to kick off the season. FDR defeated Les Contrabanditas 125-99 and La Racaille 136-92 to emerge as front-runners in the league this season. The Ditas and La Racaille played a tight bout, 110-100 for the Ditas, to round out the night.

Also, Orangeville hosted a full-day men’s and women’s round robin tournament that saw the GTA Rollergirls G-sTARs go 2-0, knocking off Kingston Disloyalists 195-66 and Orangeville 243-139. The hosts, Orangeville Pulp Affliction, defeated Kingston 228-141. At the same event, Toronto Men’s Roller Derby put in a strong showing against Montreal’s Mont Royals, holding the 15th ranked MRDA team to a respectable 278-86. Full results available here.

Finally, the Border City Brawlers B-team, the Canadian Clubbers, managed to knock off the Woodstock Warriors 159-133 in Woodstock.

**Other Canadian roller derby scores? Please post them in the comments section below.

Kingston Closes out Season with Thrilling Double Header

The referees stand during the singing of the national anthem. (Photography by Papa Razzi / Steve Koopman)

This past weekend, the Kingston Derby Girls concluded yet another successful season with a double header that provided the throngs of fans on hand with a double dose of thrilling derby. With a houseleague bout that went into overtime, and a travel-team back-and-forth battle with a previously vanquished foe pulling out a surprise victory, fans of flat track got a little taste of everything at Kingston’s Memorial Centre.

This was the third meeting of the season between the two teams with, with the Rogue Warriors having won the previous two. (Photography by Papa Razzi/Steve Koopman)

The Skateful Dead 132 vs. The Rogue Warriors 138 (OT)

After winning both meetings between the two teams this year (by scores of 26 and 53 points), the Rogue Warriors were the heavy favourites entering their season championship matchup. With their only loss coming to an experienced Dolly Rogers team from Capital City, the team seemed poised to close out the season with year another win. But the Skateful Dead could be happy with their season as well; aside from the two losses to their Kingston counterparts, the Dead managed a big early season win over Durham’s DRRDY Farmers, and just three weeks ago scored a confidence-boosting victory over Capital City’s Dollinquents (165-67).

While the Rogue Warriors jumped out to a quick lead after the first few jams, the Skateful Dead roared back. With an offense anchored by impressive rookie jammer Tyknee Smasher and the veteran poise of Skate at Home Mom (who scored a key 10-point power jam early in the game), the Dead took over the lead, 26-20 at the midway point of the first half. But the Rogue Warriors never felt out of it in the first half and relied on steady jamming from Amandatory Sentence, Bad Princess and Kimminent Danger. As happens when evenly matched teams face off, penalties came to be a big part of the story, and both packs were ravaged by (especially) pack definition penalties that kept each team short-handed  for much of the half. The Skateful Dead took better advantage of power jams though and led 72-55 at the half.

Skateful Dead dominated the opening of the second half and seemed on their way to victory.

With packs decimated by penalties, much of the pack work came down to strong individual performances. Pivots Coop de Loop and Polly Slamory provided solid on-track leadership, while Booty on Duty and Careless Whips-Her were strong one-on-one. Boney L’Ass continued strong jamming in the second and (B)Lackey(e) provided some offensive depth and was a key part of the rotation as the game went on.

The Dead dominated the first half of the second period and seemed ready to roll to their first win over their leaguemates when the Warriors pushed back. Led by devastating one-on-one blocking from jammer-killer Box Punch and tenacious pack work from Cat O’Clysm. Expanding their jammer rotation (giving Nikki Heat and double threat Zesty Enterprise opportunities with the star) allowed the offense to get some different looks and to eventually claw their way all the way back and take the lead 103-98 with 10 minutes remaining in the game. Accumulating penalties didn’t allow them to hold it long though, and quickly the Dead found themselves back up 112-103 only two jams later. Once again, they seemed to have it all locked up, and were leading by a comfortable 7 points entering the final jam.

The Rogue Warriors completed their comeback in overtime, capturing the Boot in a thrilling game.

Cue the comeback.

With only seconds left in the final jam, Nikki Heat (who picked up a grand slam on her first scoring pass) was able to squeeze past two blockers to tie the score, 125-125 with no time left on the clock, setting up a thrilling overtime jam. However, in the waning moments of the game, key Rogue skaters Cat O’Clysm and Amandatory Sentence fouled out, leaving the team without two of their most effective players.

In overtime, the excitement built off a thrilling first pass that saw both jammers glide though for 4 points was quickly dampened when the Dead jammer was sent off, leaving the Rogues with a power jam for the final minute. It was a heartbreaking loss for the Skateful Dead, but a phenomenally close game that showcased how much they’d grown over the course of the season.

View from the Disloyalists bench. It was a 3 point game midway through the first half.

D-VAS (ToRD) 149 vs. Disloyalists (KDG) 132

In May of this year, Kingston’s Disloyalists marched into Toronto as one of the hottest teams in Ontario. Having handily dispatched Durham’s Devils and the South Simcoe Rebel Rollers by 107 and 162 points respectively, the Disloyalists skated all over the D-VAS, destroying them by 259 points in front of their hometown crowd. However, the D-VAS (Toronto Roller Derby’s farm team) were playing with a new roster for the first time and featured Toronto’s least experienced skaters. They took that defeat to heart and steadily improved all summer, going 3-0 the rest of the way, while also putting together a strong third place showing (out of fourteen teams) at the annual Fresh and Furious tournament. Kingston, in the meantime, faced much stronger competition over the rest of their summer, losing to Guelph’s Brute Leggers and a home and home series against Rideau Valley’s Riot Squad, to skate into this one on a three-game losing strength.

The D-VAS roster was also bolstered by the arrival of a few more experienced transfers, who have quickly and successfully integrated into the league and the team. But the majority of this Toronto team was rostered in that late-spring game and were looking for revenge. It was clear from the outset that this game was going to be a far different one than the previous had been. With the D-VAS  running a tight rotation of Chevy Chase-Her, Taranasaurus Rex and Rosemary’s Rabies, the visitors were able to keep up with the host Disloyalists, who nonetheless looked the stronger team in the early going and led 28-16 ten minutes in, largely on the strength of unstoppable jamming from Lavallee of the Dolls, Luci Fleur and Johnston (they would also be supported mightily by triple-threat Manic Breeze).

Two standouts, Getcha Kicks of the D-VAS and Manic Breeze of the Disloyalists, do battle at the front of the pack.

While the game was virtually even on the track, the D-VAS were winning in one key category: discipline. The clean play of the Toronto jammers (despite struggling at times against a stifling defense led by the likes of Mr. Kristi and Vagina Dentata) and subsequent penalty problems from the Kingston ones, allowed the D-VAS to fight their way back, and were within three, 32-29, at the halfway mark of the first period. While both teams struggled to gain momentum throughout the first thirty, the track seemed to tilt in the D-VAS favour late in the half, and expanding their offense to include veteran Getcha Kicks and standout double-threat Lexi Con, they took their first lead with two minutes to go and were  up 72-65 at the break.

The D-VAS got better as the game went on, and looked far improved over the early season meeting between these teams.

Despite being down, in five-on-five situations the Disloyalists were the slightly better team in the first half; however, the D-VAS pack came together in the second, anchored by a solid core that has developed together over the past eighteen months. Playing a tight, together game that they couldn’t quite pull together in the first half, the D-VAS blockers took the game away from their opponents. The penalty problems that plagued the home team in the first half were back in a big way early in the second, and three power jams in the first third of the period gave the D-VAS a lead (121-80) that they would not relent. Despite solid pack leadership from Angel ‘A Misfortune and Little Orphan-Maker Annie, and an extraordinary jam from blocker Vagina Dentata that brought the Disloyalists as close as they’d get (and the crowd to its feet!), Kingston couldn’t pull off the comeback, falling 149-132.

This group of D-VAS has one game remaining (a home game on October 20th) before the 2012 entry ToRD draft: a draft that will be the league’s largest yet and see virtually all of this crop of D-VAS called up to one of the league’s four houseleague teams. It has been an excellent season for this crop of future stars that has seen the teams the skaters improve consistently all year.  While the Disloyalists’ season may not have ended as spectacularly as it began, the league has laid a solid foundation in 2012 and are on the right track. They have proven to be among the leaders of this new wave of roller derby in the province.

***I would like to send a big personal thanks to Kingston Derby Girls for the invite to announce the event, and home announcers Dr. Sneaks and Jenny Juggs for their generous hospitality.

Weekend Preview: Chicks ‘n Betties, D-VAS ‘n Disloyalists

In 2009, the Betties and Chicks played in the lowest scoring regular season game in ToRD history (Betties won 68-61). (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

On July, 19th, 2009, the Smoke City Betties grinded out a 68-61 victory over the defending champion Chicks Ahoy! in one of the great defensive battles waged in ToRD’s history. At that time they were two teams heading in different directions: the Betties were on their way to their only appearance in the Battle for the Boot, while the Chicks, champs in 2008, were on their way to their worst showing in the three-year history of the league.

Fast forward a few years, and there are certainly some similarities: the Chicks are defending champions once again and the Betties, as they were in 2009, are a team on the rise. Over the past two years this team has come a long way. In 2010 they lost to the Death Track Dolls 213-53, last year they inched closer, losing only 115-62, and finally, in this year’s season opener the Dolls actually had to come back from a half-time deficit to win 115-100, add to that the Betties return to the Beast of the East quarterfinals, and it’s already been a successful year for the team.  However, unlike the Chicks of ’09 who were declining, this green machine looks poised and focused on defending its championship as seen by their impressive season opening victory against the Gore-Gore Rollergirls, and their third place finish at the Beast of the East.


Chicks’ Jammer Rotation: It’s that time in the season when the bumps and bruises of months of practices and games are beginning to take their toll. It’s a certainty that Dyna Hurtcha will be out of the game, and with another veteran (and one of the league’s top jammers) Candy Crossbones potentially sidelined as well, this game could be a test of the team’s depth. Undoubtedly last year’s rookie of the year Kookie Doe and one of this year’s breakout players Bala Reina will lead the charge,  but it remains to be seen who will fill out the roles if needed. One possibility could be rookie Roadside BombShel, who had a strong opening game in the pack, but spent a lot of time with the star during her year with the D-VAS. Rebel Rock-It has also been jamming with CN Power, but is such a key pivot for the Chicks that they may be wary of taking her out of the pack.

Betties’ Jammer Rotation: Does it have the depth to compete? Titmouse had a monster opening game against the Dolls posting a 58% lead percentage and scoring 47 points. She will need to replicate that effort here. Rug Burn burned lots of track time as well, while triple-threat BruiseBerry Pie and the quickly improving Platinum Bomb filled out the rotation. That foursome is a solid mix of experienced skaters (and we haven’t even seen vet Memphis Kitty yet this season) and if they can have a strong game and take advantage of this rare short-handed Chicks’ rotation, there could be some surprises.

The Betties’ Renny Rumble is an early contender for rookie of the year (seen here holding back another fantastic rookie, Bellefast). (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

Chicks’ Pack: The Chicks have extraordinary pack players led by two of ToRD’s top blockers in Tara Part and Nasher the Smasher. But with the likes of Rebel Rock-It, Mega Bouche, Marmighty and Robber Blind as first-level support, there is a ton of depth in the pack. With a potentially shortened jammer rotation, it will be key for the Chicks’ packs to dictate the conditions of the game. Something that they are more than capable of doing.

Betties’ Rookies: It has taken a while for this roster to settle, but since it has, players like Mia Culprit, Lady Scorhcer, and BruiseBerry Pie have emerged as on-track leaders. But with a few years of futility meaning a plethora of high draft picks, since 2010, this has always been a team that has showcased its newest skaters; this season has been no different. Renny Rumble has burst out of the gates in her rookie year and actually had the third most track-time on the team in the last game, providing remarkably consistent blocking and will be a factor in this one. A newer revelation is Slaptrick Swayze who, due to a shorthanded bench, was forced into taking on a big workload at the recent Beast of the East. She jammed without fear and with a lot of success and was a huge contributing factor to the Betties’ success in Montreal.

The Smoke City Betties and the Chicks Ahoy! will square off in the second game of a doubleheader (game time approximately 8:00 PM).

The D-VAS have only faced themselves so far in 2012. (Photo by Joe Mac)

D-VAS  vs. Disloyalists

The double header will kick off with a showdown featuring ToRD’s farm team, the D-VAS, taking on the rising Disloyalists from Kingston. So far in 2012, the D-VAS only action was a split-squad showdown at the season opener. A thrilling, tight matchup, the game showcased a depth of talent in almost all positions. With a jammer rotation potentially built around Lexi Con, Babushkill Mean Streak, Viktory Lapp and Wackedher (which provides a ton of options), the key in this one could be in the pack. Armageddon Rose had an excellent first game for the D-VAS, and Joss Wheelin, LowBlowPalooza, and Mazel Tough are just a few of the skaters who could make a difference in the pack (they will need solid pack leadership as well in the absence of captains Purple Pain and Margaret Smackwood). Windy City transfer Tomy Knockers will be making her D-VAS debut on Saturday.

The Disloyalists after their season opening victory vs. The Durham Derby Devils. (Photo by Joe Mac)

The D-VAS will need that depth as well as they will face off against a team that has been growing in leaps and bounds. Kingston Derby Girls’ A-team, the Disloyalists, has been dominant so far in 2012, distancing itself from a lot of the other newer leagues in Ontario very quickly. Led by the smart and talented Little Orphan-Maker Annie and Manic Breeze in the pack (Breeze is also a formidable jammer), the team hammered Durham Derby Devils in Durham  193-86  to kick off the season and followed that up last weekend with another dominant victory at home, this time a stunning 203-40 victory over the South Simcoe Rebel Rollers. This Kingston team has a lot of depth in the pack (Yo! Shanity Slam, Mr. Kristi) and at jammer (LaVallee of the Dolls, Luci Fleur), and will be a huge challenge for the less experienced D-VAS.

***Doors at the Bunker open at 5:00 PM with the first game getting under way at 6:00 PM. Tickets are available online or at a number of vendors in Toronto.