Kingston Derby Girls

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.

KEYS TO THE GAME

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.

Kingston Derby Girls Sweep Double Header in Durham

   vs.     

Kingston’s Skateful Dead (hometeam) and The Disloyalists (travel team) skated into Durham Region last night for a double header showdown with teams representing both ends of the DRRD spectrum. With a roster sprinkled with members of the second KDG hometeam, the Rogue Warriors, it took a while for the Skateful Dead to come together, but when they did, they were able to handle the less experienced Durham farm team, the DRRD’Y Farmers. In the marquee matchup of the evening, a shorthanded Disloyalists marched onto the visitor’s bench and dominated the second half of their bout with the Derby Devils to distance themselves from their rivals and complete the double-header sweep.

The Disloyalists (blue) and the Derby Devils wait for the opening whistle. (Photography by Joe Mac)

The Disloyalists (KDG) 193 vs. Durham Derby Devils (DRRD) 86

Two teams to keep an eye on in the competitive derby scene in Ontario are the Derby Devils and the Disloyalists, but on Saturday it was the KDG skaters who stole the spotlight and turned some heads. When these two teams met in August of last year in Kingston, it was a defensive stalemate with the host team just able to eke out a 73-71 victory. It was a much more fast-paced and high-scoring bout this time around. In the early going it seemed like it was going to be another tight one. Durham jumped out to an early lead, only to have Kingston come back and snap it back, a trend for the first half of the period. Kingston’s Little Orphan-Maker Annie immediately made her presence known on the track, with an astute eye for the little things in the tight, fast moving packs, while on the Durham side Sensei Slam continued her comeback from a long injury layoff with a strong bout pivoting and blocking for the Devils. Karma Screwya and Amefyst are also emerging as smart, capable on-track leaders in Durham, anchoring a pack full of potential that includes Mozilla and Hitz Miller among others. The only difference in the early going was penalties that kept Durham shorthanded for much of the half (and the game) and allowed the Disloyalists to take control.  A late first-half pushback from the hosts kept them in it, but they were down 21, 60-39 at the half.

The Devils' Karma Screwya (pivot) and Hitz Miller (#244) attempt to hold Disloyalists' jammer Lavallee of the Dolls.

The Disloyalists put this one away early in the second half, holding the Durham Derby Devils to just two points during the opening third of the half while their pack—in particular on power jams—took over, dictating the conditions of the game (IE: pace and formation of the packs). The Devils maintained a tight jammer rotation of Cutsie Bootsie, Darth Kater, Legzy Maegzy and 12 Gage, all of whom had various moments of success and struggle throughout the bout, but they all kept fighting despite whatever challenges faced them (12 Gage had a particularly trying jam late in the second half that didn’t seem to sap one ounce of her spirit and she was right back up and ready for her next spot in the rotation). With only 11 skaters (down to 10 after a first half injury to Sassberry Tart), the Disloyalists were a little more liberal with their jammer rotation, but the core of the rotation was Lavallee of the Dolls, Luci Fleur, Juke of Hazards and Magpie, skaters who also spent considerable amount of time in the pack as well.

Disloyalists' triple threat Manic Breeze goes one on one with Devil's jammer 12 Gage.

By the end of the bout, it seemed as though the Disloyalists’ Manic Breeze had taken over this game. A talented, intelligent triple threat, Manic did a little bit of everything in this one and did it all well, showing a knowledge and awareness of that game that permeates this Kingston roster. And it was that track awareness that proved to be the difference, as Kingston took advantage of every minor mistake that Durham made. In particular, they took advantage of some loose pack destruction calls to cripple Durham on power jams and even drew them into chasing the passive outside-line they’d formed, allowing them to actually pull the pack backwards on occasion. In the end, the Disloyalists (who have a busy schedule coming up including a May 12th showdown in Toronto with the D-VAS) were able to make quite a statement with the 107 point victory.

The DRRD'Y Farmers and the Skateful Dead kicked off the double header.

Skateful Dead (KDG) 115 vs. DRRD’Y FARMERS (DRRD) 67

In the opening bout of the double header, the crowd was treated to a showdown between the future stars of these two fast-growing leagues. Once again it was close in the early going, with both teams running into considerable penalty troubles that would not relent throughout. Durham stuck with a tight jammer rotation of Darmean, Young Blood, Motorbreath and Tatinator (who seemed to get stronger as the bout wore on and picked up a ton of track time in the second half), while Kingston mixed things up a bit (particularly as their lead increased in the second half) but anchored their offense around Zesty Enterprise, the excellent Skate at Home Mom, and the scrappy Smackinnon. But this Skateful Dead team is paced by a triple threat as well, as Yo! Shanity Slam (despite early penalty trouble) left her mark on this game at every position. Again though, the game was certainly in reach at half, with Kingston up 62-35 as the skaters headed to the dressing room.

Skateful Dead's Yo! Shanity Slam and the Farmers' Darmean face off on the jam line.

Fatigue seemed to be a factor in the second half as both offenses slowed down, but it allowed particular skaters to shine. Durham’s Jilly Do Not recovered from a first half that saw her travel to the box four times, to keep her head in the game in the second half and provide some forceful pack work. Rina Green also got into the game in the second half, and the scrappy blocker punished her Kingston counterparts with some big hits and timely waterfalling. But Kingston showed that they had a deep bench and got strong performances from all over their lineup. Polly Slamory can be an intimidating factor on the track, while Cat O’Clism and Booty on Duty delivered some timely hits, and late in the game Flaming Hips scored some big jammer take outs to discourage any sort of late Farmers come back. In the end both teams won by gaining valuable track time, undeniably important for the least experienced skaters of these two up and coming leagues.

***Both leagues are in action next weekend, with both of Durham’s hometeams heading to Guelph for a showdown with Royal City, while Kingston’s home opener goes next weekend with a house league showdown and the Disloyalists hosting South Simcoe.

***A big thanks to Durham Region Roller Derby for inviting me to join Ross Aussage as guest announcer and for being such excellent and gracious hosts!

2 Fresh 2 Furious Features the Future Stars of Eastern Canadian Roller Derby

The D-VAS in 2008 featured current skaters Betty Bomber, Land Shark and Mia Culprit. (pictured in a bout against Rebel Rock-It and the Bay Street Bruisers). (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

On June 16, 2007, The Deadly Viper Assassination Squad (D-VAS) defeated the Smoke City Betties 96-78 to win what was each team’s first ever bout in Toronto Roller Derby (ToRD). While the Smoke City Betties would quickly emerge as a contender in ToRD (reaching the semifinals in 2008 before Battling for the Boot in 2009), the D-VAS would struggle, posting a 2-6 record in ToRD’s frst two seasons before falling under the knife in ToRD’s 2009 contraction (when they and the Bay Street Bruisers folded). ToRD veteran Mia Culprit (and current Betty) was the first captain of the D-VAS and sports a tattoo of the logo on her right leg. “It was difficult to say goodbye,” she admits. “I have the best memories of the D-VAS. Specifically getting to meet people like Betty Bomber….Dolly Parts’Em, Seka Destory…” The astute ToRD fan will recognize those names as current skaters with the Death Track Dolls. Other skaters from those two D-VAS teams have made their way in the derby world as well. ToRD fan favourite Land Shark (another Doll) was a rookie on the team in 2008, Rollergettes founder and skater Goldie Lock ‘N Load was on the original roster, and so was JJ Bladez, who now skates for Hammer City’s Eh! Team.

In 2010, as ToRD went through a period of intense, but stable, growth, the league resurrected the D-VAS as a farm team for ToRD’s draftable skaters, a development role that, in retrospect, has always seemed to be its calling. The program has already successfully graduated skaters into the league, and this weekend, the next generation of ToRD rookies will face off against other fresh meat teams and new leagues in the 2 Fresh 2 Furious tournament hosted by the GTA Rollergirls.

THE TOURNAMENT

The concept for 2 Fresh 2 Furious actually has roots as far back as 2008 when GTAR’s Derby Debutantes hosted the Virgin Suicides Brawl, a similar tournament for young, inexperienced teams. “I think 2 Fresh 2 Furious is a great opportunity for new players and teams to get their derby feet wet, so to speak,” says My-call Buble long-time bench manager/coach of the Derby Debutantes. “It’s a less intimidating forum for newer players…as their opponents will be of a similar level to them.” D-VAS co-captain Skinned Knee Crosby echoed these sentiments, “The whole tournament is a great, fun idea, and it shows…that roller derby is growing fast and local.”

And right now, flat track roller derby in Ontario may be growing faster than in any other region in North America with leagues forming (seemingly) by the month in locations as varied as Windsor and Minden. Considering the extraordinary growth of the sport in this province, this tournament is now more important than ever. 16 teams will be featured on two tracks in a 20-minute, double-elimination format that will be familiar to anyone who has been to the Beast of the East in Montreal (it should be noted that Buffalo’s Queen City-which has been competing in Canada since 2007-will be sending its fresh meat team as well). This format guarantees that each team will get to play at least two bouts, providing invaluable experience to the participants.

The Chrome Mollys and Royal City have already met this year (May 14). (Photo by Joe Mac)

THE COMPETITION

Things kick off on Saturday morning at 11:00 AM when two very new leagues, the Border City Brawlers (Windsor) and South Simcoe Rebel Rollers face off, while Durham Region Roller Derby will take on one of two teams from Kingston. “We expect strong showings from the WFTDA leagues of Queen City and ToRD,” predicts My-Call Buble, and while this could be case, it’s hard to handicap this event as even some of the more established teams will be sending fresh-faced lineups. The D-VAS, for example, will be using this opportunity to dress ToRD’s latest crop of fresh meat graduates, many of whom have yet to even put on the uniform. The same goes for GTAR’s Chrome Molly’s who will sit some of their more experienced skaters to give the fresh meat a chance to gather the all-important experience.

ToRD's D-VAS have warmed up with a home and home series against Nickel City's Sister Slag. (Photo by Joe Mac)

Despite this mystery, there will, though, be teams to watch. “I looking forward to watching Royal City play; they have some great girls on their team,” says Crosby. My-call Buble also takes note of the quickly emerging Royal City Rollergirls (who will be sending all three of their home teams), “Royal City, Belle City and South Simcoe, although new this year, are playing every chance they get.” Word on the track is that this hard-training South Simcoe Rebel Rollers team may very well be a team on the rise, while Belle City’s Belles of the Brawl (Brantford) just got some valuable experience at CWRDA’s Eastern ChampionshipDurham Region has also been busy in 2011. After some struggle to get off the ground, DRRD  seems to have found its footing and has had some impressive showings lately. Any track time is valuable in a young skater’s career, so this activity will be a big advantage for these teams.

But the beauty and excitement of a tournament like this is in the inability to predict things. Any one of the teams participating has a viable shot at winning. For these young teams, it may come down to which roster gels the quickest, which team has the strongest leadership and organization, and, as with any tournament, which teams simply wants it more.

* 2 Fresh 2 Furious kicks off at 11:00 am at Ted Reeve Arena. For a complete schedule visit the gtarollergirls.com. Tickets are available at Way Cool Tattoos and Red Tent Sisters, or online.

* Here is a complete list of tournament participants. (For a complete schedule, click here).