Les Contrabanditas

2013 Beast of the East Falls on Historic Date

The 6th Beast of the East happens to fall on the 10th anniversary of the first official flat track roller derby game.

The 6th Beast of the East happens to fall on the 10th anniversary of the first official flat track roller derby game.

In derby time, it’s been forever.

In derby time, it’s been eons since flat track roller derby first took shape. There have been massive, glacial shifts in the attitude of the sport, in the collective goals and aspirations of its participants. There have been evolutionary developments in the game itself, as flat track roller derby has gone from being a secondary offshoot of a dying sport to the dominant style of play in the fastest growing game in the world; its gone from being a DIY feminist-punk movement to a globally competitive sport.

In derby time, it’s been forever. In real time, it’s been 10 years.

On April 27th, 2003, the first official game of flat track roller derby was played. The roots of the sport, of course, run deep and date all the way back to the 1930s and even earlier, but on that Saturday in Austin, Texas, The Texas Rollergirls committed to the flat track and kicked off their inaugural season by blowing the opening whistle on the ruleset that would eventually form the basis of the WFTDA rules that we play under today.

It seems fitting somehow, that the opening day of the 6th annual Beast of the East falls on the historic 10th anniversary of this seminal event. Montreal Roller Derby’s Beast of the East is the original tournament in Canadian roller derby, and is the last major tournament in the sport that features house league teams exclusively. Its importance in the development of roller derby in this country, and in its continued celebration of both the spirit and the sport of the game, cannot be denied.

Forest City's Thames Fatales (6th) and Luscious Lunch Ladies (1st) will both be appearing at the Beast. (Photo by Derek Lang)

Forest City’s Thames Fatales (6th appearance) and Luscious Lunch Ladies (1st) will both be appearing at the Beast. (Photo by Derek Lang)

THE COMPETITION

Two days, sixteen teams, twenty-eight games, eastern Canadian house league domination on the line. Of the participants, eight of the teams have participated in every single BOE tournament since 2008 (Forest City’s Thames Fatales join the four ToRD and three MTLRD teams as original participants), while the Derby Debutantes (GTAR), the defending champion Vicious Dishes (TCRG) and 2011 champs the Slaughter Daughters have been involved since 2009. After a year off, both RVRG’s the Riot Squad (third appearance) and TCRG’s Total Knock-Outs (second) return to the tournament representing house leagues whose other representatives have won the last two events.

Finally, three teams will be making their debuts, but all three play in leagues that have strong ties to the tournament. Roller Derby Quebec has been represented in the last two tournaments by Les Duchesses, which is now a travel team supported by two house teams, Les Casse-Gueules and Le Rouge et Gores, who will both be making their tournament debuts. The Luscious Lunch Ladies will also be debuting, representing London, Ontario’s, Forest City Derby Girls. This is actually the third London team to play in the Beast after the now defunct London Thrashers accompanied the Thames Fatales in 2008.

The Slaughter Daughters defeated the Gore-Gore Rollergirls in the 2011 final and are the favourites heading in to the tournament. (Photo by Derek Lang)

The Slaughter Daughters defeated the Gore-Gore Rollergirls in the 2011 final and are the favourites heading in to the tournament. (Photo by Derek Lang)

THE EXPECTATIONS

In the first three years of the tournament, Montreal Roller Derby dominated, placing all three of the league’s teams in the final four. Then, as the roster of Canada’s top team, the New Skids on the Block, left those teams, the field suddenly opened up. In 2011, while Rideau Valley’s Slaughter Daughters would win the wildest final in tournament history (watch the final jam here), this edition of the event was dominated by ToRD, whose teams finished in the second through fourth place spots. Last year there was true parity finally, as the final four teams would represent four different leagues with the defending champion Slaughter Daughters figuring prominently once again, falling in the final to the Vicious Dishes.  That Daughters team would follow MTLRD’s La Racaille as the only team to reach back-to-back finals. La Racaille actually qualified for the first three finals of the tournament’s history (2008-2010, winning in 2009), a feat that the Daughters could—and should—match in 2013.

However, the bigger story of the tournament could be the return of Montreal as a house league power. This is the third year of the house league’s rebuild and after the decimation of the 2011, they fared well last year with all three teams making it to the quarterfinals, and La Racaille finishing in the fourth spot.  With La Racaille winning MTLRD’s preseason round robin tournament, look for them to lead the charge, facing potential challenges along the route from Tri-City’s TKOs and ToRD’s Death Track Dolls. Montreal could easily send three teams back to the final four for the first time in two years.

La Racaille won MTLRD's preseason round robin tournament and could lead a Montreal return to power at the Beast. (Recap photography by Sean Murphy)

La Racaille won MTLRD’s preseason round robin tournament and could lead a Montreal return to power at the Beast. (Recap photography by Sean Murphy)

ToRD could face the same drop off this season as Montreal did in 2011. With the majority of CN Power skaters now playing exclusively for that team, the ToRD house league teams are rebuilding. Chicks Ahoy! who’ve been power houses in the last two tournaments (4th and 3rd place finishes) were the most affected and could be done on day one (although a favourable draw and some strong play could seen them sneak into a Sunday matchup against the Daughters); the Gore-Gore Rollergirls also could be done early, the victims of a tough draw that will see them open against the Slaughter Daughters. Look for the Death Track Dolls and 2012 quarterfinalists the Smoke City Betties to carry the torch for Toronto and should both score final eight spots.

Speaking of change, last year’s champs the Vicious Dishes have gone through a massive roster change up and recently lost to the TKOs in an interleague showdown, showing that they may not be ready to defend their title, and that the TKOs could be the team to watch from Tri-City, and should make it to the quarterfinals. With the Quebec teams lacking experience, Thames Fatales and the Lunch Ladies rebuilding, the story of this tournament should once again be the Slaughter Daughters. Boasting a number of skaters from the travel team Vixens, the Daughters are poised to join the 2008-2010 La Racaille as the only teams to reach three straight finals (actually, don’t be surprised to see these teams face off against each other in the final)

On that historic night ten years ago in Austin, two of the sport’s first housleague teams, the Hotrod Honeys and Honky Tonk Heartbreakers took to the track for the initial game of flat track roller derby. Thousands of kilometres away and ten years after the fact, Rideau Valley’s Riot Squad and ToRD’s Chicks Ahoy! will kick off the Beast of the East and carry on a tradition that though still young, has come a long way in a short period of time.Canuck Derby TV logo

* On Friday night, ToRD’s CN Power will take on MTLRD’s New Skids on the Block in a WFTDA showdown.

* All of the BOE 2013 will be boutcast live by Canuck Derby TV. Tune in starting at 8:00 AM (EST) on Saturday, April 27th, to catch all 28 games.

* Catch up on the history of the Beast of the East here.

Beast of the East: 2008-2012

Beast 2013 Banner

Beast of the East: By the Numbers

To get ready for the 2013 Beast of the East, take a look back at the history of the tournament.

YEAR CHAMPION RUNNER UP THIRD PLACE
2008 Hamilton Harlots (HCRG) La Racaille (MTLRD) Les Filles du Roi / Les Contrabanditas (MTLRD)
2009 La Racaille Les Contrabanditas Les Filles du Roi / Smoke City Betties (ToRD)
2010 Les Filles du Roi La Racaille Les Contrabanditas
2011 Slaughter Daughters (RVRG) Gore-Gore Rollergirls (ToRD) Death Track Dolls (ToRD)
2012 Vicious Dishes (TCRG) Slaughter Daughters Chicks Ahoy! (ToRD)

Hamilton Harlots won the first Beast of the East in 2008. (Photo by Derek Lang)

 

NOTABLE NUMBERS (Records etc.)

Wins: 17 (La Racaille 2008-2012)

Points Per Game (tournament): 80 (Les Filles du Roi, 2010)

Points Against (tournament): 9 (Les Filles du Roi, 2010)

Most Points (team): 148 (Les Contrabanditas 2011)

Combined Points (combined): 161 (Slaughter Daughters 131 vs. Hamilton Harlots 30, 2012)

Biggest Differential: 148 (Les Contrabanditas 148 vs. Chrome Mollys [GTAR] 0, 2011)

[*The Gore-Gore Rollergirls were the first team to score 100 points in a bout–a 103-11 victory over Capital Carnage in 2009; Les Filles du Roi did it vs. the Vicious Dishes in 2010; four different teams accomplished it in 2011; the Vicious Dishes did it three times themselves in 2012, while three other teams did it that year as well].

[*2012 was the first time both finalists (Vicious Dishes, Slaughters Daughters) lost a game on the way to the finals]

PARTICIPANT HISTORY

(BOE 6: 2013 participants first)

Team League BOE Record Notes
thames-fatales-logoThames Fatales FCDG 5 – 9 First round in 08, 09. Quarter final in 2010
lunch ladies logoLuscious Lunch Ladies FCDG First Appearance
derby debutantes logoDerby Debutantes GTAR 2 – 8 Fifth appearance
la-racaille-logoLa Racaille MTLRD 17- 7 Second in 08, 10. Semis 12. Champs in 09
Contrabanditas LogoLes Contrabanditas MTLRD 14 – 6 2nd place in 2009. 3rd in 2010. Quarters 2011,’12
Les Filles du Roi LogoLes Filles du Roi MTLRD 15 – 5 Semi-final 08, 09. Champs in 2010. Quarters 2012
slaughter daughters logoSlaughter Daughters RVRG 11 – 6 Fifth appearance. Champs 2011. 2nd place 2012
riot squad logoRiot Squad RVRG 1 – 4 Third appearance (2010, 2011)
chicksahoy_logoChicks Ahoy! ToRD 10 – 8 First round from 2008-10. 4th in 2011, 3rd in 2012
deathtrackdolls_logoDeath Track Dolls ToRD 6 – 9 Quarter finals in 2009, 3rd place in 2011
Betties LogoSmoke City Betties ToRD 5 – 8 Semi-final 2009. Quarter final 2012
Gore-Gore Rollergirls logoGore-Gore Rollergirls ToRD 10 – 6 Forfeit 2009 at 3-0. 4th 2010. Runners-up 2011
dishes logoVicious Dishes TCRG 10 – 7 Fifth appearance. Quarters in 10, 11. Champs 2012
tko logoTotal Knock-Outs TCRG 0 – 2 Second appearance (2011)
casse gueules logoLes Casse-Gueules RDQ  – First appearance
rouge et gore logoLe Rouge & Gore RDQ  – First appearance
 

Past Participants

Hamilton Harlots HCRG 8 – 6 2008-2010, 2012. Champs in 08.
Death Row Dames HCRG 3 – 5 2008-2010. Quarter final in 2010.
Steel Town Tanks Girls HCRG 1 – 1 2008
Bay Street Bruisers ToRD 1 – 3 2008, 2009. Now ToRD B-travel team.
D-VAS ToRD 0 – 1 2008. Now ToRD houseleague farm team.
London Thrashers FCDG 0 – 1 2008
Bytown Blackhearts ORD 0 – 1 2008
Capital Carnage ORD 0 – 2 2009
Devil Dollies QCRG 1 – 1 1st US team (2008)
Derby Dames Grn Mtn 2 – 1 2nd US team, 1st to reach quarter finals (2010)
Chrome Mollys GTAR 0 – 2 2011
Venus Fly Tramps TCRG 2 – 6 2009-2011
Les Duchesses de Quebec RDQ 1-4 2011, 2012. Promoted to RDQ travel team
Motor City Madames DRRD  0-2 2012
Babes of Thunder TBRD  2-2 2012. Quarter finals in 2012
Reines of Terror MRR  0-2 2012

 

YEAR-BY-YEAR RESULTS

(Generally, all games 20 minutes until final, which is 30)

Beast of the East 2008 PosterBeast of the East 1: 2008

First Round

POOL A

Steel Town Tank Girls 40 vs Smoke City Betties 18
La Racaille 65 vs The Bytown Blackhearts 29
Death Row Dames 17 vs Devil Dollies 54
D-VAS 27 vs Les Contrabanditas 50

POOL B

Gore-Gore Rollergirls 13 vs. Hamilton Harlots 52

Bay Street Brusies 45 vs Thames Fatales 38
London Thrashers 13 vs Chicks Ahoy 65
Death Track Dolls 23 vs Les Filles du Roi 37

Quarter Finals

Steel Town Tank Girls 30 vs La Racaille 32

Devil Dollies 16 vs. Les Contrabanditas 42

Chicks Ahoy 30 vs Les Filles du Roi 38
Hamilton Harlots 53 vs Bay Street Bruisers 15

Semi Finals

Hamilton Harlots 58 vs Les Filles du Roi 29

Les Contrabanditas 32 vs La Racaille 39

Final

Hamilton Harlots 55 vs. La Racaille 18

* Read the Derby Nerd’s reflections.

Beast of the East 2009Beast of the East 2: 2009

First Round (Double Elimination)

Capital Carnage 11 vs. Gore-Gore Rollergirls 103

Death Row Dames 23 vs. Thames Fatales 19

Les Contrabanditas 59 vs. Venus Fly Tramps 26

Slaughter Daughters 24 vs. Smoke City Betties 32

La Racaille 67 vs. Bay Street Bruisers 10

Chicks Ahoy! 48 vs. Vicisou Dishes 32

Les Filles du Roi 77 vs. Death Track Dolls 6

Derby Debutantes 6 vs. Hamilton Harlots 69

Gore-Gore Rollergirls 32 vs. Death Row Dames 5

Capital Carnage 20 (eliminated) vs. Thames Fatales 67

Les Contrabanditas 34 vs. Smoke City Betties 20

Venus Fly Tramps 14 (eliminated) vs. Slaughter Daughters 48

La Racaille 36 vs. Chicks Ahoy! 35

Bay Street Bruisers 16 (eliminated) vs. Vicious Dishes 21

Les Filles du Roi 34 vs. Hamilton Harlots 25

Death Track Dolls 61 vs. Derby Debutantes 20 (eliminated)

Gore-Gore Rollergirls 35 vs. Les Contrabanditas 26

Death Row Dames 15 (eliminated) vs. Smoke City Betties 24

Thames Fatales 28 (eliminated) vs. Slaughter Daughters 68

La Racaille 35 vs. Les Filles du Roi 43

Chicks Ahoy! 21 (eliminated) vs. Hamilton Harlots 38

Vicious Dishes 27 (eliminated) vs. Death Track Dolls 32

Quarter Finals

Gore-Gore Rollergirls (forfeit) vs. Smoke City Betties

Les Contrabanditas 28 vs. Slaughter Daughters 25

Les Filles du Roi 24 vs. Hamilton Harlots 11

La Racaille 77 vs. Death Track Dolls 17

Semi Finals

Smoke City Betties 23 vs. Les Contrabanditas 33

La Racaille 38 vs Les Filles du Roi 20

Final

Les Contrabanditas 34 vs. La Racaille 49

* Read the Derby Nerd’s commentary.

* Read DNN’s bout-by-bout recap by Justice Feelgood Marshall

Beast of the East 2010 PosterBeast of the East 3: 2010

First Round (Double Elimination)
Thames Fatales 38 vs. Smoke City Betties 11
La Racaille 81 vs. Chicks Ahoy!12
Green Mountain Derby Dames 40
vs. Riot Squad 17
Death Row Dames 63 vs. Venus Fly Tramps 6
Les Contrabanditas 72 vs. Death Track Dolls 9
Gore-Gore Rollergirls 43 vs. GTA Derby Debutantes 20
Vicious Dishes 37 vs. Slaughter Daughters 20
Les Filles du Roi 92 vs. Harlots 6
La Racaille 91 vs. Thames Fatales 0
Chicks Ahoy! 89 vs. Betties 15 (eliminated)
Green Mountain Derby Dames 29 vs. Death Row Dames 15
Venus Fly Tramps 43 vs. Riot Squad 14 (eliminated)
Les Contrabanditas 63 vs. Gore-Gore Rollergirls 17

Derby Debutantes 38 vs. Death Track Dolls 29 (eliminated)
Les Filles du Roi 115 vs. Vicious Dishes 7
Harlots 28 vs. Slaughter Daughters 24 (eliminated)
Thames Fatales 24 vs. Venus Fly Tramps 15 (eliminated)
Death Row Dames 42 vs. Chicks Ahoy! 34 (eliminated)
Gore-Gore Rollergirls 45 vs. Harlots 20 (eliminated)
Vicious Dishes 52 vs. Derby Debutantes 24 (eliminated)

Quarter Finals

La Racaille 57 vs. Vicious Dishes 4
Les Contrabanditas 64 vs. Death Row Dames 11
Gore-Gore Rollergirls 45 vs. Green Mountain Derby Dames 22
Les Filles du Roi 91 vs. Thames Fatales 12

Semi Finals

La Racaille 69 vs. Les Contrabanditas 46
Les Filles du Roi 65 vs. Gore-Gore Roller Girls 1

Third Place

Les Contrabanditas 91 vs. Gores 21

Final

Les Filles du Roi 36 vs. La Racaille 20

*Read the Derby Nerd’s preview and recap.

*Watch the archived bouts.

Beast of the East 2011 posterBeast of the East 4: 2011

First Round (Double Elimination)

Duchesses de Quebec 4 vs. Derby Debutantes 124

La Racaille 55 vs. Riot Squad 7

Chicks Ahoy! 63 vs. Total Knockouts (TKOs) 7

Filles du Roi vs. Death Track Dolls 47

Vicious Dishes 50 vs. Gore-Gore Rollergirls 48

Contrabanditas 148 vs. Chrome Mollys 0

Slaughter Daughters 38 vs. Venus Fly Tramps 28

Thames Fatales 75 vs. Smoke City Betties 12

Derby Debutants 8 vs. La Racaille 100

Duchesses du Quebec 4 vs. Riot Squad 97 (Duchesses eliminated)

Chicks Ahoy! 40 vs. Death Track Dolls 21

TKOs 0 vs. Filles du Roi 81 (TKOs eliminated)

Vicious Dishes 21 vs. Contrabanditas 27

Gore-Gore Rollergirls 131 vs. Chrome Mollys 10 (Mollys eliminated)

Slaughter Daughters 62 vs. Thames Fatales 12

Venus Fly Tramps 66 vs. Smoke City Betties 14 (Betties eliminated)

Derby Debutants 29 vs. Filles du Roi 62 (Debutantes eliminated)

Death Track Dolls 84 vs. Riot Squad 8 (Riot Squad elimanted)

Vicious Dishes 49 vs. Venus Fly Tramps 3 (Tramps eliminated)

Thames Fatales 36 vs. Gore-Gore Rollergirls 49 (Thames eliminated)

Quarter Finals

La Racaille 11 vs. Gore-Gore Rollergirls 88

Contrabanditas 49 vs. Death Track Dolls 58

Chicks Ahoy! 48 vs. Vicious Dishes 8

Slaughter Daughters 81 vs. Filles du Roi 3

Semi Finals

Gore-Gore Rollergirls 51 vs. Death Track Dolls 11

Chicks Ahoy! 19 vs. Slaughter Daughters 33

Third Place

Death Track Dolls 42 vs. Chicks Ahoy! 31

Final

Gore-Gore Rollergirls 85 vs. Slaughter Daughters 87

* Read the Derby Nerd’s preview and recap.

* Watch the archived bouts

Beast of the East 5 (2012)Beast of the East 5: 2012

First Round (Double Elimination)

Chicks Ahoy! 51 vs. Slaughter Daughters 41

La Racaille 46 vs. Gore-Gore Roller Girls 30

Motor City Madames 36 vs. Hammer City Harlots 57

Les Contrabanditas 54 vs. Death Track Dolls 20

Vicious Dishes 139 vs. Reines of Terror 0

Les Filles du Roi 79 vs. Babes of Thunder 8

Derby Debutantes 6 vs. Thames Fatales 112

Smoke City Betties 108 vs. Les Duchesses 13

Chicks Ahoy! 10 vs. La Racaille 39

Slaughter Daughters 72 vs. Gore-Gore Rollergirls 52 (Gores eliminated)

Hamilton Harlots 39 vs. Les Contrabanditas 84

Motor City Madames 28 vs. Death Track Dolls 95 (Motor City eliminated)

Vicious Dishes 30 vs. Les Filles du Roi 47

Reines of Terror 34 vs. Babes of Thunder 71 (Reines eliminated)

Thames Fatales 64 vs. Smoke City Betties 69

Derby Debutantes 30 vs. Les Duchesses 120 (Debutantes eliminated)

La Racaille 59 vs. Death Track Dolls 31 (Dolls eliminated)

Hamilton Harlots 30 vs. Slaughter Daughters 131 (Harlots eliminated)

Vicious Dishes 123 vs. Les Duchesses 0 (Duchesses eliminated)

Thames Fatales 20 vs. Babes of Thunder 77 (Thames eliminated)

Quarter Finals

Chicks Ahoy! 83 vs. Babes of Thunder 22

Les Filles du Roi 67 vs. Slaughter Daughters 71

Les Contrabanditas 54 vs. Vicious Dishes 64

Smoke City Betties 59 vs. La Racaille 78

Semi Finals

Chicks Ahoy! 31 vs. Slaughter Daughters 65

Vicious Dishes 67 vs. La Racaille 48

Third Place

Chicks Ahoy! 87 vs. La Racaille 48

Final

Vicious Dishes 118 vs. Slaughter Daughters 63

* Read the Derby Nerd’s preview and recap

* Watch the archived bouts

Beast of the East Update: Participants Named!

The participants for the 2013 Beast of the East were named this weekend, with a very experienced group of teams getting selected to take part. This year will mark the 6th time this tournament has been held; hosted by the Montreal Roller Derby, this year’s tournament will run from April 27th to 28th.

THE PARTICIPANTS

Montreal Roller Derby

Les Contrabanditas

Les Filles du Roi

La Racaille

The host league, and Canada’s most competitive roller derby league, Montreal’s three home teams always seem to have something to say about the outcome of the event. Of the three teams, only Les Contrabanditas remain without a championship, while the Beast of the East’s winningest team La Racaille (17 wins and three trips to the finals) won in 2009 and Les Filles du Roi won it all in 2010. Last year, all three teams made it to the quarter finals, with La Racaille managing a 4th place finish.

Tri-City Roller Girls logo

Tri-City Roller Girls

Vicious Dishes

Total Knock Outs

Tri City’s Vicious Dishes return to defend the title they won so convincingly last year. While the Dishes lost some key skaters in the off season, they remain a seasoned crew. This year, they will be looking to achieve what no other team has: a successful defence of the Beast of the East trophy. The TKO’s make their return to the Beast after an 0-2 debut in 2011.

Rideau Valley ROller Gilrs logo

Rideau Valley Roller Girls

Slaughter Daughters

Riot Squad

The 2011 champs, the Slaughter Daughters, made it all the way back to the final last season, before falling to Tri-City’s Dishes. Nonetheless, it has been a successful two years for the Slaughter Daughters at the tournament and inter-city level, and remain the top ranked home team in the country. As with the Vicious Dishes, many of Rideau Valley’s WFTDA-team skaters play on this team, making them an experienced, formidable crew. The Riot Squad did not complete last year, but compiled a 1-4 record over two appearances in 2010 and 2011.

ToRD logo

Toronto Roller Derby

Chicks Ahoy!

Death Track Dolls

Gore-Gore Rollergirls

Smoke City Betties

All four of Toronto Roller Derby’s home teams have taken part in all of the Beast of the East tournaments, but despite each team’s various successes over the tournament’s history, none have taken home a title. The Chicks Ahoy! finished in 3rd place last season, while Dolls finished 3rd in 2011 when the Gores were runners up. The Smoke City Betties (who had a spirited run to the quarterfinals last year) made their only top 4 appearance in 2009. This year, many veteran skaters are now playing exclusively for ToRD’s WFTDA team, CN Power, meaning that it will be somewhat of a rebuilding year for ToRD’s home teams.

Forest City logo

Forest City Derby Girls

Thames Fatales

Luscious Lunch Ladies

Outside of Montreal and Toronto, London’s Thames Fatales are the only team to have played in every Beast of the East, making it as far as the quarterfinals in 2010. While one other Forest City team has played in the Beast (The London Thrashers in 2008), the Luscious Lunch Ladies will be making their debut in 2013.

GTAR logo

GTA Rollergirls

Derby Debutantes

The Debutantes made their debut in 2009 and have appeared every year since. They’ve picked up two wins along the way, but have yet to advance to the quarterfinals.

Roller Derby Quebec logo

Roller Derby Quebec

Les Casse-Gueules

Le Rouge et Gore

Roller Derby Quebec made its Beast debut in 2011 when it was still a one-team league. This year Les Duchesses, that original team, are now the travel team supported by two home teams, Les Casse-Gueules and Le Rouge et Gore, who will both be appearing at this year’s Beast. Les Duchesses picked up Quebec’s first Beast victory last year.

Beast of the East 5: Preview

The nature of the Beast is changing.

Montreal’s wildly popular annual Beast of the East tournament will be played out for the fifth time this weekend at Arena St. Louis. In the beginning, this tournament acted as a showcase of Eastern Canada’s top hometeams. All fifteen teams in the region took part in the first tournament in 2008, and Queen City’s Devil Dollies (Buffalo) were brought in to fill out the 16-team bracket. Once again in 2010 an American team (Vermont’s Green Mountain Derby Dames) were brought in to fill out the bracket. But around that time there was an explosion of derby happening all across North America: the post Whip It second wave of derby expansion that has continued unabated. Remarkably, it has only been two years since there weren’t quite 16 Eastern teams prepared to play in the tournament. Well, times certainly have changed.

With upward of 25 distinct leagues operating in Ontario and a major boom happening in the Atlantic provinces, finding 16 teams to play in the Beast of the East is certainly no longer a problem, limiting the number to 16, on the other hand, is a new challenge. While spaces were held for the eight teams that had taken part in every tournament, and an additional one held for the defending champions, for the first time in the tournament’s half-decade history a lottery had to be performed to determine which teams would fill out the rest of the bracket. This lead to an interesting mix of participating teams, ranging from the very experienced, to the very new. While this system may not have produced the most competitive tournament, it has successfully succeeded in continuing what has always been the underlying importance of the tournament: the idea of developing the competitive level of the Eastern Canadian hometeams. It’s an opportunity for some of our nation’s best skaters to face against some of our nation’s newest.

THE COMPETITION

Rideau Valley's Slaughter Daughters defeated Toronto's Gore-Gore Rollergirls in last year's final. (Photo by Derek Lang)

Last year, because of Montreal’s 2011 travel-team realignment, it was widely known that the defending champion Les Filles du Roi (with an almost unrecognizable roster) would be hard pressed to repeat as champions; it left the field wide open. In 2012, the defending champion Slaughter Daughters are not facing the same kind of impossible odds, though they do have to contend with history: no team has successfully defended the Beast championship (La Racaille appeared in the first three finals, winning in 2009). The Daughters have suffered some big roster losses, but have gained some new skaters as well, and retain the core that carried them through last year’s stunning victory.

Toronto Roller Derby will be represented by all four hometeams, three of whom appeared in last year’s final four; the teams look strong again this year, and based on very early action in the 2012 ToRD season, the Smoke City Betties look the strongest that they have looked since their exciting run to the semifinals in 2009. Although all three Montreal teams appeared in the quarterfinals last year, none made it any further, the first time that has happened at the tournament. With one more year of experience under their belts, expect the host teams to look to change that. The final invited team is Forest City’s Thames Fatales. Although the team has only advanced out of the first round once (2010), they are always a hard-working team that provides exciting games.

The lucky lottery winners are the Tri-City’s Vicious Dishes (making their fourth appearance); GTAR’s Derby Debutantes (also for the fourth time); Roller Derby Quebec’s Les Duchesses returning after debuting last year; and first-time participants Reines of Terror (from Moncton’s Muddy River Rollers), Motor City Madames (Durham Region Roller Derby) and Thunder Bay’s Babes of Thunder.

Chicks Ahoy! have only been on the rise since last year's impressive 4th place finish. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

THE EXPECTATIONS

Despite having a ton of success in ToRD’s house league (including finals appearances in 2007, 2010 and a championship in 2008), the Chicks Ahoy! could never find success at the Beast of the East. A quarterfinal loss in 2008 was followed by shocking first round exits in 2009 and 2010. Finally, last year the Chicks made it to the final four before being taken down by the eventual champion Slaughter Daughters (they were then upset by the Death Track Dolls for third place). But with another ToRD championship under their belt and a four game winning streak on the go, the Chicks Ahoy! could finally erase those bad memories and pull it all together this year. With a solid and now experienced four-jammer rotation, packs led by all star pivots and supported by all-star blockers, the Chicks Ahoy! look a lot like a roller derby juggernaut, and for the first time in the team’s history, may be steamrolling into Montreal at just the right time. With a deep bench and a winning swagger, the Chicks may be a hard team to beat right now.

One team that will have a lot to say about that is the defending champion Slaughter Daughters, and they’ll get to say it in the opening game of the tournament. The Chicks and Daughters will get things started on the opening day of the two-day double elimination tournament and the outcome of that game could inform a lot about how things shape up (no matter who wins this first game, both teams could—and should—still make it to the semifinals). Based on the way the bracket worked out this year, and based on continuously excellent performances, it is conceivable that this year’s final four could be same as last year’s (Dolls and Gores being the other two).

Les Filles du Roi won Montreal's season-opening round robin tournament, making them automatic contenders for this year's Beast. (Photo by Single Malt Scott)

The three co-hosts, of course, will be looking to keep that from happening. Although defending Montreal champions and Beast record setters (a 148-0 shutout last year), Les Contrabanditas lost to both La Racaille and Les Filles du Roi in Montreal’s season opening round-robin tournament, they have an amazing roster and should not be overlooked. They will get a chance to avenge a 2011 quarterfinal defeat to ToRD’s Dolls in another intriguing opening-round matchup. La Racaille, the winningest team in Beast history, also has a massive challenge in the first round, slotted to play last year’s finalists the Gore-Gore Rollergirls, and it may not get any easier after that (with either the Daughters or the Chicks after that). This year’s intriguing Montreal team, round robing winners Les Filles du Roi, will face off against BOE freshmen Babes of Thunder, and while they could face a daunting second match against the Vicious Dishes, should also have a clear path to the final eight. Without any significant action outside of Montreal, it is hard to judge how far these Montreal teams have grown. One thing is certain: it would be dangerous to underestimate them.

While this tournament has a tendency to be unpredictable in the early rounds, things usually settle down by the knockout stages, and this year should be no different. Expect the ten most experienced teams to compete for the final eight spots, with La Racaille and potentially Les Contrabanditas and the Gore-Gore Rollergirls facing the biggest challenges for a spot in the quarterfinals out of that elite group.

*** For the third year in a row, Canuck Derby TV will be covering all 28 bouts live. Tune in beginning at 8:00 AM on Saturday, April 21, 2012, for all the weekend’s action (the tournament opener is Chicks vs. Daughters; if that’s not enough to get you up at 8 on a Saturday morning, I don’t know what is!)

***The Derby Nerd’s coverage of this year’s Beast of the East is brought to you in part by the fine people at Neon Skates!

Beast of the East: History by the Numbers

Beast of the East: By the Numbers

To get ready for the 2012 Beast of the East, take a look back at the history of the tournament.

PARTICIPANT HISTORY (BOE 2012 participants first)

Team League BOE Record Notes
Les Duchesses RDQC  0-2 Second appearance.
Thames Fatales FCDG 4 – 7 Quarter final in 2010
Hamilton Harlots HCRG 7 – 4 Fourth Appearance (2008-2010). Missed 2011. Champs in 08.
Derby Debutantes GTAR 2 – 6 Fourth appearance.
La Racaille MTLRD 14 – 4 Runners-up in 08, 10. Champs in 2009.
Les Contrabanditas MTLRD 12 – 5 2nd place in 2009. 3rd in 2010.
Les Filles du Roi MTLRD 13 – 4 Semi-final losses in 08, 09. Champs in 2010
Slaughter Daughters RVRG 7 – 4 Fourth appearance. Champs in 2011
Chicks Ahoy! ToRD 6 – 7 Quarterfinals in 2008. 4th place in 2011.
Death Track Dolls ToRD 6 – 7 Quarterfinals in 2009. 3rd place in 2011
Smoke City Betties ToRD 3 – 7 Semi-final 2009.
Gore-Gore Rollergirls ToRD 10 – 4 Forfeit 2009 at 3-0. 4th 2010. Runners-up 2011
Vicious Dishes TCRG 5 – 6 Fourth appearance. Quarterfinals in 2010, 2011
Motor City Madames DRRD  – First appearance
Babes of Thunder TBRD  – First appearance
Reines of Terror MRR  – First appearance
NOT APPEARING in 2012
Death Row Dames HCRG 3 – 5 2008-2010. Quarterfinals in 2010.
Steel Town Tanks Girls HCRG 1 – 1 2008
Bay Street Bruisers ToRD 1 – 3 2008, 2009
D-VAS ToRD 0 – 1 2008
London Thrashers FCDG 0 – 1 2008
Bytown Blackhearts ORD 0 – 1 2008
Capital Carnage ORD 0 – 2 2009
Devil Dollies QCRG 1 – 1 1st US team (2008)
Derby Dames Grn Mtn 2 – 1 2nd US team. Quarterfinals in 2010
Chrome Mollys GTAR 0 – 2 2011
Riot Squad RVRG 1 – 4 2010, 2011
Total Knock-Outs TCRG 0 – 2 2011
Venus Fly Tramps TCRG 2 – 6 2009-2011

PAST CHAMPIONS

Hamilton Harlots won the first Beast of the East in 2008. (Photo by Derek Lang)

2008: Hamilton Harlots (HCRG)

2009: La Racaille (MTLRD)

2010: Les Filles du Roi (MTLRD)

2011: Slaughter Daughters (RVRG)

RECORDS

Wins: 14 (La Racaille [MTLRD] 2008-2011); Win%: 78% (La Racaille [MTLRD] 2008-2011)

Points Per Game (tournament): 80 (Les Filles du Roi, 2010) Points Against (tournament): 9 (Les Filles du Roi, 2010)

Most Points (Bout): 148 (Les Contrabanditas [MTLRD], 2011) Combined/Differential: 148 (Les Contrabanditas 148 vs. Chrome Mollys [GTAR] 0, 2011) [*The Gore-Gore Rollergirls [ToRD] were the first team to score 100 points in a bout–a 103-11 victory over Capital Carnage in 2009; Les Filles du Roi did it against the Vicious Dishes in 2010; four different teams accomplished it in 2011].

YEAR-BY-YEAR RESULTS

(Generally, all games 20 minutes until final, which is 30)

Beast of the East 1: 2008

First Round

POOL A

Steel Town Tank Girls 40 vs Smoke City Betties 18
La Racaille 65 vs The Bytown Blackhearts 29
Death Row Dames 17 vs Devil Dollies 54
D-VAS 27 vs Les Contrabanditas 50

POOL B

Gore Gore Rollergirls 13 vs Hamilton Harlots 52
Bay Street Brusies 45 vs Thames Fatales 38
London Thrashers 13 vs Chicks Ahoy 65
Death Track Dolls 23 vs Les Filles du Roi 37

Quarter Finals

Steel Town Tank Girls 30 vs La Racaille 32
Devil Dollies 16 vs. Les Contrabanditas 42
Chicks Ahoy 30 vs Les Filles du Roi 38
Hamilton Harlots 53 vs Bay Street Bruisers 15

Semi Finals

Hamilton Harlots 58 vs Les Filles du Roi 29
Les Contrabanditas 32 vs La Racaille 39

Final

Hamilton Harlots 55 vs. La Racaille 18

* Read the Derby Nerd’s reflections on a tournament he didn’t see.

Beast of the East 2: 2009

First Round (Double Elimination)

Capital Carnage 11 Gore-Gore Rollergirls 103
Death Row Dames 23 Thames Fatales 19
Les Contrabanditas 59 Venus Fly Tramps 26
Slaughter Daughters 24 Smoke City Betties 32
La Racaille 67 Bay Street Bruisers 10
Chicks Ahoy! 48 Vicious Dishes 32
Les Filles du Roi 77 Death Track Dolls 6
Derby Debutantes 6 Hamilton Harlots 69
Gore-Gore Rollergirls 32 Death Row Dames 5
Capital Carnage 20 (eliminated) Thames Fatales 67
Les Contrabanditas 34 Smoke City Betties 20
Venus Fly Tramps 14 (eliminated) Slaughter Daughters 48
La Racaille 36 Chicks Ahoy! 35
Bay Street Bruisers 16 (eliminated) Vicious Dishes 21
Les Filles du Roi 34 Hamilton Harlots 25
Death Track Dolls 61 Debutantes 20 (elimin.)
Gore-Gore Rollergirls 35 Les Contrabanditas 26
Death Row Dames 15 (eliminated) Smoke City Betties 24
Thames Fatales 28 (eliminated) Slaughter Daughters 68
La Racaille 35 Les Filles du Roi 43
Chicks Ahoy! 21 (eliminated) Hamilton Harlots 38
Vicious Dishes 27 (eliminated) Death Track Dolls 32
 

Quarter Finals

Gores (forfeit) Smoke City Betties
Les Contrabanditas 28 Slaughter Daughters 25
Les Filles du Roi 24 Hamilton Harlots 11
La Racaille 77 Death Track Dolls 17
 

Semi Finals

Smoke City Betties 23

 

 

Les Contrabanditas 33

La Racaille 38 Les Filles du Roi 20
 

Third Place (Cancelled)

Smoke City Betties

 

 

Les Filles du Roi

 

Final

Les Contrabanditas 34

 

 

La Racaille 49

* Read the Derby Nerd’s commentary.

* Read a bout-by-bout recap by DNN’s Justice Feelgood Marshall .

Beast of the East 3: 2010

First Round (Double Elimination)
Thames Fatales 38 vs. Smoke City Betties 11
La Racaille 81 vs. Chicks Ahoy!12
Green Mountain Derby Dames 40
vs. Riot Squad 17
Death Row Dames 63 vs. Venus Fly Tramps 6
Les Contrabanditas 72 vs. Death Track Dolls 9
Gore-Gore Rollergirls 43 vs. GTA Derby Debutantes 20
Vicious Dishes 37 vs. Slaughter Daughters 20
Les Filles du Roi 92 vs. Harlots 6
La Racaille 91 vs. Thames Fatales 0
Chicks Ahoy! 89 vs. Betties 15 (eliminated)
Green Mountain Derby Dames 29 vs. Death Row Dames 15
Venus Fly Tramps 43 vs. Riot Squad 14 (eliminated)
Les Contrabanditas 63 vs. Gore-Gore Rollergirls 17

Derby Debutantes 38 vs. Death Track Dolls 29 (eliminated)
Les Filles du Roi 115 vs. Vicious Dishes 7
Harlots 28 vs. Slaughter Daughters 24 (eliminated)
Thames Fatales 24 vs. Venus Fly Tramps 15 (eliminated)
Death Row Dames 42 vs. Chicks Ahoy! 34 (eliminated)
Gore-Gore Rollergirls 45 vs. Harlots 20 (eliminated)
Vicious Dishes 52 vs. Derby Debutantes 24 (eliminated)

Quarter Finals
La Racaille 57 vs. Vicious Dishes 4
Les Contrabanditas 64 vs. Death Row Dames 11
Gore-Gore Rollergirls 45 vs. Green Mountain Derby Dames 22
Les Filles du Roi 91 vs. Thames Fatales 12

Semi Finals
La Racaille 69 vs. Les Contrabanditas 46
Les Filles du Roi 65 vs. Gore-Gore Roller Girls 1

Third Place
Les Contrabanditas 91 vs. Gores 21

Final
Les Filles du Roi 36 vs. La Racaille 20

* Read the Derby Nerd’s preview and recap.

* Watch the archived bouts.

Beast of the East 4: 2011

First Round (Double Elimination)

Duchesses de Quebec 4 vs. Derby Debutantes 124
La Racaille 55 vs. Riot Squad 7
Chicks Ahoy! 63 vs. Total Knockouts (TKOs) 7
Filles du Roi vs. Death Track Dolls 47
Vicious Dishes 50 vs. Gore-Gore Rollergirls 48
Contrabanditas 148 vs. Chrome Mollys 0
Slaughter Daughters 38 vs. Venus Fly Tramps 28
Thames Fatales 75 vs. Smoke City Betties 12
Derby Debutants 8 vs. La Racaille 100
Duchesses du Quebec 4 vs. Riot Squad 97 (Duchesses eliminated)
Chicks Ahoy! 40 vs. Death Track Dolls 21
TKOs 0 vs. Filles du Roi 81 (TKOs eliminated)
Vicious Dishes 21 vs. Contrabanditas 27
Gore-Gore Rollergirls 131 vs. Chrome Mollys 10 (Mollys eliminated)
Slaughter Daughters 62 vs. Thames Fatales 12
Venus Fly Tramps 66 vs. Smoke City Betties 14 (Betties eliminated)
Derby Debutants 29 vs. Filles du Roi 62 (Debutantes eliminated)
Death Track Dolls 84 vs. Riot Squad 8 (Riot Squad elimanted)
Vicious Dishes 49 vs. Venus Fly Tramps 3 (Tramps eliminated)
Thames Fatales 36 vs. Gore-Gore Rollergirls 49 (Thames eliminated)

Quarter Finals
 La Racaille 11 vs. Gore-Gore Rollergirls 88
Contrabanditas 49 vs. Death Track Dolls 58
Chicks Ahoy! 48 vs. Vicious Dishes 8
Slaughter Daughters 81 vs. Filles du Roi 3

Semi Finals
Gore-Gore Rollergirls 51 vs. Death Track Dolls 11
Chicks Ahoy! 19 vs. Slaughter Daughters 33

Third Place
Death Track Dolls 42 vs. Chicks Ahoy! 31

Final
Gore-Gore Rollergirls 85 vs. Slaughter Daughters 87
 

* Read the Derby Nerd’s preview and recap.

* Watch the archived bouts

* The thrilling final jam of the 2011 Beast of the East:

Beast of the East 2012 Update: Participants Named

It’s official! The 2012 Beast of the East draw has been complete and all 16 teams have been named. The Beast of the East is hosted by Montreal Roller Derby and will take place April 21st and 22nd, 2012 at Arena St. Louis.

PARTICIPATING TEAMS

Representing Montreal Roller Derby (MTLRD)

Les Contrabanditas

Les Filles du Roi (Beast Champs 2010)

La Racaille (Beast Champs 2009)

Representing Toronto Roller Derby (ToRD)

Chicks Ahoy!

Death Track Dolls

Gore-Gore Rollergirls

Smoke City Betties)

Representing Forest City Derby Girls (FCDG)

Thames Fatales)

Representing Rideau Valley Roller Girls (RVRG)

Slaughter Daughters (Beast Champs 2011)

Representing the Hammer City Roller Girls (HCRG)

Hamilton Harlots (Beast Champs 2008)

Representing the Tri-City Roller Girls (TCRG)
Vicious Dishes

Representing the Greater Toronto Area Rollergirls (GTAR)
Derby Debutantes

Representing Roller Derby Quebec (RDQ)

Les Duchesses

Representing Durham Region Roller Derby (DRRD)

Motor City Madames

Representing the Muddy River Rollers

Reines of Terror

Representing Thunder Bay Roller Derby

Babes of Thunder

Tri-City closes out home season with double-header dominance.

The Tri-City Roller Girls hosted teams from Montreal and Toronto on Saturday night in the finale of their hometeam season. It’s been a fantastic season for the skaters from Tri-City, with the Venus Fly Tramps rounding into a deep and well-rounded team, the TKOs emerging from fresh meat status to become a full-fledged competitive team and the Vicious Dishes proving that they belong near the top in the discussion of top Canadian hometeams. Of course, all of this has filtered down from the success of the Thunder, TCRG’s WFTDA travel team (who will continue their season with a bout against Killamazoo on October 15th). And in the most fitting of conclusions, both Tri-City teams were victorious in their bouts.

Game 1: D-VAS (ToRD) 41 vs. TKOs 140

Tiny Dancer (TKOs) was the dominant jammer on the night, while triple threat Renny Rumble has proven to be the most game ready of the D-VAS.

Coming off of a big loss two weeks ago to Guelph’s All Stars, the D-VAS continued their all-important fall season. With ToRD’s hometeam entry draft only weeks away, this would be the last chance for these skaters to make a big impression. There were variations to the lineup for the D-VAS as Scarcasm and Babushkill made their on-track debuts. The TKOs were concluding a season of learning and development where they stood up to stiff competition at their first Beast of the East, scored a big victory over a Royal City team and played in a fantastically competitive bout against the Luscious Lunch Ladies, their fresh-team counterparts from Forest City. They were determined to come out hard in the final bout of the season and did so in front of a loud, supportive audience.

In the face of excellent TKO pack work, D-VAS Roadside Bombshell ran into some early penalty trouble.

As it did in their last bout against Royal City, penalties proved debilitating for the D-VAS in the early going. Early jammer penalties to Roadside Bombshell and Laya Beaton allowed the TKOs to take advantage of power jams to pull ahead 25-5 only 7 minutes into the game. Booty Two Shoes, Ruby Shrew (who was also excellent in the pack) and Tiny Dancers paced the offense for the home team in the early going and took advantage of loose Toronto packs as well. With the score 38-5 nearing the halfway point of the opening frame, Ames to Kill (in her first action with the star) and Roadside Bombshell finally pulled off two lead jams in a row to begin a little bit of a push back for the Toronto team. Renny Rumble continued her excellent play leading up to the draft (adding jammer to her already impressive resume) and was the most effective D-VAS one-on-one. But physical play from TKOs’ Annaslaysia Killsemov  and Scorcheon kept things in check, allowing them to go into the half with a 68-26 lead.

TKO pivot Fox Smoulder continued her excellent pack work.

Nonetheless, with Chicks Ahoy! bench manager Flyin’ Bryan Killman and Raunchy Hextall running the bench, it was a much more focused D-VAS team that took to the track on this night, with clearer strategies and much tighter pack work in play. But the difference in experience was evident in the later stages of the bout. Very quietly, Fox Smoulder continues to develop into a serious pack presence in Tri-City and it was only in the later stages of the game when things got looser and packs were stretched that her excellent pack work became more obvious, directing formations and frustrating D-VAS one-on-one. With penalties adding up  Laya Beaton took off the star and headed into the pack where she did some of her best work of the night, setting the tone early in the half with a sold jammer take out on Booty Two Shoes (though Laya would end up ejected late in the game). But Tiny Dancer, especially, led the jammer dominance for the TKOs on this night, often forcing calls when she didn’t get lead, and using a well-played power jam with ten minutes left in the bout to rack up 20 points and put the game away. The D-VAS stayed with it to the end and crossed the 40 point threshold on the final jam of the night when solid blocking from Mean Streak allowed Bombshell through the pack to put up the final points of the game and guaranteed that this would not be a triple-digit loss.

Game 2: Les Contrabanditas (MTLRD) 80 vs. Vicious Dishes 113

Montreal champs, Les Contrabinditas sent a roster that included replacement skaters from La Racaille and Hammer City.

The lineup of Les Contrabanditas was barely recognizable from the one that won its first Montreal championship this past season, but with borrowed skaters from leaguemates La Racaille and a few last-minute imports from Hammer City, they were able to track a competitive roster that gave the talented Vicious Dishes a solid, competitive bout to end an impressive season that saw them play top eastern hometeams (their only full-bout loss came to Rideau Valley’s Slaughter Daughters), and have an impressive run at the Beast of the East. This victory actually gave them some measure of revenge over their Montreal opponents, who’d scored a victory over them at the aforementioned annual tournament.

Dishes jammer Motorhead Molly breaks through a Ditas wall.

It took a while for the slap-dash Ditas to get things going and the Dishes certainly took advantage of their early organization problems. With Sexpos/La Racaille jammer Greta Bobo in the box, Team Canada’s Motorhead Molly tore up the track on the power jam to help the Dishes roar out of the gates, up 28-0 very quickly. With usual pivot Jill Standing off skates, solid blocker Stacie Jones took up extra shifts with the stripe and helped orchestrate the patented pack work of the Dishes. Actually, solid pack work from both sides was the story in the early going, as halfway through the opening period the score was a defensively sound 36-3. sin-e-star was a force once again dominating in the pack whether positionally or physically, while pivot/blocker Bareleigh Legal keeps making a case for herself as one of eastern Canada’s top one-on-one blockers. But it was a well-paced and consistent offense led by Motorhead Molly, Skate Pastor and Lippy Wrongstockings that was able to counteract a Ditas offense led by outstanding first-year skater Greta Bobo and Ti-Loup (fresh from an impressive performance for the New Skids on the Block at WFTDA’s Eastern Regional Championships last weekend). But with Hustle Rose, Mange-Moi El Cul and Beats Per Minute not dressed, the Montreal champs did not have the depth to compete offensively and found themselves staring up at an 85-14 disadvantage at the half.

Led by jammer Ti-Loup, the Ditas started to push back in the second half.

But Montreal skaters and teams are known for their resiliency and ability to bounce back , so it was never worth counting them out. There was a noticeable difference when all-Ditas lineups were out, and late in the bout the Dame of Doom – Bikini Skills – Ninja Simone trio proved up to any challenge that the Dishes threw their way. And when the Ditas started to come together late, they began to push back in a big way. Sofanda Beatin and Meg N’ Plead also donned the stripe to lead the packs for the Dishes who had to weather a storm that brewed slowly. With the score 91-41, two Dishes’ blockers in the box and the Ditas pressing, captain sin-e-star jammed in a pivotal defensive, time-wasting jam that sprung the penalized skaters and kept the Ditas at bay at an important moment in the bout. Suzy Slam had a smart game too, and the subtle forward-hip strikes from Anita Martini kept frustrating the Ditas blockers. The visitors from Montreal did end hard though, and narrowed the score considerably in the last five minutes, but when Ti-Loup lined up against Dishes’ popular blocker Stacie Jones (giving the assistant captain the opportunity to close out the game for her team), the outcome was sealed, and while the Montreal team made a big pick up to close out the game (and win the second half 66-33), it was another impressive home track victory for the Vicious Dishes to close out another impressive season.

Beast of the East 2011: Daughters Go Undefeated to Tame the Beast

The top three teams at the 2011 Beast of the East (Slaughter Daughters, Gore-Gore Rollergirls and the Death Track Dolls). (Photography by Derek Lang)

Last year, at the 2010 Beast of the East, amidst all of that Montreal dominance, there were some major surprises. The Toronto Roller Derby League had a terrible tournament by their own standards, with the Smoke City Betties, Death Track Dolls (both 0-2), and Chicks Ahoy! (1-2) all eliminated unceremoniously in the first round. Similarly, Rideau Valley’s Slaughter Daughters—who had an amazing 2009 and came into the tournament with high hopes—were two and done on Saturday. At the 2011 Beast of the East it was a different story, as the Ontario teams were the talk of the tournament and the Slaughter Daughters would be the only squad to go through both days undefeated to deservedly hoist the award, that to trophy-designer Tommy Toxic’s credit, was the by far the most beastly yet created.

La Racaille (MTLRD) and The Derby Debutantes (GTAR) face off in the double elimination round.

DOUBLE ELIMINATION ROUND

The cliché is that records are made to be broken, and although coming into the tournament there was a lot of talk about parity among the top teams, records were set and then broken continuously on day one. It began right with the opening game of the tournament when the GTAR’s Derby Debutantes became the third team to lay down 100 points in a BOE bout with a 124-4 victory against BOE newcomers Les Duchesses de Quebec (who were playing their first-ever bout). It was just the beginning of record setting scores as four teams would be capable of putting down 100 points (the Debutantes would become the first team to have 100 points scored for and against in the same tournament). When all was said and done, it was Montreal’s new-look Contrabanditas setting all of the records in a 148-0 shutout against the GTAR’s Chrome Mollys (who were the second of three teams playing in their first BOE).

For the most part, the opening bouts of the double elimination round went as expected; if there was an upset, it would be the Death Track Dolls victory over the defending champion Filles du Roi (who were tracking an almost unrecognizably young lineup after MTLRD’s off season shake-up)—a bit of foreshadowing of the Dolls-as-Montreal-killers on the weekend. The top game of the opening round easily went to the much anticipated matchup between the Vicious Dishes and the Gore-Gore Rollergirls. Two of the pre-tournament favourites—the top teams from Tri-City and ToRD—did not disappoint. Although the two teams had never played before, there was considerable history built up in recent, tense bouts between the all star teams of the two leagues. This one came down to the final jam, with the Dishes pulling out a thrilling two-point victory.

The Dishes would also be involved in another close first round bout, on the losing end this time to the Ditas (27-21) although both teams would make it through to the round of eight. Joining them in the quarterfinals were the Ditas’ MTLRD league mates La Racaille (who went 2-0), and defending champs FDR who had to win a qualification showdown against the Derby Debutantes. The quarters were rounded out by the Slaughter Daughters and three Toronto teams, the perennial powerhouses Gore-Gore Rollergirls along with Chicks Ahoy! (first quarterfinal experience since 2008), and the Death Track Dolls who returned to the second round for the first time since 2009.

ToRD's Gore-Gore Rollergirls saved their best for day two, scoring one-sided victories in both the quarter and semifinals.

PLAYOFFS

Quarterfinals

From the opening bout of the quarterfinals, it was clear that the top teams were able to step it up to another level when it mattered most. MTLRD’s La Racaille, who had a solid opening day, were dominated by the considerably more experienced Gores, 88-11, marking the first time that La Racaille, the most successful team in the tournament’s early history, would not qualify for the final. Two of the other bouts were somewhat one-sided as well, with the Slaughter Daughters throwing down their “A” game in a 71-3 victory, knocking out the defending champion Filles du Roi; similarly, pre-tournament favourites the Vicious Dishes just couldn’t ever wrestle momentum away from a very physical, very tight Chicks Ahoy! team, going down 48-8, in what was an extremely close bout until the Chicks were able to pull away on the strength of a well-executed power jam with Dyna Hurtcha sporting the star.

ToRD's Death Track Dolls recorded the biggest upset of the tournament in their quarterfinal win over MTLRD's Les Contrabanditas.

But it was the Death Track Dolls and Les Contrabanditas who would provide the greatest excitement in the second round. Montreal’s hopes were clearly on the backs of the experienced Ditas, who looked to be the strongest, most consistent team in day one of the tournament. The Dolls, on the other hand, were already pleased with a return to the second round of competition, which, regardless of what happened, qualified as a success. Not surprisingly, the experienced team from Toronto came into the bout loose and relaxed; taking advantage of early penalty troubles from the Ditas, the Death Track Dolls rode some consistent pack work and fine jamming from Land Shark and breakout player Santilly In Yo Face to an early lead that they would hold onto in the face of a considerable push back at the end of the bout, holding on for the 58-49 upset to push three of the four Toronto teams into the semifinals.

The Slaughter Daughters' bench watches the scoreboard during the final jam of the 2011 Beast of the East.

Semifinals

In the first all-ToRD semifinal, the Death Track Dolls just couldn’t summon the kind of performance that had led them to their win over the Ditas, what may have been the biggest victory in the team’s history. After a so-so Saturday that saw them hold on for a victory over Thames Fatales in a qualifying bout, the Gore-Gore Rollergirls continued to step it up on Sunday. They’d had some slow starts in the first round and certainly remedied that, pulling away from the Dolls early to qualify for their first ever BOE final. It was vindication of sorts for the team that has been the tops outside of Montreal for the past two years.

In the second semifinal, the Chicks Ahoy! continued their strong play on Sunday, creeping out to a slim 8-4 lead in what was another scrappy and defensive performance from the ToRD team. But the Slaughter Daughters showed the same kind of focus and determination that they had all tournament and stayed close, taking their first lead, 11-9, at the midway point of the bout. It would remain close through to the very end, with both teams displaying fantastic pace control defensively to keep things tight and low scoring. It was 19-19 with just under two minutes left when Soul Rekker took a lead on a hard-fought, slow moving jam that allowed her to pick up a double grand slam to break the stalemate and give the Daughters a 10-point lead that they defended, riding a 33-19 victory to advance to the finals.

RVRG's Slaughter Daughters: 2011 Beast of the East champions

Finals

The Death Track Dolls capped off a hugely successful tournament with a historic 42-31 victory over their ToRD rivals, Chicks Ahoy!, in the third place bout. The Chicks didn’t have much left in the tank, their previous two bouts being defensive grinders against very physical opponents. For the Dolls, it represented their first victory over the Chicks after some very close bouts over the past two seasons, and their best showing in this tournament.

When all was said and done, and 14 teams fell away, it was clear that the two best teams of the tournament remained. Rideau Valley’s Slaughter Daughters and ToRD’s Gore-Gore Rollergirls were set to make history as the combatants in the first ever all-Ontario final. The final lived up to and eventually surpassed all possible expectations, coming down to a remarkable final jam. Five-on-five these two teams were well matched, keeping the crowd guessing through numerous lead changes (including three on a Ripper A. Part vs. Bambi jam that had no lead called). What it came down to was special teams and who could take advantage on power jams. Despite leading by 16 at the start of the final jam, the Gore’s jammer Bambi took her fourth minor on her initial scoring pass to send the inexhaustible Soul Rekker on a power jam. Semi Precious and Assassinista led an indestructible trap that kept the pack crawling, and with only 9 seconds left, Soul Rekker was finally able to complete the comeback and take the 20110 Beast of the east 87-85. (*There seemed to be some confusion about scoring at the end, although it looked like Rekker made four, five-point scoring passes).

The Daughters were more than worthy champs, facing any style of play they encountered with confidence and adaptability. They had extraordinary depth at jammer (easily the top 1-2-3 jammer rotation in the tourney), and played special teams simply, but masterfully, owning pace lines and setting hard traps.

The Nerd's 2011 MVP: Semi Precious of the Slaughter Daughters

THE NERD’S PICKS

MVP: Semi Precious (Slaughter Daughters)

After last year’s pack-play-evolution, it was obvious that the team with the top pack would do very well this weekend: that was certainly the case with the champion Slaughter Daughters who could dole out timely punishing hits, positionally block one-on-one with the best of them, and set devastating traps. At the centre of it all was Semi Precious. Big-time recognition has been a long-time coming for this extraordinary blocker.

Breakout Player: Assassinista (Slaughter Daughters)

There were at least a few players in the running for this one, but once again, the packs were the difference all weekend and Assassinista was undeniably a force in the Daughters’ championship pack. This is almost a cumulative recognition for Assassinista whose play for both her hometeam and the travel team Vixens has been turning a lot of heads for some time. This weekend, she proved that she deserves recognition among the elite.

The Nerd's 2011 Breakout Team: The Death Track Dolls (ToRD)

Breakout Team: The Death Track Dolls (ToRD)

In 2009, Dolls’ star jammer Land Shark took home this recognition as a player; two years later, and she’s leading her team to the award. The Dolls recorded an early minor upset over a young FDR squad, and then looked lacklustre in a loss against leaguemates, the Chicks Ahoy!, but things got rolling in a must-win, 84-8 surprisingly dominant victory against the Riot Squad. A major upset over Les Contrabanditas in the quarterfinals, and a third place rematch win over the Chicks cemented this teams’ status as breakout team of the tourney.

* The Beast of the East in its entirety was boutcast live by Canuck Derby TV and has been archived for your viewing pleasure.  Keep an eye out for layer9’s trackside archive as well.

***A special thanks to Montreal Roller Derby who hosted another amazing tournament and Canuck Derby TV for making sure that everyone could see it.

2011 Beast of the East: Preview

This is the fourth edition of the important tournament.

Although the role of the Beast of the East tournament has shifted over the years, its value, and its importance in the development of a stable, sustainable Canadian roller derby community is undeniable. More and more the shift in focus in roller derby in general is toward the travel teams: the teams striving to compete at WFTDA’s highest level. All over North America the growing trend is for more travel-team based tournaments as a way in which to get a handful of sanctioned bouts done in a short period of time (necessitated by the realities of travel expenses, scheduling and the other trivialities that get in the way of a rollergirl’s derby life). So to have a tournament devoted solely to hometeams is becoming an increasing rarity; it also casts an aura of levity around the event: it becomes as much about a celebration of the sport than anything else. But that’s not to imply that teams don’t want to win (they do), and certainly there is a particular expectation in the air this year, as the recalibration of the Montreal Roller Derby League means that its new-look hometeams will not be as formidable a juggernaut as they have been in the history of this tournament, and certainly were last year.

In the beginning the Beast was an opportunity to learn the sport, both on and off the track. On the Friday before the inaugural 2008 tournament, the participants gathered for a viewing of Hell on Wheels, the documentary that tracks roller derby’s revival at the turn of the millennium, and inadvertently the birth of the flat track version of the sport. By 2010, when all three of Montreal’s hometeams completely dominated the tournament, the Beast had become an opportunity for Montreal to introduce the ever-evolving strategies of the sport that they’d learned toiling at the front lines of roller derby’s highest competitive levels. There was a distinct culture shift last year: it became evident that to remain competitive at flat track roller derby, it was necessary to reach for a higher level of physical training and strategic consideration.

One year later, it will be fascinating to see how the teams have adapted; which teams accepted the formidable challenge and have stepped up their games.

THE COMPETITION

Hammer City's absence will be felt (The Death Row Dames were quarterfinalists in 2010). (Photo by Derek Lang)

The noticeable absence this year is Hammer City. Three HCRG teams have played in the Beast of the East, with the Harlots winning the first BOE in 2008, and even last year they were a serious presence as the Death Row Dames went on a spirited run to the quarterfinals. The league has refocused, and reshaped with a clearer focus on travel teams (word on the track is that the historic Harlots will be retained as a B-Team). Nevertheless, 13 teams will be returning from last year including six of the eight teams from the quarterfinals (Vermont’s Green Mountain Derby Dames are the other absent quarterfinalists). Three new teams will be debuting including fresh league additions in GTA (The Chrome Mollys) and Tri-City (The Total Knock Outs), while the newly formed Les Duchesses de Quebec will be making their bouting debut.

ToRD's Gore-Gore Rollergirls have been the top non-Montreal team for the last two years; this could be their opportunity. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

The biggest change in competition comes through Montreal’s realignment. All three of Montreal’s teams have qualified for the semifinals in every tournament (a run that has included all-Montreal finals in the last two tournaments, won by La Racaille and Les Filles du Roi respectively), but this year with the top fourteen players being lifted from their hometeams to play exclusively with the New Skids in the Block, there will obviously be some growing pains for the Montreal teams (only one team, La Racaille, has played with its new roster, scoring a 60 point victory over the GTA’s Derby Debutantes). This opens the window for a handful of teams who have the experience and depth to do very well in 2011 including ToRD’s Gore-Gore Rollergirls, Tri-City’s Vicious Dishes, and Rideau Valley’s Slaughter Daughters. While the Montreal teams remain largely mysterious, they have all retained an important core and shouldn’t be counted out; on paper anyway, Les Contrabanditas look to be most dangerous as they retain seven skaters from last season’s impressive team and picked up two more vets in the off season (Beats Per Minute from Les Filles du Roi, and Low Dive Jenny from La Racaille).

Death Track Dolls and Les Filles du Roi will meet in the opening round; they last met in the opening round of the 2009 BOE. (photo by Derek Lang)

EXPECTATIONS

The timing and nature of this tournament make predicting what will happen tricky. A team could potentially play up to six bouts over the course of the weekend which means that energy conservation and roster juggling become important aspects of the game. Also, the 20 minute mini-bouts mean that often anything can happen: a good power-jam could be the difference, and teams that take longer to warm up could be at an obvious disadvantage. On top of this, there are also differences in the amount of track time these teams have had as well, with the ToRD teams potentially already rounding into mid-season form.

Only the opening match ups in the double elimination round are set, with paths getting complicated after that. While it doesn’t appear that there will be any major upsets, there are a few intriguing pairings. At the top of the list is the Gore-Gore Rollergirls vs. Vicious Dishes bout. Either of these teams are capable of winning this tournament, and if all goes as predicted may even cross paths again in the semi-finals (regardless of who wins this one). The Smoke City Betties and Thames Fatales game could also be an entertaining one, with both teams already having some bouts under their belts this year (and the Betties improving quickly). Finally the Death Track Dolls vs. Les Filles du Roi bout could be surprising. Les Filles (the defending champs) lost a lot of skaters to the Skids realignment and look like they will be tracking a very inexperienced team: because of that, there could be an upset up the Dolls’ sleeve. The harsh reality is, is that one win is not enough and half of the teams will be done by Saturday night.

This could finally be the year Les Contrabanditas rise to the top in MTLRD.

While Montreal may not have the dominant squads they once did, I still think all three teams will make it through to the quarterfinals, joined by three ToRD teams (The Gores, Chicks Ahoy! and Death Track Dolls), the Vicious Dishes and the Slaughter Daughters. Unfortunately for the hosts, I think the round of 8 will mark the end of the road for two-time finalists and ’09 champs La Racaille and the defending champion Les Filles du Roi, with the final four being the Dishes, Gores, Ditas and Daughters. I honestly think anything could happen between these four teams, but it would be nice to see the Gores (or Dishes) and Daughters meet in the final to truly bring an end to Montreal’s dominance. In both 2009 and 2010, the Gores were clearly the top team outside of MTLRD, and this could finally be the opportunity they need. The Ditas, though, who always seemed a step behind one of their Montreal counterparts will be extremely motivated to finally break through and win this.

Whoever manages to prevail, to be capable of pulling it off nothing less than a monumental effort will be required.

***The Beast of the East 2011 gets under way at 8:00 am on Saturday, April 30 at Arena St. Louis. If you’re not going to be in Montreal on the weekend, no need to worry! For the second-year in a row, all of the action will be boutcast live on Canuck Derby TV beginning at 8:00 AM (eastern) and running straight through until a champion is crowned on Sunday.

Nerd Meat Part 6: Derby Time

Nerd Meat: The Nerd Does Derby

Part 6: Derby Time

Sometimes it seems like fresh meat moves so quickly, but then I think back and realize that it has already been over two months. We practiced with a team for the first time—the Death Track Dolls, a team I have a personal attachment with—and we started hitting. This is a critical moment, because I think this is the moment when people begin to get weeded. There will be a divide between those who enjoy the sport and want to be a part of it, or at least follow it, and then there will be those who will want to play. Who won’t stop until they are rostered and bouting.

The Death Track Dolls kicked off this year's team-training component of the Fresh Meat program. (Photo by Sean Murphy)

And that divide has already begun. Just over 50 skaters left, still more than half, and at this point, it’s safe to say that this will be a huge graduating class. I’ve been surprised by some of the people who have made it through this far, those whom I’d pegged early on as not being into it enough: those women who hadn’t seen bouts or couldn’t skate a lick. And there are groups forming in the pack, friendships being forged; there is a comfort and a familiarity among many of them that I’m sure some outsiders would find hard to believe has formed in just over two months. Sitting down at the Hangar bar directly after practice during those beautiful moments when you feel invigorated and healthy and fresh and that beer probably tastes like the best beer you’ve ever had in your life (IE: before the pain kicks in), when everyone is relaxed and talkative, sharing already-formed inside jokes and talking about the upcoming bout, we feel very much like a team, not like the group of strangers that we actually are. Although physically we’re all wound up with adrenaline from practice, time seems to move a  little slower in those moments, and everyone can sense it. Whether they know it or it not, these women are changing their clocks to derby time.

Derby time is as much a state of mind as anything else, tied-in, in large part, to the early evolutionary stage of the game at which we have all entered. Derby time is the reason why 2003 can be viewed and discussed as “ancient history.” It’s the reason why teammates who’ve known each other for a season can have the intimacy of childhood friends. It’s also why we can look back with nostalgia and talk sentimentally about the “simpler days” of derby before 2009, those fun-loving, hard hitting, fast-moving days before The Great Leap Forward (see Nerd Meat Part 8). Derby time follows the same calendars and clocks as the real world, but for rollergirls (and for those of us swept up in their wakes) to achieve some sort of sustainable life-work-derby balance, it is often necessary to cram 30-35 hours into a 24 hour period or slip an extra day or two in between Thursday and Friday (especially in those weeks leading up to bouts).

HCRG's Steel Town Tank Girls and ToRD's Smoke City Betties kicked off the inaugural Beast of the East. (Photo by Derek Lang)

Although the explosion of derby in eastern Canada began as far back as 2006, everyone in this part of the country synchronized their watches to derby time on April 19, 2008 (a few months later, at Roller Con 2008, a Canada East vs. Canada West bout synchronized derby time across the country). At 10:00 am on April 19, at Arena St. Louis in Montreal, Hammer City’s Steel Town Tank Girls lined up against ToRD’s Smoke City Betties in the opening bout of the inaugural Beast of the East, and the sport in this country has never been the same. It was this moment when the fates and futures of the all of the leagues in this region became intertwined. It was the expansion of the sisterhood that had already begun in every league and in those few inter-league bouts that had already occurred (and at the Betties D-Day tournament two years prior). It was the launching of a trajectory of competitive growth that continues to this day.

La Racaille had a breakout tournament at the 2008 Beast of the East. (Photo by Derek Lang)

Tournaments like this all over North America (and now the world) have become essential in the development and evolution of the sport. It is an opportunity to share strategies and evolve as a community. At that point in the development of Canadian roller derby, though, it was still all about learning the sport, and the Hamilton Harlots were still very much leading the class. They would dominate the early rounds with crushing victories over ToRD’s Gore-Gore Rollergirls and Bay Street Bruisers before knocking off Montreal’s Les Filles Du Roi 59-28 in the semi-final. Despite the Harlots dominance, 2008 also represented the first stages in a power shift in not just eastern Canadian roller derby, but roller derby in this country. Prior to the start of the season, Hammer City had expanded to a third team, the Death Row Dames. Predictably, the Dames were eliminated early, falling to the visiting Devil Dollies from Queen City (Buffalo). One of Canada’s original teams, the Steel Town Tank Girls trounced the Smoke City Betties in their opening bout. In the quarterfinal they lined up against Montreal’s La Racaille and its breakout star, the Iron Wench. In a nail-biter, Montreal’s hometeam pulled off a thrilling 32-30 victory to knock the second HCRG team out of the tournament.

The Hamilton Harlots continued their reign at the 2008 Beast of the East. (Photo by Derek Lang)

The final four consisted of the Harlots and all three of Montreal’s hometeams. While the Harlots would eventually (and convincingly) hold off the challenge from the Montreal upstarts, 55-18, Montreal’s success in the tournament would represent a taste of what was to come in the future. If you talk to the skaters about that tournament now (and the subsequent Beasts as well), they talk about how much of a bonding experience it was; a celebration of derby. It brought all of the eastern Canadian skaters together into a fully unified community for the first time.

Although I’ve more or less been running on derby time since just a few weeks after BOE 2008, I’m only now beginning to discover that there is a sort of derby time that exists on the track as well. I discovered it in those moments early in a practice when you’ve managed to get your skates on before anyone else and you get the track all to yourself. Within a few laps, the world beyond the track begins to blur, turns into a freeze-frame version of life that looks a little duller and moves a little slower than the one you’re experiencing.

Derby time is the reason why–even though it’s only been a few years–I can’t remember what life was like before I discovered the sport, and why I now can’t imagine a life without it.