Marmighty

It’s Smooth Sailing for the Chicks Ahoy! in the 2012 ToRD Championship

The Chicks successfully defended the Boot, winning their third ToRD Championship. (Photo by Greg Russell)

It was a classic showdown with a historic spin at The Bunker on Saturday night, as the defending champion Chicks Ahoy! faced off against principle rivals the Gore-Gore Rollergirls in the Battle for the Boot 6, the 2012 Toronto Roller Derby Championship. It was the fifth time in six years that these two teams had squared off in the event, but roles were reversed this time around. For the first time, the Chicks Ahoy! finished with the best regular season record, a record that included a thirteen-point victory over this same Gores team in February. The Gores, on the other hand, found 2012 a rare struggle, losing their first regular season games in five years and just crawling into the playoffs in a tiebreaker over the Death Track Dolls. Despite the Gores’ somewhat surprising semifinal upset over the Smoke City Betties, they weren’t able to slow the dominant march of the 2012 Chicks. The defending Boot holders dominated from start to finish setting a record for points scored and margin of victory in a championship game with a convincing 196-56 victory to cap a definitive defense of their crown.

Lady Gagya (held behind Marmighty) had a strong night jamming for the Gores. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

With an injury ravaged roster necessitating some creative lineup juggling, it took a while for the Gores to get going, and by the time that they did, it may have already been too late. With a strong, consistent offense anchored by 2012 leading scorer Bala Reina, seasoned veteran Candy Crossbones, and former rookie of the year Kookie Doe, the Chicks came out with a stable, relentless attack from the very start, opening up an 11-0 lead after three jams before Bambi was finally able to put the first points on the board for the Gores. With Dust Bunny dressed, but not fully healed enough to be a difference maker in this one, the Gores went with a diverse, revolving jammer rotation that featured a surprisingly strong performance by Lady Gagya (15 points of the Gores points in the first half), but the pack never found the consistent rhythm that the Chicks’ pack did as their stable lines and the comfort with their jammers allowed them to seize momentum when available and maintain it for long stretches, leading by 40 points half way through the first period after the Gores managed only two scoring passes in that fifteen minutes span.

Chicks’ pivot Dyna Hurtcha had a monster bout in the pack. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

While the Gores seemed to wake up at this point, the constant shuffling of the packs (and subsequent blocker penalty troubles), never allowed them to sustain a consistent attack. With the gap already growing to over 40 points, a 23-point Kookie Doe power jam (she would lead the first half in scoring with 45 points) would bring the Chicks over the century mark and open up a lead that they would never relinquish. It was smooth sailing for the Chicks after that who had a stranglehold on this one, leading 106-32 at the half.

The jammers were certainly key for the Chicks Ahoy!, but just as integral was the punishing pack work. Clinical drag-back defense from Rebel Rock-It, relentless, machine-gun hitting from Marmighty and Mega Bouche, and phenomenal last-line-of-defense one-on-one work from primary pivot Dyna Hurtcha erased any thoughts that the lack of pack juggernauts Nasher the Smasher and Tara Part (who would join Flyin’ Bryan Killman on the bench) would prove detrimental to the team. But just as important as the front line, the key to the Chicks’ continued success is their depth of bench. Consistent veteran players like Furious Georgia, Robber Blind also had strong games, while the rookie trio of Biggley Smallz, Roadside BombShel and Doris Doomsday continued to excel in the pack, and are lead by the stable leadership of key role models Hoff and Tess D’Urb-Evil. All in all, it was a complete game by the Chicks, who rearely relented and had increased the lead to 120 points at the midway point of the period.

The Gores used a wide jammer rotation including Kandy Barr, who looks to avoid a Mega Bouche hit. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

Not that the Gores didn’t continue to push to the end. Despite scoring less in the second half, they scored more consistently as opposed to the bunches of points they’d picked up in the first. Santa Muerte, Chronic, Draculaura and Kandy Barr took turns with the star, while the packs relied in large part on Foxy Sinatra, Junkie Jenny and Molly Boom, and got more spirited performances from Miss Kitty La Peur and Emma Dilemma. Moving forward, it will be these five skaters that the Gores will look to to build around. They proved, especially in the semifinal—but at moments in the championship as well—that they are up for the cause; however, it will take time, and it wasn’t going to happen tonight, as the Chicks were unstoppable on their way to the overwhelming 196-56 victory.

With a number of skaters on each team joining CN Power full time, veterans like Foxy Sinatra and Junkie Jenny will have a greater responsibility moving forward. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

These two teams have been the perennial top performers in the league’s early history, and that is due in large part to the cores that these teams have been built around. With a roster more consistent than those of the Dolls and the Betties, these two teams have been consistent performers year in and year out (with the Chicks only have one blemish on their record—a 2009 season that ended early). But after six years, this game marked the end of an era, as in 2013, the members of CN Power will be leaving their hometeams to focus solely on WFTDA play. After a breakout season in the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (they went 9-1 in sanctioned play and just missed out on a playoff spot), CN Power will be skating straight into the heart of roller derby’s most competitive league next season and will require a full-time commitment from its skaters. For the Gores and Chicks and their fans, it means a lot of fresh new faces to get used to next season (they will be selected from an experienced group of D-VAS in the upcoming entry draft).

Venerable announcer Crankypants announced his retirement prior to the championship game. (Photo by Greg Russell)

On top of that, this bout marked the last for legendary announcer and voice of the league, Crankypants, who has stood right alongside these skaters through it all. While it will be a strange thing indeed to watch a ToRD event without Crankypants, the timing—in light of the changing make-up of the league—was apt, and even slightly poetic. Certainly, the legend will live on and the memory too, every time anyone implores the crowd to get louder.

Change may be difficult, but for ToRD as a whole, it means renewal, and an exciting, unpredictable house league for 2013 (with, on paper anyway, there appearing to be a power shift to the Betties and the Dolls on the horizon). These first few years have been extraordinary in their development and have produced phenomenal skaters, amazing moments and a strong, stable community around which to grow even further.

The development of Toronto’s most competitive league has mirrored the development of the sport as a whole: the game itself has never been stronger, more popular, or more relevant. ToRD, after another successful championship to cap another successful year, seems ready to continue its ascendance.

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Chicks Dominate Dolls to Close out ToRD Regular Season

The Chicks and Dolls met for the ninth time in their history on Saturday night. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Death Track Dolls 35 vs. Chicks Ahoy! 194

Toronto Roller Derby closed out its regular season on Saturday night with a matchup between its two fiercest rivals, the Death Track Dolls and the Chicks Ahoy!. These two had most recently faced off twice in Montreal’s Beast of the East tournament, splitting two exciting games which included an exciting 42-31 victory by the Death Track Dolls in the third place bout. But this one did not live up to the lofty expectations that are usually satisfied when these two teams meet, as the Chicks Ahoy! looked calm, cool and collected on their way to a definitive victory, the 159 point win constituting the largest margin ever recorded between these two  teams.

With Land Shark not in the lineup, Dolls rookie Santilly In Yo Face was a big presence with the star. (Photo by Greg Russell)

Things started off as tight as expected. Riding rookie jammer Santilly In Yo Face in the early going, the Dolls stayed close to the Chicks who managed to jump out to a slight lead, 7-5, on the strength of confident jamming from veteran skaters Dyna Hurtcha and Candy Crossbones. But things quickly went awry for the Dolls who were playing without star jammer Land Shark. A Slam Wow cutting major (the first of four jamming majors for the second-year skater) allowed the Chicks to pull away  29-5. But the difference in the early going was in the excellent pack work of the Chicks. Composed and tight, the once vaunted and feared Chicks hit-and-run offense has been refined to a much more effective and strategically controlled style of play and dominated the pace and formation of the packs all night. Not that these Chicks can’t lay down the law with some big hits (as evidenced by the pounding that Marmighty and Mega Bouche in particular laid on Santilly In Yo Face), but the hits were properly timed and never seemed frivolous. The Dolls, on the other hand, couldn’t manage much pack control and actually seemed rattled early on, overly concerned by some inconsistent reffing that, while affecting both teams, only seemed to get under the skin of the Dolls. The Chicks were cruising at the half, well ahead of the Dolls 111-13.

The Chicks’ Marmighty had another extraordinary bout in the pack. (Photo by Greg Russell)

The Dolls regrouped and refocused to kick off the second half and came out with a much more focused effort. Betty Bomber, who’d taken over jamming duties late in the first, continued to keep her team in it with some extraordinary jamming, the only Dolls jammer who was capable of consistently getting leads, but they still couldn’t make up much ground down by 100 ten minutes in. Santilly proved to be a scrappy force for her team and kept going despite the relentless and punishing blocking from Marmighty. A stand out in her rookie season in 2010, Marmighty has quickly developed into one of the smartest and most effective blockers in the league whether positionally (one-on-one) or as a striking jammer killer. Her phenomenal play was a big reason for the Chicks’ pack dominance. Jubilee came in to jam for the Dolls in the second half to relieve the penalty-laden Slam Wow and did well despite limited experience this season. But the composure of the Chicks allowed them to ride out the push back and eventually wrestled control and momentum back from their opponents, adding to their lead, 134-29, mid way through the half.

Chicks rookie jammer Kookie Doe is a leading candidate for rookie of the year. (Photo by Greg Russell)

With such a big lead, the Chicks were able to experiment with their lineups late and the crowd was treated to some unconventional jammers: blocker Hum Dinger, for example, and Bala Reina who had a real breakout tournament at the BOE 2011 and has very quietly put together a solid rookie season for the Chicks. And speaking of rookies, if there was any question left coming into this one, Kookie Doe may have quieted any remaining skeptics in her pursuit for rookie of the year as she put together yet another consistent bout with the star. Kookie also got her skates wet in the pack on this night as the Chicks continued to rotate their jammers late in the game. In the end, the Chicks were far too much for the Dolls on this night, pulling away for an extraordinary 194-35 victory.

After such a dominant performance, the Chicks are heavy favourites heading into the semifinal. (Photo by Greg Russell)

Having finished second and third in ToRD’s regular season, these two teams will do it all over again on June 11 in the semifinals, with the winner earning a shot at the defending champion Gore-Gore Rollergirls in Battle for the Boot 5. While the two lineups will be far different from those seen on this night, the Dolls will have to make some major adjustments (both on and off the track) to have a shot at taking down this Chicks team that has gotten better as the season has gone on. Once known for showing their emotions on the track and being penalty prone, the 2011 version of the Chicks Ahoy! is one of the most composed and disciplined ever. While certainly not an impossible task, it will take a much more consistent and focused effort from the Death Track Dolls to have a shot at taking them down.

* The game was boutcast live by the ToRD.TV team and broadcast through Canuck Derby TV. You can also catch layer9’s track side HD footage here.

* Tickets are already on sale for the June 11th semifinal.

Chicks Smoke the Betties

BruiseBerry Pie made her much anticipated ToRD debut in the Betties' loss. (photo by Sean Murphy)

Smoke City Betties 22 vs. Chicks Ahoy! 131

There was a particular level of anticipation in the Hangar on Saturday night. There were many intriguing stories to follow, from how the new Smoke City Betties “veterans” would perform, to how the Chicks Ahoy! would be able to integrate the largest contingent of fresh meat they’d ever had. But the biggest question was how the actual bout would unfold; after last year’s 250 point blowout, how far had the Betties come? What we did learn was that despite the fact that the Betties are obviously a much better team than they were a year ago, there is still work to be done to get back to a competitive level. After faltering at the beginning of 2010, this year’s Chicks Ahoy! team has come roaring out of the gates, looking calm, organized and strategically sound on their way to an impressive season opening victory.

FIRST HALF

The Chicks' Dyna Hurtcha had a game high 54 points; titmouse had the most track time of her ToRD career. (photo by Sean Murphy)

After gaining considerable experience in a pre-season game in Ottawa, the Chicks had no problems lining up rookie jammer Kookie Doe against the vastly improved titmouse to kick this off. The rookie didn’t look out of place at all, going 4 and done to get her team on the board early (she’d finish with a solid 27 points). Dyna Hurtcha also came to play, laying down the law with some big hits in the pack, before donning the star and picking up points for her team. If Dyna’s level of play at this early stage of the season is any indication, the triple-threat and most-feared award winner of the 2009 season is back 100%. In the recent past, the Betties would not have had a response to a jammer as physical and unintimidated as Hurtcha, but this is a Betties team that looks ready to stand up to any physical challenge. In her ToRD debut, BruiseBerry Pie delivered in a big way, showing no fear in her willingness to go toe-to-toe with the fearsome Chicks pack. And while she was sometimes scattered and erratic when wearing the pivot’s stripe, she was often dominant as a blocker and scored some impressive jammer take outs.

Other veterans stepped up for the Betties as well. Memphis Kitty (who led the Betties with 11 points) continues to be a steadying and reliable presence on the track, helping an early push back that kept the Betties in the game, often facing off against Chicks’ veteran Candy Crossbones (a duo that has been doing battle for as long as this sport has been played in this city). After a smart 2 point call by titmouse, the Betties were certainly within reach, down 20-7, and looking prepared to take the game to the Chicks.

Chicks' Nasher the Smasher had her hands full against old opponent, Mia Culprit, who made her return to the track. (photo by Derek Lang)

With some sloppy, physical packs, this bout was perhaps defined by great one-on-one battles that occurred whether over the course of the bout or just within particular jams. Fifteen minutes in, at what could have been the turning point in the first half, two straight stalemates (followed by a Memphis Kitty single) left the game open for either team to take over. With Dyna Hurtcha on a run and looking to sway the momentum back in the Chicks’ favour, Betties’ co-captain Sail Her Poon stepped up to take her on. Despite bouncing off of the Chicks’ power jammer on the initial pass, Poon stayed on the case and managed a late-jam jammer take out on Hurtcha that limited the damage. But Candy Crossbones (who at this early stage in the year looks to be in as good a shape as she’s been since the Chicks’ 2008 championship season) had a fantastic bout with the star. Aided by amazing pack work from 2010 rookie stand out Marmighty, Candy was dominant on this night whether reeling in jammers and forcing calls or picking up critical points at crucial moments, the Betties didn’t have a response for the scrapper jammer. Memphis Kitty picked up a much needed grand slam on the last jam of the first half; but despite this, the continued physical dominance of Bruise, and a strong positional performance from Pretty Peeved (another skater who looks to be in top form early on this season), the Betties were still staring at a 48-15 deficit at the half.

SECOND HALF

Needing to come out strong to get back into this one, the Betties proved unable to rise to the challenge. With jammer Memphis Kitty in the box, and Dyna Hurtcha lined up for the power jam, the Betties failed to track a full set of blockers, leaving only the scrappy and effective Sail Her Poon to fend off the strong Chicks pack. In the most even of situations, the Chicks dominated the pack all night, putting up great front walls and responding well to their pivot’s direction, so it didn’t take long for Dyna Hurtcha to put up 15 points before Poon actually did her team a favour by being thrown in the box and forcing the refs to call the jam for the inability to form a pack. It was great opportunity for the Betties and Kitty made the most of it, taking lead right out of the box. She got caught up in a collision at the back of the pack on her scoring pass and was forced to call it. It would be a pivotal missed opportunity as Candy Crossbones threw down 9 points on the next jam to give the Chicks a formidable 91-16 lead.

Veteran pivot Pretty Peeved had a strong bout for the Betties. (photo by Joe Mac)

While the Betties clearly have the raw talent to pull things together and be competitive, their success this year will depend in large part on how well they come together as a team.  Along with the bench error (from a bench that seem to verge on over-emotional) there were smaller errors as well such as outscored lead jammers(though in fairness a lot of that was due to savvy jamming on the Chicks’ part, including from their confident rookie, Kookie Doe), or skaters unnecessarily being goated by out-of-play players. It was a typical early season bout, with the skaters only beginning to round into game shape, and therefore understandably mistake prone. And just as there were great individual performances, there were also great team moments as well: The recycling by the Chicks blockers and their ability to hold the front frustrated the Betties all night. And the Chicks’ rookies in the bout—Kookie Doe, Snap N Cooter, Red Light Roxy, and Balla Reina—blended in seamlessly, guided well by their veteran teammates.

The story was much the same for the duration of the second half (in which the Betties only managed 7 points). Despite some spirited play from Betties’ pivot Hot Roller and some big hits and strong defence from the Chicks’s blocker, Nasher the Smasher, long and frequent timeouts (prompting some energetic “Let’s Play Derby” chants from the fans) sapped the remaining energy from this one-sided match up  and the Chicks held the course, sailing away with a  131-22 victory.

Chicks' Marmighty (blocking Platinum Bomb) had an extraordinary start to her second season. (photo by Sean Murphy)

ON THE HORIZON

Despite the loss, the Betties have a lot to take away from this. Strong individual performances from the veteran core (and from their lone tracked rookie, D-VAS graduate, Misery Mae) will provide a great focus going forward. Their young core of jammers is continuing to grow, and titmouse played the biggest game of her young career, gaining valuable experience. As the year progresses the wisdom of drafting veterans BruiseBerry and Mia Culprit should become evident too, as both have a lot to offer this team. It will be interesting to see how unified this group can become before their next bout against the Death Track Dolls (April 16). Despite the changes to the lineup, the Chicks look like they are reading to pick up where they left off, and no doubt will carry a lot of confidence into their 2010 championship rematch against the Gore-Gore Rollergirls on April 9.

Check out the stats breakdown, updated standings and keep up with the 2011 JQ rating to track the league’s top jammers at the Stats Page. Keep an eye on ToRD.TV for a video recap and layer9’s bout footage.

Team Preview: Chicks Ahoy!

Wins Losses +/ – Notes
2010 Regular Season 2 1 +192 Returned to 2nd overall (3rd in ’09)
2010 Playoffs 1 1 -40 First decisive victory over Dolls in 2 years.

In 2010 the Chicks played in their third championship in 4 years (all against the Gore-Gore Rollergirls). (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

2010

After a championship run in ’08 was followed by a disappointing ’09 that saw them eke out a 3rd place finish with a last-gasp victory over the Death Track Dolls, it seemed like that talented squad of Chicks Ahoy! who’d gone to back-to-back finals had run its course. But electing instead to shore up holes in the lineup with veteran free agents as opposed to dipping into the draft, the Chicks seemed committed to making one more run to the boot in 2010. And it paid off.

Despite a shaky start to the season, the experienced group of Chicks gelled as the season went on and looked primed for the playoffs after ending their regular season with a record-setting 224 point romp over the Smoke City Betties. They answered their remaining skeptics with a confident 36 point victory over the Dolls in the semifinals (the previous two bouts between these opponents had gone down to the wire). But The Boot would be out of reach for the Chicks as they were dominated defensively in the final, only able to put up 31 points in a one-sided loss. With such a veteran lineup incapable of making taking that final step, change was in the air.

LOSSES AND GAINS

Replacing perrenial triple threat Mach Wheels will be a tough task. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

2011 marks the greatest change for the Chicks Ahoy! in its history. League stalwart Fubar Bundy, veterans Fireweed and Blammo, talented jammers Kari Mia Beere and Marvellous Maven, and fresh export Crimson Shivers are all gone from the lineup. But the biggest loss, is that of Mach Wheels. The most talented skater in ToRD’s early history, Mach Wheels became ToRD’s quintessential all star and defined the triple threat role that has become so prominent on ToRD teams. Her knowledge and experience helped shape Toronto Roller Derby and her leaving will be felt throughout the league; co-captain Candy Crossbones, a veteran of many battles with Mach Wheels, has admitted that the team is still recovering from that change.

But with change comes the necessary injection of fresh faces, something that the Chicks haven’t had in a while, and this has brought a new positive dynamic to the team. “Having so many new, hyper-enthusiastic skaters has really reminded everyone else why we love derby and how much we like to skate together,” Candy said, expressing an upbeat mood for the team.  “It’s really brought team morale up a lot.” With six new faces added to the roster via draft, this is clearly a new Chicks Ahoy!

Marmighty and Nasher the Smasher both had big years in the pack last season.(Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

BY POSITION

The Chicks also added new blood on the bench, and after a year-long apprenticeship spent closely analysing the sport, Flyin’ Bryan Killman will be making his ToRD debut this season as the Chicks’ new bench manager. He’ll have a talented pool from which to build lines.

Pivots: Even with the off-season changes, this is a team that looks strong up front. Rebel Rock-It and Nasher the Smasher, two of the league’s top pivots, return in 2011 to lead the pack, while co- captain Tara Part will also be involved up front. Over 2010, however, Mega Bouche took on an increasingly versatile role in the pack, and ended the year second in pivot percentage on the team. While it remains to be seen whether or not a rookie can step up to pivot so early in her career, Snappin Cooter could be a preseason consideration. “She has a great sense for what’s going on around her,” Candy Crossbones says of the newcomer, pointing out that she is a noticeably improving each practice.

Candy Crossbones has been one of ToRD's most consistent jammers. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

Blockers: A good mix of experience (Cheri Nova, Furious Georgia) and youth (Marmighty), hard hitting strikers (Dolly Destructo, Dyna Hurtcha) and positional blockers (Hum Dinger, Hoff), this is a Chicks lineup that has a lot of depth in the pack. But this is also a position where a lot of players have the opportunity to step up. Candy Crossbones points to third-year blocker Robber Blind as a skater primed to have a breakout 2011.  Tess D’urb-Evil and Red Light Roxy are both showing signs of being natural pack players, and according to the Chicks captains, newcomer Bam Bam Hiterlow is living up to her name and is developing a “bad ass hit” that once perfected could be unstoppable.

Jammers: The position most affected by the losses in the lineup (Mach Wheels and Kari Mia Beere led the team in jam % last season), the Chicks’ attack will be a work in progress. Led by the dependable Candy Crossbones who is one of the top three four rated jammers in ToRD’s history, look for Dyna Hurtcha to take on more of a role with the star this season as the rookie crop develops. Although Rebel Rock-It has proved to be good for a record-setting jam here and there, and Dolly Dstructo has some history at the position, look for the Chicks to begin developing jammers out of the draft pool. Early on it looks as if Kookie Doe (who got some valuable experience in a recent exhibition bout in Ottawa) and Bala Reina are potential candidates. Candy Crossbones has compared Kookie Doe’s strong skating style to that of Mach Wheels, while Bala Reina is “fast and nimble” and is soaking up the strategies.

Last season's Betties vs. Chicks bout was a one-sided affair; this season's should be much closer. (Photo by Joe Mac)

EXPECTATIONS

With such change comes diminished expectations, which could actually play nicely into the hand of an exuberant, youthful team still bolstered by a strong veteran core. A fresh injection of youth may have been exactly what this Chicks team needed and if preseason fervor is any indication, the change has been positive. While they won’t dominate the upcoming season opener the way they dominated last year’s bout against the Betties, they could still enter the bout as favourites. Either way this bout will go a long way in describing how things could play out for ToRD in 2011. Free of the burden of high expectations, the Chicks Ahoy! could play loose and relaxed all year. Depending on how quickly and how well the fresh faces integrate, this Chicks team could be an intriguing story by the end of the season.

2010 REGULAR SEASON STATS HIGHLIGHTS

  • Counting exhibition bouts, the Chicks went 4-5 in 2010. They made their third appearance in ToRD’s Battle for the Boot in 4 seasons.
  • Rebel Rock-It led the team in total +/- (+183). Mach Wheels led among jammers (+97).
  • Mach Wheels led the team in scoring (106 PTS) and recorded a remarkable 75% lead percentage. Candy Crossbones led in PPJ (4.3), and she and Rebel each tied a ToRD single-jam record with 25 points.
  • Nasher the Smasher led the team in assists (15), blocks (35) and knockdowns (9).
  • Dolly Destructo (on for 53% of her team’s jams) and Nasher (51%) led the team in total track time. While Nasher had the most minors on the team with 39 (highest in the league), Dolly recorded the most majors in ToRD (11) and also had the most total penalty minutes (15).

* Chicks play the Betties in the season opener for both teams on Saturday, March 12. Tickets for the bout are available online, or at various outlets down town. Doors of The Hangar open at 6:30, opening whistle at 7:30

*To get warmed up, you might want to got to layer9 to check out the defensive gem that these two teams put together in 2009 (68-61 for the Betties; this was also the first official bout played at the Hangar).

2010 ToRD All-NERD TEAM (Part 2): THE ROOKIE LINE

Gores' Hurlin' Wall 2010 Rookie of the Year.

THE 2010 ROOKIE CLASS

The 2010 rookie class is arguably the top rookie class so far in ToRD’s brief history. But with the re-emergence of the DVAS as an organized bouting squad of undrafted players and the growing popularity of Toronto Junior Roller Derby, the drafts are only going to get stronger and stronger every season.

That being said, putting together only a single line of rookies was extraordinarily difficult. But here it is, the 2010 All-Nerd Rookie Line:

PIVOT

Pivot: Sail Her Poon (Smoke City Betties)

While no Smoke City Betties made my starting 14, the rookie line—for obvious reasons—is full of Betties. With an overwhelming amount of rookies, the Betties’ first year skaters had no choice but to take on big roles both off and on the track. No skater epitomized this more than Sail Her Poon.

A rookie captain, Sail Her Poon showed comfort and poise on the track well beyond her experience. Skating in 42% of the Betties’ jams this season, Poon  would  spread that playing time across all three positions on the track. Despite being a rookie on an outmatched team, she managed to pick up the first JQ points of her career (finishing top ten in Jam %, points and points per jam). In the end, she split her time in the pack and jamming almost perfectly 50-50. This complete-track awareness is why Poon is wearing the stripe on the Rookie Line.

Blocker: Marmighty (Chicks Ahoy!)

BLOCKERS

The Gore-Gore Rollergirls’ Hurlin’ Wall was the only rookie to make the Starting 14, so it shouldn’t be any surprise to see her here. A strong positional jammer whose timing got better as the season went on, Hurlin has the athleticism and track sense to be a complete pack player. The sole rookie on the Chicks Ahoy! this year, Marmighty, also makes the cut. Marmighty got a crash course in derby on a Chicks squad loaded with veterans and it showed in her play. Starting off strong positionally, she finished a +/- of+91, and it didn’t take the New Zealand import long to get confident with her physical game either, and finished third

Blocker: Grim Avenger (Betties)

on the Chicks in blocks and fourth in knockdowns; able to muscle her way into prominence on a stacked lineup. Lastly, another member of the Betties’ rookie class, Grim Avenger. From the opening bout (in which she skated 15 of her teams’ 37 jams) Grim was expected to play a big role in the Betties pack: she played up to those expectations. By the final bout of the regular season she was wearing the stripe and leading packs (she would be an integral part of the Betties’ strong playoff performance against the Gores as well).

Jammer: Tropic Thunder (Betties)

JAMMER

ToRD has developed into a tough league to be a rookie jammer in. The most that you can ask for is for her to endure and, hopefully, keep getting up. Tropic Thunder accomplished that and more for the Betties this year. From her breakout performance at the Fresh Meat Scrimmage during last year’s off season to the triple-threat role she played in the opening bout, Tropic Thunder became an integral part of the Betties’ attack by the end of the season and ended up jamming 25% of her teams’ jams on the season. She also led her team in scoring in the Betties’ final two regular season bouts of 2010. She is the third Bettie on this team and one of many who form the solid foundation for the Betties’ future.

Recap the The All-Nerd Starting 14 here.

Upcoming: Saturday, final post of 2010. A few favourite photos and off-track highlights.