Les Filles du Roi

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

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.

Nerd Meat Part 5: Opening the Doors

Nerd Meat: The Nerd Does Derby

Part 5: Opening the Doors

During our second day of scrimmaging, the two guys involved in ref training were pulled to act as on-skates officials. When I wasn’t pulled with them, the remaining skaters I haven’t yet met were really starting to wonder what I was doing there. So while once again fielding questions about my purpose at fresh meat, I had a moment of slight confusion myself: what was my role within this group of women? I knew, literally, why I was there (to get a better understanding of the sport), but I finally realized that a lot of the women weren’t sure how to interact with me, and I, them.

ToRD hosted the second annual Quad City Chaos on March 26 and 27 at the Hangar. (photography by Derek Lang)

I have really enjoyed the loco scrimmaging we’ve been doing, settling into a pivot role on the track in most cases, but that doesn’t really explain anything about my role in the group. I’ve had the time to think about this a lot more lately because we had a week off from training due to the Quad City Chaos tournament. For the second year in a row les grand étoiles from Montreal swept in and delivered their own unique lesson in how to play flat track roller derby. It was an extraordinary display of the game, proof that—at its best—the sport has reached that important point in its competitive evolution where the top teams in the game playing at their absolute best are capable of attaining a certain level of competitive beauty—there is a flow and continuity to the play that is mesmerizing to watch because of how effortless it appears, and how that level of flawlessness highlights both the nuances of the natural flow of the game and the contrived sophistication of the strategies that have evolved.

It was the kind of display of athleticism and preparedness that leads people to call even a fairly primitive sport like soccer, “The Beautiful Game.”

A lot of Canadian flat track "firsts" go through Hammer City, including the first WFTDA travel team, the Eh! Team.

Another reason that it was so amazing to watch Montreal perform the way they did at the QCC, was because it has only been four years since every team in Canada was more or less on equal footing, with Hammer City always a few steps ahead. They were trailblazers for the sport in this country, particularly here in the east. Although teams in other cities were skating and even scrimmaging, it was those Hammer City rollergirls who helped lead the growth of the sport in this country. If 2006 was the year everyone learned the sport from the skating on up to league organization, 2007 was the year the doors of flat track roller derby opened for the Canadian public.

The Betties D-Day had a profound effect on roller derby in Toronto, inspiring a roller derby merger in the city: the four teams that had formed out of the Toronto Terrors (Chicks Ahoy!, Death Track Dolls, D-VAS and Bay Street Bruisers) joined the Smoke City Betties and their new off-shoot team the Gore-Gore Rollergirls to form ToRD, the Toronto Roller Derby League. At the same time, in Quebec, the Montreal skaters had headed home from the tourney to form Montreal’s first team, Les Contrabanditas. In February, 2007, Les Contrabanditas hosted ToRD’s newly formed Gore-Gore Rollergirls in a closed bout (a nail biter that would be won by the Montreal team on the last jam), to begin an amazing year of roller derby in Canada.

Les Contrabanditas team photo that accompanied an article in Montreal's Mirror, discussing the first bout between Montreal and Toronto teams (February 24, 2007).

But if there is one month in Canada’s flat track history that will go down as being a turning point, it will be May, 2007. On May 5th, at the Royal City Curling Club in Vancouver, the Terminal City Rollergirls would host a Red vs. Black scrimmage, beginning what would quickly become one of the most successful leagues in Canadian roller derby. Exactly one week later, on May 12th, Hammer City would kick off its first full season, and a few weeks later at the George Bell Arena in Toronto, ToRD would host a day of scrimmages open only to friends and family that acted as a dry run for their first season opener on June 2nd (which would see the Gore-Gore Rollergirls defeat the Death Track Dolls 117-78).  Add to that the formation of the three-team Montreal Roller Derby League, and organized scrimmaging in Forest City (London), and the public birth of roller derby in this country can be easily dated.

While in 2007 MTLRD and ToRD focused on increasingly popular house leagues, Hammer City continued to travel and host intra-city bouts. In June the Harlots and the Tank Girls would host and defeat Montreal’s Les Filles du Roi and Les Contrabanditas; the following month they’d prove equally inhospitable hosts of The Forest City Derby Girls. Later in that summer, Hammer City would blaze yet another path when the Steel Town Tank Girls hosted the Buffalo’s Queen City All Stars in the  second ever cross-border bout in flat track history (Edmonton’s Oil City had hosted the Rocky Mountain Roller Girls only months earlier). That fall they would visit the Penn Jersey She Devils and form what would become Canada’s first WFTDA travel team (fittingly called the Eh! Team) to head to Fort Wayne to take part in the inaugural Fall Brawl.

the Hammer City Eh! Team was the first Canadian team to head south to take on US competition.

An argument can easily be made that Toronto and Montreal’s early focus on their hometeams was what held them back from catching the continent-trotting Hammer City Roller Girls. But at the same time, it could also be argued that it was Montreal’s careful nurturing of a comparatively small and competitive home league (ToRD, with six teams, was the largest flat track league in the world at the time) that would lead to their fast-tracked evolution at the end of the decade.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Even though Les Filles du Roi proved tops in Montreal and the Gore-Gore Rollergirls would win their first (of three and counting) ToRD championships (89-53 over the Chicks Ahoy!), at the end of 2007 there was no question that the Hamilton Harlots were the best flat track roller derby team in Canada. They’d ride that momentum right into 2008.

Early Canadian roller derby legends: Tank Girls' Cheese Grater (now of the Skids) holds back Harlots' jammer Bitchslap Barbie and blocker Carla Coma at HCRG's 2007 season opener.

The more I think about it, the more my role in this fresh meat intake seems obvious.  The women who were on my line on our Sunday scrimmage a few weeks ago had a mixed range of derby knowledge, and when I tried to set them up to perform a fairly complex strategy on our first jam, it was predictably disastrous. I realized that once again, my brain was well ahead of the abilities of me and my line mates. But then, as we waited for our next jam, one of the girls looked at me and said something along the lines of, “so on that power jam we were trying to trap that blocker so the pack would slow down and the jammer could get to the pack quicker, right? to score points?” She nodded her head almost imperceptibly, coming to a key realization, showing that quickly growing knowledge of the sport that is common among this group.

The next time we had a power jam our line quickly fell to the back of the pack, isolated an opposing blocker and ground the pack to a near halt. After the jam I was exhilarated. This group of fresh meat, some of whom had seen as little as one bout, were already beginning to pull off complex isolation strategies, and they had no idea how amazing that was, how amazing they were, and how far ahead of the curve this batch of new skaters was compared to those of the past. All they needed was someone to tell them what to do. That could be my role.

It’s really exciting to be able to see a sport develop at this early stage, and simple pleasures like witnessing a well-executed power jam by a lineup of fresh meat remind me how profoundly lucky we all are–me especially–to be a part of it.

***Get to know the Hammer City Roller Girls in this 2010 feature produced by CBC.

**Read previous posts here.

Nerd Meat Part 3: The “Moment”

Nerd Meat: The Nerd Does Derby

Part 3: The “Moment”

I don’t have any way to back this up, but I have a feeling that this is the largest intake of fresh meat that any league in Canada has seen (just under 90), at least since those first heady days of the sport’s emergence in this country when whole leagues formed in a matter of weeks. It speaks to the cultural prevalence of the sport; the level of media saturation and pop culture awareness that exists. Even just two years ago I’d meet people all the time who had no idea roller derby was making a comeback. That’s not usually the case anymore here in Toronto. People may not have seen flat track roller derby, or know the specifics, but they usually know it’s here and happening.

ToRD's WFTDA Apprenticeship has brought an increased visibility to CN Power.

The increased media prominence in Toronto is coming at a very opportune time. With ToRD on the verge of WFTDA status, the visibility of its travel team, CN Power, is only going to grow south of the border, and it seems that the Toronto media is finally catching on to the importance of CN Power in the larger world of roller derby. In the lead up to this weekend’s bout against Michigan’s Killamazoo Derby Darlins there has been front-page coverage on a major Toronto paper (The Toronto Sun) and prominent sports coverage on City TV’s evening news, all on top of the the usual media avenues. CN Power hasn’t yet drawn the sorts of crowds or inspired the sort of support that ToRD’s hometeams have, but all evidence points toward this weekend’s bout being the most successful and well attended CN Power bout ever—perhaps the travel team is finally starting to draw the sort of increased attention that it deserves.

Right along side this rise in media interest, has been the influx of interested partcipants. The reasons these women tell me they have for joining fresh meat are as varied as the body types and backgrounds. Some just thought it would be a unique “alternative” way to exercise (with the comfort of a large group of like-minded women—and a few guys); some caught a bout or two and were intrigued enough to take the next step, wanted to see if they had what it took to play; others have been watching the sport for much longer, have already skated and trained even, and know that at the end of the fresh meat the opportunity to be drafted to the D-VAS—or even directly onto one of ToRD’s hometeams—exists. These skaters gaze out at the Hangar during fresh meat sessions with a different look in their eyes. Now that they have seen the incredible crowd and felt the energy of ToRD’s season opener and are being swept up in the fervour surrounding this all star bout, they are getting even hungrier.

I won’t surprise anyone by saying that the first time I saw roller derby my life changed. I won’t surprise anyone because I wear my passion for this sport on my sleeve, but also because most people involved in flat track roller derby have had the same experience: The experience that I’ve most often heard described as “the moment.” A few skaters at Fresh Meat speak of having had this moment, and those ones—even if they can’t skate a lick right now—are hooked; it might take them a full year or even two to learn to skate, but they will; they may not be drafted for a draft or two, but they’ll persevere and end up on a roster. They may have undistinguished careers on the track, they may become superstars. But they’re in now, and they won’t get out.

A crowd lines up outside of Arena St. Louis for a 2008 Montreal Roller Derby bout.

My moment came in Montreal on May 31st, 2008, just after Montreal Roller Derby had hosted the inaugural Beast of the East. A few friends (two women) had caught wind of the sport and had gone to check it out. Neither were athletic in the slightest, nor—as far as I knew—had any interest in sports whatsoever. I don’t think either of them even skated very much. But they’d fallen in love at first sight. We saw them at a bar and they couldn’t stop talking about it, raving about it, actually. They told us that the following weekend, two of Montreal’s home teams, Les Filles du Roi and La Racaille, were hosting B-teams from Boston, The B Party, and Charm City (Baltimore), Female Trouble. My partner and I were eventually convinced to check it out.

Montreal plays its home games in Arena St. Louis, a modest-sized arena tucked away in Montreal’s laid back Mile End neighbourhood. It’s right off of The Main—Montreal’s busiest strip—but if you weren’t looking for it, you’d never find it, probably never even know it was there. I won’t lie and claim to remember what I was expecting when I walked into the arena, but I do know that what I discovered was not what I was expecting. It was absolutely packed that night, and in those days the crowd was still predominantly women. There was cheap PBR (and Old Milwaukee when that ran out) and the spectators were quickly rowdy. I couldn’t figure out who all these people were. They didn’t look like sports fans, they looked like people you’d see at a gig at Sala Rossa down the street, not at a sporting event. But they were rabid about the game, and their affection for the women on track was extraordinarily obvious. I was so amazed by what I was seeing around me that it took me a long time to even look at what was happening on the track.

La Racaille vs. Les Contrabanditas at MTLRD's Arena St. Louis. (Beast of the East 2010)

Of course, when I did turn my attention to the track, I had no idea what was going on. It was just absolute chaos to me. Up to ten women were flinging themselves around the track, seemingly haphazardly and with complete abandon. I could see the refs and hear the whistles but it was all meaningless. What I did know was that Montreal was getting beaten pretty badly in the opening bout. To my untrained eye, the teams on the track didn’t seem that different, but as much as I tried, I couldn’t figure what the American team was doing so differently. Every once in a while a particular skater would go onto the track for Montreal and the game would change, the crowd would shift expectantly. She was a small woman, wiry, but muscular. She was distinguished by the star on her helmet, and the awkward, hunched-over stride that brought her so low around the turns she could slap the floor if she wanted. It didn’t take me long to realize that whenever she was on the track Montreal’s score increased.  It gave me something to latch on to; I could match the cheers in the crowd with this skater’s ability to get through the pack, weave her way through the opposing blockers and take assists from her own. Gaining a centre point allowed me to see that within all the apparent chaos, there was a particular order to things. There were strategies, counter strategies. And no matter how out of hand the score got, we just waited for the skater with the distinctive gait to get back on the track so we could cheer. We were eventually able to read the number scrawled on her arm and checked her name in the program: Iron Wench.

The Iron Wench jams against CN Power at the 2010 Quad City Chaos.

Both Montreal teams got defeated that night, but it would mark the beginning of a journey that those skaters would take right to the highest levels of competition. The Iron Wench would become a respected star of the sport; Boston and Charm City would battle for National championships; Montreal would be the first non-US team to compete in the WFTDA playoffs: The three women I was with at that double header would all become skaters who continue to skate to this day.

I may not remember what my expectations were that night, and I certainly know that I didn’t learn that much about the sport, but I knew one thing right away, that my life had changed in a profound way.  Like so many of the people who I was skating with at fresh meat—and like so many others all over the world before them—roller derby had gotten to me: I’d had my moment.

**Visit the Nerd Meat Archives**