South Simcoe Roller Rebels

Chicks Gores Set for Semi-Final Showdown. D-VAS host South Simcoe.

After a summer hiatus, Toronto Roller Derby returns with a semi-final showdown between the Gore-Gore Rollergirls and Chicks Ahoy! A matchup between ToRD’s D-VAS and South Simcoe will kick off the double header at the Bunker.

2014 ToRD Semi-final PosterThe Gore-Gore Rollergirls (2-1) and Chicks Ahoy! (1-2) share a long playoff history. They competed for back-to-back Boots in ToRD’s first two seasons and met in three-straight finals from 2010-2012. They share the record of three titles, accounting for six of the first seven ToRD championships. But on Saturday at the Bunker, they will write a new, as of yet unprecedented chapter in their significant history: for the first time ever, the Chicks and Gores will face off in the ToRD semi-final.

After reluctantly handing over the reigns of power to their leaguemates the Smoke City Betties and Death Track Dolls (who last year met in the final for the first time), one of either the Chicks or the Gores will have a chance to get back to the top of the ToRD pyramid. Coming into this season, the Chicks took the fall harder than the Gores did, dropping all the way to the bottom of the regular season standings and missing the playoffs for the first time ever in 2013.

2014 has seen both teams surge past the stumbling Betties to get back into the playoffs, but it was the Gores who took out the Chicks in the season opener way back in January with a 218-157 win. The win secured them second place in the regular season standings.

Read the recap of the Gores and Chicks regular season meeting. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Read the recap of the Gores and Chicks regular season meeting. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

But it’s hard to tell how relevant those early results are as the league took a summer hiatus after its regular season concluded in early June, leaving the home teams dormant while the travel teams put in some time on the road (and returning to the Bunker a few weeks ago as well). As it were, the Gores surged as the season went on, while the Chicks held steady, eking out a win over the Betties in March before getting completely overwhelmed by the Dolls who managed to hold the Chicks to only 35 points—the team’s lowest point total ever.

However, both teams are also built around comparatively inexperienced players who had also been evolving as the season went on, with a handful from each roster playing for the Bay Street Bruisers as well; with that in mind, there is no telling how far they have come and what kind of impact on the game they could have.

Read the recap of the ToRD house league regular season double header in March. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Read the recap of the ToRD house league regular season double header in March. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The Chicks welcomed virtually a completely rebuilt jammer rotation in 2014. Second-year Chicks Chevy Chase-Her and Heavy Knitter provided as much of a veteran presence as possible, but experienced transfers Hyena Koffinkat and Sneaky Dee led the way in scoring with 71 and 147 points respectively. Actually, Sneaky Dee put together one of the best seasons in the league in 2014. Finishing 4th in scoring (but first in points per jam with 6.4), second in lead percentage (65%), she eventually tied for third overall with a 34 Jammer Quotient (JQ) Rating.

The Gores also welcomed new jammers in transfers Guardian Paingel and Lumberjack Flash. Flash had an immediate impact in the league and in her first year in ToRD finished third in the league in scoring with 153 points (on 3.3 PPJ), tied for third with a 61% lead percentage, and tied for third overall in total JQ. This picked up some of the slack for an injured Lexi Con. Lexi finished atop the JQ standings in 2013 and was well on her way to another dominant season before missing the final game with an injury. Nonetheless she managed 4.89 points per jam and a 56% lead percentage before her injury. Taranosaurus Rex, who joined Lexi and Flash by scoring over 100 points (112), finished with a 49% lead percentage.

Read about the stats and the ToRD standings here.

Both teams rely on more veteran presences in the pack. Marmighty, Hoff and Rebel Rock-It returned to the Chicks roster this season and along with Biggley Smallz, Robber Blind, Emraged, Rosemary’s Rabies and Tess D’Urb Evil have a solid core at the heart of the team. The Gores are similarly experienced in the pack, led by Santa Muerte, Chronic and Kandy Barr, we’ve seen the likes of Emma Dilemma, Full Deck and transfer Machu Beatchu step up into big roles this season. Double threats like Beaver Mansbridge also give the team options on offense.

The Double Header will kick off with a showdown between ToRD’s D-VAS and the South Simcoe Rebel Rollers. The D-VAS are 4-2 on the season, and this represents one of their final opportunities to leave a public impression before the 2015 house league entry draft.

Doors at the Bunker open at 4, with the opening whistle on the D-VAS game scheduled for 5:00 PM. The semi-final is schedule for 7:00 PM. Tickets will be available at the door, but are available online as well.

Eager Beavers and Slammin’ Clams: 2013 Clam Slam kicks off Pride Weekend in TO

The participants of the 2013 Clam Slam (Photo by Joe Mac)

The participants of the 2013 Clam Slam (Photo by Joe Mac)

There was a time in the not-so-distant-past when walking into a hockey rink in Toronto’s east end and seeing a sea of rainbow flags and a raucous pride celebration going on would have been an anomaly. And on a weekend when Pride parade participants in Russia were being rounded up and arrested, to do so was a great reminder of the beautiful freedom we have in this city and this country. Pride has become an essential aspect of this city’s identity, a loud, proud weekend celebrating Toronto’s distinct sexual diversity. But it is also a symbol, a beacon of freedom that the population of not only this city, but also this country, should hold high.

As has become custom, Toronto’s Pride Weekend kicked off on Friday night with the fifth annual Clam Slam, a traditional Toronto Roller Derby event that was co-hosted this year with the GTA Rollergirls.  The Clam Slam is a Pride-affiliated event, an annual all-queer all-star bout featuring skaters from across North America playing this year for two teams, the Clam Diggers and the Eager Beavers. In the past, such derby superstars as Rose City’s Mercy and Windy City’s Jackie Daniels have taken part.

The opening bout was dominated by a Core of Hammer City skaters led by pivot Whacks Poetic (hitting Royal City's Bent Barbie (AKA: Steamy Steelborn). (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The opening bout was dominated by a Core of Hammer City skaters led by pivot Whacks Poetic (hitting Royal City’s Bent Barbie (AKA: Steamy Steelborn). (Photo by Neil Gunner)

While the core of this year’s rosters were once again made up primarily of skaters from Ontario, there were some special guests. Montreal’s Nameless Whorror was at her fourth Clam Slam, while Rachel Mad Ho came up from DC Rollergirls, Trudy Bauchery was in town from Circle City, and Eve Anne Hellical and Maiden America were representing the mighty Naptown Rollergirls from Indianapolis, Indiana. The event has become so popular that for the first time ever, two games were scheduled for the evening. The first game featured less experienced skaters from southern Ontario, many playing in their first ever Clam Slam.

Both Eager Beavers team benches were run by Swaggy and Mrs. Swaggy (the retired Aston Martini and ToRD’s Ames to Kill), and put up a good fight despite being slightly overmatched in the opening game. Led by South Simcoe’s Ladykiller Jane and ToRD’s Femmebot (AKA: Full Deck from ToRD’s Gore-Gore Rollergirls) in the pack and a triple threat in Half Rack (AKA: Android WK of the Death Track Dolls) who was excellent in the opener. But the story of the game was the core of Hammer City skaters at the heart of the Clam Diggers. Led in the pack by Whacks Poetic (who had her way offensively during this game with some excellent blocking) and Rock E. Road, Hammer City jammer Cancer Candy was the standout with the star in this one (Whacks and Candy would also play in the second game). Up by 33 at the half, the Diggers, who were managed by Flyin’ Bryan (of the Bay Street Bruisers) and Rear Factor (AKA: Sonic Doom of CN Power), held on the win the opener, 191-95.

Circle City's Trudy Bauchery (skating for the Diggers) battles Montreal's Nameless Whorror and ToRD's Nasher the Smasher. (Photo by Greg Russell)

Circle City’s Trudy Bauchery (skating for the Diggers) battles Montreal’s Nameless Whorror and ToRD’s Nasher the Smasher. (Photo by Greg Russell)

The second game of the night contained the most talented rosters in the event’s five-year history, and it showed on the track , as the teams produced the fastest, hardest hitting, and most talent-laden display of derby in Clam Slam history. Paced on the jammer line by Naptown’s Maiden America, but also featuring ToRD’s Santilly All Over Yo Face, the Clam Diggers exploded out of the gates. Featuring a formidable pack that included ToRD’s BruiseBerry Pie, Peterborough/Durham’s Lous Ur Pants, and Tri-City’s Sofanda Beatin, the Diggers pulled ahead early, but couldn’t pull away.

The Eager Beavers featured an equally impressive roster. ToRD rookie Lexxi joined her ToRDmates Getcha Licks, Ruby Pubie (AKA: Bellefast) and Rainbow (Fight) to form the core of the jammer rotation (Rainbow was all over the track, continuing her emergence as a true Canadian superstar). But the pack was loaded as well, led by Nameless Whorror, but also featuring ToRD’s Dyna Squirtcha and Nasher the Smasher, Forest City’s Mirambo and GTA’s Newfie Bullet. They were within reach at half, down by only 18 points, but couldn’t make up the gap in the second, falling 180-140 in a thoroughly entertaining game.

Naptown's Maiden America fights to break up a wall of Eager Beavers. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Naptown’s Maiden America fights to break up a wall of Eager Beavers. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Despite the intensity on the track and level of talent on display, wins and losses don’t count for much at Clam Slam. One of the event’s key organizers (and five year Clam Slam vet) Monichrome (skating as Chromosexual in what would be the final game of her seven-year career) echoed the sentiments. “In some ways, it’s just a fun bout; you’re learning on the track to play with other skaters,” she explained when asked about the importance of the event. “But,” she added, “it’s also important to have LGBTQ visibility in the roller community.” While roller derby has always been a diverse and welcome community in terms of sexuality, it is important that the sport continues to display this and not take its celebrated diversity for granted. Indeed, in 2013 roller derby is leading the way in this regard.

The Eager Beavers' jammer Rainbow breaks through the pack. (Photo by Greg Russell)

The Eager Beavers’ jammer Rainbow breaks through the pack. (Photo by Greg Russell)

“A lot of sports are just getting to the point where there is a little bit of talk of acceptance, but there aren’t a lot of athletes coming out,” Chrome said, alluding to the NHL’s “If You Can Play” campaign and the NBA’s Jason Collins, who became the first active player in North America’s “big four sports” to come out.  “The whole point of this event is about being out and being a strong ally for the Queer community.” And in the world of sport, there is no stronger ally than the Clam Slam.

**The bout was produced by Layer9 and boutcast on Canuck Derby TV. Watch the archive!

Clam Slam 2013 Rosters

Game 1

Clam Diggers

Eager Beavers
 3BUX  Cancer Candy (HCRG)
15  Rosemary’s Gayby  (ToRD)
17  Forca (RCRG)
52  Rock E. Road (HCRG)
73  Nellie McStung (GSRD)
83  Snatch Bandit (RCRG)
86  Whacks Poetic  (HCRG)
91  Red Hot Vagilly (GTAR)
862  VAGilante (ToRD)
1923  Tittyana Vaganova (GTAR)
6969  Kunt KillHer (GTAR)
B0TM    Fisting! Balls!  (ToRD)
 12  Ladykiller Jane (SSRR)
52  Femmebot (ToRD)
99  Beat Boxxx McRocks (PRD)
121  Zooey Smash’em Well (GTAR)
313  Suzy SlamHer  (SSRR)
737  Half Rack (ToRD)
1618  Bent Barbie (RCRG)
2468  Malcuntent (RCRG)
3845  Pandora’s Box (ToRD)
4444  Hematoma Hotrod (NRG)
S1  Kate Kane (ToRD)
5BY5  Willow Rosenblock (ToRD) 

Game 2

Clam Diggers

Eager Beavers

3BUX  Cancer Candy (HCRG)
14 Anne XXX (TCRG)
3S0X SewGay  (ToRD)
31 Bruiseberry Pie  (ToRD)
35 Chromosexual (ToRD)
60 HotBox (ToRD)
76 Maiden America (NRG)
86 Whacks Poetic (NCRG)
316 Eve Anne Hellical (NRG)
420 Sofanda Beatin (TCRG)
5PM Trudy Bauchery  (Circle City)
911 Fraxxure (FCDG)
1013 Fox Smoulder  (TCRG)
1129 Santilly All Over Yo Face (ToRD)
1234 Lous ur Pants (PRD)
L7 Hairy Pooter  (Crow City)
111 Nympha Is My Middle Name (ToRD)
2X4 Nasher the Smasher (ToRD)
21 Dyna Squirtcha (ToRD)
25 Lexxxi (ToRD)
26 Mega Bouche  (ToRD)
52 So Fear Me (GTAR)
69 Mirambo (FCDG)
76 Getcha Licks  (ToRD)
87 Sinead O’Clobber (ToRD)
101 Stacie Jones (TCRG)
202 Nameless Whorror  (MTLRD)
709 Newfie Bullet (GTAR)
5678 Ruby Pubie (ToRD)
6107 Kilary Tough (FCDG)
9ET Rachel Mad Ho (DCR)
C3P0 Rainbow (ToRD)
L7 Tara Part (ToRD)
2112 Rhage In Her Cage (ToRD)

Eager Beavers Bench: Swaggy, Mrs. Swaggy
Clam Diggers Bench: Flyin’ Bryan, Rear Factor

Montreal Steps on the Gas at Fresh and Furious: GTA DRIFT (Part 1: The Results)

With fourteen teams in this year’s Fresh and Furious: GTA Drift (too awkward  a number for a double elimination tournament), a point-differential ranking system was put into place to determine second-round seedings, meaning that teams could not take their foot of the gas in their opening games, resulting in a few lopsided results early.

Montreal announced its intentions to compete with an early one-sided victory over the debuting Woodstock Warriors. (Photo by Greg Russell)

ROUND ONE

Track One: Ted Reeve Arena

The first bracket was loaded with the top leagues in the tournament, but the opening round didn’t necessarily shake out as expected. The up-and-coming Renegade Derby Dames out of Aliston Ontario, kicked things off with a minor 69-46 upset over a Royal City team that was certainly considered one of the pre-tournament favourites. Similarly, ToRD’s D-VAS who were one of a few teams with shortened benches (11) to ensure that skaters fit under the maximum game requirements, looked out of sorts in an opening 28-18 loss to the Border City Brawlers in a defensive grinder. Two teams that looked impressive were Montreal’s Smash Squad (in their first Fresh tournament) who overwhelmed a Woodstock Warriors team making their debut by 117 points (impressive given the 20 minute games), and the Violet Femmes, a contact extension of London’s LOCO derby league, who were surprisingly physical in their 76-29 upset over the South Simcoe Roller Rebels.

Track Two: The Bubble

The host GTA Derby Debutantes lost their opening bout before eventually advancing to the quarterfinals. (Photo by Greg Russell)

The host GTA Derby Debutantes showed confidence with what were previously considered advanced strategies when they scrum-started the opening jam and most thereafter (a trend in the tournament); although never able to pull too far ahead, the Debutantes seemed to be cruising against Capital City’s Delinquents (whose roster was aided by a few skaters from Kingston’s Limestone CrusHers), before a last-jam shocker saw them pull out a 34-32 win and remind everyone that in 20-minute games, all it takes is a single jam to change the complexion of the game. In another tight one, Buffalo’s Queen City (an honorary eastern Canadian league for their years of cross-border support), were involved in another tight one, falling by three points to defending champion Gold Miner’s Daughters.  In the only blow out in The Bubble, Durham Region smacked around a scrappy Lindsay team (making their playing debut) by 44 points to pick up the third seed for the second round, missing out on the quarterfinal bye by only three points.

Border City turned some heads with a 136-28 victory over Lindsay in the elimination round. (Photo by Greg Russell).

ELIMINATION ROUND

On the strength of their overwhelming victories, Montreal and the Violet Femmes nabbed a bye to the quarterfinals, while the remaining teams were forced to play in a single-elimination knockout round with rankings based on their first round-scores. In this round the contenders certainly distanced themselves from the rest of the competition. In the most surprising outcome of the round, Border City turned some heads with the biggest offensive output of the tournament when they trounced Lindsay 136-28, suddenly positing themselves as potential favourites. The Renegade Derby Dames continued to impress as well, cruising into the quarterfinals with a 70-point victory over South Simcoe. Both Toronto teams, the Debutantes and the D-VAS, also made up for opening round losses, as the ToRD team found its game after an awkward opener and looked like a much tighter team in a 59 point win over Capital City.  GTA assured the continuation of their tournament as the Debutantes eliminated Queen City in a one-sided 73-point win. Another team that came alive after an opening round loss was Royal City, who shook off the  loss and picked up a load of confidence by eliminating the defending champion Gold Miner’s Daughters (who even had returning players)  78-26. Durham didn’t look quite as sharp in their second game, but did enough to continue by eliminating a Woodstock team that recovered quite nicely from the blowout against Montreal to put up a strong fight, losing 43-17.

QUARTERFINALS

Despite their strong physical play, the Violet Femmes were overwhelmed by Toronto’s D-VAS in the quarterfinals. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

When the elimination rounds had all shaken out, the final eight did not look too far from what the expectations had been going in. Traditionally strong Queen City was out (the only of the three participating WFTDA league’s not to advance), joining the defending champs from Timmins on the sidelines. One of the surprises of the tournament, the Violet Femmes, ran into a solid wall against a D-VAS team that was getting better by the jam and who reasserted their presence in the tournament with a defensively dominant 84-6 victory (the only time in the tournament that a team was held to single digits). Nonetheless, this intriguing contact representative of a low-contact league, certainly made an impression. Similar to the D-VAS, Royal City had started slow but was picking up steam and looked very comfortable in a 63-39 victory to knock Durham Region out of the quarterfinals (it was a solid tournament for the Durham newcomers; much needed after a string of losses by the senior teams in the league this season).

The Renegade Derby Dames’ impressive run ended with a final-jam loss to Border City in the quarterfinals. (Photo by Greg Russell).

After winning a frighteningly one-sided opener, Montreal was brought back to Earth when the host Debutantes gave them all that they could handle. Despite the incredible effort from the GTA skaters, they weren’t able to contend in the end, falling 55-28. In the most intriguing quarterfinal matchup, the debut league Renegade Derby Dames fought tooth and nail with Windsor’s Border City Brawlers who proved to be contenders in only their second year in action as they were able to snatch the last-jam victory 32-29, in the tightest of the quarterfinal bouts. Nonetheless, both teams secured their reputations for the weekend, with strong performances all around and have announced themselves as leagues to watch.

SEMIFINALS

Border City’s impressive run ended at the hands of Montreal in the semifinal. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Montreal, Toronto and Guelph’s Royal City all lived up to pre-tournament expectations by qualifying for the final four, joining the upstart Border City from Windsor. In the first of the two showdowns, Montreal once again showed chinks in a very impressive armour. Border City continued to win over fans with their astonishing play. The Windsor team opened on a power jam to take the lead and stayed within four points until near the halfway point, but once again the Smash Squad looked unfazed and outscored Windsor 33-4 over the final five minutes to pull out the 64-35 victory. Despite the early scare, when it was all said and done, Montreal was right where the team was expected to be: in the championship final.

Royal City and Toronto’s D-VAS played in a thrilling semifinal that came down to the final whistle. (Photo by Greg Russell).

Another fascinating chapter in the slowly blossoming rivalry between Guelph’s Royal City and Toronto Roller Derby played out in the other semifinal between the Top Herloins and the D-VAS.  Both teams were quickly improving all day; with every minute of track time, the teams seemed to refine their strategies and get just a bit smarter in transition, and it showed in this thrilling semifinal. The D-VAS managed to stay just one step ahead through the first half of the bout, with Royal City taking their first lead, 21-20, at the twelve-minute mark. Four minutes later a crucial power jam saw them take their biggest lead of the game, 39-27, with only three minutes remaining. A nine point pickup by the D-VAS  had them right back in it, down by  three entering the final jam. Unable to hold the opposing jammer despite getting lead, the D-VAS’ jammer attempted a hit-it-and-quit-it call off, but was ruled to be slightly early in her call and only picked up one, sending Royal City to the final with a thrilling 39-37 victory.

MEDAL ROUND

The D-VAS got some revenge for an earlier loss with a one-sided win over Border City in the third place game. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Still fired up from the tight semifinal loss and looking to avenge a surprising loss in the opening game of the tournament, Toronto’s D-VAS stormed out of the gates in their third-place bout against Windsor’s Border City. Showing a confidence and awareness that had grown throughout the day, the D-VAS dominated from the start and amassed a 49-7 lead at the halfway mark. Despite playing a defensive grinder (28-18) earlier in the day, this one was all offense all the time and the D-VAS picked it up in the second half of the game, capturing third place in a lopsided 117-13 victory over a nonetheless impressive Border City team.

Montreal ran away with it late in the championship game against Royal City. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Royal City had followed a similar arc in the tournament as the D-VAS, starting slow and peaking when it mattered most. They seemed very unintimidated to be squaring off against a league so much more experienced than itself, and caught Montreal off guard over the first few jams to take a 21-6 lead. Montreal slowly tightened things up and began to chip away, going on a 19 point run to take their first lead, 25-21, eight minutes into the thirty minute final. Royal City would not relent though, and manged to retake the lead, 47-38 at the halfway mark of the final. Up 50-42 at the 13 minute mark, Montreal picked up a crucial power jam  in what would prove to be the turning point in the game and retook the lead. Over the next six minutes, Guelph’s defense would slowly come apart as Montreal’s relentless game play saw them complete a six minute, thirty-seven point run to take a commanding 79-50 lead. That dominance would continue over the final six minutes as well, showing excellent endurance (mental and physical) to take their first Fresh and the Furious trophy with a decisive 122-61 victory. A reminder that Montreal Roller Derby is still very much the league that the rest of Canada is looking up to.

***The recap continues tomorrow with an overview of the tournament and an interview with key players.

COMPLETE RESULTS:

TRACK ONE: TED REEVE ARENA TRACK TWO: THE BUBBLE
First Round First Round
Renegade Derby Dames 69 vs. Royal City Roller Girls (Top Herloins) 46South Simcoe Rebel Rollers 29 vs. Violet Femmes (London LOCO) 76

Border City Brawlers 28 vs. Toronto Roller Derby

(D-DVAS) 18

Montreal Roller Derby (Smash Squad) 127 vs. Woodstock Roller Derby (Warriors) 10

 

Lindsey Roller Derby 35 vs. Derby Region Roller Derby 79Capital City Derby Dolls (Delinquents) 34 vs. GTA Rollergirls (Derby Debutantes) 32

Queen City Roller Girls (Rollin Royals) 33 vs. Goldminer’s Daughters 36

Elimination Round Elimination Round
(9) Queen City 17 vs. (8) Debutantes 85(4) Renegade DD 82 vs. (13) South Simcoe 12

(12) Lindsay 28 vs. (5) Border City 136

 

(10) D-VAS 69 vs. (7) Capital City 10(3) Durham 42 vs. (14) Woodstock 17

(11) Royal City 78 vs. (6) GMs’ Daughters 26

Quarterfinals Quarterfinals
Smash Squad 55 vs. Debutantes 28Renegade DD 29 vs. Border City 32

 

Violet Femmes 6 vs. D-VAS 84Durham 39 vs. Royal City 63

Semifinals

Smash Squad 64 vs. Border City 35

D-VAS 37 vs. Royal City 39

Third Place

Border City 13 vs. D-VAS 117

Championship

Smash Squad 122 vs. Royal City 61

Montreal Smash Squad: Fresh and the Furious: GTA Drift Champs

Future Stars Set to Face Off at Fresh and Furious Once Again

The third Fresh and Furious tournament (GTA Drift), hosted by GTA Rollergirls, will take place on July 14 at Ted Reeve Arena.

At last year’s 2Fresh 2Furious, eight separate leagues were represented in the quarterfinals with the upstart Gold Miner’s Daughters just rounding into form as they knocked off  Durham Region, Royal City and then ToRD’s D-VAS in succession in the elimination round to upset the field and win the tournament. It was a shocking victory for everyone in attendance, as the team from Timmins came from out of nowhere. It was shocking enough that even Nick L Bagg, the Daughters’ coach, would refer to it as “incredible.”

But that’s exactly the kind of tournament that the Fresh and Furious showdown is: a place for new skaters, new teams, and even new leagues to test themselves—often for the first time—against outside competition; it’s a chance for fresh-faced teams to see how far they’ve come, or how far they still have to go.

One of the founders of the tournament, Splat Benetar, points out that a “freshie” tournament like this is more important now than ever, “Derby has become such a strategic, fast skating, fast thinking and hard hitting game, that having a freshie environment gives these skaters a chance to play teams that have equal experience as themselves.”

Fresh and Furious: GTA Drift is the third year that they tournament has run, providing the up-and-coming stars of eastern Canadian roller derby an opportunity to get some important tournament experience, but also just that all-valuable track time. Splat points out that despite the “fresh” nature of the skaters, the competitive level of the event has increased every year: “Many newer skaters are developing their skills and learning strategies faster each year…I think it does stem from the veteran League (members) teaching their Fresh skaters all these skills and strategies.”

The one-day double-elimination style tournament will feature fourteen teams dueling over two tracks, and while all fourteen teams will at least get two games, the top two teams will get a bye directly to the quarterfinals. There are returning leagues, but certainly some new and exciting ones as well.

TRACK ONE: TED REEVE ARENA

Border City (in blue) and South Simcoe (squaring off last year) will both be sending teams again. (Photo by Joe Mac)

ToRD’s D-VAS, South Simcoe’s Rebel Rollers, Windsor’s Border City Brawlers, and the Royal City Roller Girls are all returning from last year’s tournament with a fresh batch of skaters to introduce to the community. Joining these teams will be three leagues making their Fresh and Furious debut: the Renegade Derby Dames, London’s Violet Femmes (a  LOCO derby league), Woodstock Roller Derby’s Woodstock Warriors, and Montreal’s Smash Squad.

While it’s almost impossible to predict how these young and inexperienced teams will respond to the tournament setting, the inclusion of Montreal in this pool automatically makes things intriguing. “Montreal has amazing top-level skaters teaching their fresh skaters,” Splat points out, “so they will be hard to beat.” The freshest of skaters from Canada’s most successful league will certainly become automatic front runners and will open the tournament against Woodstock Roller Derby, not only a fresh team, but a very fresh league.  The Border City Brawlers and D-VAS matchup is intriguing as well, as Border City made an impressive league debut at last year’s tournament, and it will be interesting to see how the second wave of Windsor skaters competes. Royal City, another league that did well last year and that has been surging since, will also undoubtedly introduce an impressive new group. While the nature of this tournament means that everything is essentially up in the air, look for Montreal, D-VAS, Royal City and Renegade Derby Dames to come through this bracket.

Guelph’s Royal City will be sending a team again, as will Gold City, the unified Timmins league. (Photo by Joe Mac)

TRACK TWO: THE BUBBLE

Aside from the freshly formed Lindsay Roller Derby, the Bubblle will feature leagues with at least one year’s experience now under their belts. Durham Region had a strong showing last year, defeating the eventual champion Gold Miner’s Daughters in the first round before exiting in the quarter finals. The Gold Miner’s new league, Gold City, will also be represented in this bracket, undoubtedly hoping for the same exciting results as last year, while Capital City (Ottawa), Queen City (Buffalo), and the host GTA (sending the Derby Debutantes) round out the slightly more experienced bracket in the Bubble. While once again a tough bracket to predict, look for the always well trained Queen City team to excel. Splat also  points out that the home team Debutantes are a team to watch: “Their understanding of derby strategy and great sense of team work makes them a contender.” Of course,  Timmins (who will be merging with fresh skaters from Soonami as well) will want to show that last year’s stunning performance wasn’t just a one off, but a sign of successful things to come.

Toronto’s D-VAS and Timmins’ Gold Miner’s Daughters met in last year’s final (the Daughters won 67-24). (Photo by Joe Mac)

Beyond the obvious importance of having a showcase for the next generation of up-and-coming skating talent, this tournament is exciting in its unpredictability. With fresh faces at various levels of skating ability and experience, as with last year, there are a few factors that will determine the winner. The team that not only has the endurance to last the day, but that is able to come together and improve as the day goes on will be the team that has the most success.

But the tournament is about much more than winning. As Splat Benetar points out, it’s as much about gaining that all important derby attitude: “Let’s face it, just a few months ago (many of these skaters) were wobbling and falling, trying to learn to skate and now they are out there kicking butt.  I would say that these so called ‘Freshies’ are so impressive and with their positive attitude, they will grow our sport.”

***Fresh and Furious: GTA Drift takes place on July 14 at Ted Reeve Arena. First whistle is at 11:00 AM. Tickets are available at select retail locations and online.

Timmins’ Daughters Mine for Gold at 2 Fresh 2 Furious

The Gold Miners' Daughters (Timmins), 2 Fresh 2 Furious Champions. (Photo by Joe Mac)

When the Gold Miner’s Daughters opened up their 2 Fresh 2 Furious with a slight upset over the more experienced Violet Uprising from Royal City, it didn’t turn too many heads. And when the unheralded team had a setback in their second bout, it seemed that would be the end for the upstarts from Timmins. But by the end of a grueling one-day, two-track tournament, the small-town skaters would find themselves face-to-face with their big city counterparts from ToRD, and more surprisingly would stare them down; the Daughters saved their best for last as they overcame ToRD’s D-VAS in a 43 point championship victory.

A TALE OF TWO TRACKS: The Double Elimination Round

Durham Region defeated Kingston (Shirts) to kick off the tournament. (Photo by Sean Murphy)

The Battle for the Bubble

The two teams from Guelph’s Royal City were the pre-tournament favourites in this pool, and while Violet Uprisings was two and done in the double elimination (losing a heartbreaker 47-42 against the Kingston “Shirts” team in the elimination game), the mixed team of Queens of Pain kicked things off with what turned out to be the dominant performance of the tournament, a 99-15 victory over another hybrid team made up of players from Ottawa (ORD), Timmins (TRD), and Soonami (Sault St. Marie); they followed that victory with a tougher 32-17 win over Belle City’s (Brantford’s) Belles of the Brawl to assure themselves a spot in the quarterfinals.

Belles of the Brawl defeated Kingston (Shirts) to stay alive in the tournament. (Photo by Joe Mac)

Durham Region Roller Derby entered the tournament with a long and winding history to get to this point, but they are a team on the rise and proved that early on as well defeating Kingston (46-22) and then the Gold Miners’ Daughters (38-30) to book their spot in the quarterfinals. The Daughters looked out of sorts in that bout, suffering too many jammer penalties to get any sort of offense going, and couldn’t overcome the solid pack work from Durham. But the loss may have been exactly what they needed as they bounced back to trample the ORD/TRD/SSM mixed team in the elimination game to set up a rematch against Durham in the quarters. In the other elimination match, the Belles of the Brawl overcame the impressive Kingston Shirts team 51-24 to set up the second quarterfinal rematch.

Royal City's Queens of Pain emerged as favourites after the most dominant victory of the tournament (99-15). (Photo by Joe Mac)

Belle City ran out of steam in the quarterfinal. For much of this round, the Belles had ridden the extraordinary play of jammer Vitamin K, who was especially dominant in their opening victory over Peterborough’s Electric City Rollers, but the Queens of Pain (with a very balanced attack led by Hot Cross Guns and triple threat Mandy Maggotbone) were too much and moved through to the final four with a 38-13 victory. The second quarterfinal was another rematch, this one between Durham Region and the Gold Miners’ Daughters. And while in the early going, it seemed like it would be another tight one, the Timmins skaters were just warming up. Despite strong jamming from Cutsie Bootsie and String Blade, and solid pack work led by pivots Karma Screwya and Hitz Miller, Durham had no response for the extraordinary jamming from the Daughters’ Kill’er Princess and Nasty Nads as the Timmins team pulled away in the end to get their revenge and, more importantly, their spot in the seminfinals.

Playing their first competitive derby, Windsor's Border City Brawlers picked up their first win ever (over the Ottawa Delinquents). (Photo by Neil Gunner)

The Tangle in Ted Reeve

There was no clear favourite on the other track which featured fresh meat teams from two WFTDA leagues (ToRD and Queen City) and the host, GTAR’s Chrome Mollys. The Mollys and D-VAS did their part, both going 2-0 to earn a bye to the quarterfinals (though both faced early challenges, D-VAS from Queen City, Molly’s from South Simcoe in an exciting and controversial game). Just to complicate matters, South Simcoe Roller Rebels threw their name into the mix when they kicked things off with a one-sided trouncing (83-36) over Windsor’s Border City Brawlers, who were making their competitive debuts. But Border City would improve as the day went on and would earn their all-important first ever victory, 53-47 against the Ottawa Delinquents.

ToRD's D-VAS eliminated Kingston (Skins) in the quarterfinals. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Border City, who were led by workhorse Tulkamania, would see their journey come to an end  in another nail-biter that went down to a final pass that saw the Kingston Derby Girls’ Skins team pull out a 44-42 hard-fought victory. Buffalo’s Queen City made up for an opening bout loss to pull out two victories in a row to get back to the quarterfinals (including an 85-4 shellacking of Peterborough’s Damaged Dollz who, shorthanded, were playing with borrowed D-VAS). They ended South Simcoe’s impressive tournament in the elimination game, holding off a stiff challenge to win, 39-19, and set up a quarterfinal showdown with the defending champ Chrome Mollys.

ToRD’s D-VAS ended the tournament for the Kingston Derby Girls when they eliminated the Skins in the quarterfinals, but it rounded out an impressive showing for the Kingston league, which saw both teams pick up at least a victory, and the Skins make it to the final eight. Queen City and the Chrome Molly’s sparred in the other quarterfinal in a great battle that saw the hosts pushing the Buffalo team to the very end. It was only a timely, game-saving jammer take out by the standout Day TripHer that allowed Queen City to hang on for the 43-37 win that eliminated the hosts.

The D-VAS and Queen City met in one semifinal. (Photo by Sean Murphy)

THE CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND

The final four featured two very intriguing matchups that did not disappoint. Two of the pre-tournament favourites, Queen City and ToRD’s D-VAS, squared off in the opening bout. These two established leagues have a long history from home team scrimmaging to travel team showdowns, and this first-time freshies matchup lived up to all expectations. Led by co-captains Skinned Knee Crosby and Tammunition in the pack, the D-VAS pulled away early, but their Hell Bat led offense, which had been explosive all day, faced a tough test from the Queen City packs and they never let ToRD pull away and kept it close to the final jam, but couldn’t quite narrow the gap, dropping the 28-23 decision. The second semifinal was equally as compelling. Heavily favoured Queens of Pain pulled ahead in the early going and controlled things for much of the game. But the Gold Miner’s Daughters were improving continuously all day, and it was visible in this bout. Pivot Ames to Mame kept things calm in the pack and pulled out big moves one-on-one. The tenacious skaters from Timmins never seemed out of it and with only two minutes left, jammer Kill’er Princess gave the Daughters their first lead of the bout, 32-28. Kill’er Princess was back out with the star for the final jam as well and as she’d done all day, calmly took the lead to call it and earn a berth in the championship.

The Gold Miners' Daughters were at their best in the final against the D-VAS. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

There was just something about the swagger that had crept into the Gold Minters’ Daughters’ game by the time the championship rolled around that made things seem like they were inevitable. After feeling things out in the early part of the tournament, gaining valuable track experience, the Daughters had continuously honed their game. When the opening whistle blew in the final bout of 2 Fresh 2 Furious, it looked like this team from Timmins had only just found its stride. This is not to take anything away from their opponents, ToRD’s D-VAS, who entered the tournament with heavy expectations on their shoulders and carried them well. Paced by an agile jammer rotation of Hell Bat, Keri Daway and Scrappy Skins, and anchored by the solid pack work of Renny Rumble, Laya Beaton and Bridget Bones, the D-VAS had the deepest roster in the tournament, but they seemed gassed by the end of the night and didn’t have enough to contain the extraordinary jamming by the Daughters’ duo of Nasty Nads and tournament Future Star (MVP) Kill’er Princess, which, by the end of things, was the not-so-secret to their success. It was an extraordinary showing for a team that came, seemingly, from out of nowhere, but has now let it be known that they have most definitely arrived.

* In the battle of royalty, the Queens of Pain (Guelph) defeated Queen City (Buffalo), 38-14, for third place, to end a strong showing for both teams. Guelph’s Royal City continues to show that they are a league on the rise, and are the leaders of the second-wave of Ontario roller Derby that is currently sweeping the province.

* Layer 9 captured much of the tournament in HD from his usual trackside location. Watch the final here!

*A special thank you to the GTA Rollergirls and all the tournament volunteers for their hospitality.

* Stay tuned: On Friday, the final Nerd Meat post will include a more personal reflection on the tournament.

COMPLETE RESULTS:

Ted Reeve Bubble Ted Reeve Arena
Double Elimination

DURHAM REGION ROLLER DERBY 46 VS. KINGSTON – SHIRTS 22

VIOLET UPRISING [RCRG] 30 VS. GOLD MINERS DAUGHTERS (TIMMINS) 47

ELECTRIC CITY ROLLERS (PETERBOROUGH) 30 VS. BELLES OF THE BRAWL 75

ORD/TIMMINS RD/SOONAMI 15 VS. QUEENS OF PAIN (RCRG) 99

DRRD 38 vs. GM Daughters 30

K-Shirts 47 vs. Violet Uprising 42 (eliminated)

Belles 17 vs. Queens of Pain 32

Electric City 24 (elimin.) vs.  ORD/TRD/SSR 56

GM Daughters 48 vs. ORD/TRD/SSR 23 (elim.)

Belles 51 vs. K-Shirts 24 (elim.)

Quarter Finals

DRRD 29 vs. GM Daughters 42

Queens of Pain 38 vs. Belle City 13

Double Elimination

BORDER CITY BRAWLERS 36 VS. SOUTH SIMCOE REBEL ROLLERS 83

CHROME MOLLYS (GTAR) 45VS. OTTAWA DOLLINQUENTS 24

D-VAS (ToRD) 59 VS. QUEEN CITY 32

KINGSTON – SKINS 65 VS. DAMAGED DOLLZ (PETERBOROUGH) 36

South Simcoe 42 vs. Mollys 44

Border City 53 vs. Delinquents 47 (eliminated)

D-VAS 85 vs. K-Shirts 12

Queen City 85 vs. Dollz 4

South Simcoe 19 (elim.) vs. Queen City 39

K-Skins 44 vs. Border City 20 (elim.)

Quarter Finals

Mollys 37 vs. Queen City 43

D-VAS 70 vs. K-Skins 20

 

 

 

Semi Finals

QCRG 23 vs. D-VAS 28

GM Daughters 32 vs. Queens of Pain 28

Third Place

Queen City 14 vs. Queens of Pain 38

Finals

D-VAS 24 vs. GM Daughters 67

2011 2 Fresh 2 Furious Champions: Gold Miners’ Daughters (Timmins)

2 Fresh 2 Furious Features the Future Stars of Eastern Canadian Roller Derby

The D-VAS in 2008 featured current skaters Betty Bomber, Land Shark and Mia Culprit. (pictured in a bout against Rebel Rock-It and the Bay Street Bruisers). (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

On June 16, 2007, The Deadly Viper Assassination Squad (D-VAS) defeated the Smoke City Betties 96-78 to win what was each team’s first ever bout in Toronto Roller Derby (ToRD). While the Smoke City Betties would quickly emerge as a contender in ToRD (reaching the semifinals in 2008 before Battling for the Boot in 2009), the D-VAS would struggle, posting a 2-6 record in ToRD’s frst two seasons before falling under the knife in ToRD’s 2009 contraction (when they and the Bay Street Bruisers folded). ToRD veteran Mia Culprit (and current Betty) was the first captain of the D-VAS and sports a tattoo of the logo on her right leg. “It was difficult to say goodbye,” she admits. “I have the best memories of the D-VAS. Specifically getting to meet people like Betty Bomber….Dolly Parts’Em, Seka Destory…” The astute ToRD fan will recognize those names as current skaters with the Death Track Dolls. Other skaters from those two D-VAS teams have made their way in the derby world as well. ToRD fan favourite Land Shark (another Doll) was a rookie on the team in 2008, Rollergettes founder and skater Goldie Lock ‘N Load was on the original roster, and so was JJ Bladez, who now skates for Hammer City’s Eh! Team.

In 2010, as ToRD went through a period of intense, but stable, growth, the league resurrected the D-VAS as a farm team for ToRD’s draftable skaters, a development role that, in retrospect, has always seemed to be its calling. The program has already successfully graduated skaters into the league, and this weekend, the next generation of ToRD rookies will face off against other fresh meat teams and new leagues in the 2 Fresh 2 Furious tournament hosted by the GTA Rollergirls.

THE TOURNAMENT

The concept for 2 Fresh 2 Furious actually has roots as far back as 2008 when GTAR’s Derby Debutantes hosted the Virgin Suicides Brawl, a similar tournament for young, inexperienced teams. “I think 2 Fresh 2 Furious is a great opportunity for new players and teams to get their derby feet wet, so to speak,” says My-call Buble long-time bench manager/coach of the Derby Debutantes. “It’s a less intimidating forum for newer players…as their opponents will be of a similar level to them.” D-VAS co-captain Skinned Knee Crosby echoed these sentiments, “The whole tournament is a great, fun idea, and it shows…that roller derby is growing fast and local.”

And right now, flat track roller derby in Ontario may be growing faster than in any other region in North America with leagues forming (seemingly) by the month in locations as varied as Windsor and Minden. Considering the extraordinary growth of the sport in this province, this tournament is now more important than ever. 16 teams will be featured on two tracks in a 20-minute, double-elimination format that will be familiar to anyone who has been to the Beast of the East in Montreal (it should be noted that Buffalo’s Queen City-which has been competing in Canada since 2007-will be sending its fresh meat team as well). This format guarantees that each team will get to play at least two bouts, providing invaluable experience to the participants.

The Chrome Mollys and Royal City have already met this year (May 14). (Photo by Joe Mac)

THE COMPETITION

Things kick off on Saturday morning at 11:00 AM when two very new leagues, the Border City Brawlers (Windsor) and South Simcoe Rebel Rollers face off, while Durham Region Roller Derby will take on one of two teams from Kingston. “We expect strong showings from the WFTDA leagues of Queen City and ToRD,” predicts My-Call Buble, and while this could be case, it’s hard to handicap this event as even some of the more established teams will be sending fresh-faced lineups. The D-VAS, for example, will be using this opportunity to dress ToRD’s latest crop of fresh meat graduates, many of whom have yet to even put on the uniform. The same goes for GTAR’s Chrome Molly’s who will sit some of their more experienced skaters to give the fresh meat a chance to gather the all-important experience.

ToRD's D-VAS have warmed up with a home and home series against Nickel City's Sister Slag. (Photo by Joe Mac)

Despite this mystery, there will, though, be teams to watch. “I looking forward to watching Royal City play; they have some great girls on their team,” says Crosby. My-call Buble also takes note of the quickly emerging Royal City Rollergirls (who will be sending all three of their home teams), “Royal City, Belle City and South Simcoe, although new this year, are playing every chance they get.” Word on the track is that this hard-training South Simcoe Rebel Rollers team may very well be a team on the rise, while Belle City’s Belles of the Brawl (Brantford) just got some valuable experience at CWRDA’s Eastern ChampionshipDurham Region has also been busy in 2011. After some struggle to get off the ground, DRRD  seems to have found its footing and has had some impressive showings lately. Any track time is valuable in a young skater’s career, so this activity will be a big advantage for these teams.

But the beauty and excitement of a tournament like this is in the inability to predict things. Any one of the teams participating has a viable shot at winning. For these young teams, it may come down to which roster gels the quickest, which team has the strongest leadership and organization, and, as with any tournament, which teams simply wants it more.

* 2 Fresh 2 Furious kicks off at 11:00 am at Ted Reeve Arena. For a complete schedule visit the gtarollergirls.com. Tickets are available at Way Cool Tattoos and Red Tent Sisters, or online.

* Here is a complete list of tournament participants. (For a complete schedule, click here).