Fort Wayne Derby Girls

Busy Weekend for Canada’s WFTDA Teams: Montreal, Toronto, Tri-City and Rideau Valley in Action

Montreal heads to the West Coast on an important three-game road trip; Toronto and Tri-City head to the Mid West for Spring Roll; and Rideau Valley heads to the East Coast.

Montreal Heads West

Montreal's Honey Badger tries to get passed Toronto's Ames to Kill and Mega Bouche in a March matchup up in Toronto. Montreal won 233-216. (Photo by Greg Russell)

Montreal’s Honey Badger tries to get passed Toronto’s Ames to Kill and Mega Bouche in a March matchup up in Toronto. Montreal won 233-216. (Photo by Greg Russell)

As the spring crawls toward summer, the WFTDA schedule is ramping up as teams jockey for playoff positions or, in the case of Division 2 teams, simply fight for a playoff spot. Fans of Canadian derby get a little bit of everything this weekend as four of the nation’s top five teams are all in action.

First off, Montreal (currently ranked 12th after moving up a few spots in the most recent rankings) head to the West Coast for an important three-game road trip all against Top 20 teams. They kick things off with a game against Seattle’s Rat City on Friday night. It was February 2011 when these two teams first faced off, with Montreal recording an at-the-time shocking 110-103 win. It would announce Montreal’s reaching the highest level of competitive play: a level they have stayed at since. They will continue their challenging road trip with games against Rose City in Portland and then the Oly Rollers in Olympia.

Montreal is off to a great start in 2014 with a 4-0 record that includes two victories in a home-and-home series against Toronto. Rat City (ranked 18th) crushed Sacred City 444-58 in their season opener, while Rose City (5th) is 3-1 in WFTDA play with 300+ point victories over Kansas City and Treasure Valley, and a tight 252-199 win over Philly. Their loss came at the hands of Texas (274-194). Montreal will end the weekend against the Oly Rollers who return to WFTDA after focusing on USARS last season. Oly is a team largely rebuilt from its run to the 2012 WFTDA championship game, and has had a rough return so far with a pretty one-sided win over Treasure Valley being followed by un upset loss to Vancouver’s Terminal City (139-130) and a 263-140 loss to Rose City.

Toronto and Tri-City At Spring Roll in Fort Wayne

Toronto (23rd) and Tri-City (40th) will both be heading to Fort Wayne for this Spring Roll 2014 Banneryear’s Spring Roll. Both play their first games on Saturday with Tri-City (3-5 on the season with wins over Ft. Myers and Queen City and losses to teams including Detroit and Naptown) kicking things off against Everett, Washington’s, Jet City (36th), while later in the day they’ll have the privilege of playing a cross-ocean opponent in Glasgow (ranked 104 and who are coming off of a season-opening loss to Cardiff’s Tiger Bay Brawlers). Tri-City will close out the weekend on Sunday against New Orleans’ Big Easy Rollergirls (82nd). Tri-City recently slipped into Division 1 and this weekend’s favourable draw gives them an opportunity to at least hold that (and perhaps even increase it with a win over a beatable Jet City team).

Toronto finds itself attempting to slow an early season slide. They peaked at 13th in the WFTDA after opening the year with two wins but have since dropped eight in a row (to tough opponents including Monteal, Rocky Mountain and London). This weekend gives them an opportunity to, at the very least, hold their position. They’ll face off against a surging Jacksonville on Saturday (16th), a team on the exact opposite trajectory as Toronto at this point in the season; it will be a good challenge, especially after they showed signs of improvement in losses last weekend to Pittsburgh and Atlanta. Toronto also has two games on Sunday, starting with Jet City (36th) and concluding with a matchup against Cincinnati (56th), a team that beat Toronto by only 20 points last year but that has been on a freefall since, and could even be in danger of losing a spot in the D-2 playoffs at this rate.

All games will be boutcast. You can find the complete schedule here.

Rideau Valley Vixens Head East

Finally, Ottawa’s Rideau Valley Vixens (64th) will be on the road to take on Maine Roller Derby’s Port Authorities (72nd) on Saturday night. Rideau Valley jumped five spots in the current ranking after knocking off DC on the road in their season opener. Rideau Valley is on the cusp of a D-2 playoff spot and a convincing win over Maine (who beat Rideau Valley last season by 35 points [187-152]) would help the push for a position. Maine is not a team to take lightly though. After tumbling badly in 2013, they have had a hot start this season, jumping 9 positions so far in 2014 on the strength of their 5-1 record.

Maine and Rideau Valley met last year with Maine picking up the 35-point win.

Word on the Track: Montreal Splits in Chicago; Forest City City Rolls; Rankings Released

Montreal's Surgical Strike and Jess Bandit give Windy jammer Jackie Daniels a hard time. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Montreal’s Surgical Strike and Jess Bandit give Windy City jammer Jackie Daniels a hard time. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

SKIDS 1-1 IN CHICAGO

Montreal’s New Skids on the Block (currently ranked 17th in the WFTDA) travelled to Chicago this weekend to take on Chi-Town’s two WFTDA teams: the Windy City Rollers (6th) and the Chicago Outfit (34th). It had been two years since Windy and the Skids faced off (Windy City took that matchup 130-105), and it seems that not much has changed since then. In another tight, exciting game between two teams that have high hopes for the WFTDA playoffs this year, the Windy City Rollers skated away with a 249-211 victory in what was a fast paced, high scoring game.

On the undercard for the evening, Toronto’s CN Power took on Windy City’s Second Wind and beat the B-Team 231-179. It was the first regulation (IE: non-sanctioned) bout of the year for Toronto and coming after an up-and-down Quad City Chaos, it provided a much needed confidence boost (the 52 point victory exceeded statistical expectations).

Toronto defeated Second Wind on Saturday before falling to Windy City on Sunday. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Toronto defeated Second Wind on Saturday before falling to Windy City on Sunday. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Montreal closed out the weekend with a closed, sanctioned bout against the Chicago Outfit on Sunday. The Skids avenged their Saturday night loss with a massive victory over the Outfit, 339-88, an impressive victory over another First Division team, and one that made the playoffs last year as well. The Skids improved their record to 4-1 on the season and look phenomenal early on in 2013. The one question that remains is can they maintain it? It has seemed in the past that the early-season-bout-heavy Skids have peaked too early in the year, only to run out of steam come playoffs.  They’ve got games this month against River City (the 14th) and Toronto (26th).

Jammer Bloodlust Barbie is a big part of the Timber Rollers developing offense. (Photo by Joe Mac)

Jammer Bloodlust Barbie is a big part of the Timber Rollers developing offense. (Photo by Joe Mac)

FOREST CITY ON THE VERGE OF FULL WFTDA STATUS

Forest City’s WFTDA Apprentice Timber Rollers hosted Toronto Roller Derby houseleague team The Death Track Dolls in their second (of two) mock sanctioned bouts as a requirement of their apprenticeship. For the first time, Forest City has separated its travel team roster from its home teams to improve competitive play, and it has seemed to pay off so far in 2013. Entering the game on the heels of victories over Tri-City’s B-team and Royal City’s Brute-Leggers, they faced off against the Dolls in their new venue, the Agriplex, to a near capacity crowd.

The Rollers flew off the jam line to start things off, amassing a 33-0 lead before the Dolls were able to get their first lead jammer status and their first points (courtesy of Audry Hellborn, who had a strong opening half with the star). It only stemmed the flow, as they increased their lead to 68-9 (Audrey would score the first 13 points for the Dolls) at the midway point of the half. Comparatively, the Rollers penalty box was quiet during the first half, while the Dolls ran into early penalty trouble and gave up three power jams in the period. The Rollers were up 102-37 at the half.

The Rollers have built the team around a strong core of veteran blockers led by Sufferjet, Dollface Massacre, Back Alley Sally, Freez’er Burn and Anya Face, but also a new generation of on-track leaders like Andi Slamberg and Glamarchist. While double threats Slamberg and Pixie Kix provided solid offense with the star, Bloodlust Barbie is the breakout jammer of the 2013 Timber Rollers and gave the Dolls a hard time all night.

In her second game with the Dolls, Rainbow Fight looks increasingly comfortable in her new league. (Photo by Joe Mac)

In her second game with the Dolls, Rainbow Fight looks increasingly comfortable in her new league. (Photo by Joe Mac)

The Dolls entered the game with a far different lineup from the one that defeated the Chicks Ahoy a few weeks ago, and with some rookies and less experienced (or just newer skaters) getting a lot of track time, it took a while for the team to get going (they scored 28 of their 37 first half points in the final 12 minutes). The Dolls came out much stronger in the second, earning the first four lead jammer statuses. But while it was a much more even half (the Dolls would eventually outscore the hosts 62-58 in the half), the Rollers managed to keep pace and not relinquish the lead they’d so carefully built early in the game. A strong line of Dollface, Sufferjet, Freez’er and Pixie finally were able to shut down the suddenly hot Dolls early in the second, a confidence boosting jam that got the Rollers back on track.

The second half was actually an exciting half of derby marked by momentum shifts and scoring runs from each team, with the final score being 160-99. Dolls co-captain Scarcasm and Sinead O-Clobber were both strong on defence, while Getcha Kicks provided some strong relief jamming in the second half, and recent transfer Rainbow Fight was able to play her second game with her new squad and looked increasingly impressive in the pack, but especially on the jam line. Most importantly for the Dolls, second year skater UpHer Cut and rookie Chicken Sluggets (in her roller derby debut) gained a ton of track time, which could come in handy later this season as they continue their quest to finally reach the ToRD championship.

In the opening game of the night, a new-look Thames Fatales led by veteran blocker Jemicide, double threat Mirambo and rookie jammer phenom Kindree Surprise, took out their co-houseleague team the Luscious Lunch Ladies 186-82. The Ladies were led by Killary Tough, the mulit-talented and surprisingly agile Anne Tastic, and power jammer Torque E. Mada. One of this country’s oldest leagues, Forest City seems to have taken a turn toward a more competitive focus in 2013 and look to be well on their way.

Hammer City fell to 0-2 on the year, but nonetheless, seem to have turned a corner.

Hammer City fell to 0-2 on the year, but nonetheless, seem to have turned a corner.

CANADA STORMS THE FORT (AGAIN!)

Just over a month after ToRD’s CN Power and Bay Street Bruisers traveled south to take on the Fort Wayne Derby Girls, Hammer City and Royal City did the same this past weekend. In the opening game, the rapidly rebuilding Brute-Leggers took on The SWAT Team in a high scoring contest that saw the hosts hold on for the 218-168 victory. In the main event, the Hammer City Eh! Team took on Fort Wayne in a WFTDA sanctioned bout. Hammer City and Fort Wayne have a history that dates all the way back to 2007, but the last time these guys squared off in a WFTDA bout was in 2010 (a 119-44 Fort Wayne win). Hammer City, who have had a rough go of it for the past few years (including enduring the WFTDA’s longest losing streak), seem to finally be turning things around, and lost narrowly 199-177 on the weekend (falling to 0-2 on the season).

POWER RANKINGS RELEASED

And finally, just in case you missed it, the first ever Canadian Power Rankings were released on the Nerd yesterday. Read about the first rankings here.

Toronto Storms the Fort: CN Power and Bruisers Win Big in Indiana

CN Power LogoCN Power 266 vs. Fort Wayne logoBomb Squad 100

Bay Street Bruisers LogoBS Bruisers 245 vs. Fort Wayne logoSWAT Team 100

Coming off of impressive home wins against Killamazoo, Toronto Roller Derby’s CN Power and Bay Street Bruisers hit the road on the weekend for a double header in Fort Wayne, and both came away with impressive, message-sending victories. Two weeks ago at home, Toronto’s travel teams both won by remarkably similar amounts, and they did so again against Fort Wayne. Despite a packed Memorial Colliseum and a vocal partisan crowd, the visitors were unfazed and continue to look impressive as they build toward their first major showdowns of the season at next month’s Quad City Chaos.

Before embarking on their first road trip of the season, CNP released its 2013 team photo by Adam Coish. (coishphotography.com)

Before embarking on their first road trip of the season, CNP released its 2013 team photo by Adam Coish. (coishphotography.com)

In the opening game of the double header, the Bay Street Bruisers came out flying , going up 18-6 after two jams (despite giving up a very early power jam that the pack was able to fend off). Strong jamming and stifling pack defense had the Bruisers up significantly, 66-8 10 minutes in. Then the hometeam came storming back, and for almost ten minutes threatened to take control of the game. Slipping into penalty troubles (both in the pack and with jammers), the Bruisers gave up five lead jammer statuses in a row and suddenly the home team was within reach, 81-42. But the Bruisers switched gears, earning lead on 7 of the final 9 jams of the half, but more impressively locked down the defense, not allowing a single point over the final 10 minutes or so to lead 165-42 at the half.

This dominant run continued at the start of the second half as well as the Bruisers opened up with 5 of the first 6 leads and built an overwhelming 181-42 lead. But as it did in the first, things went awry near the midway point of the frame. The SWAT Team’s defense improved considerably as the game went on and they did not give up a significant power jam in the second half (on two occasions, the teams swapped jammer penalties), unfortunately for the home team, they couldn’t quite solve the Bruiser defense, and Toronto held on for the 145 point victory.

In the main event, Bomb Squad hosted CN Power almost a year to the day after their first meeting last year, a 13-point nailbiter that was in doubt almost the whole way through. What a difference a year can make.

A quiet end of season for Toronto (their only bout over the last few months of 2012 was a short-handed loss to Grand Rapids), meant that in terms of rankings (on flattrackstats and WTDA), these two teams were in very similar positions. But as they did against a slightly favoured Killamazoo two weeks ago at home, CN Power defied expectations and showed that in 2013, this is a focused and determined team, ready to climb the standings.

Fort Wayne got out first picking up a 2-0 jam by Adkins Riot with strong back-of-pack defense able to hold off Toronto co-captain Dusty (AKA Defecaitlin). But CN Power battened down the hatches and went on a 19-0 run before Adkins Riot once again was able to put up some points for Fort Wayne (this time on a 10-point power jam). It was back and forth early with the teams sharing 50% lead percentage and similar scores (23-17, Toronto) nearing the ten minute mark.

Then one jam turned the game around.

Fort Wayne lost their second straight game to kick off the 2013 WFTDA season.

Fort Wayne lost their second straight game to kick off the 2013 WFTDA season.

Despite continued punishing pack work from Fort Wayne’s phenomenal Enya Grave (who recently spent time playing for mighty Naptown), Toronto blocker twosome Dyna Hurtcha and Tara Part orchestrated a 24 point jam for Dusty that gave Toronto a 47-17 lead, part of a dominant 6-jam run in which the hosts were kept off the board. Fort Wayne’s Pink Painther finally got the home team back on track with a big 19 point power jam pick up that helped get the Bomb Squad back in it (within 14 points at the 20 minute mark of the half). But it was another well executed power jam, this time pivoted by co-captain Lady Gagya and jammed by Rebel Rock-It, that helped CN Power pull ahead significantly 126-48 at the half.

The impressive Memorial Coliseum was silenced by the beginning of the second half, and CN Power held steady in the half to maintain and slightly build their lead. Not to say that there weren’t moments of excellence from the hosts and some strong individual play from Enya Grave (who even took on the star in the second half), triple threat Adkins Riot, pivot Dodger L. Bows and the hard hitting Top Shelf (to name a few); but it was another well-balanced performance from CN Power, even more steady and consistent than their win against Killamazoo two weeks ago. The team continues to show impressive jammer depth (Bambi, Bala Reina, Dusty and Rebel Rock-It all looked comfortable on the track and brought their own unique style to the star, keeping the opposing defense off balance), and the pack work has been excellent, with Dyna Hurtcha and Tara Part, and then Betty Bomber and Nasher the Smasher, providing dynamic duos, with Lady Gagya continuing to show strong leadership as pivot.

Naptown_Roller_Girls_logo

CN Power played well in a loss against a very strong Naptown team on the second leg of the road trip.

By the 20 minute mark of the second half, CN Power was up 191-80, and never let up over the final 10 minutes (something that has happened to the team in the past) and ended the game on a Bambi-skated power jam to lift the team to an impressive 166-point victory.

On Sunday CN Power continued their road trip in Indianapolis against Naptown in a closed bout. While Toronto would drop this game 239-96, the score was actually better than predicted by flattrackstats.com, and allowed CN Power to continue its climb up the rankings. Although WFTDA has yet to release official rankings yet, Toronto has now climbed into the all-important Top 40 on flattrackstats.com (39th— within the potential Division 1 cut off). In rollergirl.ca’s Canadian rankings, CN Power is now ranked 3rd, having gained some distance on 4th ranked Tri-City, and now nipping at the coattails of Terminal City.

**Next up for both the Bay Street Bruisers and CN Power is the ToRD-hosted Quad City Chaos that will feature teams from Queen City, Rideau Valley and the Ohio Rollergirls.

CN Power Hits the Road: Bruisers tag along for first leg of two game road trip

CN Power opened the season with a home win over KIllamazoo. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

CN Power opened the season with a home win over KIllamazoo. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

CN Power kicked off its 2013 WFTDA season with a big 263-169 win over regional rivals the Killamazoo Derby Darlins: in three seasons, Toronto now has three wins over Killamazoo, two at home, one away in Michigan.  After ending 2012 with a loss, it was a confidence-boosting way to kick off 2013.

This weekend, ToRD’s top team heads to Indiana for back-to-back games against vastly different opponents. On Saturday, February 16, CN Power will play against the Fort Wayne Bomb Squad. It’s been almost a year to the day that Fort Wayne first hosted Toronto in WFTDA action, with Toronto coming away with the victory in a thrilling 16-point win. Both teams went in different directions at that point, with CN Power taking off on a winning streak and Fort Wayne losing two straight before coming on strong again at the end of the year.  The teams finished close in the 2012 WFTDA regional rankings, with Toronto sitting in 14th in the North Central and Fort Wayne 16th.

Fort Wayne has played two games so far in 2013: a non-sanctioned win against Southbend, and a loss in their WFTDA opener 180-117 against Bleeding Heartland.

On Sunday, CN Power will head down the interstate to Indianapolis to take on the Region’s 3rd ranked Naptown Roller Girls Tornado Sirens.  The last time these two teams met was in December 2011, and while a shorthanded CN Power put in a scrappy performance, they were overwhelmed by the Tornado Sirens.  Naptown, went on to have a spectacular 2012, going 9-6 in regular season games (against top-level competition), then taking third spot in the North Central Regionals before taking down host Atlanta at the Championships and falling in a respectable quarterfinal loss to eventual champs Gotham (which had them finishing in the top 8 in the WFTDA). With world class jammers like Amooze Bouche and Maiden America, and phenomenal blocking from the likes of Asian Sinsation and Dora the Destroyer, this is a team to watch in 2013.

Naptown has already played twice in the early going of 2013, notching big wins against Cincinnati (254-107) and Bleeding Heartland (211-85).

CN Power co-captain Dusty had a strong return to the lineup after a long injury layoff. (Photo by Derek Lang)

CN Power co-captain Dusty had a strong return to the lineup after a long injury layoff. (Photo by Derek Lang)

CN Power got off to exactly the start they wanted to with the win over Killamazoo. There are great expectations for the team this season, with the skaters now moving full time to the travel team roster. The adversity the team faced last season helped build depth in the roster. The jammer rotation seems solid, with Dusty, Bambi, Kookie Doe and Rebel Rock-It taking up primary roles, with 2012 Bay Street Bruiser standout Bala Reina waiting in the wings for her shot. Candy Crossbones has been playing in the pack more (with much success) but can always be called upon when a physical jammer is needed. Potential triple threat Bruiseberry Pie has also shown that she is more than capable of picking up any slack with the star as well.

The pack is once again led by the calm, consistent play of Tara Part and Nasher the Smasher, but has considerable depth as well. Co-captain Lady Gagya continues to develop her solid positional play, while Betty Bomber and Dyna Hurtcha stepped up in a big way in the opening game and are at the heart of the lineup. The depth in the pack comes from a core of veterans including Mega Bouche, Panty Hoser, Jubilee, Mia Culprit and Santa Muerte, with newcomers Renny Rumble and Chronic rounding out an impressive roster.

The Bay Street Bruisers defeated Killamazoo's B-Team in their home opener. (Photo by Derek Lang)

The Bay Street Bruisers defeated Killamazoo’s B-Team in their home opener. (Photo by Derek Lang)

ToRD’s B-travel team, the Bay Street Bruisers will be tagging along for the first leg of the roadtrip, facing off against Fort Wayne’s SWAT Team in the opening part of a double header on Saturday. Like CN Power, the Bruisers are also coming off of a big victory to kick off the 2013 season, and after a successful first season as Toronto’s farm team, also have high expectations for the year. Led by an established jammer core of Bellefast, Getcha Kicks and Hailey Copter (formerly known as titmouse), Taranasaurus Rex had a breakout game against Killamazoo, taking advantage of a few relief opportunities to put up 33 points and hold a 100% lead percentage.

The pack is anchored by a solid veteran core including co-captains Canadian Psycho and Dawson along with Speedin Hawking, Foxy Sinatra, Sinead O’Clobber,  Monichrome, Junkie Jenny, Furious Georgia, Robber Blind and Audrey Hellborn (who will make her Bruisers debut in Fort Wayne); they are joined by emerging skaters Scarcasm, Ames to Kill, Biggley Smalls, Tomy Knockers, Rhage in a Cage to fill out a very deep B-team roster.

Fort Wayne’s SWAT team has been busy so far in 2013, and played in this past weekend’s B-Cup tournament in Bleeding Heartland; although they are only 1-3 early in the season, that track experience is invaluable, and they’ll be looking to turn things around at home against the Bruisers.

Saturday night’s double header will be live streamed by the Fort Wayne Derby Girls.

Word on the track: CN Power scores upset in a weekend full of WFTDA upsets

CN Power's upset win over Fort Wayne was aired live on Derby News Network.

FEATURED SHOWDOWN

CN Power 151 vs. Fort Wayne 138

In the ever-tightening North Central Region, Toronto Roller Derby upstarts CN Power (17th) scored an important upset win over 14th ranked Fort Wayne Derby Girls. While the two teams have never met before, Fort Wayne has a long history with Hammer City beginning back in 2007 when the southern Ontario team was invited to the Fall Brawl. While Fort Wayne never lost to Hammer City in their meetings, they faced a far greater challenge on Saturday when they hosted a very hungry CN Power. What resulted was a tense, penalty-filled affair that featured six lead changes and two ejections, but in the end saw CN Power inch one step closer to the WFTDA playoffs.

The bout began slowly, with each team getting a sense of the other as they jockeyed for control. The ToRD skaters seemed to be trying to keep things slow and controlled in the early going, while Fort Wayne looked to up the physical ante and draw CN Power into a physical showdown. What resulted was a defensive stalemate that saw CN Power hold on to a small 7-5 lead, six jams into the bout.  Fort Wayne used their physical advantage to win some of the early scrum starts to get back in the game, and the scrappy, physical packs began to take their toll on the teams and the penalties began to add up.  First Fort Wayne’s Pushycat and CN Power’s Dust Bunny exchanged power jams (and leads), before a 15 point Bambi power jam finally pulled CN Power ahead 38-20.

But as they would all bout, CN Power would build a solid lead only to see the Fort Wayne skaters claw their way back. Momentum began to shift as penalty problems forced Toronto away from its usual rotation and the hosts pounced on the confusion to retake the lead. Despite a strong final-jam push back from a determined CN Power pack (featuring a slick 9 points from an uncharacteristically jukey Dyna Hurtcha), the visitors were down 66-58 at the half.

The second half featured much of the same dueling for momentum and control of the bout that had the teams neck-and-neck through the first ten minutes. In a fascinating sequence around the midway point of the second half, the fate of the game would be decided. First, on another multi-jammer-penalty jam CN Power took a 90-79 lead, then in a turnaround indicative of the game as a whole, the very next jam would see yet another wild swing in momentum as Fort Wayne picked up 15 points on a power jam to inch ahead; with Dust Bunny still in the box, they seemed to have control of the volatile game. But on the back of some strong pack defense, Dust Bunny was able to spring from the pack to steal 9 points; it was a blow that seemed to finally wrestle control of the game away from the hosts. What followed was CN Power’s strongest series of jams of the bout: clean, tight controlled packs led by great individual efforts from Lady Gagya and Nasher the Smasher, and patient conservative jamming from CN Power’s strong three-skater rotation, saw Toronto finally take control of things and pull ahead 134-96 with only eleven minutes left.

But in a game that was full of momentum changes and full penalty boxes, Fort Wayne was down but not out, and they continued to chip away at an increasingly undisciplined CN Power, but while they would outscore CN Power 42-17 in the final ten minutes of the game, they couldn’t climb all the way back, and the ToRD skaters held on for a very important 151-138 upset that could see them climb as high was 14th in the North Central rankings.

**Watch the archived bout here. Next up for CN Power is a home date on March 3rdagainst the Eastern Regions Roc City Roc Stars.

It was a busy weekend in the WFTDA, with eleven sanctioned bouts.

WFTDA ROUND UP

North Central

In other North Central matchups this weekend, Cincinnati (8th) and Grand Raggidy (11th) met in a hugely entertaining showdown  that saw Cincinnati fight their way back from a first half deficit to prevent the upset and win 140-116. For Grand Raggidy, a team that has been on the cusp of the North Central playoffs for the past two years, it was an important step in the right direction. And after a big loss to CN Power to close out 2011, 21st ranked Derby City continued their slide, getting crushed by 13th ranked Bleeding Heartland  220-76.

Despite being an apprentice league, Columbia has already knocked off two WFTDA teams this year.

East Region

Montreal’s New Skids on the Block (6th) kicked off their 2012 season on Friday in a non-sanctioned bout against Boston (7th); the mixed Boston squad was no match for the Montreal skaters who are hungry after two years of amazing regular seasons have led to disappointing playoff runs and skated away with a 172-83 victory. It was another unsanctioned bout that actually saw the biggest upset of the weekend. WFTDA Apprentice league Columbia Quadsquad All Stars (who began their season with an upset over 16th ranked Dominion) recorded a monstrous upset  in Carolina, stunning the 8th ranked Carolina Rollergirls 99-88. Carolina is also ranked 21st in the DNN Power Rankings, so the East, which seems to produce a stunning playoff-bound upstart every year (Montreal in ’10, London last year), could have their “next-big-thing” in Columbia.

In other Eastern Region action, 13th ranked Providence barely held off a challenge from 22nd ranked Green Mountain Derby Dames 174-161, only securing the win on the final jam. To continue the theme of surprising results, 25thranked Charlotte Roller Girls fell to unranked Lowcountry Highrollers 153-81.

11th ranked Jacksonville helped their playoff chances with win over 9th ranked Gold Coast.

South Central

The South Central was busy on Saturday night as well.  In a minor upset, Jacksonville (11th) blew past Gold Coast (9) 186-97 in a game with playoff implications; Unranked Des Moines handled themselves well in a 165-89 loss to 10th ranked Omaha (leaving Omaha clinging to that final playoff spot), while 16th ranked Memphis was able to hold off the Oklahoma Victory Dolls 87-77. Springfield (25th) took down Oklahoma City (27th) 204-76.

Inter-Region

There were a few intriguing inter-region matchups this weekend as well. In a stiff test, the South Central’s 4th ranked Atlanta Roller Girls held off the challenge from the Eastern Region’s 10th ranked Maine Roller Derby 181-114. Tri-City Thunder, ranked 16th in the North Central visited Roc City Roc Stars (17th in the East) and proved to be a handful. Only late in the game were the Thunder able to pull away from the Roc Stars, winning. 124-92

ONE MORE THING!

Finally, a big congratulations to the Yukon Roller Girls who beat Juneau in a cross-border, northern showdown, 164-161 in what by all accounts was an extraordinary game.  Yukon has a busy schedule lined up for 2012 featuring bouts against Fairbanks, Red Deer and Reign Valley.

2012 Season Preview: CN Power

CN Power 2012

2011: A LOOK BACK

CN Power completed its apprenticeship and kicked off life as a member of the WFTDA’s North Central Region in 2011, making a commitment to compete. And it was a successful initial foray into the highest levels of competitive flat track roller derby. The team kicked off 2011 with a preview of things to come  when they crushed WFTDA team Killamazoo Derby Darlins 197-35 in a February home game (Killamazoo was ranked 19th in the North Central at that time). CN Power completed its apprenticeship when it hosted Montreal’s New Skids on the Blocks, Tri-City Thunder and the Rideau Valley Vixens at the second annual Quad City Chaos, going 2-1 with victories over Thunder (112-98) and Vixens (156-40) to finish second in the round robin tournament for the second year in a row.

CN Power overwhelmed a short handed Eh! Team in October. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

After acceptance into the WFTDA at the end of the summer, the Toronto all stars continued to dominate the lower levels of the North Central completing a home-and-home sweep of Killamazoo (220-76) before destroying traditional rivals from Hammer City, the Eh! Team (277-22). The team stepped up the competition in the fall facing a considerable challenge in Grand Raggidy (ranked 11th), losing 148-68 in Grand Rapids. CN Power got back on a winning streak with a hard-fought 139-129 victory over Queen City’s Lake Effect Furies (14th in the Eastern Region) and Rideau Valley’s Vixens.

In December, CN Power faced its stiffest challenge ever against Naptown. (Photo by Michael Guio)

CN Power closed out 2011 on a Midwest road trip that saw them face off against North Central powerhouse Naptown (falling mightily 266-67) before taking out their frustrations on Louisville’s Derby City Rollergirls 295-28. All in all, going 9-3 on its first full season with a set roster and after gaining admittance to the WFTDA, it was an impressive year for a team that previous to this had never played more than seven bouts in a season (in 2010, after only four in 2009 and one in 2008).

For a complete list of scores and results, click here.

Mia Culprit returns to CN Power. She was part of the first ever CN Power team that challenged the Eh! Team in 2008. (Photo by Derek Lang)

2012: LOOKING FORWARD

After a series of makeshift rosters suffered crushing losses to end 2010, CN Power reorganized and restructured and 2011 was the first year try outs lead to a set roster. In 2012 the competitive structure remains and three new skaters have been added to the team. League veteran and current member of the Smoke City Betties Mia Culprit returns to CN Power (she was part of the first ever CN Power lineup in 2008) adding power and depth to the pack, which will also be bolstered by the arrival of Chicks Ahoy! member Marmighty, who turned some heads with her league play in 2011. And finally 2011 rookie of the year Kookie Doe (also of the Chicks Ahoy!) rounds out the additions and adds depth to the jammer rotation. Lady Gagya joins Brim Stone as co-captains for 2012.

CN Power already has a steady and consistent flow of competition lined up for 2012 with spring bouts scheduled against Queen City’s Lake Effect Furies and a March 3rd home debut against Rochester New York’s Roc City All Stars. They also have two tournaments lined up: along with hosting the third annual Quad City Chaos (March 31-April 1), they will also take part in the Midwest Brewhaha in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (June 2-3).

Fort Wayne is CN Power's first opponent in 2012.

CN Power kicks off 2012 this Saturday with a critical road game showdown against Fort Wayne in Indiana.  The Fort Wayne Derby Girls are a historic flat track team, playing in the WFTDA since 2007. They were also involved in some of the sport’s earliest cross-border showdowns in their dealings with the Hammer City Eh! Team.  Currently they are ranked 14th in the North Central, but climbed as high as 12th in 2011 (they went 5-6 in WFTDA action in 2011, facing off against some of the toughest competition in the region). They played their first bout of 2012 on January 21st with a definitive 204-80 win against 23rd ranked NEO Roller Derby (Akron, Ohio).

You can catch all the action live from Fort Wayne on the Derby News Network beginning at 6:00 PM eastern.

2011 Team Stats Highlights

  • Over a grueling twelve-game schedule, Nasher the Smasher (49%), Brim Stone (44%) and Tara Part (42%) were on the track for over 40% of CN Power’s jams (triple threat Dyna Hurtcha was on for 37%). Defecaitlin was the busiest jammer, jamming for 24% of CN Power’s jams.
  • Nasher led the team in blocks and knockdowns, while tied with Mega Bouche for assists.
  • Defecaitlin  led the team in scoring with 445 points (49 points per game, 3.83 points per jam). Dyna Hurtcha (340) and Candy Crossbones (314) also scored over 300 points on the season. Despite appearing in only three games, Bambi managed to score 149 points (49.7 points per game).
  •  Defecailtin also led the team in jammer +/- (+213) and lead % (59%).
  • Given her amount of track time, it’s no surprise that Nasher racked up the most penalties (43 minors, 21 majors for 27 minutes).  Dyna Hurtcha (22) and Mega Bouche (20) also registered at least 20 minutes in penalties.

ROSTER

Nasher the Smasher spent more time on the track in 2011 that any other CN Power skater. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

Aston Martini 510hp (Blocker)

Bambi 33 (Jammer)

Betty Bomber 23 (Blocker, Jammer)

Brim Stone (C) 21:8 (Pivot, Blocker, Jammer)

Bruiseberry Pie 31 (Blocker, Jammer)

Candy Crossbones 2020 (Jammer)

Defecaitlin 2  (Jammer)

Dyna Hurtcha 21 (Blocker, Jammer)

Hurlin Wall 89 (Blocker)

Jubilee 27 (Blocker)

Kookie Doe 807 (Jammer)

Lady Gag Ya (C) 212db (Blocker)

Marmighty 41 (Blocker)

Lady Gagya joins Brim Stone as CN Power co-captain in 2012. (photo by Kevin Konnyu)

Mega Mouth 26 (Blocker, Pivot)

Mia Culprit 22 (Blocker)

Nasher the Smasher 2×4 (Blocker, Pivot)

Panty Hoser 99 (Blocker, Pivot)

Rebel Rock-it 7 (Pivot, Blocker, Jammer)

Santa Muerte 111 (Blocker, Jammer)

Tara Part L7 (Pivot, Blocker)

MANAGERS:  

The Rev. Ramirez

Sonic Doom

The Derby Nerd

Nerd Meat Part 7: Leaps and Bounds

Nerd Meat: The Nerd Does Derby

Part 7: Leaps and Bounds

Now that the weather is starting its slow ascent into summer, I’ve been starting to skate outside. Equipped with some outdoor-appropriate wheels by wheel-hoarding rollergirl partner (are all rollergirls, by nature, wheel hoarders?), the first experience on concrete was not at all as frightening as I’d initially anticipated. There’s a school near us and surrounding the soccer field behind it is a full-size, smoothly paved track. Running drills, playing cat and mouse, I was reminded of that first time my partner and I went skating outside. We were still in Montreal at the time, and had just watched the 2008 MTLRD championship bout (the “Celery Championship,” won by La Racaille—picture flailing stalks of celery replacing the traditional white towel at hockey games and you get the idea), and my partner had finally gotten to the point where she was no longer content to sit in the suicide seats and watch anymore. She wanted to get out there and play. Only problem: She couldn’t skate.

Slaughter Lauder, jamming for the Betties in ’09, was the last ToRD skater to don artisitic skates in bouts. (photo by Kevin Konnyu)

Her first skates were those old-school, white artistic skates (last worn in ToRD during the 2009 season by Slaughter Lauder), bought for a few bucks at the Salvation Army on Rue Notre-Dame, just a block or two north of the Lachine Canal and the recreation trail that follows its coasts. She was committed enough even then to try to skate home and so we began a slow, laborious stutter-stepping march along the smooth trails next to the Canal.

2008 was a strange season for eastern Canadian roller derby: there was a sense of “settling” going on. The rush and adrenaline of the first seasons had passed, leaving leagues to deal with what they’d created. In Montreal, that meant a unified, highly competitive home league of three teams; in Hammer City, it meant the continued focus on the development of the Eh! Team and traveling far and wide; in Toronto, it meant a struggle to maintain control of the largest flat track roller derby league in the world. Perhaps most importantly, 2008 would see the creation of the New Skids on the Block and CN Power, the travel teams in Montreal and Toronto: the first forays into the larger world of flat track roller derby for these two leagues (this would be mirrored out west as well, in Edmonton and Vancouver among others). There was still a sense that things were settling: it was definitely still an era of change and foundation building.

The Eh! Teams takes on Texas’s Hot Rod Honeys in 2008. (photo by Derek Lang)

The development of roller derby in this country continued to be led by Hammer City. That year the Eh! Team would have the pleasure of heading right into the primordial ooze of flat track roller derby by taking on a Texas Rollergirls’ hometeam; they would also strike up a long standing cross-border feud with Killamazoo that continues to this day. And of course, they would continue to blaze a trail into big-tournament participation by continuing to take part in Fall Brawl (where they would finish 2nd in the non-WFTDA bracket).

But growth in the sport certainly wasn’t limited to Hammer City. In Vancouver, Terminal City was setting the pace out west, and in August of that year would host Derby Night in Canada, where the TCRG All Stars would defeat Montreal’s newly formed, suddenly continent hopping New Skids on the Block 66-48 in the final. But Canada would also have a hand in spreading the derby word internationally as well when in June, Team Canada, a conglomerate of 4 different Canadian leagues (stretching from as far east as Toronto and as far west as Vancouver), headed to the United Kingdom to take on Glasgow (a 102-41 win) and then London Brawling (won by the hosts 128-45). This would mark the first international flat track roller derby bouts played between intercontinental teams.

Hammer City’s Eh! Team and ToRD’s CN Power, first met in June, 2008. (photo by Derek Lang)

But as much as there was growth, there was also change. One of Canada’s first teams, the Steel Town Tank Girls would not survive the season (though the gap would be filled by a third Hammer City team, the Death Row Dames), and ToRD was struggling through its second season, attempting to maintain some sort of control over a sprawling, six-team league. While the CN Power travel team would be formed, the league focus on internal politics and attempts to placate the differing directional opinions (not to mention trying to maintain ToRD’s steadily growing popularity in the city) would mean that it would be largely overmatched by, in particular, the Eh! Team (they would first meet on June 21 at the George Bell arena in Toronto’s west end). ToRD’s six-team league would not survive 2008 with both the D-VAS and eventually the Bay Street Bruisers contracting (though the Bruisers would actually have one last hurrah at the BOE ’09, and the D-VAS would be reborn as a farm team).

MTLRD’s New Skids on the Block became the first Canadian team to defeat the Eh! Team in July 2008. (photo by Susan Moss)

But the biggest change in the sport in Canada would actually not fully come yet, but be hinted at in a July bout at Arena St. Louis in Montreal. Hammer City’s far more experienced Eh! Team would head north to take on the upstart New Skids on the Block, a rag-tag looking squad of Montreal all stars decked out in the now ubiquitous neon. Only the hometeams had faced each other to this point with HCRG taking almost all of those match ups, with only La Racaille managing a slim (32-30) victory over Steel Town at the BOE 2008. That would all change during that Saturday night in July, when the Skids would ride the momentum caused by an intense, ever-intelligent home town crowd to a historic 58-48 victory, marking the beginning of a shift in power in Canadian derby that would take almost another year to fully play out.

I was there at that bout, in my customary spot in the suicide seats, cheering wildly and probably a little belligerently (funny how when I knew the rules less, I actually used to yell at the refs more). While I was already completely enamored with the sport at that point, I was only just beginning to get a sense of the larger world of derby, and the greater significance of that Skids’ victory was lost on me at the time. Upon retrospect, it’s clear to see now that it was the first step in a complete recalibration of the sport in this country, led by a Montreal machine that would help expand the borders of the game.

The D-VAS (in black) last played as a ToRD hometeam in 2008. They now serve as a farm team for the league. (photo by Kevin Konnyu)

It’s remarkable how quickly flat track roller derby is evolving, how that bout was only three years ago but seems like a different era all together. My partner was able to go from absolutely no skating ability to being rostered in a single year. Now, with 90 new recruits, the gap between the skaters who will be ready for drafting by the end of the program and those who won’t be, will be significant. The sport also requires a new level of athletic and strategic commitment as well, and the isolation and pace strategies that fresh meat are now learning at an early stage of training, didn’t even exist in 2008. Here in Toronto, players aren’t even necessarily drafted to teams upon completion of the fresh meat program anymore; instead, they will hone their skills playing for the resurrected D-VAS, which now serves as a league-wide farm team, allowing skaters to be drafted at a significantly higher level. Now, before a skater plays a bout with a ToRD hometeam, she will have the experience of being part of a team, attending regular practices, and most importantly, bouting. All before she’s even drafted.

And this is just the beginning of another massive evolution that will truly change the nature of the sport; as right now, hundreds of young girls are playing in junior roller derby leagues all across North America (including here in Toronto), learning the fundamentals of the game at a mind-bogglingly young age. When these kids start reaching playing age and a wave of junior-trained skaters starts being drafted into leagues (some who will have been skating for up to nine years at that point), it will signify a massive leap forward and the sport will change once again.