Misfit Militia

Canadian Power Rankings Preview

Captain Lou El Bammo, Dick Pounder, Dr. Jenny Fever, and the Derby Nerd return for another season of ranking the country’s top teams.

Montreal started at the top of the rankings and has never slipped (seen here in a 2013 game against Windy City). (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Montreal started at the top of the rankings and has never slipped (seen here in a 2013 game against Windy City). (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Last year, The Power Rankings crew was born out of a desire to provide subjective comparative analysis (based on objective observations, of course) of the top roller derby teams in Canada. So a quartet of derby nerds came together to hash out how the process would work, and what those rankings would look like. We’re back once again in 2014.

2014 was a fascinating year in roller derby in general and Canadian roller derby in particular. At the top, three Canadian teams qualified for WFTDA’s Division 1 playoffs and another made massive waves in the D-2 tournament. But what is most impressive for Canadian roller derby is the build up of the competitive base. All across the country, new teams are rising. Last year Calgary and Alliston, Ontario’s, Misfit Militia shot up the rankings, while old powers like Hammer City returned to competitive derby, all of this was played out in the Power Rankings. The goal of this exercise is not to replace the statistical ranking system, but to act as a parallel discussion of the excellent work done by Rollergirl.ca (in partnership with Flat Track Stats). But one of the advantages we have, is that we aren’t tied to statistics and we can take into account things like injury, personnel moves, home-track advantage, etc.

“The Power Rankings are great at highlighting the failings of the statistical model that Flat Track Stats and Rollergirl.ca use to create their list,” agrees Captain Lou El Bammo, one of the founders of the Power Rankings.  “That model employs data from years gone by which allows for large fluctuations because it does not take into account current information that we use to make our decisions. The Power Rankings brings the human factor back into the process and I think we’ve shown, through 2013, that we can adapt more quickly than the other system can.”

Another founder, Dick Pounder, echoes that sentiment. “The rankings have the potential to create good debate outside of the statistical ranking system…and I think if we can get more people into the sports-mentality of looking at everything we look at, the discussion around the power rankings will become more interesting.”

Currently third in the rankings, read the recap of Terminal City's 2103 Playoff game against New Hampshire by Danger (ismymiddlename) on Derby News Network. (Featuring photography by Tom Klubens)

Currently third in the rankings, read the recap of Terminal City’s 2013 Playoff game against New Hampshire by Danger (ismymiddlename) on Derby News Network. (Featuring photography by Tom Klubens)

One of the stories last year, and in Canadian derby since 2008, was Montreal’s reign at the top of the rankings. However, for the first time in years, both Terminal City and Toronto made up ground against the Skids. “We may see a battle among these three all year,” says Dick. “I think it’s only a matter of time before someone knocks Montreal from its perch in Canadian Derby,” says Dick.

Captain Lou is even more definitive in his predictions, “I expect to see the Skids slide in 2014, and we could see Toronto beating them once, if not twice, this year. My prediction is Toronto and possibly Terminal City finishing ahead of Montreal in the WFTDA standings by the time playoffs come around. We have seen the end of Canadian roller derby domination by Montreal.” Lou cites the losses of Bone Machine and Iron Wench as massive blows to the team. And although Terminal City also lost Beretta Lynch and Toronto Bambi, in both cases there are skaters ready to take over those roles, more so than in Montreal, where Wench had become such a key to the offense. Dr. Jenny Fever likes Terminal City’s chances as well, “What can I say but Terminal City AllStars? I know the training and passion that is driving them this year. Making it to the WFTDA Divisionals in Richmond, VA, last year was so inspiring, and I know that the All Stars want to hit the playoffs again, and win!”

There is consensus right now that the team to watch in Canadian flat track roller derby this year is Calgary. The CRDA All Stars have already made a big splash, wiping the track with their competition at the recent Wild West Showdown, destroying Dockyard (406-59), Ark Valley (264-105), and Slaughterhouse (223-92), to get their first WFTDA season off to a 3-0 start. On top of some impressive roster additions last year, a few more transfers from Oil City, Red Deer and Hammer City have bolstered their roster.

The Kootenay Kannibelles are another team that has the Rankings Crew intrigued. “I am very excited about the Kannibelles this season,” says Dr. Jenny Fever. “Having Bobb (AKA Berretta Lynch) back, even as a coach, is really going to help them.” Dr. J also likes what’s going on with the Mainland Misfits Anarchy Angels, who have added built a coaching staff that includes three members of Canada’s national men’s team.

On the other side of things, after some pretty significant roster and coaching changes due, largely, to retirements, the rankings crew thinks that perennial contenders the Red Deer Belladonnas will slide this season as they begin a potential rebuild, although Dr. Jenny does hold out hope for a return to form in the midst of the excitement surrounding their WFTDA Apprenticeship.

Toronto's CN Power jumped up to 2nd in the Power Rankings to end 2013 (seen here in their season-opening win against Team Ontario). (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Toronto’s CN Power jumped up to 2nd in the Power Rankings to end 2013 (seen here in their season-opening win against Team Ontario). (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The story of 2014 though is clearly Canada’s continued infiltration of the WFTDA. Captain Lou points out that Canada now as 20 teams in the WFTDA (including 10 apprentice leagues). “I think we’ll continue to see those teams outperform the other leagues because of the level of competition available to them and the requirement to be more organized and focused that the WFTDA brings to a league,” he predicts. “I’m hoping we’ll see more leagues heading in that direction.”

Dick Pounder agrees, and likes that the WFTDA link is encouraging more east vs west competition. “We are seeing the start of east vs. west matchups this season and hopefully that will continue to happen more going forward. I am super excited about Maple Stir Up in Hammer City this year,” he says, referring to the all-Canadian WFTDA tournament scheduled for Hamilton this August (it will be the first all-Canadian WFTDA-sanctioned tournament after Quad City Chaos 2011 featured three full-member teams and on apprentice.)

“I’m also hoping that we’ll see more provincial All-Star teams form in 2014,” adds Captain Lou. “Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, New Brunswick have all made the leap. I’ve witnessed the benefits that this process can bring to skaters and I think other provinces will too. With any luck, this will lead to a Canada Cup for Roller Derby in 2015!”  Team Ontario and Toronto’s CN Power played an exhibition game last month, and it lived up to all the hype, showcasing a phenomenal level of talent. The knowledge and experience share gained from these kinds of partnerships is undeniable.

“I find the increasing level of competitive teams on the world stage very exciting,” says Fever, alluding to Canada’s prominent place on that stage.  “I love that we have the training, dedication and drive to boost the sport. On the other hand, my favorite derby games to announce are the smaller, home team games where the teams are made of women who want to have a great time and play derby. Those crowds are always my favorite. They might not know all the rules, but they are having a great time enjoying a sport that we are so passionate about.”

****The first Canadian Power Rankings of 2014 will be released on April 1. Check here to see the final Canadian Power Rankings of 2013.

SKATERS TO WATCH

Here are five skaters who you may not have seen a lot of, but who the rankings crew thinks could turn some heads in Canadian derby this season.

Kris Myass: Jammer (Calgary Roller Derby Association)

Easy Break Oven: Jammer, Blocker (Calgary Roller Derby Association)

Fraxxure: Blocker (Tri-City Roller Girls)

Meow Wallace: Blocker (Tri-City Roller Girls)

Rainbow Fight: Jammer, Blocker (Toronto Roller Derby)

Canadian Power Rankings: November 1, 2013

Canadian Power Rankings: November 1st, 2013

TEAM (League) CHANGE NOTES (Rollergirl.ca /WFTDA rank)
1. New Skids on the Block (Montreal Roller Derby)

Montreal Roller Derby: New Skids on the Block

Despite a disappointing WFTDA playoff (a tough win over Wasatch followed by losses to Ohio and London), the Skids remain at the top of the sport in Canada. Since beginning play in 2008, the Skids have yet to lose to a Canadian team.  (1 / 15).
2. CN Power (Toronto Roller Derby)

CN Power Logo

+1 (3) After spending the whole 2013 season in third spot, CN Power finally makes the leap to second. They had a busy few months, crushing Brew City and Grand Raggidy, and shocking the WFTDA with playoff wins over Sacred City and Boston before hard-fought losses against Atlanta And Victorian. (2 / 32).
3. Terminal City All Stars (Terminal City Roller Girls)

Terminal City All Stars

-1 (2) Terminal City slips one spot to third, but more due to Toronto’s impressive play than anything Vancouver did. The All Stars also had an amazing showing in the WFTDA playoffs, scoring upsets over Tampa Bay and New Hampshire, coming up just short against Jacksonville, and falling to the historic Texas Rollergirls. (3 / 37)
4. Tri-City Thunder (Tri-City Roller Girls)Tri-City Thunder Logo The Thunder hold the fourth spot after an extraordinary run in the WFTDA D2 playoffs, where only a controversial overtime loss to Santa Cruz kept them from potentially winning the whole D2 tournament. They knocked off Paper Valley, Carolina and Burning River in their divisional tournament. They followed that run with a position-confirming win over the Rideau Valley Vixens.  (5 / 46)
5. Rideau Valley Vixens (Rideau Valley Roller Girls)

Vixens Logo

Despite a loss to Ithaca, the Vixens hold their spot with a win over Dutchland and a strong performance in a loss to the Thunder. Consistency keeps the Vixens from climbing higher. (7 / 70)
6. Misfit Militia (Misfit Militia Roller Derby)
Misfit Militia Logo
+2 (8) Despite some near constant roster shuffling, the core of this Misfit Militia team remains extraordinary. They are 6-0 in 2013 with an average margin of victory of 325 points. They will need to start facing stiffer competition in 2014 if they want to hold their position, but the potential future looks incredibly bright. (6 / -)
7. Belladonnas (Red Deer Roller Derby Association)

Belladonnas Logo

-1 (6) Red Deer continues its impressive season, recently scoring one-sided wins over the Kootenay Kannibelles  and Saskatoon. 13-2 on the season, the Belladonnas are on a six game winning streak since a July loss against Terminal City. (4 / -)
8. The Eh! Team (Hammer City Roller Girls)

Hammer City Logo

+1 (9) Jumping one more spot, Hammer City continues its impressive 2013 rebirth. One of the biggest movers in the WFTDA, most recently they destroyed the Border City Brawlers then put in incredible efforts in losses to Grand Raggidy and Killamazoo, both teams ranked considerably higher than they are. (9 / 80)
9. Calgary All Stars (Calgary Roller Derby Association)Calgary All Stars Logo -2 (7) Calgary slips not so much due to their own play as much as the play of the teams ahead of them. A one-sided loss to Denver’s B-Team was somewhat buffered by a win over Rocky Mountain’s B-Team and a great performance against Pikes Peak. (14 / -)
10. Kootenay Kannibelles (West Kootenay Roller Derby)

kannibelles Logo

(unranked) The Kannibelles return to the Top 10 for the first time since April, taking advantage of some other teams’ slip ups. The Kannibelles lost this spot earlier in the year due to inconsistency, and two recent, wildly different results against Red Deer show that their may still be some consistency problems. (10 / -)

kannibelles LogoA lot of movement in this month’s power ranking, with only three teams holding on to their spots. Plus, one team, the Sugar Skulls, has dropped from the rankings completely allowing the Kootenay Kannibelles to slip back in. Toronto’s CN Power moves up into second spot, knocking down Terminal City who had held that position all season. Both teams had impressive, surprising WFTDA playoffs, but it was CN Power’s performance against Atlanta (not to mention a win over Boston) that really secured the second spot. The other big movers were Misfit Militia, who has dismantled any team that has gotten in their way this season–although an inconsistent roster and lower-level of competition brings their future and ability to maintain this pace into question. Calgary drops a few spots, but were more pushed out of the way than fell themselves. They are challenging themselves by taking on teams ranked well above them, which while potentially painful now, should pay dividends in the future.

Hammer City’s revival keeps them on an upward trajectory and a run to the WFTDA’s Divsion 2 next season does not seem out of the question at all. Finally, in one of the most anticipated matchups of the season, the Tri-City Thunder held off the Rideau Valley Vixens 199-156 to secure their spot. As with Hammer City, the Vixens are poised to jump to WFTDA’s Division 2 as well and just need to bring a little more consistency to their play. Although supposedly in the midst of a rebuild, The Thunder could very easily become Canada’s fourth Division 1 team next year.

ON THE BUBBLETimber Rollers Logo

Sugar Skulls (Pile O’ Bones Roller Derby Club)

Dolly Rogers (Capital City Derby Dolls)

Timber Rollers (Forest City Derby Girls)

While the Top 9 teams are fairly secure, the Bubble Teams are all close and potentially interchangeable. One thing is keeping all of these teams on the bubble: inconsistency. The Sugar Skulls drop out mostly from lack of recent play, while the Dolly Rogers and Timber Rollers have yet to put together a run of games that would get them on to the list. For example, the Timber Rollers were shocked by Kingston’s Disloyalists in September, only to turn around and put in a strong performance in their first ever WFTDA sanctioned bout (a loss to Lansing) in October.

winnipeg logoTEAMS TO WATCH

The Mindfox (Saskatoon Roller Derby League)

Lumbersmacks (Muddy River Rollers)

Redneck Betties (South West Saskatchewan Roller Derby Association)

Anarchy Angels (Mainland Misfits)

All Stars (Winnipeg Roller Derby League)

Not much change here as the Rankings Crew continues to keep a close eye on these teams. Two, the Lumbersmacks and Redneck Betties are on the rise, while two others, The Mindfox and the Anarchy Angels, are looking to crawl back into the upper echelons of Canadian flat track roller derby (The Mindfox were in the Top 10 as recently as June, and were ranked 6th in the April Power Rankings). One addition to the watch list, was just named a WFTDA Apprentice league: Winnipeg Roller Derby. After a shaky start to 2013, the All Stars have turned it around late in the year winning four in a row, including making up for an early season loss to the Pile O Bones B-Team with a dominant (255-131) win in the rematch.

*These rankings were compiled by the Derby Nerd, Captain Lou El Bammo, Dick Pounder, and Dr. Jenny Fever.

*Read the Canadian Power Rankings preview and explanation here.

*Missed the August 1st Power Rankings post? Get caught up here.

-Respectful disagreement and debate is encouraged!-

Toronto Hosts Grand Rapids to Close out 2013 Season: Bruisers host Misfit Militia

This Saturday night, Toronto Roller Derby’s two travel teams will host a double header to close out what has been a remarkable, expectation-busting season. CN Power will welcome rivals Grand Raggidy Roller Girls (Grand Rapids, Michigan), a team they have squared off against on two separate occasions and have yet to beat. The Bay Street Bruisers will also be facing a stiff challenge as they host Alliston’s Misfit Militia, an independent team that has been turning heads with an impressive string of wins that has left its opponents decimated. It will be a challenging, high-paced night of flat track roller derby featuring two explosive bouts to close out the 2013 ToRD season.

CN Power vs.  Grand Raggidy All Stars

The Toronto Grand Raggidy matchup is a slow brewing rivalry that dates back to October 2011. Back in October 2011, things were much different for ToRD. Having just months before finished their WFTDA Apprenticeship, CN Power was embarking on its first ever WFTDA road trip, and they headed to Grand Rapids to kick things off. At the time, their opponents were ranked well above them (they’d just finished 11th in the North Central Region, narrowly missing the 2011 playoffs). At the time, the 148-68 loss was seen as a confidence-boosting performance. Fast forward one year (almost to the day) and CN Power once again rode into Grand Rapids, only this time, after an incredibly successful first WFTDA season, it was Toronto who was higher ranked (13th to 14th). Once again though, the home team controlled almost the entirety of the game, surprising Toronto with the 167-80 victory.

Toronto’s CN Power is hoping that the third time will be a charm.

Both teams had very similar regular season. CN Power finished the 2013 regular season with a 6-6 record in sanctioned play (7-6 overall) to qualify for their first ever WFTDA playoffs (entering their division ranked last—10th—and 39th overall). Grand Raggidy went 3-6 on the regular season (4-6 overall) and also entered their division playoffs ranked 10th, 40th overall in the WFTDA). Once they got to the playoffs though, everything changed.

Read Lex Talionis' recap of Grand Raggidy's win over Bleeding Heartland at the WFTDA playoffs (featuring the photography of Dave Wood)

Read Lex Talionis’ recap of Grand Raggidy’s win over Bleeding Heartland at the WFTDA playoffs (featuring the photography of Dave Wood)

Grand Rapids got clobbered in their opening games of the playoffs, deconstructed in one-sided losses to Wasatch (Salt Lake City) and Rose City (Portland) before managing a narrow upset over Bloomington, Indiana’s, Bleeding Heartland to move up one spot to 9th in their division, but they still slid all the way down to 52nd in the overall rankings.

CN Power, on the other hand, tore through their division, notching major upsets over Sacred City (Sacramento) (215-90) and Boston, (204-198) while falling narrowly to mighty Atlanta (219-171) and then tumbling in an international showdown against Melbourne’s Victorian Roller Derby (208-124) to finish a surprising 6th in their division and also leap up to 32nd overall in the WFTDA.

While these two teams have been neck and neck over the past two seasons, it would seem after this year’s impressive playoffs, that Toronto has pulled ahead. The team, and the league supporting it, has rounded into a finely tuned competitive machine, currently competing at the top of its game. CN Power has home track advantage to show just that.

Read Beck Wise's Atlanta vs. Toronto game recap for DNN (featuring photos by Donalee Eiri)

Read Beck Wise’s Atlanta vs. Toronto game recap for DNN (featuring photos by Donalee Eiri)

PLAYOFF PERFORMERS: By The Numbers

Taking a look at the stats from the recently completed WFTDA playoffs can tell us a lot about what to expect.

Both Toronto and Grand Rapids have a fairly set four-jammer rotation, and while both have capable back ups outside of this foursome, expect to see similar rotations as those seen in the playoffs. Ultra Fox and Lucy Morals each played 26% of her team’s jams in the playoffs, followed closely behind by Shotgun Shell (21%) and Mona Vaydid (13%) (Xtreme Tac was the most used reserve jammer). Ultra Fox was a handful in the playoffs, registering an impressive 61% lead percentage despite the two lopsided losses. She also led the team in scoring with 114 points (3.5 points per jam) and was the only jammer to record a plus/minus less than -100 (-23). Lucy Morals was second in scoring with 93 points (2.8 PPJ). Mona Vaydid registered a 44% lead percentage.

Toronto’s four-jammer rotation was led by Bambi and Bala Reina who both had impressive playoffs. Although she’s had some trouble against Grand Rapids in the past, Bambi was extraordinary in Divisionals and is primed to exact some revenge. She jammed in 28% of CN Power’s jams, scoring 258 points (5.5 PPJ), recorded a 49% lead percentage and finished at +131. Bala wasn’t quite as consistent, but also scored over 200 points (202 on 5.3 PPJ) and recorded a 45% lead percentage.  Dusty (126 PTS, 3.8 PPJ, 33% lead percentage) and Motorhead Molly (59, 1.69, 37%) round out the rotation.

In the pack, Grand Raggidy played with a much longer bench during the playoffs with five skaters skating over 40% of their team’s jams and eight skating at least 33% of their team’s jams. Bette Mangler and Ringo Deathstarr led the way in terms of track time followed closely by Garden Ho and Lindsay Blowhan.

Toronto rode Nasher the Smasher more than any other blocker (and maybe played more than any skater in the tournament), as she appeared in a truly remarkable 80% of CN Power’s jams during the playoffs and finished at +29 (this despite registering a -105 plus/minus in the loss to Victorian). Bruiseberry Pie (57%) and Dyna Hurtcha (55%) also put in a lot of track time, and Renny Rumble (49%) and Jubilee (46%) were not far behind. Jubilee finished the tournament with an outstanding +104 to easily lead the team.

One number to watch out for is the number of penalties, particularly to the top blockers. Grand Rapids had three skaters register at least a .20 PMJ (penalty minutes per jam): Nnegratron (.26), Garden Ho (.21) and Freakn’C (.20). Similarly, Dyna Hurtcha (.26) Bruiseberry Pie (.21) and Jubilee (.19) also ran into some penalty trouble. Keeping these key blockers on the track will be essential for each team.

The Bruisers and Misfit Militia last faced off in 2012 at the RDAC Eastern Canadian Championships. (Photo by Neil Gunner).

The Bruisers and Misfit Militia last faced off in 2012 at the RDAC Eastern Canadian Championships. (Photo by Neil Gunner).

Bay Street Bruisers vs. Misfit Militia

The only previous meeting between ToRD’s Bay Street Bruisers and the Misfit Militia was a thrilling, come from behind 10-point win (140-130) for the Bruisers in the semifinals of the 2012 RDAC Eastern Canadian Championship in Guelph last summer. It’s been quite a journey for both teams since then.

Currently 8-1 this season, the Bruisers have continued to build off of the success from 2012. They have risen into the Top 10 in Rollergirl.ca’s Canadian Rankings, and have proven to be the top B-level travel team in the nation. Their lone loss this season was to an incredibly talented Slaughter Daughters team from Rideau Valley, stacked full with their league’s top players. Despite being overmatched individually in that game, the Bruisers stayed with their opponents, losing by only 20 points. Since then, the’ve won three in a row including victories over Tri-City champs the TKOs and Montreal’s Sexpos. They currently sit at 8th in the Canadian rankings.

It’s been an interesting year for Misfit Militia. Separating from their home league in Alliston, the Militia have been destroying their opposition since being reborn as an independent team in June. During the five-game winning streak, they have absolutely dominated their opponents, winning by an average of 371 points while outscoring their opposition 2109-255. This has seen them tear up the rankings to 6th overall, where they currently sit.

Both teams would love to end their seasons strong. For the Misfit Militia this game provides an opportunity to ensure and secure their impressive ranking among the best in Canada (they also sit 8th in the Canadian Power Rankings), while for the Bruisers, this game presents an opportunity for the B-team to climb even higher that they already sit. The winners will need to be at their utmost best.

**For those outside of the province, the game will be boutcast live by the ToRD.TV crew in partnership with Canuck Derby TV. Local audiences should stay tuned to Rogers TV for rebroadcasts of the double header.

Canuck Derby TV logo

Canadian Power Rankings: August 1, 2013

Canadian Power Rankings: August 1st, 2013

TEAM (League) CHANGE NOTES (Rollergirl.ca /WFTDA rank)
1. New Skids on the Block (Montreal Roller Derby)NewSkidsLogo2012 For once, Montreal seems to be peaking at the right time! Winners of three in a row, featuring a 400+ point victory over plunging Carolina and a two-game sweep of Charm and Houston at ECDX, the Skids have entered the Top 10 of the WFTDA rankings for the first time. (1 / 8).
2. Terminal City All Stars (Terminal City Roller Girls)Terminal City All Stars Terminal City holds on to second spot after dominating the West Coast Dust Up, allowing them to slip back into  WFTDA’s Division 1 just in time for the playoffs. Their massive victories over Red Deer and Mainland Misfits were especially impressive. (3 / 38).
3. CN Power (Toronto Roller Derby)CN Power Logo CN Power has put together their most consistent and impressive streak of the season that culminated in an upset victory over Bleeding Heartland in Indiana that essentially launched them into the WFTDA Division 1 playoffs. They jumped 10 spots in the current WFTDA ranking and are securely in second in the rollergirl.ca Canadian rankings. (2 / 39).
4. Tri-City Thunder (Tri-City Roller Girls)Tri-City Thunder Logo A rough but tough loss to Cincinnati  was followed by a big victory over Windy City’s Second Wind. On the strength of their increasingly strong play, they have qualified for the WFTDA Division 2 playoffs. All of this despite being in the midst of a fairly significant rebuild. (4 / 60)
5. Rideau Valley Vixens (Rideau Valley Roller Girls)Vixens Logo The Vixens fell to Maine before taking both games at ECDX (over Low Country and Dominion), but the wins weren’t quite enough to get them into the Division 2 playoffs (although after some teams pulled out of the tournament, they ended up missing out by only two spots). (5 / 67)
6. Belladonnas (Red Deer Roller Derby Association)Belladonnas Logo After debuting in the rankings, The Belladonnas hold on to sixth spot for the second straight rankings. They followed up their Flat Track Fever tournament win with a 4-1 run (their only loss coming to Terminal City) including a dominant victory over the rising Mainland Misfits. (9 / -)
7. Calgary All Stars (Calgary Roller Derby Association)

Calgary All Stars Logo

+1 (8th) Calgary continues their impressive rise in the power rankings. Coming from seemingly nowhere at the start of the season, Calgary moves up yet another spot after big victories over St. Albert (Heavenly Rollers) and Regina (Sugar Skulls). They also, impressively, defeated Team Saskatchewan. (13 / -)
8. Misfit Militia (Misfit Militia Roller Derby)
Misfit Militia Logo
(unranked) After separating from their previous league, the Misfit Militia slipped out of the Top 10. A thoroughly dominant performance at the RDAC Easterns was somewhat hard to read given their roster contained borrowed players, but the incredibly impressive victory over Royal City’s all stars confirmed Misfit Militia’s spot. (6 / -)
9. The Eh! Team (Hammer City Roller Girls)Hammer City Logo (unranked) After years in the wilderness, the Hammer City Roller Girls are back. After going 2-6 to start the WFTDA season, Hammer City has roared back and has won their past three games in dominant fashion (over Glass City, Little Steel Derby Girls, and Hudson Valley). One of the fastest rising teams in the WFTDA rankings this season, they have leaped 40 spots (!) since the beginning of 2013. (11 / 93)
10. Sugar Skulls (Pile O’ Bones Roller Derby Club)Sugar Skulls Derby LOGO -3 (7th)  Regina’s Sugar Skulls slip due mainly to inactivity, but also because of a fairly one-sided loss to Calgary (their only action since the last ranking). (18 / -)

Hammer City LogoWhile the top six remains unchanged, this was, nonetheless, the most contentious power rankings yet! The bottom four got completely shifted around, seeing two teams dropped from the rankings all together. Terminal City just barely held on to their spot ahead of ToRD’s CN Power. Calgary’s fast and furious rise has them pushing up against and fighting for entry into one of those top six spots. E-Ville slips out of the Top 10 due to inactivity and Saskatoon slips out due to slowed activity as well, but also due to a surprising loss to Swift Current’s Redneck Betties (Swift Current wasn’t even on the Power Rankings radar, but we’ve certainly taken notice now).  Thunder and Vixens hold their respective spots as we near a highly anticipated fall showdown between these two WFTDA Division 2 teams.

But change has come once again to the Power Rankings. After years of rebuilding and relative obscurity, the Hammer City Roller Girls are back and doing well at all levels (from their B-team to their farm team to their WFTDA team). Since joining the WFTDA in 2009, the Eh! Team had compiled an overall record of 4-27 before coming in to the 2013 season. This year, they’ve gone 5-6 against tougher competition and seem to show no signs of slowing.  Reentering the Top 10 are the Misfit Militia, who had briefly slipped out of the Power Rankings after some organizational shifting and a split from their original league. Reborn as an independent team, they have looked dominant ever since, going 4-0 and outscoring their opposition by an astonishing 1831-195 over that span.

ON THE BUBBLE

Dolly Rogers (Capital City Derby Dolls)

Anarchy Angels (Mainland Misfits Roller Derby)

The Mindfox (Saskatoon Roller Derby League)

E-Ville Dead (E-Ville Roller Derby)

Saskatoon and E-Ville remain on the bubble after slipping out of the Top 10, for E-Ville it may just be a matter of getting back into action and showing that they haven’t lost a step, while Saskatoon, since winning RDAC Nationals early in 2013, has seen the rest of its region catch up and in some cases surpass them. The Dolly Rogers started as a team to watch and remains strongly on the bubble as impressive performances keep piling up, and the Anarchy Angels also follow the Dolly Rogers to the bubble and are one big upset away from making the leap.

TEAMS TO WATCHMuddy River Logo

Kootenay Kannibelles (West Kootenay Roller Derby)

Timber Rollers (Forest City Derby Girls)

Lumbersmacks (Muddy River Rollers)

Redneck Betties (South West Saskatchewan Roller Derby Association)

We’ve been watching the rebuilding Kootenay Kannibelles all season, but their relative lack of activity keeps them from advancing. Similarly, Forest City’s all stars have been on the radar all season, but their early season success hasn’t quite translated into late season dominance yet.  The first new team to the Rankings Crew’s watchlist is Muddy River’s Lumbersmacks (Moncton, New Brunswick) who remain the premier team on Canada’s East Coast (staying just a bit ahead of Saint John’s Fog City Rollers); since an impressively narrow loss to Montreal’s Sexpos in April, the Lumbersmacks have put together a string of five straight victories concluding with a surprisingly one-sided win over Quebec’s Les Duchesses (422-161) just a few weeks ago. Finally, Swift Current’s Redneck Betties jump into our sights after an upset over previously ranked Mindfox (Saskatooon) followed by a dismantling of Billings (Montana) and a tight loss to a very talented Calgary house league team.

*These rankings were compiled by the Derby Nerd, Captain Lou El Bammo, and Dick Pounder. Sadly, we have had to say goodbye to original Crew Member Andi Struction. Stay tuned in the coming months for a big announcement about a potential new member of the Power Rankings Crew!

*Read the Canadian Power Rankings preview and explanation here.

*Missed the June 1st Power Rankings post? Get caught up here.

-Respectful disagreement and debate is encouraged!-

Canadian Power Rankings: June 1, 2013 (Second Quarter)

Canadian Power Rankings: June 1st, 2013 (Second Quarter)

TEAM (League) CHANGE NOTES (Rollergirl.ca /WFTDA rank)
1. New Skids on the Block (Montreal Roller Derby)NewSkidsLogo2012 Still the best until someone can knock them off, and while CN Power pushed them to the limit in Montreal, the Skids put in strong performances in losses to Bay Area and Philly, and managed a big win over Santa Cruz. They also climbed two spots in the latest WFTDA rankings. (1 / 15).
2. Terminal City All Stars (Terminal City Roller Girls)Terminal City All Stars Terminal City clings to second spot despite slipping down into  WFTDA’s Division 2. Strong showings in losses to higher ranked Victorian and Sacred City allow them to hold their spot, despite the big loss to London and a so-so win over Silicon Valley. (3 / 43).
3. CN Power (Toronto Roller Derby)CN Power Logo CN Power is starting to play with a lot more consistency, but their impressive performances in losses to higher ranked Montreal and Cincinnati were not enough to pull them into second. (2 / 49).
4. Tri-City Thunder (Tri-City Roller Girls)Tri-City Thunder Logo The Thunder finally started rolling at Spring Roll, losing to CT Roller Girls before pulling out a big, surprising victory over the Chicago Outfit. That victory allows them to hold on to their position. They still cling to a WFTDA Division 2 playoff spot as well. (4 / 56)
5. Rideau Valley Vixens (Rideau Valley Roller Girls)Vixens Logo The Vixens have not been able to build on their early season success and stalled somewhat in the second quarter losing to New Hampshire and narrowly defeating River City, which more than likely ended their chances at a WFTDA playoff spot this season. (5 / 73)
6. Belladonnas (Red Deer Roller Derby Association)Belladonnas Logo (unranked) The Belladonnas finally got on the track in 2013 and they lived up to preseason expectations, surging into the rankings with an impressive tournament victory at Flat Track Fever (defeating Calgary, The Sugar Skulls and The Mindfox in the process). (8 / -)
7. Sugar Skulls (Pile O’ Bones Roller Derby Club)Sugar Skulls Derby LOGO The Regina skaters hold their spot after a solid performance at Flat Track Fever. They did manage a win over the Belladonnas in the preliminary round of the tournament, but Red Deer defeated the Sugar Skulls later in the tournament. (12 / -)
8. Calgary All Stars: Calgary Roller Derby AssociationCalgary All Stars Logo (unranked) After years of rolling under the radar, Calgary has  stepped things up in 2013 and is one of the more exciting teams in Canada right now. They had a strong showing at Flat Track Fever and traveled to Saskatoon and defeated The Mind Fox despite missing key players. A team on rise. (13 / -)
9. The Mind Fox (Saskatoon Roller Derby League)mindfoxlogo -3 (6th) The Mind Fox exploded out of the gates in 2013, but as the season has progressed, the rest of the west has started to catch up and even pass them. They defeated E-Ville, but suffered losses to the Belladonnas and Calgary that have dropped them. (14 / -)
10. E-Ville Dead (E-Ville Roller Derby)

E-Ville Logo

 Despite rosters losses, this team keeps rolling along. They had a solid performance at Flat Track Fever (including trading wins with the Mind Fox) that has allowed them to cling to their Top 10 spot. (10 / -)

Belladonnas LogoThe main story may be that there wasn’t too much change in the Power Rankings this quarter (the Top 5 remains completely unchanged), despite the fact that two teams dropped out of the Top 10. The West Kootenay Kannibelles have been slipping since their peak at RDAC Westerns in 2012. The had a strong showing at Spokarnage, but against untested teams, and still are sitting on that loss to current #10 E-Ville. And due to some upheaval in Alliston (and a lack of action), the Misfit Militia have also slipped out of the Top 10. The recently separated from their league (the Renegade Derby Dames) to go it alone, and it remains to be seen how they will respond to this change. They did recently score a large victory over unranked Les Duchesses (Quebec), but their lack of action against top-level competition drops them.

Which, of course, means that we can say hello to two new teams. First off, Calgary enters the Top 10 in the 8th position. Formerly considered a “bubble” team, Calgary is the fastest climbing team in Canada right now and it seemed to just be a matter of time before they cracked this list. After years of relative competitive obscurity, it’s been fascinating to watch the rise. Also surging into the Top 10 are Red Deer’s Belladonnas. Despite a late start to 2013, they haven’t seemed to have lost a step from their strong 2012 and handily won Flat Track Fever. They followed that up with a thoroughly dominant performance against an overmatched St. Albert.Hammer City Logo

ON THE BUBBLE

Not too much shift here either. Forest City’s loss to Capital City, despite the fact that they were very shorthanded, means that the Timber Rollers fail to progress here, but their strong performances this season (including a recent win over Border City) keep them hanging out on the bubble. The West Kootenay Roller Derby’s Kannibelles fall from the Top 10 but remain on the bubble after their impressive performance at Spokarnage. Finally, the Hammer City Roller Girls continue their top season ever in the WFTDA (their three WFTDA victories this season represents a massive jump from the one they’d won in the last three years). Also quite tellingly, their B-team and Fresh Meat team have been putting in strong performances, speaking to an ever-strengthening base.

TEAMS TO WATCH

Word out of the west is that that Mainland Misfits’ Anarchy Angels (Cloverdale, BC) remain a team to watch: they went 2-2 at Spokarnage and soundly defeated The Raggedy Rollers. Out of the east, Capital City’s Dolly Rogers (Ottawa) have been slowly putting together a string of solid results and most recently defeated Forest City’s Timber Rollers to catch the attention of the rankings crew.

*These rankings were compiled by the Derby Nerd, Captain Lou El Bammo, Dick Pounder and Andi Struction.

*Read the Canadian Power Rankings preview and explanation here.

*Missed the first quarter Power Rankings post? Get caught up here.

-Respectful disagreement and debate is encouraged!-

Canadian Power Rankings: April 1, 2013

Canadian Power Rankings: April 1st, 2013 (First Quarter)

TEAM (League) CHANGE NOTES (Rollergirl.ca /WFTDA rank)
1. New Skids on the Block (Montreal Roller Derby)NewSkidsLogo2012 They’ve unquestionably been the best team in the country since 2010, and they have yet to be challenged; strong wins to kick off 2013 (they are 4-1) and a well-played loss to Windy City mean that they remain the cream of the crop in Canadian roller derby (1 / 17).
2. Terminal City All Stars (Terminal City Roller Girls)Terminal City All Stars Off to a solid 3-1 start to 2013, consistency allows this team to hold on to second spot (their only loss so far was a two-pointer to Santa Cruz). The fastest rising team in WFTDA throughout 2012, they are currently the only Canadian team other than Montreal in WFTDA’s Division 1 (2 / 39).
3. CN Power (Toronto Roller Derby)CN Power Logo A lack of consistency (losses to beatable teams in Grand Rapids and Rideau Valley, yet a fantastic performance against Ohio) has CNP trapped at third. Firmly in a Division 2 playoff spot, they will need more consistent performances to move into Division 1 and climb up these rankings (3 / 49).
4. Tri-City Thunder (Tri-City Roller Girls)Tri-City Thunder Logo Only one game in 2013 so far (a loss to Montreal), the team holds their fourth spot for now, but will have to prove themselves to keep it. Massive roster changes mean that Thunder will need solid performances against upcoming opponents (including Killamazoo and Cincinnati) to hold onto this position. (4 / 50)
5. Rideau Valley Vixens (Rideau Valley Roller Girls)Vixens Logo A recent huge upset over CN Power was somewhat balanced out by a surprising collapse against Ohio, but they are definitely a team trending upward, and wins against scheduled opponents like New Hampshire and Tri-City will certainly propel them higher. (5 / 71)
6. The Mind Fox (Saskatoon Roller Derby League)mindfoxlogo A fantastic performance at RDAC Nationals has this team leaping up the rankings. Clearly the dominant team of the tournament, they will have a chance to hold this spot at the upcoming Flat Track Fever. While the Top 5 is locked in pretty solidly, right now, The Mind Fox seems to have the best chance to make a run for it (11 / -).
7. Sugar Skulls (Pile O’ Bones Roller Derby Club)Sugar Skulls Derby LOGO Another team trending upward; impressive second place finish at RDAC Nationals including a big win over E-Ville solidified this spot. However, there are a lot of teams gunning for them, and a strong performance at Flat Track Fever would help them solidify their ranking.(13 / -)
8. Misfit Militia (Renegade Derby Dames)

Renegade Derby Dames' Misfit Militia, could be the dark horse pick of the tournament.

Like the Thunder, the Misfit Militia are given the benefit of the doubt due to a lack of activity so far in 2013. After a breakout 2012, this spot is the Militia’s to lose, and with games only scheduled against Les Duchesses (Quebec) and Royal City, they will need to make a big impression in those games. (8 / -)
9. E-Ville Dead (E-Ville Roller Derby)E-Ville A team trending downward right now on the backs of some transfers and roster changes, they hold this spot based on a strong third place performance at RDAC Nationals including last-jam victory over the Kannibelles; the upcoming Flat Track Fever should say a lot about the direction they are heading in (10 / -).
10. Kootenay Kannibelles (West Kootenay Roller Derby)kannibelles Logo Another western team that seems to be trending downward  after a huge roster shakeup following a very successful 2012 season. The depth of this league will be tested in 2013 as the Kannibelles rebuild. A tough loss to E-Ville at RDAC knocks them to the bottom of the Top 10. (7 / -)

ON THE BUBBLE

Timber Rollers LogoWhile there are a number of teams that came up in the discussion of this opening power ranking, a few teams that we feel could have a very real impact on these rankings in 2013 are the CRDA All Stars (Calgary Roller Derby Association), The Belladonnas (Red Deer Roller Derby Association), and the Timber Rollers (Forest City Derby Girls).

Calgary and Forest City are both WFTDA apprentice leagues who have refocused their leagues recently and committed to producing top-level travel team rosters.  Recent transfers to Calgary have provided bench depth and leadership, while Forest City has restructured their league so that the travel team has a unique roster, and they’ve internally developed some strong new skaters who have helped push this team to a 3-0 start in 2013.

Red Deer is another team to watch that has a deep bench. The Belladonnas feature three skaters who were members of Team crdaallstars_logoCanada at the inaugural World Cup, and are on the bubble because of a lack of activity this year, and also inconsistency last year: a thrilling performance a Flat Track Fever followed by a disappointing RDAC Westerns. Nonetheless, they are a team that has the depth to work its way back up the rankings. They, along with with Calgary, have a huge opportunity to make an impression in the upcoming Flat Track Fever.

The Canadian Power Rankings will be updated on July 1st.

These rankings were compiled by the Derby Nerd, Captain Lou El Bammo, Dick Pounder and Andi Struction.

Read the Canadian Power Rankings preview and explanation here.

Respectful disagreement and debate is encouraged!

Bruisers Sit Atop Throne as Eastern Champions

ToRD’s Bay Street Bruisers, 2012 RDAC Eastern Canadian Championship (Photo by Greg Russell)

You could look at the outcome of the Roller Derby Association of Canada’s 2012 Eastern Canadian Championship and see that the status-quo had been maintained: No one would have been surprised to see Toronto, Forest City and Royal City finish as the top three teams in the tournament. But if that is all that you took away from this weekend, you’d be missing almost the whole story. With four of the ten games being settled by 10 points or less and only two breaking the 100-point differential, the real story was in the parity. There was fantastic, exciting roller derby provided during nearly every game with the tournament’s only winless team, Capital City’s Dolly Rogers, providing some of the most exciting moments, losing by miniscule margins of 9, 6, and 5 points. The tournament’s lowest ranked team, Nickel City’s Sister Slag, grew almost exponentially. They started the tournament getting knocked around by the eventual champs in the opening game before pushing a vastly more experienced team to the limit in their second. Then in the second of back-to-back games, they upset their favoured opponents to claim 6th spot.

It was a tournament that delivered on both fronts: great derby, but a great learning experience for the teams as well.

ROUND ONE

Sister Slag was paying close attention during their opening round loss to the Bruisers. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The only significantly one-sided bouts occurred (unsurprisingly) in the opening round. Second seed Bay Street Bruisers (Toronto) took down seventh seed Nickel City’s Sister Slag (Sudbury) by 137 points, though the far less experienced team from Sudbury certainly had moments, and used a strong opening and then final ten minutes to keep the score down. In the only other lopsided score of the weekend, third seed Misfit Militia (from Aliston’s Renegade Derby Dames) tore up the track against the G-sTARs (GTAR), building on a 160-10 half-time lead and riding some stifling pack work to a 326-point victory. The win sent a clear message and set up a highly anticipated semifinal matchup up between the tournament’s second and third seeds.

The final first-round bout lived up to the billing as the closest seeds the Brute Leggers (fourth) and the Dolly Rogers (fifth) swapped leads throughout (Capital City was up at half) to kick off the tournament with a thoroughly entertaining game that would be indicative of much of the weekend’s matchups. The Royal City hosts were able to put together a customarily strong second half to pull ahead and hold on for the 142-131 victory and an opportunity to face off against the defending champions, Forest City, in the semfinal.

The G-sTARs defeated the Dolly Rogers on their way to a fifth place finish. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

CONSOLATION ROUND

The opening round divided the teams into the consolation bracket and the single-elimination medal round, with the three losing teams from the opening round playing a round robin to determine the bottom three spots in the tournament. This round began with a showdown between the fifth and sixth ranked teams in the tournament, and it too did not disappoint finishing with the G-sTARs clutching a 140-134 victory against the Capital City Derby Dolls. Growing through a tough rebuild, the GTA skaters looked like a far different team this time around, shaking off their opening–round loss to win both of its consolation games. Built around veterans like Newfie Bullet, Lee Way Wreck’em and Holly de Havilland, and featuring a promising skater in Paper Jam, they were able to close out their tournament with a 19-point win over Sister Slag to secure fifth spot.

The Dolly Rogers used this tournament to announce its presence. Led by strong pack work from the likes of Whips N. Chaynes and eventual team MVP Delicate Plow’her, some crafty jamming from Sneaky Dekey and consistency from Ha-Lou-Ween (not to mention double-threat performances from Violently Jill and Deanna Destroi), Capital City impressed with their ability and preparation, but showed that they still lack the all-important game experience that allowed them to close out wins.  They closed out their tournament the way they began it, with a thrilling back-and-forth game characterized by large swings in momentum, only this time it was with a surprisingly resilient Sister Slag. Led by Elle Hoar (whose role seemed to grow as the tournament went on), and paced offensively by Legzy Megzy and Red Hot and Anna Maul, the Nickel City skaters seemed to grow closer together during the tournament and finished as a much tighter and more polished team than they were when it began. They closed out the final consolation game with a natural grand slam to break a tie and secure sixth place with the 149-144 victory.

MEDAL ROUND

The Brute Leggers were taken out of their game by Forest City’s physicality. (Photo by Greg Russell)

Perhaps the greatest level of tension and excitement came in the semifinals where the top four seeds squared off. In the first semi-final, the Brute Leggers dominated Forest City early on. With an offence paced by Hot Cross Guns and Hellcat of Panar and a pack anchored by Kim Scarsmashian, Forest City—responding with a jammer crew of Andi Slamberg, Mighty Thor and Torque e Mada and a veteran pack now ubiquitous in eastern Canadian derby—was only able to score 7 points over the first twenty minutes of the half. But with London blocker Mirambo raising the intensity level, knocking Royal City off balance, the defending champs began to claw back and were down 60-38 at half. Never able to get their heads back into it and thrown off by Forest City’s intense physicality, the hosts managed only 26 second-half points to fall 145-86.

The Bay Street Bruisers needed a late comeback to get passed the Misfit Militia, in one of the most exciting games of the tournament. (Photo by Neil Gunner).

In the second semi-final, the Misfit Militia roared off of the jammer line and barely looked back, throwing everything they could at the Bay Street Bruisers who could never really get anything going in  the first half. Consistent jamming from Randy Roll-lin and Zombabe and dominant pack work from Renny Rumble had the Bruisers stumped throughout. The Militia had a 27-point half-time lead. The dominance continued in the second half, but the persistence of jammers Bala Reina and titmouse, and the on-track leadership of eventual team MVP Chronic had the Bruisers sticking around, never letting the lead grow past 50 points, and when the penalty calls started going their way, they were ready. A 29-point Bala Reina power jam (much of it orchestrated with the Bruisers having only two Blockers, Chronic and Miss Kitty La Peur, on the track) with only ten minutes remaining had Toronto within 12 points and holding all the momentum. They controlled things for the final ten minutes aas frustration mounted for the Renegade Derby Dames and were able to hold on to advance to the final.

The Brute Leggers pulled it together to defeat the Misfit Militia in the third place game. (Photo by Greg Russell)

The Misfit Militia never seemed to recover from the defeat, while the Brute Leggers pulled it together after their emotional loss to come back to control the third place bout most of the way and skated to the 190-129 victory. The championship game provided an entertaining first half that saw the Bruisers storm out 42-9 lead at the halfway mark. Strong jamming from Bala Reina and Bellefast continued to pace the Bruisers who were able to impose their style of play on the game early, and never let Forest City get comofortable. Although penalty troubles allowed London to get back into it only a few minutes later (they even briefly took the lead at the 10-minute mark), the Bruisers regained control to lead 78-54 at the half. The second half was all Bruisers with the lead increasing steadily to 135-86 at the midway point, before they held on for the 163-88 victory and took home the 2012 RDAC Eastern Canadian Championship.

The Bay Street Bruisers and Forest City All Stars (Eastern Region) join the Terminal City All Stars and Kootenay Kannibelles (West), Saskatoon Roller Derby and Pile O’ Bones Derby Club (central) at the Canadian championship. The Atlantic representatives will be determined at a tournament in St. John’s in September.

Bruisers’ jammer (and one of the team MVPs) Bala Reina was dominant in the final. (Photo by Greg Russell)

COMPLETE RESULTS

First Round

Brute Leggers (Royal City Roller Girls) 142 vs. Dolly Rogers (Capital City Derby Dolls) 131

Misfit Militia (Renegade Derby Dames) 354 vs. G-sTARs (GTA Rollergirls) 28

Bay Street Bruisers (Toronto Roller Derby) 253 vs. Sister Slag (Nichel City Roller Derby) 116

Consolation Pool

G-sTARs (1-0) 140 vs. Dolly Rogers (0-1) 134

G-sTARs (2-0) 194 vs. Sister Slag (0-1) 173

Sister Slag (1-1) 149 vs. Dolly Rogers (0-2) 144

Medal Round

Semifinals

Forest City All Stars 145 vs. Brute Leggers 86

Misfit Militia 130 vs. Bay Street Bruisers 140

Third Place

Brute Leggers 190 vs. Misfit Militia 129

Championship

Forest City 88 vs. Bay Street Bruisers 163

Dames of Thrones Preview: Eastern Champs Second RDAC Regional Tournament

A TALE OF TWO TOURNAMENTS

Last month the Terminal City All Stars won the 2012 RDAC Western Canadian Championship in fairly convincing fashion: holding off a more than game West Kootenay Kannibelles team in the final, 159-75. The Kanibelles turned a lot of heads with their dominant performance in the tournament, and with E-Ville upending Red Deer’s Belladonnas in the third place game, it was clear that the top four teams in the region had performed as expected, and the top two teams had qualified for the Canadian Championship.

It will be a slightly different story at this weekend’s Dames of Thrones: RDAC Eastern Canadian Championships.

With the top leagues in the east focused squarely on the WFTDA, the Eastern Championship has developed into an Eastern Canadian B-Team Championship (although Montreal and Tri-City will not be sending their B-Teams).  Nonetheless, with the absence of the top teams in the region, this tournament will feature a fairly even field of teams that should provide a close, exciting tournament. A lot of these leagues are looking to work their way into that upper-echelon of derby, and this weekend will provide them with a platform on which to do that. With a wide open field, the scene is set for a team to make some waves and announce itself as a the Next Big Thing in Canadian Derby.

THE TEAMS

The Forest City All Stars won the inaugural Eastern Canadian Championship last year in Ottawa. (Photo by Neil Jeffry)

The Favourites

Given the relative lack of play between participants, it’s somewhat challenging to pick favourites, but as defending champions (winners of the precursor CWRDA Championships last year), London’s Forest City All Stars are the team everyone is gunning for. Formed out of Forest City’s two hometeams, the All Stars came together exclusively for last year’s Eastern Canadian Championship and took the tournament by storm, scoring one-sided victories at every level (and defeating a Rideau Valley B-Team for the championship). The All Stars have seen limited action this year, but have scored lopsided victories over Blue Water (Port Huron, Michigan) and Lansing’s Mitten Mavens in preparation for the tournament. Part of eastern Canada’s first wave of leagues, Forest City has the most experienced core of skaters in the tournament, and boasts a roster very used to these big-game situations.

The Bruisers and the Brute-Leggers recently faced off with the Bruisers winning 176-153. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The Contenders

One of Canada’s top leagues, Toronto Roller Derby, will be sending its B-Team, the Bay Street Bruisers, to compete in the tournament and should be looked upon as a threat. Although the teams itself has not been playing together long (the B-Travel team was born this year and has only two games under its belt), it is made up of an experienced roster of skaters from ToRD’s four houseleague teams. 1-1 on the season thus far, they enter the tournament as the #2 seed on the strength of a recent victory over the Royal City Brute-Leggers. The Brute-Leggers have been rounding into form over two years now and have been very busy this year, compiling a 6-3 record on the season. But two of those losses have come to the Bruisers and the Thames Fatales (Forest City’s top hometeam), which should give Toronto and London some confidence heading in.

The Dark Horse

Renegade Derby Dames’ Misfit Militia, could be the dark horse pick of the tournament.

If there is one team that could shake up the top, it could be the Renegade Derby Dames’ Misfit Militia. Training in relative quiet in Aliston, Ontario, there isn’t a lot to base judgement of this team on, but it is a squad made up of a core of very strong skaters. Adding to the intrigue is the fact that they have had uneven results this year: They’ve faced off against two tournament participants in their only two bouts of the  season, dominating the Derby Debutantes before falling in a tight one against Capital City’s Dolly Rogers (who will also be participating).

The Field

Ottawa’s Dolly Rogers lead the pack of the rest of the participants and have had an interesting season as well. The team is 4-3 on the season but seem to rounding into form and are coming off of back-to-back victories that included a 283 point thrashing of Peterborough. Dolly Rogers skater Lobster, veteran skater with Capital City, said the team was not too surprised with their victory over Peterborough and will be use it as “a bit of a confidence boost.” The team Brazil representative at the World cup added that “this tournament’s going to be what we need right now: a challenge.”

Capital City’s Dolly Rogers defeated the Renegade Derby Dames earlier in the year.

Although GTAR’s G-sTARs did exceptionally well at last year’s tournament, finishing in  third place, the team has gone through a recent roster overhaul that sees them slipping into a mid-season rebuild that could hamper their chances this weekend. The G-sTARs are 1-6 on the season with a lot of losses coming against stiff competition, but the sole victory was in their final tournament tune-up against Durham’s Atom Smashers that ended the six-game slide.  Nickel City’s Sister Slag has the least amount of game play this year. Playing out of Sudbury, Nickel City has followed an optimistic 2011 (going 2-4 in their first season of bouting) with a quiet 2012. Their only competition has come in a one-sided victory over the Derby Debutantes, GTAR’s B-Team, in May.

THE OPENING ROUND

While the defending champion Forest City All Stars will receive a bye to the semifinals, the other six teams kick things off in the opening round. First whistle blows at 8:30 AM, with the host Brute-Leggers facing off against the Dolly Rogers. Up next (10:15) will be the Misfit Militia against the G-sTARs; the Misfit Militia crushed the G-sTARs’ little sister (the Derby Debutantes) early this season, so the GTA skaters will be looking for revenge. The opening round ends with the Bay Street Bruisers squaring off against the Sister Slag at 2:00 PM.

The winners of these three games will advance to the final four, while the losers will continue the tournament in a round-robin consolation bracket to determine final seedings.

***Dames of Thrones: RDAC Eastern Canadian Championship will be boutcast live all weekend by the fine folks at Canuck Derby TV. Check here for the complete schedule.