Nerd Meat: Part 1

Nerd Meat: The Nerd Does Derby

Part 1: Putting the Flat in WFTDA

On of my favourite shots of The Hangar (CN Power vs. New Skids on the Block at QCC '10)

On Sunday, January 30, I approached the doors of ToRD’s Hangar with a bag of gear slung over my shoulder. I don’t know how many times I’d approached that entrance, and I’d even done it with a bag or two of some skater’s gear on my shoulder. I may not remember every time, but I certainly remember that first time: Canada Day 2009, a full day of free, open-door scrimmages. It was a remarkable change from watching hockey-arena derby with vision obscuring glass, netting placed in inopportune places, and that cold separation of fan and track. I also felt, at that moment, that ToRD was embarking on a new period of growth and was easing itself into the mainstream of roller derby (IE: the WFTDA stream). Even being at a hangar was somewhat symbolic of this shift as some of the most venerable roller derby leagues (in Seattle for example) had cut their teeth in abandoned hangars. Toronto Roller Derby had found its home, and perhaps, its identity.

Despite being two years into the Hangar experience and having stepped over that threshold many times before, this temperate day in January 2011 was noticeably different. I wasn’t entering as a spectator or as a writer or commentator. And that gear wasn’t another skater’s; it was mine.

The popularity and exposure of roller derby has been growing steadily since its resurgence in the early-mid ‘00s, and this Fresh Meat intake was a result of that; over 80 women had signed on and had shown up. It was equal to the total number of skaters currently playing on ToRD’s hometeams. And momentarily—with everyone hanging around the bleachers chatting and putting on gear—it looked like an actual roller derby league. Women of every size, shape, colour, age and ability pulled on gear that, in most cases, looked shiny and unworn. It was a group that defied easy definition in every way except that they all wanted to skate.

One brave woman who sat next to me had never even seen a bout. She asked me which taped lines on the floor represented the track and I pointed them out. It struck me almost immediately that this woman—who’d never seen a bout, never roller skated—summed up perfectly the rapid growth of modern roller derby, the sport played under WFTDA rules. Roller Derby had failed so spectacularly (and publicly) in the past, yet now there were hundreds of leagues and thousands of women playing at various levels in increasingly far-flung locales on the planet. With a quick glimpse of those in attendance I realized that there was one main reason why 80 women felt they could come out and take-part in this physically and mentally demanding sport. They felt they could be there lacing up skates (many for the first time) for the same reason that I felt so confident about lacing up skates for the first time: The track was flat.

It might seem remarkable, but it’s actually possible to pin-point the exact moment in history that roller derby changed forever and began the series of events that led directly to that evening in ToRD’s Hangar when 80+ women gathered to learn to skate. It all began with a contentious moment around a backyard campfire in Austin, Texas, when a group of fed-up women stood up in a sign of solidarity and took matters into their own hands. It was early spring 2003, and the difficult decisions made that night would end up directly shaping the lives of countless women all over the world.

The documentary that captured the conception of 21st Century roller derby.

The fact that this divide was so well documented in the 2007 documentary Hell on Wheels actually arose serendipitously itself, and is a story well known in roller derby circles. Documentarian Bob Ray, fully-funded and ready to record, lost his initial subject on the eve of a shoot but had heard of a group of women involved in a roller derby revival. He turned his camera on the four women who were the self proclaimed “She-E-Os” of Bad Girl, Good Woman Productions—the company leading the revival. Over a few years the women refined their vision picking up a lot of rollergirls along the way and played a few “campy” bouts in an attempt to raise the considerable amount of money needed to buy the banked track. In the spring of 2003, increasingly dissatisfied with the tight-fisted control maintained by the She-E-Os, a few of the women gave an ultimatum. The She-E-Os would not relent. And then, at a full-league, backyard meeting, three quarters of the skaters stood up and walked away from the corporate model laid out by BGGW Productions forever altering the nature of the sport.

It is an awkward moment in the film, as the initial protagonists of the story became the antagonists in such a sudden, dramatic fashion. Those skaters who stood up and walked away would not abandon the sport and community they’d all grown to love, but instead they would collectively form the Texas Rollergirls, a DIY, committee-run, skater-owned league comprised of four hometeams and, of course, the mighty Texecutioners travel team. Perhaps even more importantly, these were the women who would eventually be instrumental in creating the United Leagues Coalition (ULC), the precursor to what we now know as the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA).

WFTDA arose out of the the United Leagues Coalition (ULC)

Although “The Great Divide” initially had nothing to do with the literal direction of the sport, the philosophical differences that led to the split would be reflected in the changes of the “new” roller derby: While BGGW continued to work toward becoming an old-school, banked track league (now known as The TXRD Lonestar Rollergirls), the Texas Rollergirls decided to drop the track and keep it flat, which created a dramatic shift in the way the sport could, and had to be played. It’s pretty easy to argue that the banked track was a big part of why roller derby had always faded away.

As a spectacle, banked track roller derby favoured speed over strategy, drama over competition, and the banked track easily became a platform for the kind of staged, sports entertainment that typified early roller derby. The initial incarnation was also, essentially, a single league (Bay City Bombers not withstanding), owned by one person, that travelled around the country, remaining a once-or-twice-a-year spectacle to be watched passively by spectators. There were no local leagues, no one ever played or got to watch it on a regular enough basis to understand the rules (which were vague anyway, and only marginally followed at best).

An intimate look at "The Great Divide."

Dropping the track changed everything; it  required a different sort of athleticism, and slowed the game down to the point where the traditional “hit-and-run strategy” would not be the only (or even the best) way to play. But the most important thing it changed, and the fundamental reason that roller derby is finally here to stay, was accessibility. It’s the accessibility that has inspired the hundreds of leagues in North America and the world, the increasing number of junior leagues, and the thousands of fans watching on a regular basis. It’s the accessibility that is slowly, but quite steadily, laying a foundation for the future of the sport. Only a decade in and there are already separations in level of play; there are recreation leagues, low contact leagues, and even within WFTDA there is a wide disparity between the top and bottom ranked teams (I can see, very soon, a division system being implemented to avoid the disparity that exists in the Association right now). And the rules have finally been refined to a point where alterations and corrections are becoming rare, and the evolution of the game has slowed enough that it is now possible to see the direction it is headed in.

Just as the league model had become one of a community instead of a corporation and the sport was watched by fans instead of spectators, roller derby on the track had become a sport instead of a spectacle.

So when I was at the Hangar on that Sunday afternoon in Toronto in 2011, skating my first few laps with ToRD’s latest diverse fresh meat intake, I was thinking about how important a single moment around a campfire eight years before was for me and for so many others, and how amazing it was that the simple decision to lower the angle of a sports surface could have such a profound effect on so many lives.

Essential Viewing Required Reading
Hell on Wheels Released in 2007, this documentary charts the earliest days of the revival, right up to The Great Divide between the flat trackers and the banked trackers. A fascinating, well-made documentary in its own right, complex in its characterization and despite unexpected twists, balanced in its view. Rollergirl: Totally True Tales from the Track by Melissa Joulwan The inside story of the creation and rise of flat track roller derby by Texas Rollergirl, Melicious, who was a leading voice in the Divide. From the split through to the ground-breaking first WFTDA Championship in 2006. Includes player and team profiles.

* Next Week: First bout with the new fresh meat group; the early evolution of the sport on the track and in the media.

* Read The Prelude.

ToRD Semifinal Recap: Chicks cruise into the finals.

Chicks and Dolls met in a rematch of the 2008 seminfinals

The Death Track Dolls 83 vs. The Chicks Ahoy! 119

The Chicks Ahoy! are playing for The Boot. After missing out on a chance to play for the ToRD championship last year, a focused and determined Chicks team squared off against the Death Track Dolls in front of an appreciative crowd. It was a disciplined, unified effort from the 2008 champs against a less experienced, but no less hungry crew of Dolls. While it wasn’t quite the classic that some had expected, no one left The Hangar disappointed as the Dolls pushed back right through to the end, refusing to concede to the team that has become their biggest rivals. You get the sense that the final chapter on this rivalry has yet to be written, but for now the Chicks have bragging rights after a 36 point victory in ToRD’s second semi-final bout.


The tension was high in the Hangar as the teams’ two top jammers, Land Shark and Mach Wheels, lined up for the first jam. Despite nailing down lead jammer status, Mach Wheels couldn’t shake the Shark and they split the opening jam 5-3. This opening would tell the tale of much of the first half: back and forth shifts in control with neither team able to fully take the momentum. Both teams play a similar style of derby, and played it well last night, whether it was strong back walls from the excellent Chicks’ pack or great goating by the Dolls’ blockers, both teams looked in fine late-season form. A big Monichrome whip for Demolition Dawn had the Dolls inch ahead 14-11 five minutes in, only to see Dyna Hurtcha respond while Hoff and Nasher held back Betty Bomber and the Chicks pulled ahead 15-14 at the midway point of the first half.

The Chicks' Candy Crossbones recorded the highest JQ, 47. Betty Bomber scored 24 points for the Dolls

One noticeable difference in this one was the comparable lack of penalties. Both teams have been plagued by undisciplined play in the past, and while neither team seemed capable of taking control early on, it was a well executed Chicks’ power jam that blew the bout open. Already a grand slam and a lap ahead of SlamWow, Candy Crossbones went on a power jam and pulled off another big jam, putting 20 points on the board and blowing open what had been a tight bout. A well-timed timeout and a reeling in of the undisciplined play allowed the Dolls a pushback at the end of the first half. With strong defense from Panty Hoser, Land Shark led the attack, looking relaxed and confident in what was one of her strongest bouts of the season. A few key lead jams and one timely grand slam had the Dolls within reach 54-31 at the half, that lone power jam by Candy Crossbones being the only difference.


The one thing that separates these team is an intangible: experience. The Chicks’ core has been together for upwards of four years now; they’ve won championships together, lost championships; they’ve got that big-game experience. That edge in experience may have been the difference on a night when both teams left everything on the track. After being dominated in the final jams of the first half, the Chicks responded to start the second. Focused and unbothered by the late-half offensive output by the Dolls, the Chicks looked one step ahead of the Dolls at times early in the second period, holding a strong front wall and dictating the pace of the packs. They played a deliberate, and chippy game, keeping packs tight and taking small, reliable points gains, almost forcing a defensive posture out of their opponents. Once again the Chicks held their composure and the frustrated Dolls too often let go of brief grasps of momentum with undisciplined play giving up too many pack advantages and an eventual power jam. Triple threat Mach Wheels, who is capable of single-handedly taking over a game, was defended as well as possible by the Dolls on this evening, which allowed traditional jamming power Candy Crossbones to step up, and she did once again in the second, taking advantage of another power jam to put up 14 points (she had 52 on the night) and give the Chicks a commanding 81-34 lead ten minutes in.

Land Shark had a great night for the Dolls, including a 25 point jam.

Briefly deflated, the bout seemed to be quickly slipping away from the Dolls. Poorly timed hits and some ill-advised jammer defense had the younger Dolls squad looking briefly overhwhelmed. With Dyna Hurtcha fighting through blocks and looking better with each jam since her return after missing half the season, Rebel Rock-It pivoting confidently, Mega Bouche laying some patented hits and Tara Part continuing to look strong at the front of the pack, the Chicks seemed ready to run away with it. Over twenty minutes in to the second half, the Dolls had managed only 7 points in the period and were well back, 118-38. But if there’s one thing that fans of ToRD have learned over the past two meetings with these two teams, it is that no lead is safe, and the Dolls were not going to go down without a fight. With such a big lead it wouldn’t be surprising if the Chicks began to look beyond the bout, perhaps to thoughts of the championship, and that brief lapse in focus led to a slip in their disciplined play. The pushback was led by captain Betty Bomber who picked up 15 on a well executed power jam; then, in a bizarre twist caused by a slew of quick majors and accumulated minors, there was actually a bit of a traffic jam at the box that resulted in the Dolls having the track to themselves for a brief moment. Despite a quick recovery from the Chicks’ blockers, Land Shark took full advantage of the opportunity and became the third ToRD player of the season to put up 25 points in a single jam. Within two jams, the Dolls had pulled within 40 points and put 5 more on the board in the last to make the final score 119-83 and give the crowd an extraordinary ending to what had already been an entertaining bout.

The Dolls are confident about their chances in 2011


Despite ending the season on a losing note, the Dolls are a confident bunch moving forward. For the first time in two years they have a solid lineup of 15 or 16 skaters that will stay together to form the core of the this team, and it’s a solid core with a great mix of veterans, rookies and second year players. Strategic, position-based picks at the draft could provide  essential pieces for this team. The Chicks Ahoy! are back where they want to be: competing for The Boot against the Gore-Gore Rollergirls. This will be a rematch of the first two ToRD championships; titles that were split by the two teams. The Chicks seem to be coming together at the right time and are primed for a battle.

The ToRD Championship is on November 13th at The Hangar. Tickets are on sale online or at a variety of places in the GTA.

See layer9’s footage and interviews (including one with special guest, TSN’s James Cybulski) on ToRD.TV





Chicks Ahoy! Death Track Dolls
Margin of Victory/Loss: +36 

Lead %: 60%

Plus/Minus: +15;

Major Penalties (Minor): 51 (18)

Hits: 60

Jammer Hits: 29

Margin of Victory/Loss: -36 

Lead %: 40%

Plus/Minus: -13

Major Penalties (Minor) 44 (14)

Hits: 53

Jammer Hits: 10

Player (minimum 7 jams)
Points: Candy Crossbones 52 

Lead%: Mach Wheels 70%

Plus/Minus: Tara Part +58

Jammer Plus/Minus: Candy Crossbones +30

Major Penalties (Minor): Mega Bouche 5 (Tara Part 8 )

Hits: Mega Bouche 13

Jammer Hits: Mega Bouche 6

JQ: Candy Crossbones 47

Mach Wheels 42

Dyna Hurtcha 36

Kari Mia-Beere 25

Points: Land Shark 48 

Lead%: Land Shark  44%

Plus/Minus: Downright Dirty Dawson +13

Jammer Plus/Minus: Land Shark +2

Major Penalties (Minor): Seka Destroy 4 (Jubilee 8 )

Hits: Jubilee 13

Jammer Hits: Downright Dirty Dawson 3

JQ: Land Shark 42

Betty Bomber 34

SlamWow 19

Demolition Dawn 16

ToRD Playoff Preview: Dolls vs. Chicks

#3 Death Track Dolls (1-2) vs. #2 Chicks Ahoy! (2-1)

The semifinal matchup that everyone seems to be have been talking about (and maybe even hoping for) all season is finally upon us. The last two meetings between the Death Track Dolls and the Chicks Ahoy! were classics, with the Chicks managing to squeak out both victories. Expectations for each team were high high leading into 2010, but they both got off to sluggish starts. Each team improved as the season went on, and after strong ends to the season, seem to peaking at just the right time.

Year in Review: Death Track Dolls

After two up-and-down seasons with a slowly shifting lineup, 2009’s off season saw a further shakeup of the Dolls’ lineup including the departures of key players (and both captains). With new captains, a fresh presence behind the bench, a group of carefully selected rookies and a solid core of veterans and second-year players, the Dolls entered 2010 riding the same high that they’d skated out of 2009 on.

A shaky, two-loss performance at the Beast of the East represented a period of adjustment, and by the time the team rolled into Tri-City for an exhibition bout against the Venus Fly Tramps, the Dolls’ were showing signs of coming together and pulled off a solid victory. With the echoes of 2009’s tension-filled classic still lingering in The Hangar, the Dolls and Chicks delivered another in their season opener, only this time the Dolls were the aggressors who couldn’t hold the lead in the second half. Nonetheless, it was a solid, confidence-boosting performance that inspired them to a dominant victory against the Smoke City Betties. They closed out the regular season with a hard- fought loss to the defending champion Gore-Gore Rollergirls, a bout they lead for much of the first half.

Veteran bench Boss The Big Chees has been joined on the Dolls' bench this season by Sonic Doom

The Doll’s steady improvement can be attributed to the skaters growing into their specific roles. Joining steady veterans Monichrome and Dolly Parts’em with the stripe, Panty Hoser has had a fantastic season pivoting the ever-improving Doll’s pack; and it’s a pack gathering strength, anchored by strong positional blocking from vets Lucid Lou, Bonky Kong, and complemented by sophomore Downright Dirty Dawson and rookie Speedin Hawking. Jubilee, Seka Destroy and Audrey Hellborn provide a deep contingent of heavy-hitting strikers. Land Shark is the only remaining natural jammer from the original 2009 lineup, but Demolition Dawn stepped up to take some of the load, and rookie SlamWow has begun her apprenticeship. The Dolls’ triple threat Betty Bomber fills out the lineup, and is in the midst of a career season.

Strategically minded Sonic Doom joined The Big Chees behind the bench this season, and the two have worked well together to create a team that not only seems ready to compete now, but in the seasons to come as well.

2010 Death Track Dolls

(Current ranking: 17th among hometeams, 29th overall)

Death Track Dolls 9 vs. Les Contrabanditas (MTLRD) 72 (@ Montreal/Beast of the East)

Death Track Dolls 29 vs.  Derby Debutantes (GTAR) 38 (@ Montreal/ Beast of the East)

Death Track Dolls 101 vs. Venus Fly Tramps 89 (TCRG) (@ Tri-City)

Death Track Dolls 109 vs. Chicks Ahoy! 121 (ToRD regular season)

Death Track Dolls 213 vs. Smoke City Betties 53 (ToRD regular season)

Death Track Dolls 54 vs. Gore-Gore Rollergirls 133 (ToRD regular season)

2010 ToRD Record: 1-2

2010 Exhibition Record: 1-2

Year in Review: Chicks Ahoy!

The Chicks followed their 2008 championship with a 2009 season that saw them two points away from slipping all the way to fourth. Believing that a return to contention was possible, the Chicks retained the core of that championship team, filling out their lineup with a few veterans and drafting only one rookie. Experienced, focused after a disappointing season, the Chicks entered 2010 with only one goal: a return to the finals.

As with the Dolls, the Chicks got off to a shaky start at the Beast of the East as well, going 1-2 and bowing out in the first round. Another pre-season loss to Tri-City’s Vicious Dishes, in which they looked disorganized and out-strategized, seemed to galvanize the team. They opened their regular season with a stunning, come-from-behind victory over the Dolls before looking flat in a loss against their traditional rivals, the Gores. Then, in their final bout of the regular season, the Chicks finally pulled it all together and delivered one of the most dominant performances in ToRD’s history with a 244 point victory over a much-improved Smoke City Betties.

Despite being the sole rookie on the Chicks' lineup, Marmighty has not looked out of place

A big key to that victory was the solid strategic play of the pack. The Chicks have a deep and diverse group of pivots with Rebel Rock-It and Hoff leading the way positionally, Nasher the Smasher is capable of physically dominating a bout. Any number of other blockers on this veteran lineup are capable of taking on the role as well, from Mega Bouche, Humdinger, Fireweed to sole rookie, Marmighty. The smooth-skating Mach Wheels is also more than capable of dominating a pack, but this season saw her return to dominance with the star, posting huge jammer numbers in the opening two bouts of the season. Candy Crossbones picked up where Mach Wheels left off late in the season, and Kari Mia-Beere continues to grow into her role as one of the team’s go-to jammers. The late-season return of triple threat Dyna Hurtcha only adds to the depth of this team.

Inspirationally, not enough can be said about the return of Tara Part to the lineup. It hasn’t taken her long to ingratiate herself back into a key role for this team, and she will certainly be a factor in the bout against the Dolls. With so many players at the peaks of their careers, this is a key opportunity for the Chicks to compete for another championship.

2010 Chicks Ahoy!

(Current ranking: 11th among hometeams, 22nd overall)

Chicks Ahoy! 12 vs. La Racaille (MTLRD) 81 (@ Montreal/Beast of the East)

Chicks Ahoy!  89 vs. Smoke City Betties (ToRD) 15 (@ Montreal/ Beast of the East)

Chicks Ahoy! 34 vs. Death Row Dames (HCRG) 42 (@Montreal / Beast of the East)

Chicks Ahoy! 63 vs. Vicious Dishes (TCRG) 121 (@ Tri-City)

Chicks Ahoy!121 vs. Death Track Dolls 109 (ToRD regular season)

Chicks Ahoy! 80 vs. Gore-Gore Rollergirls 124 (ToRD regular season)

Chicks Ahoy! 266 vs. Smoke City Betties 42 (ToRD regular season)

2010 ToRD Regular Season: 2-1

2010 Exhibition Record: 1-3

The regular season meeting between these teams was a thrilling, hard-fought bout


Two season’s in the making, this bout promises to be one of the most thrilling of the season. Expect what the last matchups between these two teams delivered: a close, epic, hard-hitting bout. Watch for the Dolls to attempt to frustrate the Chicks and lure them into one-on-one encounters; while the Chicks will undoubtedly look to control things in the pack always vigilant for that big jammer take out. Discipline will be key as penalties and power jams have been the difference in the last two bouts. The experience of the Chicks is a huge advantage in this pressure-packed situation. While many of the Chicks have won (and lost) championships, a few Dolls veterans won their first-ever bouts this season. Success is something new to the Dolls; the Chicks are looking to regain it.

The bout is at The Hangar in Downsview Park on Saturday, October 23rd. Doors at 6:30, bout at 7:30. Tickets are available online and at various outlets in the GTA.

Read the recap of this season’s bout between the two teams here. Also, take a look at ToRD TV’s forward-looking recap: (edited by Tiffany Beaudin).

Weekend Recap: Gores advance to final; Betties send a message

Bambi and Memphis Kitty jammed to a stalemate on the opening jam of the bout.

Semifinal: #1Gore-Gore Rollergirls 133 vs. #4 Smoke City Betties 45

With Hot Roller and Brim Stone leading the packs for the Smoke City Betties and the Gore-Gore Rollergirls, the Gores’ top statistical jammer Bambi lined up against the Betties’ most experienced jammer Memphis Kitty. When neither jammer could shake the other, forcing a scoreless jam, most in The Hangar thought that the beginning of the inevitable blowout was simply delayed, perhaps stalled by Memphis Kitty’s experience on the track. The Gores followed with another top pack and its most tenacious jammer, Dust Bunny. The Betties’ rookie Tropic Thunder stepped up with the odds stacked firmly against her. What transpired was a jam similar in almost every way to the first. Just under five minutes in and the bout remained scoreless. While the top-ranked Gores did eventually wrestle control of the bout away from the precocious, last-place Betties, the expected lopsided result never materialized. And as the night wore on, it became clearer and clearer that this was not the same, inexperienced, overwhelmed team that had opened the season five months ago: the 2010 Smoke City Betties had finally found themselves.

Molly Boom traded in her stripe for a star in the 2nd half

Bambi was able to eventually break the defensive stranglehold with a double grand slam scored with Platinum Bomb trapped in the Gore’s pack. But not before the rookie Grim Avenger’s massive jammer take out on Lunchbox forced a call and sent a clear message that this Betties’ team had come to play. The Gores followed by putting out championship calibre lineups pivoted by their top pivots Brim Stone, Junkie Jenny and Molly Bloom, and maintaining its vaunted 1-2-3 jammer punch. But the Betties responded in full force to keep the bout close, with only a well-executed (but exhaustively earned) power jam by Lunchbox giving the Gores the comfort of a decent lead. It took almost thirteen full minutes for the Betties to get on the board, but when Sail Her Poon (who was returning to the jam line after earning her stripes in the pack against the Chicks Ahoy!) finally picked up four points, the Betties were still within reach, down only 30-4.

Dust Bunny was a triple threat, putting in some excellent jams as pivot and blocker

Only after the Gores had pulled ahead by 40 did bench boss Reverend Ramirez begin to experiment with his lines. Different pack formations (usually balanced mixes of veterans and rookies) led by either unorthodox pivots (Dust Bunny) or rookie jammers (Santa Muerte) were rotated out with great success. Dust Bunny was exceptionally strong in the bout putting in a triple-threat worthy performance capped off by some extraordinary positional blocking on a potential lead-saving power kill. But the story of the first thirty was summed up in the Betties’ strong end to the period led by a second straight stand-out performance from sophomore-star Lady Scorcher. When the final whistle of the first period blew, the Betties were down by a respectable 67-21.

Santa Muerte was just one of the Gores' rookies getting a chance to jam

The Gores began the second half with the same kind of lineup experimentation that ended the first. With rookie jammers getting valuable experience for the defending champs, and the Betties relying heavily on their rookies for offense as well, the difference in the bout ended up being the pack; it was in the pack where the experience gap between the two teams was the most evident. The Gores skaters have that roller derby instinct that comes with experience, and allows them to respond to whatever situation presents itself, whether it be a power jam or a pack disadvantage, without any communication or hesitation. The Betties aren’t quite there yet. But the signs are certainly in place that they are on the right track.

The story of this bout was definitely the rookies. On both teams, the newest skaters (with a full regular season now under their belts) were huge contributors. The Gores, looking to add to their formidable repertoire of jammers, put the star on a number of rookies, including Chronic, Miss Kitty La Peur, and Pinky Violence; Santa Muerte brought the same focused intensity to jamming that she brings to her pack duties, and Aston Martini took more and more jams as the half progressed. The Betties responded in kind, with Tropic Thunder and Sail Her Poon confirming that they are ready to lead an offense, while Platinum Bomb played her most effective bout of the season, giving the Betties a threesome to build around in the future. Despite the continued spirited play by the Betties (and the support or of an appreciative audience), the underdogs could not make up the ground. Closing out the bout with strong hitting and pack play from Lady Gagya, and strong jams by Molly Boom and Brim Stone, the Gores skated away with a 133-45 victory.

Grim Avenger, like many of the Betties' rookies, has grown into her role on the team

Next up for the Gores is the championship final on November 13, while the Betties get to start preparing for the off season. With roster spots already open, it will be key to assess the team’s needs and draft properly (and this will be an exceptionally strong draft); but it does seem as though the Betties do have everything in place. As the season progressed, the Betties rookies have grown into their roles on the team. With Grim and Sin D pivoting a pack rounded out by the likes of Mouth of the South and P Doddy, and Bomb, Poon and Thunder working the star so confidently, this is a team that has finally come into itself. On Saturday, we got a glimpse of the future of the Betties, and the future looks bright.

Gores and Betties post bout

* You should especially keep an eye on ToRD.TV for the interviews from this bout, as junior correspondents Miss Fit and Biff Break-It made their excellent ToRD.TV debuts.

* The Death Track Dolls and Chicks Ahoy! will face each other on October 23rd for a chance to face the Gores in the finals. You will not want to miss this one. Tickets are already on sale.


Gore-Gore Rollergirls
Smoke City Betties
Margin of Victory/Loss: +88 

Lead %: 54%

Plus/Minus: +32;

Major Penalties (Minor): 9 (36)


Margin of Victory/Loss: -88

Lead %: 30%

Plus/Minus: -30

Major Penalties (Minor) 6 (40)

Player (minimum 6 jams)
Points: Bambi 40 

Lead%: Bambi 83%

Plus/Minus: Gamma Rei +61

Jammer Plus/Minus: Bambi +37

Major Penalties (Minor): Pinky Violence, Lunchbox 2 (Junky Jenny 6)

JQ: Bambi 45

Dust Bunny 41

Brim Stone 33

Santa Muerte 31

Pinky Violence 30

Lunchbox 29

Points: Sail Her Poon 14 

Lead%: Sail Her Poon  57%

Plus/Minus: Sail Her Poon -11

Jammer Plus/Minus: Sail Her Poon -7

Major Penalties (Minor): Sail Her Poon 2 (Memphis Kitty 10)

JQ: Sail Her Poon 30

Memphis Kitty 22

Tropic Thunder 17

Lady Scorcher 17

ToRD Playoff Preview: Betties vs. Gores

#4 Smoke City Betties (0-3) vs. #1 Gore-Gore Rollergirls (3-0)

On Saturday, October 2nd, ToRD’s 2010 playoffs get under way with a rematch of last year’s championship final between the defending champion Gore-Gore Rollergirls and last year’s runner-up Smoke City Betties. But this matchup has had a much different build up than last year’s hotly contested final. Since that Saturday night last November, these teams have gone in much different directions. The defending champion Gores completed their second consecutive unbeaten season and seem confident about defending their championship. The Betties, on the other hand, have had a much different 2010, and stagger into the playoffs after going winless so far this year.

The Betties veterans have been key all season.

YEAR IN REVIEW: Smoke City Betties

In 2009, three years of hard work toward developing the sport in this city culminated in a spot in the championship bout for the Betties. It was a high point for a team who’d had to watch the Gores and Chicks Ahoy! dominate the early days of ToRD’s history. Coming up short in the final, the Betties began a process of rebuilding with hopes of a potential championship somewhere down the road. Led by a core of veterans including Memphis Kitty, Hot Roller and Pretty Peeved, it was a very inexperienced Betties lineup that went 0-2 at the Beast of the East, including a lopsided loss to the Chicks. Clearly, this group of rookies only recently drafted to the team would have to endure its share of growing pains before it could pull itself back into contention.

The Betties rookies have been forced into key roles

The 2010 season became a season of rebuilding for this Betties squad, who under the bench guidance of Mia Culprit and Quickdraw charged into every bout prepared and ready to play their hearts out. A series of big losses over the summer never dimmed the spirit of the team, and late in the season, it became evident that this team was learning: the progress could be seen in almost every jam. A few veterans stepped up into key roles in 2010: Lacy Brawler proved a dependable work horse on the track, and Lady Scorcher led by example, stepping into whatever role needed filling (particularly evident in the final game of the season against the Chicks). The rookie squad also saw leaders emerge. In a forward-thinking move, Sail Her Poon was named co-captain and proved that the decision was justified with her play on the track from jamming against the Gores or working the pack against the Chicks. But others too have stepped up into pivotal roles, Genuine Risk in the pack, Mouth of the South with her jammer assists and Tropic Thunder with the star have provided depth for the Betties lineup, while others have shown tremendous improvement from their first bouts to their most recent. 

Despite the struggles this season, the Betties have all the potential to once again rise to the top. If this new generation of Betties can pull through these growing pains, they’ve got all the pieces in place for a bright future.


(Current ranking: 20th among hometeams, 32nd overall)

Smoke City Betties 11 vs. Thames Fatales (FCRG) 38 (@ Montreal/Beast of the East)

Smoke City Betties 15 vs.  Chicks Ahoy 89 (@ Montreal/ Beast of the East)

Smoke City Betties 58 vs. Gore-Gore Rollergirls 248 (ToRD regular season)

Smoke City Betties 53 vs. Death Track Dolls 213 (ToRD regular season)

Smoke City Betties 14 vs. Slaughter Daughters 248 (RVRG) (@ Rideau Valley)

Smoke City Betties 42 vs. Chicks Ahoy! 266 (ToRD regular season)

2010 ToRD Recrod: 0-3

2010 Exhibition Record: 0-3

The Gores have won two of three ToRD championships

YEAR IN REVIEW: Gore-Gore Rollergirls

The Gore-Gore Rollergirls have had a big part in writing the early history of ToRD. The Gores have reached the final in each of the league’s first three season, their only loss coming at the hands of the Chicks Ahoy in the 2008 final. Last year the momentum of a year-long unbeaten streak propelled them back to the top when they won their second ToRD championship. So far in 2010, they’ve picked up where they left off. Coming off a 4th place finish at the Beast of the East (their only losses coming to Montreal’s Les Contrabanditas and Les Fills du Roi), the Gores rolled through another unbeaten season, running their current ToRD unbeaten streak to seven games. Part of the reason for the success of this squad has to do with how unchanged the core of this team has remained. Led once again by the steadying presence of bench-boss Reverend Ramirez, the Gores remain a unified and focused group.

Molly Boom has had a great season pivoting

In the one-sided opening bout of the regular season, the Gore-Gore Rollergirls took the opportunity to mix-up the lineup from its usual formation, deploying different players in roles that they often hadn’t played. The experiment seemed to work well at the time, but as the season wore on and the challenges grew stronger, the Gores slowly reverted back to the team that had already had so much success: It’s hard to fix something that isn’t broken. Having a formidable three-jammer rotation of Bambi, Dust Bunny and Lunchbox (who finished with the 1st, 2nd and 4th highest JQ ratings) at the back essentially creates the pack strategies that you’ll employ: Get out of the way and make sure you take the other team with you. Led by the excellent pivoting of Brim Stone, Junkie Jenny, and Molly Boom the pack has managed to do just that all season. The return of veterans Foxy Sinatra and Kandy Barr (who both took a year off) filled out a lineup already deep with capable, experienced players. Not that the Gores lack for impressive rookies either. The stability of the team has allowed this year’s crop of newcomers a great opportunity to integrate and learn without pressure. Santa Muerte has provided a physical and energetic presence to the pack, while Hurlin Wall stepped in almost immediately to provide a level of positional blocking well beyond her limited experience.


(Current ranking: 5th among home teams, 11th overall)

Gore-Gore Rollergirls 43 vs. Derby Debutantes (GTAR) 20 (@Montreal/Beast of the East)

Gore-Gore Rollergirls 17 vs. Les Contrabanditas (MTLRD) 63 (@Montreal/Beast of the East)

Gore-Gore Rollergirls 45 vs. Green Mountain Derby Dames (Vermont) 22 (@Montreal/Beast of the East)

Gore-Gore Rollergirls 1 vs. Les Filles du Roi 65 (MTLRD) (@Montreal/Beast of the East)

Gore-Gore Rollergirls 21 vs. Les Contrabanditas 91(MTLRD) (@Montreal/Beast of the East)

Gore-Gore Rollergirls 248 vs. Smoke City Betties 58 (ToRD Regular Season)

Gore-Gore Rollergirls 124 vs. Chicks Ahoy! 80 (ToRD Regular Season)

Gore-Gore Rollergirls 133 vs. Death Track Dolls 54 (ToRD Regular Season)

2010 ToRD Record: 3-0

2010 Exhibition Record: 2-3

The Gores dominated this season's regular season bout between the two teams


With the finals more than a month away, don’t expect either of these teams to hold anything back. Expect the Gores to come out hitting hard and dominating the pace and formation of the pack to provide their jammers with the space (or pace) they need. The Betties veterans will lead the attempt to wrestle some sort of control of the pack away from the Gores. Expect to see some great pivoting battles up front as the veterans battle each other. While the Gores jammers prefer the open spaces and gaps that allow for them to deke their way through, the Betties will need to protect their jammers and give them all the aid they can in getting through the pack. The Gores are an explosive team and the Betties cannot allow for them to build up too much of an early lead. Lead jammer status will be hard to come by in this one for the inexperienced Betties, so their jammers will have to be aware of their defensive responsibilities as well.

Realistically, a victory by the 4th place Betties would represent one of the great upsets in ToRD’s history. But it is the playoffs and anything can happen. If the Gores come into the bout thinking that they’re getting a simple tune-up for the championship, they just may be surprised.

As usual, the bout is at The Hangar on Saturday night. Doors open at 6:30pm. Tickets are available online or at a number of Toronto retailers. Check out ToRD.TV for interviews, boutcasts and video recaps.

WEEKEND PREVIEW: Skids set to make history; CN Power set to trample the Garden State


Montreal will make roller derby history on Friday night when they become the first international team to take part in the WFTDA playoffs. In a fitting coincidence, the sixth seeded New Skids on the Block will square off against the American team they have the longest history against: The third ranked Boston Massacre.

At this time last year, Montreal was little more than a novelty in WFTDA; a loud (in more ways than one), easy-going, bi-lingual Canadian team whose greatest claim to fame was their raucous cheering and after-party antics at Rollercon and the WFDTA Nationals. They charged into competition gamely but were often swatted away by their much more experienced opponents; 100 point loses were the norm for the Skids on their way to a 1-6 record in 2009 WFTDA sanctioned bouts. They ended the season ranked 13th in the East and not even on the radar on DNN’s WFTDA Power Rankings (though Flat Track Stats had them at 52nd).

Montreal's pack control has been the biggest difference in their rise as contenders (seen here trapping a Vancouver skater)

2010 began with a big loss against the fantastic Charm City All Stars (Baltimore), and a much tighter loss to Tucson. But for anyone who watched them, it was evident that something had changed. The persistence, patience and commitment to progress had begun to pay off. Absorbing everything they could during their string of losses, Montreal had emerged from its inaugural season as a much smarter, much more fit and more prepared team than perhaps any other had after their first season. While many had prophetically dubbed them a team to watch in the future, the Skids had every intention of being a contender in the present.

Montreal earned its sixth seed (and bye directly into the quarterfinals) by going on an absolute tear in 2010. Following the opening loses, they’ve won nine of their next ten bouts (not including unsanctioned victories over Toronto and Vancouver), many by considerable margins (including an extraordinary 261 point victory over Dominion at this year’s ECE). That one loss, though, is intriguing as it was against their Friday-night opponents: Boston Massacre (read a review of that bout here; watch it here). The difference in that

The Iron Wench has emerged as a devastatingly efficient jammer

May bout ended up being discipline and consistency, two things that come only by experience. But Montreal showed (for one half at least) that they have finally reached a point where they can compete with the best (the margin was 8 points at halftime), and certainly have all the pieces of the puzzle, whether dominant, position-defining pivots (Jess Bandit), exhilarating jammers (Iron Wench) or triple threats (Smack Daddy). It will be interesting to see how far they have come since May. While DNN still separates these two teams quite a bit in their power-rankings (Boston at 12th with Montreal 21st), Flat Track Stats has them much closer at 15th  and 17th.

Montreal and  Boston play Friday at 4pm. All bouts will be boutcast live on DNN. While Gotham and Philly are heavily favoured to dominate the Eastern Regionals, the third and final spot in the WFTDA Championship is up for grabs. Montreal will look to pull a Minnesota, and upset its way into the Championship (the 7th seed in the North Central eliminated heavily favoured Detroit on its way to a shocking second-place finish two weeks ago). Windy City, Minnesota and Madison have already qualified.


CN Power (3-2 in 2010) looks to rebound from its August loss to recent WFTDA apprentice graduates the Lake Effect Furies (110-79). Looking to take on all comers as they progress through their own apprenticeship, CN Power will travel to New Jersey this weekend to take on The Garden State Rollergirls. Garden State is another team that recently attained WFTDA status, and they too are coming off of a tough loss (to Harrisburg 216-99), so both these teams are looking to rebound and get things back on track.

CN Power had a strong start to 2010 going 3-1 out of the gates, including a lop-sided victory over the Rideau Valley Vixens (199-49) and victories over challenging opponents in Vancouver (97-79) and arch rivals Hamilton (89-87). Their only early-season loss came to powerhouse Montreal (229-45). Taking a break for ToRD’s home season throughout most of the spring and summer, CN Power returned in late August with the loss to Queen City (read a review of that bout here).

Now, they face another stiff test.

With the absence of key players, Brim Stone will be relied upon in various roles

CN Power has juggled its lineup quite a bit this season, and once again there’s a new look heading south. Lacking key jammers Dust Bunny, Bambi, Lunchbox and Candy Crossbones, CN Power will look to Land Shark to lead the attack with triple threats Dyna Hurthca and Betty Bomber also taking up some of the slack. This could also be an opportunity to see highly-coveted rookie import Wolverina in action against top North American competition (she looked impressive in her DVAS debut). Things seem fairly solid up front with pivots Rebel Rock-It, Nasher the Smasher and Brim Stone all making the trip. The absence of emerging pivot Panty Hoser and triple threat Mach Wheels could be offset by the return of Tara Part and the positional strength of Hoser’s Dolls teammate Monichrome. 2010 Betties’ stand out Lady Scorcher will join veteran teammates Pretty Peeved and Hot Roller on the squad, while CN Power stalwarts (and heavy hitters) Lady Gagya and Mega Bouche round out the lineup.

Both of these teams will be looking to close out 2010 with a bang, and a victory this weekend would go a long way in ensuring that.

CN Power’s next opponents, the Tri-City Thunder, will be heading to Detroit this weekend to face the Disassembly Line in their final tune-up before October’s big showdown between Canada’s two WFTDA apprentice leagues.

Weekend Recap: Chicks Ahoy! cruise into playoffs

Rebel Rock-It was a force with the stripe (here forcing titmouse out of bounds)

Chicks Ahoy! 266 (2-1) vs. Smoke City Betties 42 (0-3)

The Chicks Ahoy! may be peaking at just the right time. Looking to secure the second spot in ToRD’s regular season standing, the Chicks skated into the Hanger for their bout against the Smoke City Betties on Saturday night looking relaxed and focused. Despite a re-jigged lineup and a few absent players (including Mach Wheels who is in the midst of an excellent season), the Chicks looked cohesive and supportive in the pack. Rallying around the returning veteran Tara Part, they never looked out of control in what would turn out to be their most dominant performance of the year and maybe in their team’s history.

The difference in experience between the two teams was evident from virtually the first whistle. Led by explosive jamming from Candy Crossbones (who finished with a plus/minus of +71) and Dyna Hurtcha, (who led all scorers with 80), the Chicks were up 44 points before the Betties seemed comfortable in the game. Not that they weren’t asserting their physical dominance early on either, as a thunderous jammer take out by Marmighty on Pretty Peeved set the tone. Despite missing a full season due to a devastating injury, Tara Part did not look out of place and was quickly sharing the early pivot load with Rebel Rock It. Rebel played a strong bout once again whether killing power jams from the back of the pack or putting up 23 points in a single jam as jammer (a feat she would better by 2 points in the second half).

Candy Crossbones had another strong performance jamming; Lady Scorcher stepped up at every position for the Betties.

But as has happened all year, the Smoke City Betties just wouldn’t concede defeat and kept fighting against the odds. Lady Scorcher put in a solid all-around effort—seeming to be making up for the absent Memphis Kitty—and put in what was one of a series of gutsy performances for the Betties, which ranged from veterans (Hot Roller and Pretty Peeved) to rookies (Tropic Thunder and Platinum Bomb). The fans in The Hangar certainly appreciated the Betties tenacity and were clearly behind them to pull off the upset. But they never could seem to rattle the Chicks in the first half. With six minutes remaining the Chicks pulled ahead by 100. By the end of the period, they’d increased their lead to 130-14.

Chicks Ahoy! continued to rotate the lineup liberally in the second half, spreading out the workload almost equally among the bench. As a result, any number of players was a viable candidate for triple threat: Robber Blind played a strong bout at all positions and Mega Bouche also was her usual self on the track: delivering big hits and pulling off physical jams. Even Nasher the Smasher took a few turns at the jam line. But for the most part, the Chicks’ traditional jammers lead the way. Candy Crossbones added her name to the record books with a 25 point jam (joining Rebel at the top of the heap), and Kari Mia Beere had a bounce-back performance, looking scrappy and focused on the track.

Betties and Chicks post bout.

It’s certainly not all bad news for the Betties. While last year’s success must seem like a distant memory, and the present might seem a little grim, the future is looking brighter all the time. The continued rise of a few key players bodes well for the days ahead. The steady emergence of Tropic Thunder as a dependable jammer continued in this bout, and both titmouse (as jammer) and Grim Avenger (as pivot) looked very comfortable on the track. Young captain Sail Her Poon took on a different role in this bout, bringing her steadying presence to the pack and looked solid against her much bigger foes. With Sin D Drop Her and P Doddy taking on a good positional roles, and Mouth of the South always looking to help her jammer, they round out a core of rookies that has all the potential to do some damage in 2011 and beyond.

Despite the uneven score line, the Betties actually played their strongest bout of the season: the Chicks Ahoy! were  just that good on this night. Despite still running into some penalty trouble (far too many power jams were given up, particularly in the first half), they defended them beautifully. With Rebel Rock-It controlling pace like a drill sergeant, the Chicks pack work has come a long way. In a season that got off to an uneven start, the experienced Chicks’ squad has rounded into a fine late-season form. Their dominant performance should be taken as a message: this team is ready for the playoffs.

All photos by David Artemiw. Visit http://www.david

* Watch layer9’s footage of the bout and player interviews at ToRD.TV.

* Keep up to date on standings and statistics here.

* The playoffs run through October with the defending champion and top ranked Gore-Gore Rollergirls taking on the fourth place Smoke City Betties (October 2) and the second place Chicks Ahoy! playing the third ranked Death Track Dolls (October 23). Tickets for the first bout are available now. Previews coming soon*

Weekend Recap: Gores Gore Chicks

Nasher the Smasher and Brim Stone leading their packs.

Chicks Ahoy! 80 (1-1  -32) vs. Gore-Gore Rollergirls 124 (2-0  +234)

In a highly anticipated matchup at the Hangar on Saturday night, the defending champion Gore-Gore Rollergirls took on their long-time rivals Chicks Ahoy! in a bout between ToRD’s two remaining undefeated teams. It was a hard-hitting, scrappy affair in the packed and sweaty Hangar, a bout that the Gores took control of early and aside from a few strong pushbacks, maintained control of throughout, pulling into top spot in the standings with the 124-80 victory.

Both teams seemed hesitant at first, with neither capable of taking a clear advantage. Jammers took leads only to be reeled in before completing a scoring pass, or got caught up in back walls before being forced to call. The Gores’ Bambi finally broke the deadlock, recovering from a thundering jammer take out by Nasher the Smasher to pick up 7 points and open up a 10-0 lead five minutes in. It would be short lived though as the Chicks tight pack work was quickly rewarded with a power jam. Rebel Rock-It pivoted a strong, slow pack, while Mach Wheels danced her way to 15 points and a brief 15-11 lead. In an exciting turn of events, the Gores were immediately given a power jam as well and Lunchbox took back the lead with a triple grand slam of her own.

Foxy Sinatra (blocking G-Force) made an impressive return to ToRD after a one-year hiatus.

There were some interesting positional matchups in the early going. The Gores, who have been mixing things up this season, continued to do so early on. The hard-hitting Foxy Sinatra was pivoting, allowing Brim Stone to play as blocker a little more  (although she was pivoting a surprisingly good pack of rookies as well). But it was at the jammer position where the Gores would once again shine. Although sticking with their big three, the matchups were not working in their favour early on. The Rev took note and a few adjustments later and the jammers were rolling. With all three picking up considerable points late in the half to ensure that the Gores would maintain their lead, which was 74-37 at the half.

Traditionally, the Chicks have been known as a hard hitting, defensive team, but they showed great preparation for this bout and a willingness to adjust to their opponents. Taking a much more strategic approach (pace control, isolation and trapping with the packs) to complement the big hits and jammer take outs by the likes of Fubar, Nasher and Dolly Destructo the Chicks may have put together their most consistent and unified bout of the season. Fireweed’s scrappiness straight from the whistle and Marmighty’s tenacity in the pack though, reminded the Gores that this isn’t always a fun team to play against.

Rebel Rock-It (who had a great night with the stripe) takes a rare turn as jammer.

The second half kicked off with a bit of a pushback from the Chicks’ jammers, but while Candy and Mach were consistently getting leads, they weren’t able to shake the Gores’ jammers and make clean scoring passes. But persistence pays off, and it was the more strategic Chicks packs which were finally able to wrestle control away from the Gores . Over a series of jams (including another well-executed power jam—Rebel Rock-It and Nasher were leading traps effectively all night) the Chicks were able to reel off 23 unanswered points to pull within 19 (91-72) more than halfway through the period. Not to be outdone, the Gores adjusted to their opponents as well, stepping the physical play up, and seeming to want to engage in pack break ups and hit-for-hit blocker battles. Power blocker Foxy Sinatra led the Gores attack back, and was complemented by a group of talented rookies and the veteran presence of pivots Brim Stone and Junkie Jenny. Hurlin Wall built on her excellent rookie season and continues to develop into a wall of a positional blocker. Santa Muerte made her ToRD regular season debut as well and wreaked havoc on the Chicks’ pack. With the Gores retaking control of the pack, the Chicks took some untimely penalties. Bambi was able to pick up another 15 points with Mach Wheels in the box to restore the Gores’ cushion. A few more untimely penalties that lead to Gore pack advantages allowed that Gores to defend their lead and play out their eventual 44 point victory.

Lunchbox tries to get around Robber Blind

Mach Wheels and Bambi (this season’s two JQ leaders) engaged in epic jammer battles all night, evading blocks and trading leads, and the strategies being employed (on the track and on the benches) speaks volumes to the fast evolution of the sport. But what was most impressive (as it has been for much of the season), is the quality of this year’s rookies class. From Marmighty, the lone Chicks rookie, to the coterie of impressive rookies on the Gores, the future looks bright for ToRD.

Check out layer9’s full bout plus interviews and more at ToRD.TV.

Keep an eye on my stats page for the updated stats (including the JQ).


Derby Debutantes (GTAR) 44 vs. Thames Fatales (FCRG) 174

In a wise developmental move, Sudbury’s Nickel City rollergirls hosted an exhibition bout featuring two veteran teams from the south to learn the ins and outs of hosting a bout, but also to introduce the city to the sport. The Thames and Debs seemed to play a much more defensive game in their second meeting of the year, but the outcome remained the same, another big victory for the Thames (who seem to be collecting big victories this season).

Weekend Preview: Chicks Ahoy! vs. Gore-Gore Rollergirls

Chicks Ahoy! (1-0 +12) vs. The Gore-Gore Rollergirls (1-0 +190)

ToRD‘s two undefeated teams will meet this Saturday night in a battle that could decide who gets the all important top playoff ranking. The Chicks Ahoy! and the The Gore-Gore Rollergirls also represent the two most successful teams in ToRD’s early history with the Gores’ two championships in ’07 and ’09 flanking the Chicks’ victory in ’08. In Their only matchup in ’09, the Gores managed a 93-87 victory in the season opener, a narrow margin of victory that wouldn’t be a surprise to see this weekend. The core of these teams remains, and have been fairly consistent over the years; these two teams know each other as well as two teams can and have done battle in some of the most important bouts in ToRD’s history. Which, of course, all adds up to a bout that you won’t want to miss.


Chicks Ahoy!

1. Defense dominates: The Chicks have developed into the premier defensive power in ToRD. The only team to hold the Gores under a hundred points last season, the Chicks have played in more low scoring, super-close bouts than any other team in the league. If they can keep this bout low scoring against an offensive juggernaut like the Gores, they just could pull out a victory. The pivots will be key in this department and the Chicks are loaded with talent up front. Rebel Rock-It, Nasher the Smasher, and Hoff are just three of the players capable of donning the stripe.

Mach Wheels put up huge jammer numbers against the Dolls.

2. Bout gets physical: A key to the Chicks’ defense is their ability to physically dominate a bout. The ultimate hit-and-run juggernaut, the Chicks are a physical team that can throw other teams off their games with bone-crunching hits and menacing walls. With the absence of hard hitting Mega Bouche and Dyna Hurtcha, the Chicks are missing two of their most physical players, so look for Nasher and Dolly Destructo to step it up and lead the charge. Not that these skaters can’t block positionally either. Mach Wheels, to name just one, is a one-woman wall capable to sending opposing jammers into fits with her exceptional ability to slow down and even stop opponents in their tracks.

3. Penalty box stays empty: The one drawback to playing such a physical game is the potential for penalties, and the Chicks are more susceptible than most (it seems) at drawing the attention of the refs. While the Chicks seemed to have reeled it in during their last bout against the Death Track Dolls (actually, they were able to sit back and watch the Dolls struggle with detrimental penalty woes late in the bout), they will need to maintain that kind of discipline throughout. The Gores have the kind of veteran lineup that can do serious damage with pack advantages and power jams.

Gore-Gore Rollergirls

1. Control the pack: The Chicks play a fairly wide open style game, with quick and crafty jammers dancing through gaping holes in the pack cleared by their blockers. One of the keys for the Gores will be to make sure the pack stays steady and tight throughout. While Brim Stone remains one of the league’s top pivots, she has been taking on more of a jammer role as of late and more of the responsibility with the stripe has fallen to veteran Junkie Jenny and second-year blocker Molly Boom, both of whom were exceptional at the position in the season opener. Also, keep an eye on rookie Hurlin’ Wall, who dominated positionally against the Smoke City Betties. Not to say they can’t get physical when needs be (Cases in point: Lady Gagya’s shoulders and hips and the return of hard-hitting Foxy Sinatra), but holding positions and dictating pace will be key for the Gores.

Brim Stone has emerged as a triple threat in 2010

2. Dominate the jammer battle: The one clear advantage that the Gores have had over other teams is the strength and consistency of their jammers. Dust Bunny, Bambi and Lunchbox form an enviable threesome at the jam line and an inability to contain them could be detrimental. The consistency of their jammers is how the Gores have managed to run away with so many games in their recent history. In the ToRD season opener, the Gores showed that they are not only a three-jammer team by adding Brim Stone (successfully) to the fold. With Candy Crossbones returning and Mach Wheels looking in fine form early in the season, dominating could be easier said than done. Balanced, consistent jams from their jammers will be essential to wearing down the Chicks.

3. Contain Mach Wheels: While it’s hard to single out just one player on such a talented team, the performance that Mach Wheels put in against the Dolls last month makes it hard to ignore her. To put it simply, she was a monster. She put up huge numbers from the jam line including an amazing 79% lead percentage and a plus/minus of +47. While the return to form of Kari Mia-Beere and Candy Crossbones’ return to the lineup will take off some of the pressure on Mach Wheels, that just means the Gores will have to contend with her in the pack as well, where her abilities and stats are equally striking. After a so-so 2009 (relatively speaking!), the 2010 version of Mach Wheels has returned to her dominant form. She will need to be contained (or at least neutralized) for the Gores to assure a victory.

From the archives: Chicks Ahoy! vs. Gore-Gore Rollergirls in 2009 (Gores 93 - Chicks 87)


Based on history and standings, this Saturday’s bout will feature the best that ToRD has to offer. The Chicks have a veteran lineup (Marmighty is their sole rookie) that has been playing together for a long time; this familiarity translates into a certain chemistry on the track that few teams can match and this could be to their advantage. While the Gores picked up more rookies in the off season, their championship core remains essentially intact. Even taking into account the rookies (look for Santa Muerte and Hurlin’ Wall to step it up on Saturday), this could actually be a more solid lineup than the one that won The Boot last season. With even more depth at jammer, a few returning vets, a strong sense of identity and a championship to defend, the 2010 Gores remain the team to beat.

For a pre-bout primer, you can watch last year’s bout at layer9.


The spread of roller derby doesn’t seem to be abating any time soon, and this weekend a couple of ambassador teams are heading up north to play a neutral-site bout hosted by one such league. Sudbury’s Nickel City Roller Derby league is just getting started, and they are hosting Forest City’s Thames Fatales and GTAR’s Derby Debutantes in an exhibition. The bout is meant to act as both a learning experience for NCRD and as a way of introducing the sport to a new audience.

South of the border, The Rideau Valley Vixens continue their summer of roller derby road trips  as they head to Massachusetts this weekend to take on Pioneer Valley‘s Western Mass Destruction . The Vixens are looking to build off of a big victory over Utica recently.

Weekend Recap: Dolls Play with Betties

Death Track Dolls (1-1) 213 vs. Smoke City Betties (0-2) 53

It was yet another beautiful night for  roller derby at The Hangar on Saturday as ToRD’s two winless teams lined up against one another in a battle to stay out of last place in the league and avoid a playoff bout against the first place team. Despite another scrappy performance from the young Smoke City Betties, it was the more experienced Death Track Dolls who delivered two halves of consistent, balanced attack and were eventually able to overwhelm their opposition. In the end, the Dolls would put up one of the great results in their history, becoming only the second ToRD team to put up 200 points in a bout, and skating away with the  impressive 160 point victory.

Audrey Hellborn brought her usual intensity to the jam line

Both teams seemed weary early on as they each looked hesitant off the line. Due to some timing issues with their jam calls, the Betties were not able to take advantage of the slow start for the Dolls. It was Seka Destroy, with a massive jammer take out on rookie jammer titmouse in the 3rd jam, who finally woke up the Dolls. Led by excellent pivoting from Panty Hoser and big hits from Seka and Bonky Kong, there were times in the first half when the Dolls seemed in complete control of the packs. On the jam line though, Sail Her Poon led her contingent of rookie jammers (titmouse and Tropic Thunder anchored by veteran Memphis Kitty) to a lot of leads early on, only to be caught and sometimes outscored by the Dolls’ jammers. Despite the control, it wasn’t until late in the half that the Dolls began to distance themselves. Captain Betty Bomber (who along with Audrey Hellborn took on a larger jam role in the absence of Demolition Dawn) put in two huge jams late (including a 14 point power jam), helping the Dolls open up an 86-28 lead at half.

Land Shark and Memphis Kitty race for the lead

As it went in the opening bout of the season, the Betties refused to succumb to the pressure. Playing as if it were tied, the Betties veterans Lacy Brawler, Pretty Peeved, Lady Scorcher and Hot Roller stepped up their play and brought the intensity of their rookies (Sin D Drop-Her stood out in the second) along too. Despite the effort and determination, it was not to be. The Dolls were more than willing to step up their game. Jubilee pivoted admirably in place of the injured Dolly Parts’em, while Downright Dirty Dawson had the best bout of her career, mixing it up in the pack and looking strong positionally. Land Shark (who put in her second straight dominant performance–on top of last week’s Clam Slam) neutralized Sail Her Poon in the half (although Poon would exact some level of revenge on Sharky with a big jammer take out late in the half). Also building on her Clam Slam performance, Monichrome took some physical jams with the star in the second, and SlamWow (who saw limited jammer action in the first half), had the most effective stretch of jamming of her young career, rattling off three straight lead jams early on to help solidify the Dolls’ lead. As the bout wore on and the lead increased, things got a little looser on the track and penalties started to build up on both sides and both teams started to give their rookies some valuable experience (two skaters, the Dolls’ Sinead O’Clobber and the Betties’ Genuine Risk were making their ToRD debuts).  But in the end the Dolls would not be denied and were able to run away with their first victory of ToRD’s 2010 regular season. Add this to the seesaw bout against the Chicks, and the Dolls have announced that they are a team to watch this season.

Try-City Thunder hosted QCRG's Lake Effect Furies

Two WFTDA Apprentice Leagues Battle it out in Tri-City

In what by all accounts was a physical, defensive battle (read about it here), the Tri-City Thunder continued their impressive 2010 season with a low scoring 72-51 victory over Buffalo’s Lake Effect Furies (QCRG). In the end, the stellar pack control of the Thunder proved the difference. In another cross-border bout, the ever-improving Rideau Valley Vixens headed south to take on the Utica Roller Girls and were bad guests as they spanked their hosts 153-55. This Vixens squad has come a long way since their inaugural game back in February.