Terminal City Roller Girls

End-of-year Power Rankings: December 2016

Captain Lou El Bammo, Dick Dafone, and Derby Nerd periodically rank Canada’s top A-level travel teams. Read the the mid-season 2016 (June) Power Rankings here.

TEAM (League) CHANGE NOTES (Rollergirl.ca /WFTDA rank)
1. New Skids on the Block (Montreal Roller Derby)Montreal Roller Derby: New Skids on the Block  – After stumbling against Philly at ECDX, mid-season roster changes shook up the team chemistry, and after it had time to settle, the Skids knocked off Bay Area to become the first Canadian team to advance to WFTDA Champs where they put a scare into Angel City in the quarterfinals, which was enough to secure top spot. (1 / 19)
2. Terminal City All Stars (Terminal City Roller Girls)Terminal City All Stars
 – Despite the fifth place finish in their D1 playoff, it could be argued that Terminal City had a better playoff tournament than Montreal. They lost narrowly (164-162) against Philly before cruising through the consolation bracket. Their spot in the top 2, well ahead of the competition, remains secure. (2 / 18)
3.Calgary All Stars (Calgary Roller Derby Association)Calgary All Stars Logo  Although a 5th seed, Calgary tore through its D2 playoff tournament, including knocking off top seed Charm City along the way to finish in the top spot in the playoff. Finishing third overall in WFTDA’s Division 2 is more than enough to hold on to third spot. (4 / 45)
4. Misfit Militia (Orangeville Roller Girls) Misfit Militia Logo  +1 Went 6-1 in 2016 including a 147-144 unsanctioned win against D1’s Queen City. The teams only loss on the season came against an ever-improving Toronto Men’s Roller Derby team (200-159). However, their obvious talent and lack of WFTDA ranking continue to make top-level competition hard to come by. (3 /-)
5. Rideau Valley Vixens (Rideau Valley Roller Girls)Vixens Logo +1 A 4-7 regular season saw the Vixens tumble out of the D2 playoffs. However, the bright side is that many of those seven losses came against top-flight competition including the likes of Montreal, Jacksonville, and Philly. It was an incredibly challenging schedule that may have them currently under-ranked and that could pay track-experience dividends in 2017. (10/93)
6. E-Ville Dead (E-Ville Roller Derby)

evrd_final_logo

unranked They’ve risen from the dead once again! E-Ville has been in and out of the Top 10 over the years, and now reenters once again, surging into the middle of the pack for the first time since last year’s end-of-season rankings. E-Ville had an incredible year with a record of 8-1 including victories over Top-10 Winnipeg (207-132) and Watch-Listers Mainland Misfits (279-89). The team’s only loss on the season was to provincial rivals and D2 bronze medalists Calgary (241-114).  (5 / 91)
7. All Stars (Winnipeg Roller Derby League) winnipeg logo  +1 Winnipeg inches forward a spot but gets stopped in its tracks by surging E-Ville (who defeated them 207-132 to earn the spot). The All Stars do hold their spot ahead of Muddy River based on strength of schedule. They went 8-5 on the season, helping them move to their highest WFTDA ranking yet. (9 / 84)
8. Lumbersmacks (Muddy River Rollers)Lumbersmacks Logo +1 The little league that just keeps going. Muddy River’s consistency over the past few season has been incredible given their size and location. This year they travelled far and wide once again compiling a 6-4 record along the way, including early season wins over Capital City and Quebec. A big late-season loss to Orangeville’s Misfit Militia was unsanctioned and didn’t effect their 16-spot jump in the WFTDA rankings.  (11 / 85)
9. Dolly Rogers (Capital City Derby Dolls)
Capital City Derby Dolls Logo
+1 The Dolly Rogers capped off their 5-4 season with a massive sanctioned win against Central NY that helped their 8-spot jump in the WFTDA rankings. Narrow wins against teams just outside of the Top 10 allow them to secure their spot and nudge forward, finally moving out of the long-held 10 spot. (8 / 106)
10.Tri-City Thunder (Tri-City Rller Derby)Tri-City Thunder Logo  -6 Tri-City had an up-and-down year in 2016, eventually finishing with a 5-10 record. After a promising two and one start (including a rare win over Toronto), Thunder lost seven of eight regular season games the rest of the way. A decent playoff run saw them improve their 9th place seeding to 6th in their D2 tournament. However, yet another off season shake-up to the jammer rotation means that Tri-City’s rebuild will be continuing into 2017. (6 / 57)

The Rankings

No changes to the Top 3 as Canada’s lone WFTDA playoff teams remain at the top of the sport in the nation. Montreal retains top spot based on an incredible performance at the WFTDA Championship tournament, playing, arguably, the team’s best game of the season against a very good Angel City team. After reloading their roster in 2016, The New Skids on the Block also look very good to remain atop the nation’s power rankings in 2017 as well. It remains to be seen whether Terminal City and Calgary (who became only the second team to win a Division 2 playoff tournament) can push through some expected 0ff-season roster changes to remain at their current levels.

The rest of the list has gone through some shifts and changes. Most notably, for the first time in the history of these Power Rankings, Toronto has dropped out of the Top 10. Although leagues like Orangeville and Muddy River are proof that size doesn’t always matter, the reality is that Toronto is simply too big and too deep to keep down for long and expect a slow but steady rise in 2017 as the All Stars rebuild. This drop, however, made room for a resurgent E-Ville. For the second year in a row, the Edmonton-based team makes an appearance on the year-end rankings. This time, however, it should be sustainable as the E-Ville Dead have the roster to remain in the conversation through 2017. The final major shift is with Tri-City. Thunder sees itself tumble to 10th place. The team had a solid 2016, but some post-playoff roster changes will see the team need to rebuild its offense once again.

Orangeville, Rideau Valley, Winnipeg, Muddy River, and Capital City all hold steady, nudging upwards based on Toronto’s and Tri-City’s dips.

The Watch List

Anarchy Angels (Mainland Misfits Roller Derby) (12th)

Les Duchesses (Roller Derby Quebec) (13th)

Brute-Leggers (Royal City Roller Girls) (14th)

Northstars (Rated PG Rollergirls) (15th)

ToRD All Stars (Toronto Roller Derby) (16th)

The A Team (Eves of Destruction) (18th)

E-Ville and Toronto have switched places on the Watch List/Top 10, while the Anarchy Angels, Roller Derby Quebec, and Royal City remain on our radars as we close out the 2016 season. However, there are some exciting new editions on the watch list.

The Northstars of Prince George’s Rated PG Rollergirls are coming off of an 8-0 season that saw them rise above the competition with a margin of victory of 158 points. These eight wins included big victories over B-travel teams from Top 10 Terminal City and E-Ville and two of Calgary’s house leagues, proving that they have graduated to a higher competitive stage. Similarly, one of Canada’s oldest flat track teams, Victoria’s Eves of Destruction are finally beginning to tear it up against some quality competition. Boasting a perennially successful local league, the EoD A Team went 5-0 on the season including a victory over the Jane Deeres (Calgary’s B-team) and former Top 10 team Mindfox out of Saskatoon to launch themselves onto the Watch List.

Nerd Glasses

*These rankings were compiled by the Derby Nerd, Captain Lou El Bammo, Dick Dafone

*These are the final Power Rankings of the year. Read the mid-season Power Rankings here.

-Respectful disagreement and debate is encouraged!-

Canadian Power Rankings: December 1, 2015

Captain Lou El Bammo, Dick Dafone, Dr. Jenny Fever and Derby Nerd rank Canada’s top A-level travel teams every two months (or so). Read the August 1st Power Ranking here.

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

Montreal Roller Derby: New Skids on the Block

 – Some big off-season changes resulted in a slow start for the New Skids on the Block, but since a May loss to Terminal City, the Skids have been on fire, coming within 28 points of a Champs berth and finishing 4th in their Division, the highest finish for a Canadian team in the WFTDA playoffs. (1 / 15)
2. Terminal City All Stars (Terminal City Roller Girls)Terminal City All Stars
 –  It was a year to remember for Terminal City: historic regular season wins over Montreal and Rat City previewed a phenomenal playoff performance that included knocking off the legendary Mad Rollin’ Dolls to win the consolation bracket for a 5th place finish in the division playoff tournament.   (2 / 23)
3.Rideau Valley Vixens (Rideau Valley Roller Girls)

Vixens Logo

+1  After making it all the way to the top of the heap of D2 in 2014, a Division 1 playoff berth this season proved a tough transition for the Vixens, but the team’s strong, steady leadership resulted in a strong performance despite a last-place finish. (4 / 42)
4.Calgary All Stars (Calgary Roller Derby Association)Calgary All Stars Logo  +1 It was quite a year for Calgary, a season that saw them briefly enter Division 1 only to slip out of a playoff position altogether at the end of the year. However, this team grew by leaps and bounds and some late-season roster additions set Calgary up for a strong 2016.  (5 / 62)
5. CN Power (Toronto Roller Derby)New CNP Logo -2 A promising start to 2015 (wins over Boston, Steel City and a narrow loss to Montreal) could not be maintained as a constantly shuffling roster resulted in some inconsistent and increasingly shaky performances leading to a last-place finish in their playoff tournament. They are on the cusp of D1 and it remains to be seen if the revamped roster can keep them in it. (6/39)
6Tri-City Thunder (Tri-City Rller Derby)Tri-City Thunder Logo  A fascinating year for Thunder who, despite finishing last in their Division 1 playoff tournament, managed to put in some strong performances against very good teams. There is expected to be another roster shake-up this off season (particularly with their jammer rotation once again), and it’ll be interesting to see how those play out. (7 / 49)

7. Les Duchesses (Roller Derby Quebec)Duchesses Logo

 –  A quietish year for Les Duchesses nonetheless showed that this team is ready for a greater challenge (for example, they crushed low-D2 Suburbia by 378 points in August). The team’s only losses this season came against Montreal’s Skids and Sexpos. (8 / -)
8. All Stars (Winnipeg Roller Derby League) winnipeg logo  Although the travel team has been inactive this quarter, Winnipeg holds its spot on the strength of its phenomenal 9-2 season. (12 / 112)
9. Lumbersmacks (Muddy River Rollers)Lumbersmacks Logo Also having a quiet quarter, the lack of movement from other teams in the Top 10 allows them to hold steady. (14 / 105)
10. E-Ville Dead (E-Ville Roller Derby)

Eville Logo

unranked They’re back!  For the first time since June 2013, E-Ville makes an appearance in the power rankings. An incredible 7-0 run to start the season had them back on the radar but a small summer stumble kept them from cracking the Top 10. Some strong late-season additions inspired  great  results against Regina and Calgary.  (13/ -)

The Changes

 Montreal retains top spot after a phenomenal run through the WFTDA D1 playoffs that saw them finish higher than any other Canadian team had previously. Similarly, after running the consolation bracket in Tucson, Terminal City matched Montreal’s previous playoff-high finish; in 2015, these two teams distanced themselves from the pack and are currently very secure at the top of the table. There was some other shifting at the top though, most notably through Toronto’s drop. ToRD is going through a generational shift on the track right now that could lead to some early season growing pains in 2016, but that could also pay off in the long run with some patience and hard work. This drop allowed Rideau Valley (the best of the last-place Canadian teams in the playoffs) and Calgary to leap-frog ahead.

There was no change from 6 through 9, but the Power Rankings Crew would like to welcome Edmonton’s E-Ville Roller Derby back to the Top 10. They crushed Regina in October 407-34 and put in a strong performance in a loss against Top 5 Calgary 178-105. Word on the track is that some exciting off-season roster changes could help bolster the team’s offense and make them a potential western threat next year.

The Watch List

Misfit Militia (Orangeville Roller Girls) (3rd)

Dolly Rogers (Capital City Derby Dolls) (9th)

Anarchy Angels (Mainland Misfits Roller Derby) (11th)

Brute-Leggers (Royal City Roller Girls) (15th)

Avalanche City All Stars (Fernie Roller Derby League) (16th)

Fog City’s Shipyard Sirens (17th)

It seems as if we’ve been watching the same teams all season! However, followers of the Power Rankings may recognize the return of Misfit Militia to our Watch List. We’d dropped them from the rankings this season because of their lack of affiliation and the inconsistency of their roster. But now the charter team of WFTDA apprentice Orangeville Roller Girls, the Misfit Militia are back in the thick of things. Word on the track is that many of their members who formerly split time in Toronto are focused exclusively on Misfit Militia now, and this immediately makes them a team to watch in the Canadian competitive derby scene.

Nerd Glasses

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

*Get caught up by reading the August Power Rankings here.

-Respectful disagreement and debate is encouraged!-

The All CAN-CON WFTDA D1 Playoff Preview

Canada's five entrants in this year's Division 1 playoffs represent the majority of the record-setting eleven international participants.

Canada’s five entrants in this year’s Division 1 playoffs represent the majority of the record-setting eleven international participants.

On September 24th, 2010, in White Plains, New York, the whistle blew on a WFTDA Eastern Region quarterfinal playoff game between Boston and Montreal. By game-play standards, it would be a pretty normal duel: Boston, the 3rd seed, held off 6th seeded Montreal 147-85 to advance. However, this seemingly regular playoff game announced something special: competitive flat track roller derby had gone international.

Sure, the international game had been born four years earlier when flat track derby first burst forth from US borders and set up camp in Canada, England, Germany, Australia and New Zealand, but until Montreal’s unprecedented run through the 2010 season, the upper echelons of the competitive game had been exclusive to the founding nation.

By 2011, London had joined Montreal in the playoffs, and the international influx was on. Only five years since Montreal’s debut, there will now be a remarkable twelve international teams represented in the Division 1 playoffs (and one more in D2). Canada still leads the way with five teams (Montreal, Terminal City, Toronto, Tri-City, and Rideau Valley), but now Australia (Victoria, Sun State) and Sweden (Stockholm and Crime City) both have two leagues represented and joining them are teams from Finland (Helsinki) and Scotland (Glasgow). It is a remarkable development in what has been a remarkable evolution of the sport and of its primary governing body, the WFTDA, itself celebrating its 10th anniversary this season.

D1 TUCSON (Sept. 4-6) : Terminal City All Stars (27th overall, 7th seed) and Tri-City Thunder (40th, 10th).

Last year, Tri-City Thunder was involved in the first ever all-Canadian WFTDA playoff showdown when they squared off against Montreal in the consolation bracket at the Salt Lake City Division 1 playoff (falling 366-145); this year, the team from Kitchener-Waterloo is guaranteed to be involved in the second as they’ll meet Vancouver’s Terminal City All Stars in the opening round of the opening weekend of the 2015 WFTDA Division 1 playoffs in Tucson, Arizona.

Montreal and Tri-City prepare for the opening jam of last year's all-Canadian playoff showdown. (From WFTDA.TV)

Montreal and Tri-City prepare for the opening jam of last year’s all-Canadian playoff showdown. (From WFTDA.TV)

This is the second-straight D1 appearance for Tri-City following an up-and-down season that saw them reach as high as 38th and fall as low as 54th before settling into the second-to-last playoff spot in the WFTDA’s highest division. The inconsistent nature of the season was evident in the team’s final regular season games losing to D2 Chicago Outfit before knocking off D2 Brewcity to round out a 7-3 year that featured great victories over, among others, national rival Calgary (208-196—they were ranked 46th at the time) and perennial D1ers Queen City (175-163).

After an off-season that saw the team lose some key long-time players (including virtually the whole jammer rotation), the team has rebuilt surprisingly quickly. Transfers Crazy Squirrel and Honey Badger (who has considerable D1 playoff experience after her time in Montreal) make up the core of that new offense and both have been excellent this season. Last year, playing for the New Skids on the Block, Badger managed 5.42 points per jam and a 56% lead percentage in four playoff games (including a 59 pt.–67% game against Arch Rival in the Consolation Final).

Thunder, however, will be in tough against a Terminal City team whose seemingly so-so 8-6 regular season record suddenly looks a little more impressive when its noted that some of the losses came to teams like Rose City, Bay Area, and Denver. The highlights of the season include victories over national rivals Toronto (a surprisingly one-sided 239-122 win) and Montreal (182-177, ending the Skids’ 17-game Canadian winning streak).

Crazy Squirrel picks up lead jammer status in a May win against Queen City. (Photo by Joe Mac)

Crazy Squirrel picks up lead jammer status in a May win against Queen City. (Photo by Joe Mac)

Although they lost some key skaters in the pack this season (Lisa Suggit and Karlene Harvey for example), the offense remains intact, led by last year’s playoff revelation Maiden Sane. Sane, who came up with Regina’s Pile O’ Bones Derby Club and was part of the National team in 2011, transferred to the team late in 2014 and ended up leading the team in playoff scoring (340 pts. with an 8.1 PPJ) and lead percentrage (69%). Kim Janna, who missed last year’s playoffs while recovering from injury, is back and will bolster the offense this year.

An expected Terminal City win will see them advance to take on mighty (but rebuilding) Bay Area in the quarterfinals while Tri-City would have a tough consolation showdown against either Charm City or Rocky Mountain.

*Head over to Tournament Central for complete information and brackets.

D1 DALLAS (Sept. 11-13): Rideau Valley Vixens (41st, 10th)

Last year, the Rideau Valley Vixens captured the hearts and minds of Canadian roller derby fans with an inspired run through the D2 playoffs, winning the first ever all-international tournament final over Bear City, before giving a powerful Detroit team all it could handle in the D2 Championship game. This year, they’ll be part of an all-international showdown when they take on the surging Sun State team from Brisbane, Australia, in the 7-10 seeding game.

In 2014 the Vixens became the first non-US team to win a WFTDA playoff tournament. Click on the photo to read about it. (Photo by Joe Mac)

In 2014 the Vixens became the first non-US team to win a WFTDA playoff tournament. Click on the photo to read about it. (Photo by Joe Mac)

Not much has changed in the Vixens’ roster this season with its team coming back nearly fully intact and its jammer rotation holding steady, including its enigmatic potential superstar jammer Shania Pain still studying/living/working all across the country and only getting to play and practice with the team sporadically. However, it was long-time veteran jammer Soul Rekker who led the way in the clutch last season, finishing the Division playoffs as second overall leading scorer (with 345 points over three games). Rekker (at 66%) also led her team in lead percentage, although all three primary scorers recorded at least a 51% for the tournament. Its experienced blocker core, however, leads the team; featuring returning skaters like BLackeyE, Bottema, Brennan, Murphy, Reyes, Rudolph, junior graduate Jamie’s Got a Gun and double threat Sister Disaster, it’s a deep, multi-faceted blocker roster capable of big things and whose performance will ultimately determine how far this team goes.

A Friday morning win would see the Vixens face off against a reloaded and refocused Texas team in the quarterfinals, while a loss would see them face the loser of the Rat City/Stockholm quarterfinal in the consolation bracket.

*Head over to Tournament Central for complete information and brackets.

D1 OMAHA (Oct. 2-4): Montreal’s New Skids on the Block (16th, 4th) and Toronto’s CN Power (32nd, 8th)

In April of this season, Toronto, who had never defeated Montreal’s New Skids on the Block, had Canada’s top team on the ropes. Going blow-for-blow throughout and leading for a portion of the game, CN power couldn’t hold off its long-time rivals in the end, dropping a heartbreaking 180-171 decision. You could argue that Toronto never quite recovered from that heartbreak, stumbling through the rest of the season after such a promising start (they’d handily knocked off Boston and Steel City leading up to that game), struggling to hold off D2 opponents while suffering some heavy one-sided losses to their D1 counterparts, ending up at 6-6 on the season and dropping from a season high of 24th to its current ranking (its lowest point in over two years, since June 2013).

Toronto managed some big victories early in the season, including a win over Boston. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Toronto managed some big victories early in the season, including a win over Boston at the Quad City Chaos. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Montreal, on the other hand, has had the opposite trajectory in 2014. Starting things off slowly after significant off-season change saw some of the team’s first generation of players retire, the team has gotten better as the year has gone on. Following the May loss to Terminal City, the Skids went on an incredibly dominant six-game winning streak capped off with a best-ever 197-point spanking of long-time rivals Charm City (who had upset them by a single point in last year’s Division playoff quarterfinals) and an incredibly narrow 12-point loss to 10th ranked Philly to finish 9-2 on the season in sanctioned play.

Toronto did have significant roster turnover in the off-season, including the loss of their top two playoff leading scoring jammers (Motorhead Molly and Dusty) and the transfer of (arguably) its top blocker to Montreal (Dyna Hurtcha) among others. The offense was bolstered by a couple of ready-for-D1 jammers in Mad Megz and Smoka Cola (who has suffered a devastating broken leg on the eve of playoffs and will join similarly broken blocker BiggleySmallz on the sidelines) and Bellefast (who was actually called up from the B-team for last year’s playoffs, picking up some critical big-game experience). Belle will be joined by returning jammer Bala Reina (who missed last year’s playoffs) and a couple of B-team call-ups in multi-talented Beaver Mansbridge and breakout jammer Sleeper Hold. The defense is still led by long-time blocker (and National Team member) Nasher the Smasher, Team Mexico leader Renny Rumble with second-year CN Power blocker Ames to Kill emerging as the future (and present) core of the pack, but watch out for crafty (cut-drawing) vet Mega Bouche and hard-hitting Misery Mae as well.

Montreal defeated Windy City, its quarterfinal opponent, 303-97 at ECDX this summer. (Photo by Joe Mac)

Montreal defeated Windy City, its quarterfinal opponent, 303-97 at ECDX this summer. (Photo by Joe Mac)

Montreal’s offense returns mostly intact with Mel E Juana and Miracle Whips back, and internally developed Falcon Punch taking Honey Badger’s spot in the top three. In the pack, a long-time core remains (Jess Bandit, Cheese Grater for example) and is bolstered by the arrival of Team Canada transfers Dyna Hurtcha (Toronto) and KonichiWOW (part of this year’s Windy City exodus).

Despite the high rank (16th), you could make the argument that expectations have never been lower for Montreal and yet it’s entirely conceivable that they could finally advance to champs this year; however, it looks as if they will need to defeat Champs host Minnesota (at the very least) to do so (but should have no problem getting by Windy City in the quarterfinals; a team they beat by 206 points in June, to set up a semifinal showdown against Gotham).

Toronto kicks things off against familiar rivals Queen City, a team they have defeated three times in a row now dating back to October 2011. A victory will see them advance to take on Gotham in the quarterfinals, which—barring a miracle of the largest magnitude—would see them in the consolation semifinals against, most likely, No Coast or Helsinki (or Windy City, but only if that team is capable of slowing its momentous slide during the regular season) with a chance to improve its ranking to 5th

*Head over to Tournament Central for complete information and bracket.

*Won’t be heading to any of the playoff tournaments? Remember to tune in to WFTDA.TV. Also, read about WFTDA’s exciting new partnership with ESPN3 here.

Word on the Track: Skids Retain Top Spot; Clam Slam Rosters Revealed; First Cindy Davidson Cup Held!

AN INTERNATIONAL STORY AT ECDX

Montreal and Terminal City last met in 2010 at Toronto's first ever Quad City Chaos. Montreal won that showdown 160-55. (Photo by Derek Lang)

Montreal and Terminal City last met in 2010 at Toronto’s first ever Quad City Chaos. Montreal won that showdown 160-55. (Photo by Derek Lang)

Whatever way you look at it, Canadian roller derby is in the midst of a big year. With four teams currently sitting in D1 playoffs and another now ensconced in D2, the Canadian squads are set to build off of the surprises of last season when Toronto and Terminal City went on deep D1 playoff runs and Tri-City was a heartbreaking overtime clock mistake away from a potential berth in the D2 finals

On Saturday night at Philly’s ECDX, two of Canada’s big three faced off in a highly anticipated matchup that did not disappoint. Earlier this season, Toronto took its first swipe at Montreal and came within 17 points of upending the Skids (the score would not be as close in a rematch in Montreal a month later). This weekend, Vancouver’s Terminal City All Stars (25th to Montreal’s 16th) took their shot and came up as close, falling 199-177. Terminal stuck with the Skids through the whole game, but as it was with that Quad City Chaos showdown against Toronto, Montreal, while threatened, had that extra gear gained from so many hours competing at the upper echelons of the sport.

The rest of the weekend was a mixed bag for the Canadian entries. While Terminal City looked solid in decimating a slipping Boston (17th) 269-160, Montreal looked out of sorts against a surging Victorian (10th) from Melbourne who overwhelmed them 240-66. At their current rate, Victorian could be another international team to watch as they seem poised to join London at Champs this season.

Similarly, Team Canada took a slight step back against Team USA. At last year’s ECDX, Canada lost 252-72, a scoreline that surprised a lot of people. This year—with the World Cup only six months away—USA stepped up with a superior offensive performance (356 points) that overshadowed an impressive offensive outburst from Team Canada (90). It was, arguably, not Team Canada’s full A-roster, but it was pretty close and was one loaded with talent.

Nonetheless, Canadian teams continue to enjoy a growing spotlight, and while we may not have a team playing quite at the level that London and Victorian currently are, as a country we still have depth surpassed only by USA.

CLAM SLAM 6 SETS ALL-STAR ROSTERS

The 6th annual Clam Slam is just around the corner, but this year the stakes are even higher! Yes, for the second year in a row this will be a unified ToRDGTAR event, and, yes, for the second year in a row it will be at Ted ReeveClam Slam 2014 Poster Arena in Toronto’s east end, but this year’s Clam Slam  is a World Pride affiliate event! This is the first ever World Pride to be held in North America and festivities are already well underway in Toronto. Since this is the biggest Pride ever, it’s only fitting that this is the biggest Clam Slam ever!

Last year’s Clam Slam was a phenomenal event—featuring the best game of the five year history of the event, and this year promises to build off of that, with many players returning for the rematch.

As with last year, the Clam Slam will be a double header featuring two games, opening with an intermediate level bout featuring skaters from Ontario (and one skater from Montreal). Leagues represented include the hosts ToRD and GTAR, but also Hammer City, Renegade Derby Dames, Rollergettes, Northumberland Roller Girls, Kingston Derby Girls, Nickel City (Sudbury), Durham Region Roller Derby, Tri-City, and Royal City.

The advanced-level game will be hard pressed to live up to the level of last year’s thrilling match, but its got the talent level to do so. Loaded with Canadian and American All Stars, the main event should be incredibly fast paced. The Eager Beavers feature local stalwarts such as Nasher the Smasher, Fox Smoulder, Ruby Puby (AKA: ToRD’s Bellefast) and Bouche, but will also feature the return of three Naptown skaters Maiden America, Trudy Bauchery and Eve Ann Hellical. Fans will also get to see Tri-City’s Sofonda Snatch (AKA: Sofonda Beatin) who recently returned from injury.

The Clam Diggers respond with a pretty impressive rosters of their own, featuring the likes of ToRD’s Dyna Vagina (AKA: Dyna Hurtcha) and Matchu Eatchu (Matchu Beatchu), but also Clam Slam regulars Mirambo (Forest City) and Nameless Whorror (Montreal—who will be joined on the Diggers this year by leaguemate La Planche). Plus, Toronto derby fans will also get a chance to welcome Rainbow Fight back to the track after a long injury lay off.

The Clam Slam will be at Ted Reeve Arena on Thursday with the opening game starting at 6:30 PM and the second at 8:00 PM.

If you aren’t close enough to catch the game, you can still watch the Clam Slam! Both games will be boutcast live by the ToRD.TV crew and hosted here, by Layer9.ca.

**Full rosters are listed at the bottom of the post.

FIRST CINDY DAVIDSON CUP HELD

Cindy Davidson Cup PosterThis weekend, the first ever Cindy Davidson Cup was held in Walkerton, Ontario. Called “Crushing the Big C,” the event featured a junior scrimmage followed by a full flat track game. The rosters featured many familiar faces to those in the derby community including skaters from Durham Region (Lous Ur Pants/Lucid Lou, TRUCK, Yogi Dare Ya), Northumberland Roller Girls (Provokenator, Chronic Carnage), Grey Bruce (Scary Queen, Anita AllyBy), Misfit Militia (Terry Bomb, Bee Bee MaGee), Renegade Derby Dames (Ethyl A Mean, Daemon Star), and Fergus (Steph-a-hani, Eager Beaver), among many others!

For the record, C Crush beat Pink Power 336-113, but the result was secondary to the event itself, a charity event with proceeds going to the Grey-Bruce Health Services Oncology Expansion and Wes for Youth Online.

Cindy Davidson, known as Mama Kal-Hell by the Northumberland Roller Girls, has been bravely chronicling her “cancer thing” (her words) on her blog “Aside from Cancer, I never Get Sick.” It is quite an astonishing blog—raw, moving, detailed. It provides a remarkably clear, yet sometimes wrenching, glimpse into the life of a cancer patient.

All accounts suggest that this weekend’s event was a great success, so keep an eye out for it next year, as it just may become an annual event.

Read Cindy’s blog here. More information about the event can be found here.

2014 Clam Slam Rosters

GAME 1:

Team Uhaul Team Plaid Mafia
League DERBY NAME NUMBER League DERBY NAME NUMBER
ToRD Straight Bait 23 Kingston Flaming Hips 40
HCRG Hardcore Lolo 213 GTAR Cunning Linguist 42
ToRD G-STRINGER 312 Nickel City Nellie McStung 73
HCRG Pretty Fishy 314 MTLRD La Grande Noirceur 78
Nothumberland Betty BOOM 321 GTAR Mashes to Ashes 88
ToRD Vagina Dentata 422 ToRD Sleeper Hold 213
HCRG Smashin’ Good Time 519 Tri-City Tits Tits Tits 480
Renegade Riot Rhythm 524 ToRD Beej 831
Nothumberland Natural Dezzaster 911 PRD Jaxalottapus 3953
GTAR Pepper Pot 917 ToRD SewButt 525S
GTAR Dirty Daddy’s Kitten 6969 ToRD Map of Tasmania 5BY5
Rollergettes KALI 4NK8 Tri-City Badger 6P
HCRG M.I gay 9MM ToRD Miss Andry B0TM
Rollergettes Whoreschach DSM5 DRRD extermi-knitter K2P6
ToRD Heavy Petter K1 Royal City Scream Queen O84
GTAR COMMANDER BOX X3 ToRD VAGilante X0X0

 

GAME 2:

Eager Beavers Clam Diggers
League DERBY NAME NUMBER League DERBY NAME NUMBER
Niagara Lock N Roll 0 ToRD Dyna Vagina 21
Naptown Eve Anne Hellical 316 ToRD Bi-Furious 31
Tri-City Psykosonic 4 HCRG Rock E. Road 52
ToRD Rebel Rock-This 7 Forest City MIRAMBO 69
Tri-City AnneXXX 14 ToRD Hoe Hoe Hoe NO! 111
ToRD Rosemary’s Gayby 15 HCRG Homewrecken Holly 187
ToRD Bouche 26 MTLRD Nameless Whorror 202
GTAR SoFearMe 52 ToRD Just Jes 510
ToRD Hoff 65 GTAR NEWFIE BULLET 709
Naptown Maiden America 76 ToRD Machu Eatchu 747
Tri-City Sofonda Snatch 420 Tri-City Fraxxure 911
ToRD ThünderKünt 867 DRRD/PRD Lous ur pants 1234
Tri-City Fox 1013 ToRD Ames to Please 2or3
Tri-City MW 1321 HCRG Cancer Candy 3BUX
ToRD Ruby Pubie 5678 DRRD Psy-Show-Bob 46N2
Niagara Axel La Rose 15H0 MTLRD La Planche 61X

The Preview of Previews! Welcome to 2014

First off, if you’ve been a reader of the Nerd over the years, you’ve probably noticed that things look a little different around here. It’s a fresh new look for a fresh new year! But don’t worry, in terms of content and derby nerdiness, nothing will change. However, due to the change, you may notice some formatting inconsistencies, particularly when reading archived material. Feel free to let me know if anything looks truly messed up!

Men's World Cup Logo2013 was an incredible year for roller derby, and any way you look at it, 2014 is going to be an even bigger year. Internationally, this will truly be the year that roller derby goes global. The second women’s world cup is coming up, but first, the inaugural men’s world cup will take place in Birmingham, England, in March, making roller derby truly a global undertaking open to all. This global gender equality could very well be the first tentative step toward mainstream (IE: Olympic) international recognition.

A little closer to home, in 2013 Canada certainly announced itself as a power in competitive roller derby. After such a successful World Cup showing in 2011, it seemed only a matter of time before Canadian teams started to emerge as contenders in the WFTDA. This season, it all started with Montreal’s high playoff seeding and Tri-City’s impressive run in the D2 playoffs and was capped off with Vancouver and Toronto’s string of upsets in the D1 Divisionals.

This has set expectations for 2014 very high. Tri-City was recently awarded one of the WFTDA’s D2 playoff Divisional tournaments, which is a great achievement, but perhaps one year too late as all indications show Tri-City making a run at D1 this season. Similarly, while Montreal will be hard pressed to ascend to the ranking heights they hit in 2013, Toronto and Vancouver are poised to make noise and advance up the standings. Also, Rideau Valley (who just missed out on D2 playoffs last year) and Hammer City (who had one of the largest ranking jumps in the WFTDA last year) are both solid contenders in the second division.

In 2013, Tri-City will become the first non-US league to host a WFTDA playoff tournament.

In 2013, Tri-City will become the first non-US league to host a WFTDA playoff tournament.

AND on top of that, we now welcome Forest City, Calgary, Border City and GTA Rollergirls into the WFTDA fold. Last year Calgary made massive competitive strides and could be a team to watch this year and could even be in the mix in the second division. Forest City should be able to build on an inconsistent 2013, while Border City (who are going through a big organizational change) and GTA probably lack the depth of organization to compete in 2014, but nonetheless will help bring more exposure to Canadian roller derby in general, and Ontario roller derby in particular (it’s amazing that there are seven [!] full WFTDA member leagues in Ontario alone).

All of this makes the Nerd very excited to cover 2014!

On this site, you can expect the same Toronto and Eastern Canadian roller derby coverage that you’ve had for years now, but there will also be a very specific global focus as I cover both the Canadian men’s and women’s teams as they prepare for their respective World Cups (expect profiles and interviews). As usual, I’ll be taking the odd road trip as well and reporting back. Actually, that begins this weekend, as I’ll be heading to Detroit to be a guest announcer for the Detroit Derby Girls 2014 house league opener.

Writing as D.D. Miller, the Nerd's first book of fiction will be released in April. Roller Derby figures prominently in the title story.

Writing as D.D. Miller, the Nerd’s first book of fiction will be released in April. Roller Derby figures prominently in the title story.

Also, after an incredibly fun and informative first season of working on the Canadian Power Rankings with Captain Lou El Bammo, Dick Pounder and Jenny Fever, we’ll be back to track 2014 as well! Stay tuned for a separate Power Rankings Preview coming soon.

And finally, on a more personal note, this spring, I will be travelling around promoting a collection of short fiction written by my alter ego D.D. Miller. Not surprisingly, roller derby features prominently in the title story, “David Foster Wallace Ruined My Suicide.” As some of you know, I am also currently working on a book-length project about roller derby: so every league in Canada (and beyond!) be prepared to be hit up for interviews if I happen to pass through your town in 2014.

Thanks so much for the continued readership and support! Here’s to a phenomenal 2014!

– Nerd

Photo by Todd Burgess

Toronto Levels Up at final WFTDA Divisional

Bay Area, Atlanta and Rat City round out the participants in Milwaukee.

Bay Area, Atlanta and Rat City round out the participants in Milwaukee.

Toronto Roller Derby’s CN Power continued the compelling international story at the 2013 WFTDA playoffs tangling with Melbourne, Australia’s, Victorian Roller Derby in the fifth place game at the final divisional tournament. Although CN Power ran out of steam in the second half of the game, the narrative for the weekend had already been set. It began with a major upset over Sacred City on Friday, followed by a stunning game against perennial powerhouse Atlanta before another tough upset over Boston assured Toronto of a surprising top six finish.

It was yet another remarkable finish for one of the three Canadian teams in WFTDA’s Division 1, and arguably, the best performance by a Canadian team at this year’s Big Five. Montreal finished 4th in their division, but did so mostly based on a fairly clear path to the final four on account of their 2nd seed in the tournament. Word on the track is that Montreal was probably closer to the 6th or even 7th best team in their division (with Rose City, at least, and even Arch Rival performing better than they did). Terminal City’s performance was also one for the ages: stunning upsets over Tampa and New Hampshire guaranteeing a three-spot jump on their ranking. But Toronto went one further with the win over Boston, and their performance in a loss against Atlanta was arguably the best game played by a Canadian team during this year’s playoffs.

Read Lex Talionis's Sacred vs. Toronto game recap for Derby News Network (featuring the photos of Donalee Eiri)

Read Lex Talionis’s Sacred vs. Toronto game recap for Derby News Network (featuring photos by Donalee Eiri).

It has been a remarkable turn around for Toronto this season, but one that has been coming for some time, and one that shouldn’t be too much of a surprise for the astute followers of the Canadian game. Over the past three years Toronto Roller Derby has worked hard to develop its base, and is now a league brimming with talent at every level. The farm team D-VAS has consistently finished in the final four of every  Fresh and Furious tournament they have played in. Similarly, since a 2-3-4 finish at the 2011 Beast of the East, ToRD house league teams have been consistently near the top of that tournament as well, with at least one team in the top three in the last three years. Finally, ToRD’s travel B Team, the Bay Street Bruisers, have been turning heads as well, especially since a 2012 RDAC Eastern Championship tournament victory. They have gone 8-1 in 2013 against consistently solid competition on both sides of the border, are clearly the top B Team in the country, and have even earned a spot in the discussion of the top teams in the country.

So with such a strong and well-developed base propping it up, this CN Power turn around has been in the works.

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

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

After a somewhat inconsistent start to the year (for a example, a phenomenal performance in a loss to mighty Ohio was followed by a stunning upset loss to Rideau Valley at this year’s Quad City Chaos), CN Power slowly began to turn it around and build toward this weekend’s peak performance. Arguably, it all started with a thrilling showdown against rivals the New Skids on the Block in Montreal in April. A game that saw them compete for about 40 minutes, before the big-game experience of Montreal kicked in and the Skids pulled away late. That was followed by a tight game against another much higher ranked opponent in Cincinnati, and finally the playoff-clinching 2-point victory against Bleeding Heartland.

As a team, Toronto has flown under the radar for the past few seasons, lacking the visibility that Montreal and Vancouver have enjoyed, but after this weekend, it has to be believed that this will no longer be the case. Toronto’s depth pushed it to success this weekend, but there were outstanding individual performances as well. At the top of the heap were Nasher the Smasher and Dyna Hurtcha. Long one of Toronto’s top blockers, Nasher finally had a stage upon which to display her talents and she did not disappoint. A tireless workhorse all weekend, she averaged 31 jams per game (easily a team high) and despite all the track time (most coming in two losses) still finished with a  +/- of +29. Prototypical Toronto triple threat Dyna Hurthca was also a phenom this weekend. A relentless blocker, she also showed her value to the team by jamming in certain situations, including in a tough second half against Victorian (in which she jammed 4 times, picked up two leads and averaged 2.3 points per jam).

Read Beck Wise's Boston vs. Toronto game recap on Derby News Network (featuring photos by Donalee Eiri)

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

Just below these stellar performances were those of Renny Rumble, BruiseBerry Pie and Jubilee. Bruisey was the go-to pivot for star passes in tough situations on the weekend and averaged 21 jams per game delivering some timely hits. Renny Rumble showed some extraordinary agility on defense and her eye for the track was obvious on the weekend. One of the keys to Toronto’s performance was its offense, and Jubilee, playing, arguably, the best derby of her career, was key on offense, reading situations well, and providing timely help when needed. Of course, the key to the success was in Toronto’s bench depth and ability to run out solid line after line (especially in the Atlanta game), a testament to the performances of all the blockers, led by Mega Bouche, Panty Hoser and double threat Candy Crossbones, who all put in significant track time on the weekend.

Speaking of depth, Toronto ran a fairly consistent four-jammer rotation all weekend, adjusting and filling in based on situation and opponent, and it was clearly led by a resurgent Bambi. A long-time ToRD veteran and still the houseleague’s all-time leading scorer, the home team success did not follow her to the travel team level early in her CN Power career. Last year, Bambi was beginning to look like a viable threat before a broken hand sustained in a game against Ohio held her back. There were no such setbacks in 2013, and she has steadily improved her game all season peaking, as the team did, at just the right time. She was easily the team’s most consistent jammer, putting up 258 points for the tournament (a 5.5 points per jam rate) with never more than 75 or less than 42 points in a game, and finished with a 50% lead percentage overall. Her footwork was phenomenal, and she used her size well, getting through the narrowest of gaps but also playing close to opposing blockers, avoiding hits and staying away from danger (important when you are virtually always the smallest skater on the track).

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

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

She did get help from the rest of the rotation at timely moments as well. Bala Reina had a hot and cold tournament: absolutely dominant against Sacred City  (79 points, 6.2 points per jam, and a 62% lead percentage) and Boston (82, 6.8, 42%), she was completely neutralized against Atlanta, but bounced back against Victorian. Co-captain Dusty had her strongest game against Boston, where her jukey, scrappy style worked well (she has a knack for keeping her game in the middle of the track, avoiding the outside/inside lane drag backs that Boston was so proficient at). She led the team with a 56% lead percentage in that game and also managed 50 points (5.6 PPJ).

Despite running out of gas at the end against Melbourne (they led for much of the first half and went into the break tied at 75, but looked simply exhausted for much of the second half), it was nothing less than a phenomenal weekend for Toronto Roller Derby. Two major upsets and a team-defining performance against one of the sport’s best teams in Atlanta, topped off by a marquee international showdown with Australia’s top team, has put ToRD clearly into the roller derby spotlight, a spotlight that has often skipped over the city and its league. And, it should be noted, they did it while facing adversity as well, losing three skaters to injury in the week leading up to their departure for Divisionals (veteran blocker Rebel Rock-It, second-year jammer Kookie Doe, and long-time, on-track leader Tara Part).

During the last Team Canada tryouts, many felt that Toronto skaters were overlooked (I imagined an audible gasp could be heard from the east-coast derby community when Nasher the Smasher wasn’t even shortlisted); with another World Cup on the horizon and national team tryouts coming up, you get a feeling that won’t be happening again. It’s been a long road, but Toronto has finally arrived at the highest level of flat track roller derby.

Terminal City Climbs Three Spots in Second WFTDA Divisional Playoff

Texas, Philly and Angel City are heading to Milwaukee.

Texas, Philly and Angel City are heading to Milwaukee.

The second Canadian and third international team in WFTDA playoff history, acquitted itself well this weekend in Richmond, Virginia, at the second Divisional tournament in the WFTDA 2013 Big Five season. Scoring an upset in their Friday night opener to book a bout against the historic Texas Rollergirls in the quarter finals (one of their stated goals of the weekend), Vancouver’s Terminal City All Stars went 1 – 1 in the consolation round to jump three spots, finishing 7th in the Division.

Read the blow-by-blow recap by Ogden Smash on Derby News Network (featuring the photography of Jennifer M. Ramos)

Read the blow-by-blow recap of Terminal City vs. Tampa by Ogden Smash on Derby News Network. (Featuring the photography of Jennifer M. Ramos)

Terminal City laid its cards on the table on the opening jam of their first game, using their vaunted star-pass strategy to ensure no more than a four-point pick up for Tampa, who took the first lead of the game. Unfazed, Terminal City quickly jumped back in front, gaining a lead that they would not relent, yet they would never really be able to put away a scrappy Tampa team either as they would be virtually tied in second half scoring, with Terminal City holding on for the 180-154 upset. Vancouver stuck with a strict lineup all weekend, using a four-jammer rotation of Kim Janna, Evada Peron, Bobbi Barbarich and luludemon. The consistency and variety of their jammers allowed them to provide a varied offense that kept defenses guessing.

While they were clearly overmatched against Texas, they nonetheless put in an outstanding effort and found significant success offensively, able to score 125 points against the perennial powerhouses and founders of the modern, flat track version of the sport. While Terminal City’s lines were fairly consistent on the weekend (and the bench kept fairly short), pack penalties—particularly against Texas—kept things varied. Pivots Buffy Sainte Fury, Scarlett Bloodbath and Kim Mackenzie were excellent all weekend: always hyper aware of what was shaping up and quick to grab the star when necessary. They also got very consistent pack work from Lisa Suggitt, Jocelyn Ingram, Flower Plow’her and Megan Griffith.

Read the blow-by-blow recap by Justice Feelgood Marshall for Derby News Network.

Read the blow-by-blow recap of Terminal City vs. Jacksonville by Justice Feelgood Marshall for Derby News Network.

The first consolation round showdown with Jacksonville was a fast-paced and fairly even bout that Jacksonville took control of early. Despite playing their cleanest game of the weekend, Terminal City could not catch Jacksonville after they took an early lead. Trading jams back and forth throughout and staying relatively clean, the teams put on a show that concluded as one of the best games of the weekend, with Jacksonville winning narrowly 162-127.

And finally, after a slow start against New Hampshire in the 7th place game, Terminal City turned it around to dominate. The jammers had a rough go at it in the early going, facing tough New Hampshire defensive walls. Both luludemon and Kim Janna had tough times penetrating, while Evada was able to juke around the strong formations. Eventually, Terminal City was able to capitalize on New Hampshire mistakes and began to draw penalties (and were dominant on power jams). Fantastically played back-to-back power jams late in the 1st period (the second of which featured luludemon scoring 29 points while Suggitt, Plow’her, Scarlett Bloodbath and Ash Richardson decimated the New Hampshire pack by dominating pack definition and sending all four opposing blockers to the box), put the game away (they’d run away with a 250-154 win).

Read the blow-by-blow recap of Terminal City vs. New Hampshire by Danger (ismymiddlename) on Derby News Network. (Featuring photography by Tom Klubens)

Read the blow-by-blow recap of Terminal City vs. New Hampshire by Danger (ismymiddlename) on Derby News Network. (Featuring photography by Tom Klubens)

While their consistent pack work was huge in their success, the varied offense was key to their game. Each of the four primary jammers had moments to excel, and each had moments when her particular skill set shone. For example, luludemon, who struggled against Texas and even Tampa, was dominant against New Hampshire (76 points) and Jacksonville (58). While Evada Peron found her jukey style better suited against the impenetrable TXRG defense (she led with 41 points) and Tampa (where she dominated with 83 points, a +76 jammer plus/minus, and a 90% lead percentage). The powerful Barbarich and athletic Janna, despite never leading the team in scoring, may have provided the most consistent performances of the weekend, with both managing above 30% lead percentages against Texas, and Janna scoring 50 points on a 60% lead percentage in the opener against Tampa, and Barbarich providing an outstanding well-rounded performance against New Hampshire in the placement clincher (72 points on 80% lead percentage).

It was an impressive WFTDA playoff debut for Terminal City, a performance that will propel them even higher up the rankings than they have already climbed this season (these games count toward next season’s rankings, and because they are playoff games, have a greater weight). If they hadn’t already made a names for themselves, Vancouver’s Terminal City All Stars certainly have now.

**Catch all the games archived at WFTDA.TV.

**Read full game recaps on the Derby News Network.