Terminal City Roller Girls

WFTDA Wrap: CN Power Rocks Roc City; Skids, Terminal City split

CN Power hosted its first ever WFTDA sanctioned homegame against the Roc City Roc Stars. (Photos by Kevin Konnyu)

Roc Stars 108 vs. CN Power 171

CN Power continues its slow climb up the competitive ladder of the WFTDA after putting together a near perfect performance against a tough and wily Roc City team on Saturday in the first ever sanctioned WFTDA home bout hosted by ToRD.  For about 50 minutes CN Power (ranked 17th in the North Central) was in control, dominating portions of the game, before focus was lost in the final 10 minutes and Roc City (17th in the East) was able to mount a comeback and erase what had been a 100-point deficit for much of the second half, but it would prove too little too late as CN Power held on for the 63-point victory.

An early 25-point CN Power power jam blew the game wide open early in the first half.

Coming off of a wild, penalty filled victory against the overly physical Fort Wayne Bomb Squad only two weeks ago, CN Power put together a much more controlled performance against the Roc Stars from Rochester. Things were quite tense from the beginning, with both teams performing well from the opening whistle. Each team seemed cautious at first, and as the points slowly accumulated on each side (5-4 for the visitors five minutes in), it looked as though each team was waiting for the other to make a mistake.  Short, well-defended jams typified the action in the early going of the bout, and there wasn’t a mistake made until a very well-timed last-line hit by Jubilee forced a momentum cut from the Roc City jammer and gave CN Power the power jam with Bambi wearing the star. The host team executed perfectly locking in a tight trap and allowing Bambi to quickly ring up 25 points to blow the game wide open: 29-5.

Aston Martini spent some time with the star for the fourth game in a row.

The Roc Stars seemed a little stunned at this point and the ToRD skaters took over the next few jams to pad their lead, and very slowly the hosts built that lead to 70 points. CN Power went with a slightly different offensive look in this one, slotting Aston Martini and Rebel Rock-It into a more regular spot in the jammer rotation (along with DefeCaitlin, Bambi and Dyna Hurtcha–who, quite effectively, was able to spend more time in the pack) and the broader rotation gave their offense a more varied look. The Roc Stars though, were not about to go down without a fight, and pushed back at the end of the first half, with physical jammer Shockin’ Audrey putting points up on the board to cut into the Toronto lead, 81-24 at the half.

Panty Hoser (99) delivered some big hits for CN Power (in the penalty box with Tara Part, who had another strong game as well).

Seeing that an undisciplined CN Power at full strength may have been hard to beat, Roc City (who mounted a major second-half comeback against Tri-City Thunder only a few weeks before) began to mix things up. The jam starts shifted in the second half to the jammer line where they stayed for almost every jam in the half. Roc city tracked a deep jammer rotation in Kell’d on Impact and Shockin’ Audrey, along with the the very physical Natasha Musquashya (who loved to mix it up off the jammer line) and the triple threat Asa Clubs (who seemed to get stronger as the bout went on). In the pack, JoJo Thrasher and Roxy D. Sniper kept Toronto honest. But CN Power had some stand outs of their own including a monster bout from Panty Hoser, who played the most physical game of her CN Power career. The hosts kept things simple and took advantage of every pack advantage and power jam to build a 144-45 point lead midway through the half.

With the game seemingly getting out of control, animated Roc City bench manager Grid Iron called for an Official Review of a Bambi 9-point jam; it proved to be a timely request as the points were stricken and Bambi was thrown in the box. Roc City fought back hard here as the discipline seen in the Toronto skaters evaporated. Roc City ended the game coming on strong, holding CN Power to about 15 points over the final ten minutes, but it was too little too late as CN Power scored the big victory.

Read Justice Feelgood Marshall's full recap of the bout on the Derby News Network (and see photos by Fotodog).


Montreal’s New Skids on the Block kicked off their competitive WFTDA season this weekend, going  1-1 on a road trip through Minnesota.  In Saturday’s marquee matchup, the 6th ranked Skids took on the North Central’s 2nd ranked Minnesota All Stars (fresh off a 2012 that saw them make the quarterfinals at the WFTDA championship) in St. Paul. With Georgia W. Tush still recovering from a major collarbone break and Iron Wench off of the continent, they tracked a comparatively inexperienced jammer rotation, and while defensively they were able to stay in the game, four jammer penalties were the difference in this one as Minnesota dominated early and then held on as the Montreal skaters made their (now expected) late-game push. Final score 136-95 for Minnesota.

Montreal managed some level of revenge, heading to the second of the Twin Cities, Minneapolis, to take on North Star Roller Girls, who are ten spots lower than Minnesota, ranked 12th in the North Central. The Skids evened up their 2012 WFTDA record with a convincing  261-51 victory.

Next up for Montreal is an intriguing April 7th matchup against No Coast Derby Girls, who are ranked 6th in the South Central (No Coast plays out of Lincoln, Nebraska).

Terminal City All Stars played in their first Wild West Showdown.


Vancouver’s Terminal City All Stars have been the talk of the West in early 2012, debuting with an impressive 3-0 record at the Big O tournament, which included a big victory over Pikes Peak and (in this Nerd’s unofficial estimation) climbing up to about 17th in the rankings. They continued their hot streak at the team’s first ever appearance at the Wild West Showdown. In their opening bout of the tournament on Saturday, the All Stars upset 12th ranked Emerald City 129-109, but fell twice on Sunday to 8th ranked Jet City (141-74) and 15th ranked Santa Cruz (97-84).

Despite the (respectable) losses, Terminal City continues to look very comfortable in the West and although still early in the season, are playing within striking distance of the WFTDA playoffs.

CANADA’S WFTDA TEAMS (Ranking, Region, 2012 Record)

New Skids on the Block, Montreal Roller Derby (6th East): 1-1

Tri-City Thunder, Tri-City Rollergirls (16th North Central): 1-0

CN Power, Toronto Roller Derby (17th North Central): 2-0

Terminal City All Stars, Terminal City Roller Girls (23rd West): 5-2

Team Canada Roster for 2011 Blood and Thunder World Cup

Here it is! The final picks are in and Team Canada’s Roster has been selected (with leagues and team(s)):

Killson (London, Forest Derby Girls; Thames Fatales)
Soul Rekker (Ottawa, Rideau Valley Roller Girls; Slaughter Daughters, Vixens)
Brim Stone (Toronto, ToRD; Gore-Gore Rollergirls, CN Power)
Motorhead Molly (Kitchener, Tri-City Roller Girls; Vicious Dishes, Thunder)
Rainbow Fight (St, John’s, 709 Derby Girls; Vaders Vixens)
Georgia W Tush (Montreal, MTLRD; New Skids on the Block)
Smack Daddy(Montreal, MTLRD; New Skids on the Block)
Lil Mama (Montreal, MTLRD; New Skids on the Block)
Iron Wench (Montreal, MTLRD; New Skids on the Block)
Bone Machine (Montreal, MTLRD; New Skids on the Block)
Jess Bandit (Montreal, MTLRD; New Skids on the Block)
TAZ (Red Deer, Red Deer Roller Derby Association; The Belladonnas )
Gunpowder Gertie (Red Deer, Red Deer Roller Derby Association; The Belladonnas )
Maiden Sane (Regina, Pile O’ Bones Derby Club; Lockdown Lolitas
Hell ‘on Keller (Edmonton, E-Ville Roller Derby; Los Pistolitas)
TeeKnee (Edmonton, Oil City Derby Girls; Oil City All Stars)
Beretta Lynch (Kootenays, West Kootenay Women’s Roller Derby; Kootenay Kannibelles)
8Mean Wheeler (Vancouver, Terminal City Rollergirls; Faster Pussycats, Terminal City All Stars
LuluDemon(Vancouver, Terminal City Rollergirls; Riot GirlsTerminal City All Stars)
Windigo (Houston, Houston Roller Derby; The BrawlersHard Knocks)

Nerd Meat Part 7: Leaps and Bounds

Nerd Meat: The Nerd Does Derby

Part 7: Leaps and Bounds

Now that the weather is starting its slow ascent into summer, I’ve been starting to skate outside. Equipped with some outdoor-appropriate wheels by wheel-hoarding rollergirl partner (are all rollergirls, by nature, wheel hoarders?), the first experience on concrete was not at all as frightening as I’d initially anticipated. There’s a school near us and surrounding the soccer field behind it is a full-size, smoothly paved track. Running drills, playing cat and mouse, I was reminded of that first time my partner and I went skating outside. We were still in Montreal at the time, and had just watched the 2008 MTLRD championship bout (the “Celery Championship,” won by La Racaille—picture flailing stalks of celery replacing the traditional white towel at hockey games and you get the idea), and my partner had finally gotten to the point where she was no longer content to sit in the suicide seats and watch anymore. She wanted to get out there and play. Only problem: She couldn’t skate.

Slaughter Lauder, jamming for the Betties in ’09, was the last ToRD skater to don artisitic skates in bouts. (photo by Kevin Konnyu)

Her first skates were those old-school, white artistic skates (last worn in ToRD during the 2009 season by Slaughter Lauder), bought for a few bucks at the Salvation Army on Rue Notre-Dame, just a block or two north of the Lachine Canal and the recreation trail that follows its coasts. She was committed enough even then to try to skate home and so we began a slow, laborious stutter-stepping march along the smooth trails next to the Canal.

2008 was a strange season for eastern Canadian roller derby: there was a sense of “settling” going on. The rush and adrenaline of the first seasons had passed, leaving leagues to deal with what they’d created. In Montreal, that meant a unified, highly competitive home league of three teams; in Hammer City, it meant the continued focus on the development of the Eh! Team and traveling far and wide; in Toronto, it meant a struggle to maintain control of the largest flat track roller derby league in the world. Perhaps most importantly, 2008 would see the creation of the New Skids on the Block and CN Power, the travel teams in Montreal and Toronto: the first forays into the larger world of flat track roller derby for these two leagues (this would be mirrored out west as well, in Edmonton and Vancouver among others). There was still a sense that things were settling: it was definitely still an era of change and foundation building.

The Eh! Teams takes on Texas’s Hot Rod Honeys in 2008. (photo by Derek Lang)

The development of roller derby in this country continued to be led by Hammer City. That year the Eh! Team would have the pleasure of heading right into the primordial ooze of flat track roller derby by taking on a Texas Rollergirls’ hometeam; they would also strike up a long standing cross-border feud with Killamazoo that continues to this day. And of course, they would continue to blaze a trail into big-tournament participation by continuing to take part in Fall Brawl (where they would finish 2nd in the non-WFTDA bracket).

But growth in the sport certainly wasn’t limited to Hammer City. In Vancouver, Terminal City was setting the pace out west, and in August of that year would host Derby Night in Canada, where the TCRG All Stars would defeat Montreal’s newly formed, suddenly continent hopping New Skids on the Block 66-48 in the final. But Canada would also have a hand in spreading the derby word internationally as well when in June, Team Canada, a conglomerate of 4 different Canadian leagues (stretching from as far east as Toronto and as far west as Vancouver), headed to the United Kingdom to take on Glasgow (a 102-41 win) and then London Brawling (won by the hosts 128-45). This would mark the first international flat track roller derby bouts played between intercontinental teams.

Hammer City’s Eh! Team and ToRD’s CN Power, first met in June, 2008. (photo by Derek Lang)

But as much as there was growth, there was also change. One of Canada’s first teams, the Steel Town Tank Girls would not survive the season (though the gap would be filled by a third Hammer City team, the Death Row Dames), and ToRD was struggling through its second season, attempting to maintain some sort of control over a sprawling, six-team league. While the CN Power travel team would be formed, the league focus on internal politics and attempts to placate the differing directional opinions (not to mention trying to maintain ToRD’s steadily growing popularity in the city) would mean that it would be largely overmatched by, in particular, the Eh! Team (they would first meet on June 21 at the George Bell arena in Toronto’s west end). ToRD’s six-team league would not survive 2008 with both the D-VAS and eventually the Bay Street Bruisers contracting (though the Bruisers would actually have one last hurrah at the BOE ’09, and the D-VAS would be reborn as a farm team).

MTLRD’s New Skids on the Block became the first Canadian team to defeat the Eh! Team in July 2008. (photo by Susan Moss)

But the biggest change in the sport in Canada would actually not fully come yet, but be hinted at in a July bout at Arena St. Louis in Montreal. Hammer City’s far more experienced Eh! Team would head north to take on the upstart New Skids on the Block, a rag-tag looking squad of Montreal all stars decked out in the now ubiquitous neon. Only the hometeams had faced each other to this point with HCRG taking almost all of those match ups, with only La Racaille managing a slim (32-30) victory over Steel Town at the BOE 2008. That would all change during that Saturday night in July, when the Skids would ride the momentum caused by an intense, ever-intelligent home town crowd to a historic 58-48 victory, marking the beginning of a shift in power in Canadian derby that would take almost another year to fully play out.

I was there at that bout, in my customary spot in the suicide seats, cheering wildly and probably a little belligerently (funny how when I knew the rules less, I actually used to yell at the refs more). While I was already completely enamored with the sport at that point, I was only just beginning to get a sense of the larger world of derby, and the greater significance of that Skids’ victory was lost on me at the time. Upon retrospect, it’s clear to see now that it was the first step in a complete recalibration of the sport in this country, led by a Montreal machine that would help expand the borders of the game.

The D-VAS (in black) last played as a ToRD hometeam in 2008. They now serve as a farm team for the league. (photo by Kevin Konnyu)

It’s remarkable how quickly flat track roller derby is evolving, how that bout was only three years ago but seems like a different era all together. My partner was able to go from absolutely no skating ability to being rostered in a single year. Now, with 90 new recruits, the gap between the skaters who will be ready for drafting by the end of the program and those who won’t be, will be significant. The sport also requires a new level of athletic and strategic commitment as well, and the isolation and pace strategies that fresh meat are now learning at an early stage of training, didn’t even exist in 2008. Here in Toronto, players aren’t even necessarily drafted to teams upon completion of the fresh meat program anymore; instead, they will hone their skills playing for the resurrected D-VAS, which now serves as a league-wide farm team, allowing skaters to be drafted at a significantly higher level. Now, before a skater plays a bout with a ToRD hometeam, she will have the experience of being part of a team, attending regular practices, and most importantly, bouting. All before she’s even drafted.

And this is just the beginning of another massive evolution that will truly change the nature of the sport; as right now, hundreds of young girls are playing in junior roller derby leagues all across North America (including here in Toronto), learning the fundamentals of the game at a mind-bogglingly young age. When these kids start reaching playing age and a wave of junior-trained skaters starts being drafted into leagues (some who will have been skating for up to nine years at that point), it will signify a massive leap forward and the sport will change once again.

Nerd Meat Part 4: Coming to Canada

Nerd Meat: The Nerd Does Derby

Part 4: Coming to Canada

I had a breakthrough at fresh meat. While stopping in any traditional sense is still a work in progress, we’ve finished learning all the falls, and I’ve come to realize that when great speeds are attained, falling to one’s knees is the quickest way to stop. My confidence shot through the roof. Then, this past week we scrimmaged. While it was exhilarating to say the least, my body has a long way to go to catch up to my mind: Even though I feel I know exactly what I should be doing, that doesn’t mean I can actually do it.

ToRDs Zebra Mafia prepare for a 2010 bout. (photo by Joe Mac)

I’ve been really interested in what drew these various women to ToRD’s fresh meat program, but as the weeks go by, it is becoming obvious that they are probably just as interested in what I’m doing there. I’m not the only guy, there are two others, both of whom are doing fresh meat alongside the referee training, but we stand out. I’ve got a stock answer set to respond to the inquiry: I write about roller derby and feel like I’m at that stage where I need to know it from the inside out. And that was the motivation. I have an extraordinary amount of respect for roller derby referees. The men and women in stripes who police this sport—as with other sports—don’t get a lot of respect. They get ridiculed by the crowd, harassed by the skaters. In the states, Queen of the Rink recently released a blog post called “How referees are killing flat track roller derby,” which argued for a reorganization of officiating in flat track roller derby. While I do think the sport is going through some growing pains (it is only 8 years old, don’t forget) and should be constantly refined, for the most part the refs want to do their best, and, I think, succeed just as much as the players do. And of course, without them, there wouldn’t be a game.

That being said, I’m not particularly interested in refereeing. That’s not the relationship I want to have with this sport.

Another thing that comes up (from freshies and skaters alike) is the possibility of starting a “merby” league. While I’d be lying through my teeth if I said I’d never thought about playing in a bout, I’m still not sure about my relationship with men’s roller derby. Although a few years ago it would have been absurd to think of men playing this sport on any scale of note, it’s a reality now that can’t be ignored. From all-men or co-ed scrimmages at Roller Con to the ever burgeoning Men’s Roller Derby Association (formerly the Men’s Derby Coalition), men’s roller derby is coming and it is coming fast.

The Mens Roller Derby Association was formerly known as the Mens Derby Coalition.

The Men’s Derby Coalition formed out of that same initial explosion of North American roller derby in 2007. In 2006, it was actually fairly easy to count the number of women’s leagues playing flat track roller derby (there were about 30); by the summer of 2007 the sport had spread considerably and had grown beyond its American roots. By 2007 roller derby had come to Canada.

If you talk to anyone who was inspired to begin playing or forming roller derby leagues in those days, they all cite the same influence: the A&E series Rollergirls. The skaters of the Lonestar Rollergirls were a diverse bunch from a variety of fields who shared similar, attractive features: fiercely independent, athletic and strong, but also unabashedly feminine. Rollergirls presented more than a sport, it presented an attitude, a way of life.

That the show was remarkably appealing to a 21st century woman should not be a surprise, and it probably shouldn’t be that much of a surprise that it influenced scores of women to follow suit. Playing banked track roller derby was a pipe dream for most, if not all, who were inspired by the sport. So when those first wannabe skaters began to research the possibility of playing, they inevitably encountered what was still known as the United Leagues Coalition (and later WFTDA), and the other girls in Austin, the flat-track playing Texas Rollergirls.

The show aired in Canada as well, and the same wave of formation followed. Out west Edmonton’s first league, the Oil City Derby Girls was forming, while in British Columbia the skaters who would form the Terminal City Rollergirls were beginning to organize in Vancouver, and a group of women in Victoria were coming together as the Eves of Destruction. Back east, in Hamilton, Toronto and Montreal, like-minded women were finding each other all with the same idea: to start a roller derby league.

The first organized league bout in Canadian flat track history was played by the Hammer City Rollergirls in 2006.

On July 22nd, 2006, the newly formed Hammer City Roller Girls played the first official organized flat track roller derby bout in Canada when their Steel Town Tank Girls took on the Hamilton Harlots in Burlington, Ontario. While the importance of this date in Canadian flat track lore is undeniable, it could be the events in Toronto less than a month later that may have had the greater influence.

Toronto Roller Derby formed out of a merger and reorganization of two independent teams, the Toronto Terrors and the Smoke City Betties. To facilitate the development of a league (and to help with the growth and understanding of the sport in wider circles) the Smoke City Betties organized the Betties’  D-Day, the first ever inter-league roller derby event to be held in Canada. On August 19, 2006, Hammer City, Montreal, and five of the six original ToRD teams were all present to play in a series of mini-bouts. While loosely set up as a tournament, the event would prove to be more important as a networking and training event. The Hamilton Harlots (as they would in most cases in those early days) dominated the day, defeating the Death Track Dolls, the Steel Town Tanks Girls, and Montreal in the mini-bout portion of the tournament, before taking down the host Smoke City Betties (79-57) in the main event.

This Betties D-Day was a taking-off point for eastern Canadian roller derby. Hammer City would form Canada’s first travel team (the Eh! Team), Montreal would head back to Quebec and form their first home teams (Les Contrabanditas and Les Filles du Roi), Toronto would add the Gore-Gore Rollergirls to form what, at the time, was the largest flat track roller derby league in the world. By the beginning of 2007 all three leagues would be fully organized and in full swing, opening the doors to the public and beginning their first seasons of roller derby. Others in Ottawa, the GTA and London had taken notice and were following suit.

Betties D-Day, held in August 2006, was a seminal event in Canadian roller derby history.

Roller Derby folk like to toss around the word “revolution” when they talk about their sport (half ironically, of course), but in many ways the quick growth of flat track roller derby really does fit the definition. An entirely new sport created for women, by women that would feature women. Nothing like it had happened before. Over the 20th century women had become increasingly involved in pre-existing men’s sports, but with flat track roller derby, they’d created their own.

It is perhaps because all of this that I am uncomfortable playing men’s roller derby. I still can’t help but think of roller derby spaces as women’s spaces, the sport itself as a women’s sport (and I mean that politically, not physically). But even on this point, I am heavily conflicted, and my opinion is slowly changing, as are the opinions of many in the sport. When I first discovered roller derby, I wholeheartedly bought into the idea of it being an extension of the riot grrrl/third wave feminism movements that had swept through North America at the end of the 20th century, and it certainly was a major influence (Steel Town Tank Girls!). But as time passes and as the sport evolves, this categorization seems awfully limited, dated even, of another era: The sport has transcended such classification. I just don’t see that reactionary anger in roller derby; I don’t see skaters out there trying to undermine any pre-existing paradigms; I don’t see women who feel the need to fight for something (respect, recognition, whatever) that they feel they deserve. And while I think all skaters demand that their sport be viewed as a serious, physical, athletic endeavour, I don’t think many are too concerned with falling into the rigid parameters we have set for what has traditionally been called a “sport.”And that is probably what sets roller derby apart from the too easily defined feminist movements of the 1990s; skaters are too focused on developing their game to be engaged in some last-century battle for acceptance.

The 21st century rollergirl doesn’t fight for equality, she expects it.

Goodbye 2010: Favourite Photos and Off-Track Highlights

Another iconic shot from Fifth Business (Kevin Konnyu).

Mannie Leibowitz (David Artemiw) was the official photographer of the Smoke City Betties.


It’s hard to believe that it has already been a year since I finally sat down and starting writing about this sport. While it may have come after a long apprenticeship, I had no idea what to expect and have been overwhelmed by the support. I would like to thank the skaters and refs and volunteers at ToRD for their access, trust and support throughout this year. It has been amazing to watch this league thrive and continue to grow in every way possible. To be able to chronicle it so closely is not something I take for granted.

Bagel Hot (Derek Lang) has been shooting Canadian Roller Derby since the beginning.

I would also like to thank all the other leagues that I covered this year: Montreal, where I first learned the sport and where I continue to learn so much; Tri-City for forcing everyone else’s game up another notch; and Hammer City for blazing such a clear trail. Also Rideau Valley Rollergirls, Forest City’s Thames Fatales, GTA Rollergirls, Terminal City and E-Ville thank you all for being amazing examples of what this sport can accomplish.

Joe Mac (Midnight Matinee) brought a new lense to the sport in 2010.

And finally, the photographers whose pictures have illustrated these articles. Kevin Konnyu, Derek Lang, Joe Mac and David Artemiw thanks for always being so quick, so open, and so awesome with your work; they are essential to what I do and wonderful for the sport. Also for their generosity with their images, thank you so much to Laine “Seen It All” White, Chrissie “Fresh Eyes” Wu and Nicolas “The Left Coast Legend” Charest.  I’m indebted to you!


Slow Derby Sucks ROCKS!

Derby nerds love slow derby! Perhaps the great evolution of flat track roller derby took place in 2009 when Denver (among other Western Region teams) brought the “trap” to the sport. This kick started an era of strategic growth in 2010 that has changed the nature of the game: forcing rules refinement from the officials and a higher level of strategic play from the skaters. It was absolutely amazing to see this evolution play out at the 2010 WFTDA Championships. From ultra-fast defensive packs to dead-slow traps (and everything in between) Uproar on the Lakeshore had it all. But there were, of course, some nostalgia mongers who, afraid of change–or perhaps just their ability to keep up—decided to take it upon themselves to bring a negative attitude to what was a celebratory event. The “Slow Derby Sucks” brigade was in Windy City in full force booing teams who employed…well, strategy, or who did anything other than skate in a circle really fast (maybe they were

Mega Bouche (ToRD) and Lock And Roll (HCRG). (Photo by Lucid Lou)

short track speed skating fans who took a wrong turn because I always thought the point of roller derby was to advance your jammer passed the opposing team’s pack). Along with wearing offensive t-shirts they also handed out misguided and insulting pamphlets that among other things urged people to boycott bouts featuring teams that employed slow-derby strategy: I have nothing but contempt for people who use “boycott” and “roller derby” in the same sentence.

That’s when two Canadian Crusaders stepped in and saved the day. ToRD’s very own Mega Bouche and Hammer City’s Lock And Roll managed to snag a couple of T-shirts (and even one of the signs) and turned them into wonderful pieces of subversive art. Thank you so much Lock and Bouche for creating such a beautiful moment!

Meeting the Original Derby Nerds

My personal off-track highlight of 2010 was getting to interview the original derby nerds, the voices of flat track roller derby, Dumptruck and Val Capone. The interviews were conducted for ToRD.TV at the 2010 WFTDA Championships, where one of my on-the-track highlights took place: Rocky Mountain’s championship victory over Oly, which may have been the best flat track roller derby bout ever played. It was a pleasure to interview these two figures (who have had a big influence on me); they are both extraordinarily gracious and welcoming and of course, monsters of roller derby knowledge.

Here are the interviews in their entirety!


Val Capone:

Happy New Year! Till 2011.

(For a little teaser, check out ToRD’s 2011 schedule!)


Mega Bouche of the White Team was one of many ToRD skaters taking part. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

Team Black (Mamas) 144 vs. Team White (Trash) 141

For the three days preceding Saturday’s Blood & Thunder All Stars Bout, skaters from all across Canada (and even a few from south of the border) descended on the ToRD Hangar for the first Training Camp the popular magazine has hosted in the city. Mirroring the expedited growth of the sport in Canada, the camp was jammed full of some of the most talented skaters this country has to offer (fittingly, on the eve of the camp, Tri-City was declared Canada’s third full WFTDA member). With such a deep pool of talented athletes, it was no wonder that two impressively skilled lineups were thrown together for Saturday’s bout. And after a rocky first half for the girls in white, the second half brought the level of back-and-forth strategic play that was expected from the two all-star squads, with Black managing to hold on for the nail-biting victory in a bout that came right down to the final contested jam.


ToRD's Bambi and Terminal City's Luludemon were both key for their teams. (Photo by Joe Mac)

The key to the kinds of bouts that feature teams of hastily thrown-together talent is how well—and how quickly—the skaters can come together. So while Terminal City’s Luludemon spotted White a quick 4-0 lead, it was clear in the early going that Black was gelling just a little bit quicker. This could have, in large part, been due to the core of five Rideau Valley Roller Girls and four ToRD skaters that shaped the lineup, providing a lot of much-needed familiarity. Nonetheless, there was a lot of line juggling going on as teams figured out who was playing well with whom. The RVRG pack-powerhouse Semi Precious controlled things in the pack early on, while ToRD vet Bambi and Montreal legend Georgia W. Tush took control of things from the jam line; Tush was especially solid early, quickly reeling in Rainbow Fight after the precocious Newfie battled her way through the pack to take the lead (Rainbow Fight and Nickel City’s Low Ride Her were the two least inexperienced skaters on the rosters, both playing for rookie leagues, although neither looked out of place on this night).

Forest City's Tamahawk was a revelation; while RVRG's Soul Rekker was business as usual. (Photo by Joe Mac)

In what was quickly becoming the story of the bout, it was another RVRG skater who would blow the game wide open as Slaughter Daughter/Vixen Soul Rekker put up an impressive 20 points. A subsequent power jam by Dyna Hurtcha capped a run of 56 consecutive points for Black as they opened up a commanding 56-4 lead half way through the first. Things opened up a bit in the later stages of the first half, with White finally finding their footing and way back into the bout. Luludemon and Soul Rekker had some great first half battles, but the story was in the pack; strong positional pairings like Tush and Precious or 8 Mean Wheeler (Terminal City) and Brim Stone (ToRD) complemented by big hitting from Assassinista (RVRG) and Mia Culprit (returning to competitive roller derby after a year-long hiatus) made up the difference in Black’s 83-26 half-time lead.


With the teams fully comfortable with each other, and the play opening up considerably near the end of the first half, if was no surprise that the second half featured more strategic play, and a big pushback from White. Having watched the first half from behind the benches, E-Ville’s Coach Pauly and Quadzilla (both instructors at the camp) couldn’t help it, and found themselves getting more and more involved over the duration of the second half. Knowing they needed to do something different than what they’d done in the first half to make up the gap, White set the tone for the half with an early star pass between Rainbow and Lulu that worked brilliantly breaking up a long and potentially tiring jam to rack up 17 points for White and getting them back into the bout. There were more RVRG players standing out for the White squad as well, with Surgical Strike doing her part in the pack to help White’s chances. Yet another in a long line of up-and-coming Montreal skaters, Hustle Rose was a huge triple threat for White as well, busting out of traps and picking up points in the early going to keep her team in the game. It was a Hustle power jam that pulled White within striking distance, 113-111, midway through the second.

Hustle Rose (MTLRD) gets some help from RVRG's Surgical Strike. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

Another strong contingent in the bout emerged as the bout progressed; the four Forest City skaters on White—Mirambo, Anya Face, Commiekaze and Tamahawk—were all key elements in the White comeback. Mirambo was solid all bout, while Anya helped orchestrate a key 20 point power jam (made possible by a well-executed trap in a 4-1 pack advantage) that had White take the lead for the first time since the opening jam, 121-113. The pairing of Chicks Ahoy/CN Power teammates Mega Bouche and Tara Part was also effective for White, creating solid walls up front, along with Montreal’s Trash N Smash. But the experienced players on Black remained unfazed by the quick loss of their lead; Tush was key in the final jams of the bout, with Bambi confidently taking back the lead with a 14 point jam with under five minutes to go. After trading the lead back and forth, and only two minutes remaining White jammer Luludemon gave her team the lead on a grueling jam, only to find herself sent to the box, leaving Tush with just enough time to lap the pack and pick up a grand slam to pull ahead 142-141. With three seconds left on the clock, White called a time out. But in the final jam, the reliable Bambi, who is coming off of another strong ToRD season that concluded with a championship only weeks ago, took the lead for Black and after a brief, heart-stopping delay, called the jam to give her team the 144-141 victory.

It was, literally, a cross-Canada collection of talent. (Photo by Joe Mac)


For most of the skaters in Toronto this weekend, this camp represents the end to a 2010 season that was groundbreaking in many ways for the sport in general, but for the sport in Canada in particular. Montreal broke through the international boundaries to announce Canada’s burgeoning emergence as a potential roller derby power. Their finishing the season with a run at WFTDA’s Eastern Regionals and a 7th place ranking in the Region are major accomplishments, especially considering how far they have come, and quickly they managed it. ToRD’s early season success at the Quad City Chaos showed that CN Power has the potential to compete at the top level of Canadian derby, but Tri-City’s October victory over their big-city rivals, and

Dyna Hurtcha had a solid night for Black. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

their recent earning of full WFTDA status, proved a reminder to ToRD (and all the other top Canadian leagues) that the “top level” is rising quickly. 2011 promises to take it to yet another level, with  Terminal City beginning their WFTDA Apprenticeship, Forest City continuing their forays into the U.S., and the Rideau Valley Vixens poised to be Eastern Canada’s next big breakout team. If 2010 was the year flat track roller derby grew up, then 2011 will be the year it matures.

Check out Layer9’s bout footage at ToRD.TV.

Check here for the full rosters.

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


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

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

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

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

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

The Iron Wench has emerged as a devastatingly efficient jammer

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

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


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

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

Now, they face another stiff test.

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

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

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

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

Weekend Preview: Huge Eastern Showdown in Montreal

Skids line up against the CN Power at the Hangar in Toronto.

New Skids on the Block vs. Boston Massacre

It used to be that The Boston Derby Dames would send The Boston B Party (the league’s second travel team) north to beat up on a Montreal home team every once in a while. Then, last season, Les Contrabanditas pushed back, and lost by only one point on a controversial final jam (the jammers, coincidentally, were Killary Clinton and Georgia W. Tush). Nonetheless, it was clear that things were changing.

Fast forward a year and Montreal‘s New Skids on the Block are the fastest rising team in WFTDA and it’s the 3rd ranked Boston Massacre heading north for the third annual match-up between these two roller derby powerhouses.

Having combined pack isolation and trap strategies with an attention to fitness that is unparalleled, the Skids have put together a seven bout winning streak against WFTDA opponents (nine overall) in 2010 including two impressive, one-sided victories over teams ranked well above them in WFTDA’s Eastern Region. These two victories over Dutchland All Stars (186-65) and the 6th ranked Carolina Rollergirls (135-29) have positioned the Skids as a team to be taken seriously in the east. A victory Saturday night, and they would have to be considered a contender.


Lady J pivots as the Skids' pack forms a box around Terminal City jammer Luludemon.

1) Pivots need to control the pack. Montreal’s strength lies in its ability to dominate with pack advantages and especially while on power jams. They have a lot of skaters who can wear the stripe, but watch especially for FDR‘s 1-2 punch of Jess Bandit and Lady J to lead the packs. They have jammers who can skate two full minutes at top speed; if you can keep the pack moving at a leisurely pace, that’s a lot of points. 2) Triple Threats have to be threatening. Geargia W. Tush and Cheese Grater can and will do it all, and they are now complemented  by Smack Daddy who has been a force all over the track in 2010. 3) Ewan Wotarmy has to play like an army. And is more than capable of doing so.  Big jammer take outs defensively and long, fast jams offensively will be key on Saturday. 4) Iron Wench needs to play like the Iron Wench. She is able to single handedly take over a game with a single, explosive jam. Deadly on power jams, almost impossible to take down, and unfailingly disciplined, the Wench could be the difference. 5) Stay out of the box. The New Skids on the Block have an incredibly deep line up (Lyn-dah Kicks, Romeo, Wrath Poutine, Nameless Whorror, Trash N Smash, Bone Machine… well, here’s the lineup), and if they can keep putting out full, consistent lines, they can very easily wear an opposing team down.

A year ago I wouldn’t have thought I’d say this, but I think it’s too close to call. One thing for certain, it will be one of the best roller derby bouts yet played north of the border.

Les Sexpos vs. The Rideau Valley Vixens

Many roller derby fans concluded that MTLRD’s recent dominance at the Beast of the East had a lot to do with the rise of the Skids, but I would argue that the development of the Sexpos is what is actually bolstering up the rosters of the Montreal home teams.The emergence of players like Ninja Simone, Beats Per Minute, K-Dawg and  Striking Viking (to name just a few!) has come as a direct result of the increased play and experience gained from playing with the Sexpos, and gives the depth to the home team rosters that really sets them apart.

The Sexpos, in only their second year of existence, have quietly developed into a solid team in their own right, and are  coming off of a 213-59 dismantling of the Dutchland Blitz. The Vixens are a new travel team formed as part of the Rideau Valley’s expansion this season (following the development of a second home team, The Riot Squad), and are off to an 0-2 start in their inaugural season. They suffered a one sided loss in their first bout (199-149 against ToRD’s CN Power), but had a much closer battle with Steel City’s B-Unit in their last outing. The Vixens will need to keep up with well-controlled packs and contain well-practiced jammers to keep this one from getting out of hand.

You can catch both bouts of this Saturday’s double header on MTLRD’s ustream channel.

Word on the track

Ewan Wotarmy lines up Lady Gagya; Rebel Rock-It attempts to cut through the pack (New Skids on the Block vs. CN Power 03/27/10)


In a Quad City Chaos preview I’d speculated that Montreal’s New Skids on the Block may have been the hottest WFTDA team in 2010. I was basing my statement on the fact that after opening 2010 with 2 tough losses to highly ranked WFTDA teams, the Skids have won their final five bouts by huge margins (not to mention a couple of one-sided victories against non-WFTDA teams). So, with all that in mind, are the Skids really the hottest WFTDA skaters in 2010?

According to the numbers on  flattrackstats.com (WFTDA points and 0verall rankings), there are four teams in the running, but I’m not going to count the Oly Rollers because their biggest leap in points actually occurred at the 2009 WFTDA Nationals (even if only reflected in the opening standings of 2010). So that leaves Montreal against the Bellingham Roller Betties and the Slaughter County Roller Vixens. In terms of point differential (flattrack stats uses a very precise, complicated and fascinating algorithm to determine its points; you can read all about it here), Slaughter County has made the greatest leap in 2010 (75.55 points). This is only slightly higher than Bellingham’s 65.89 point leap and Montreal’s 62.88 point leap. What is important to note though, is how each team’s ranking has changed. Bellingham has only moved 3 spots from 72nd to 69th overall (and upon further inspection, did so based not on their own victories, but on the losses of others). Similarly, while Slaughter County had the biggest points increase, they only  jumped 13 spots (70th -57th), and they too relied upon the losses of others (and their own losses to highly ranked teams), and one big victory over Central Coast. In terms of rankings, Montreal is the clear winner in this category, jumping a remarkable 24 spots so for in 2010 (from 58th to 34th, and 13th to 8th in the Eastern Region). More importantly, they did so based not on the misfortunes of other teams, but on the strength of their own victories. So what had begun as simple hyperbole, has turned out to be true: Montreal’s New Skids on the Block are indeed the hottest team in WFTDA.

(Check here for a recap of the Skids’ recent 3 game, east coast road trip).


Speaking of hot teams! With their 170-119 victory over 11th ranked Madison, the top ranked defending WFTDA champion Oly Rollers took one more step toward a big record with their 14th consecutive WFTDA sanctioned victory. They are now only 4 wins away from Gotham‘s record of 18 strait victories; a two-year streak that ended last year. (The DNN roundup of Oly’s victory also includes a very good recap of the Hammer City-hosted WFTDA sanctioned bout between the Eh! Team and the New Skids on the Block prior to The Quad City Chaos.)


Although men’s bouts have been happening since the start of derby’s modern revival, and random teams having been popping up all over the place (including Western Canada), for the first time an organized league has been formed. The Men’s Derby Coalition (MDC) (featuring teams in Baltimore, New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts) kicked off play on March 27th, 2010. (The Derby News Network provides a great season preview.)


While most eastern Canadian leagues kick off their home leagues in May, the Tri-City Roller Girls are starting their season pre Beast of the East this year, on April 10th, with a bout between defending champs The Vicious Dishes and their Tri-City rivals The Venus Fly Tramps. Both teams will be looking to get some important game-practice in leading up to BOE 2010.


Look for a look back at Beast of the East ’09, a preview of BOE ’10, and team previews for the upcoming ToRD season.

Quad City Chaos: Recap

Defecaitlin fights through Terminal City's pack.


No surprises at this weekend’s Quad City Chaos, unless Montreal’s New Skids being even better than advertised could be considered a surprise. Montreal easily won the first annual Quad City Chaos invitational, posting lop-sided victories over all involved, including topping 200 points in two of their three bouts. CN Power (2-1) finished a strong second in the tournament, with Hammer City’s Eh! Team third after edging a game Terminal City squad in an exciting and closely contested conclusion to the tournament.






New Kids on the Block (MTLRD)





CN Power (ToRD)





Eh! Team (Hammer City)





Terminal City All Stars (TCRG)






The bouts involving CN Power, The Eh! Team, and the Terminal City All Stars were all close, hard fought battles, with the teams often changing leads. The differences between these three teams were negligible at best, and you got the feeling that on any given night any one of these teams could prevail. That parity made for an exciting weekend and bodes well for the future of roller derby in Canada.

After a disorganized, and potentially jet-lagged opening half against the CN Power, Terminal City noticeably improved with each bout, often quickly adapting to the nuances of the eastern game and the strategies of the opposing teams.

Brim Stone and Perky Set at the top of the pack.

Skater for skater the girls from Vancouver matched up well. Despite the 0-3 record, The All Stars showed moments of brilliance over the weekend; at times this team was like a shape shifter, adapting to and countering strategies of other teams. They were capable of keeping Montreal under 200 points (160) almost solely due to their defense on power jams. Not wanting to get into a slow, strategic positional-blocking battle with the Skids, they instead elected to race ahead of the Montreal blockers and stretch the pack to encourage one on one battles. This also forced the jammer to work twice as hard, resulting in extremely fast-paced, low scoring jams.

The Eh! Team looked a little unpracticed at times this weekend, with loose formations and no answers to the pack strategies being employed by the Skids. But they had some great jamming and also improved with each bout and will undoubtedly use this weekend as a starting point for what should be a challenging but exciting WFTDA season.

Even missing a few star players, The New Skids on the Block look poised to make a breakthrough in WFTDA’s Eastern division. Almost militant in their preparation and surgical in the execution of strategy, Montreal constantly frustrated the other teams with a few different blocker traps (at the back and on the line), some well-timed and well-placed hits, and an almost unhitable arsenal of jammers. This is a team to watch in 2010, and, as long as the players stay healthy, should make its well-deserved debut in the WFTDA Regionals.

Collide-O-Skope Kid and Iron Wench at the line.


Such a long tournament and there were so many amazing performances that it is hard to narrow down key players on each side. Terminal City’s Lambe Baste Her, Luludemon, and Roller Girl provided strong jamming all weekend, while Barra Couga was a tenacious thorn in more than a few sides. LA Gunns did not look like someone returning from a major injury and delivered some serious hits in the pack, and 8-Mean Wheeleer provided solid leadership.

For the Eh! Team, Carla Coma and Vicadoom continued to carry the jam load, but big hitter Bitchslap Barbie stepped in against TCRG and put up a lot of points in the victory. Perky Set battaled hard all weekend, and Lock N Roll made her return to The Hangar wearing a visitor’s jersey for the first time, and looked up to the tastk, even taking her turn with the star against her former CN Power teammates.

The New Skids on the Block simply had no weaknesses in its lineup. The Iron Wench continued to show that she is a world class jammar, with strong suport from Lyn-dah Kicks and Georgie W. Tush.  Jess Bandit proved that she can lead a pack with the best of them, and Ewan Wotarmy and Smack Daddy did double duty, providing solid pack blocking with some energetic jams.


Mach Wheels holds Avi Hater outside while Lunchbox takes the inside.

Any way you look at it, this was an extraordinarily successful weekend for the members of CN Power. They had an opportunity to test themselves against the best that the country had to offer and managed to grind out two impressive victories; perhaps more importantly, they faced intelligent, tough opponents with different strengths and weaknesses, which will undoubtedly teach them a lot going forward. While the two victories were important, the way they happened was potentially more so.

Feeling confident and urged on by the home crowd, CN Power came out flying in its opening game against Terminal City. Employing a strategy of slow packs and aggressive jamming (reminiscent of their victory over The Rideau Valley Vixens), the trio of Lunch Box, Land Shark, and Defecailtlin lead the team to a huge lead early against a bewildered, and unfocused Vancouver squad, taking a 40 point lead into halftime. But the second half was another story and the All Stars were like a different team–relentless defense, aggressive hitting, and defensive jamming all contributed to a much more competitive second half, and although CN Power held on for a 97-79 victory, they  paid a physical price for it in the end.

The effects of playing back-to-back bouts were obvious as the hometeam fell behind early against their provincial rivals from Hamilton (55-49 at the half). But CN Power, still stinging after a two year losing streak to the Eh! Team, sent a clear message in the second half: the team has come to play in 2010. With Defecaitlin seeing limited action due to injury, Bambi stepped up and provided key jams in the second half, and in a spirited effort, CN Power took the lead and held on for an amazing 89-87 victory.

It was a different story against the Skids. After an emotionally exhausting Saturday, CN Power was never really able to get anything going against the powerhouses on Sunday. Constantly frustrated,  CN Power did show signs of the potential for a stronger performance late: even in the face of such opposition, Lunchbox was her usual calm self and provided some much needed consistency at the jam line, and Land Shark displayed a new level of toughness mixing it up with (and even getting the better of ) Montreal’s super pivot Jess Bandit on a few occasions. CN Power also showed some ingenuity in the second half  including giving Montreal a taste of its own medicine with a well executed trap. But in the end the inability to defend against the power jam allowed the Skids to run up the score.

Brim Stone and Rebel Rock-It provided solid leadership up front all weekend and Nasher the Smasher, making her 2010 debut, also looked comfortable in the stripe. Mach Wheels continues to impress with her unbelievable control and poise and made more than her fair share of hilight-worthy assists on the weekend (including an impressive ‘waitress’ against the Skids).


This weekend also saw the launch of ToRD.TV, a site dedicated to hilighting ToRD and its skaters. Keep an eye out for upcoming specials (interviews, bout hilights, etc…) from this weekend’s Quad City Chaos.