Thames Fatales

Word on the Track: Montreal Splits in Chicago; Forest City City Rolls; Rankings Released

Montreal's Surgical Strike and Jess Bandit give Windy jammer Jackie Daniels a hard time. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Montreal’s Surgical Strike and Jess Bandit give Windy City jammer Jackie Daniels a hard time. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

SKIDS 1-1 IN CHICAGO

Montreal’s New Skids on the Block (currently ranked 17th in the WFTDA) travelled to Chicago this weekend to take on Chi-Town’s two WFTDA teams: the Windy City Rollers (6th) and the Chicago Outfit (34th). It had been two years since Windy and the Skids faced off (Windy City took that matchup 130-105), and it seems that not much has changed since then. In another tight, exciting game between two teams that have high hopes for the WFTDA playoffs this year, the Windy City Rollers skated away with a 249-211 victory in what was a fast paced, high scoring game.

On the undercard for the evening, Toronto’s CN Power took on Windy City’s Second Wind and beat the B-Team 231-179. It was the first regulation (IE: non-sanctioned) bout of the year for Toronto and coming after an up-and-down Quad City Chaos, it provided a much needed confidence boost (the 52 point victory exceeded statistical expectations).

Toronto defeated Second Wind on Saturday before falling to Windy City on Sunday. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Toronto defeated Second Wind on Saturday before falling to Windy City on Sunday. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Montreal closed out the weekend with a closed, sanctioned bout against the Chicago Outfit on Sunday. The Skids avenged their Saturday night loss with a massive victory over the Outfit, 339-88, an impressive victory over another First Division team, and one that made the playoffs last year as well. The Skids improved their record to 4-1 on the season and look phenomenal early on in 2013. The one question that remains is can they maintain it? It has seemed in the past that the early-season-bout-heavy Skids have peaked too early in the year, only to run out of steam come playoffs.  They’ve got games this month against River City (the 14th) and Toronto (26th).

Jammer Bloodlust Barbie is a big part of the Timber Rollers developing offense. (Photo by Joe Mac)

Jammer Bloodlust Barbie is a big part of the Timber Rollers developing offense. (Photo by Joe Mac)

FOREST CITY ON THE VERGE OF FULL WFTDA STATUS

Forest City’s WFTDA Apprentice Timber Rollers hosted Toronto Roller Derby houseleague team The Death Track Dolls in their second (of two) mock sanctioned bouts as a requirement of their apprenticeship. For the first time, Forest City has separated its travel team roster from its home teams to improve competitive play, and it has seemed to pay off so far in 2013. Entering the game on the heels of victories over Tri-City’s B-team and Royal City’s Brute-Leggers, they faced off against the Dolls in their new venue, the Agriplex, to a near capacity crowd.

The Rollers flew off the jam line to start things off, amassing a 33-0 lead before the Dolls were able to get their first lead jammer status and their first points (courtesy of Audry Hellborn, who had a strong opening half with the star). It only stemmed the flow, as they increased their lead to 68-9 (Audrey would score the first 13 points for the Dolls) at the midway point of the half. Comparatively, the Rollers penalty box was quiet during the first half, while the Dolls ran into early penalty trouble and gave up three power jams in the period. The Rollers were up 102-37 at the half.

The Rollers have built the team around a strong core of veteran blockers led by Sufferjet, Dollface Massacre, Back Alley Sally, Freez’er Burn and Anya Face, but also a new generation of on-track leaders like Andi Slamberg and Glamarchist. While double threats Slamberg and Pixie Kix provided solid offense with the star, Bloodlust Barbie is the breakout jammer of the 2013 Timber Rollers and gave the Dolls a hard time all night.

In her second game with the Dolls, Rainbow Fight looks increasingly comfortable in her new league. (Photo by Joe Mac)

In her second game with the Dolls, Rainbow Fight looks increasingly comfortable in her new league. (Photo by Joe Mac)

The Dolls entered the game with a far different lineup from the one that defeated the Chicks Ahoy a few weeks ago, and with some rookies and less experienced (or just newer skaters) getting a lot of track time, it took a while for the team to get going (they scored 28 of their 37 first half points in the final 12 minutes). The Dolls came out much stronger in the second, earning the first four lead jammer statuses. But while it was a much more even half (the Dolls would eventually outscore the hosts 62-58 in the half), the Rollers managed to keep pace and not relinquish the lead they’d so carefully built early in the game. A strong line of Dollface, Sufferjet, Freez’er and Pixie finally were able to shut down the suddenly hot Dolls early in the second, a confidence boosting jam that got the Rollers back on track.

The second half was actually an exciting half of derby marked by momentum shifts and scoring runs from each team, with the final score being 160-99. Dolls co-captain Scarcasm and Sinead O-Clobber were both strong on defence, while Getcha Kicks provided some strong relief jamming in the second half, and recent transfer Rainbow Fight was able to play her second game with her new squad and looked increasingly impressive in the pack, but especially on the jam line. Most importantly for the Dolls, second year skater UpHer Cut and rookie Chicken Sluggets (in her roller derby debut) gained a ton of track time, which could come in handy later this season as they continue their quest to finally reach the ToRD championship.

In the opening game of the night, a new-look Thames Fatales led by veteran blocker Jemicide, double threat Mirambo and rookie jammer phenom Kindree Surprise, took out their co-houseleague team the Luscious Lunch Ladies 186-82. The Ladies were led by Killary Tough, the mulit-talented and surprisingly agile Anne Tastic, and power jammer Torque E. Mada. One of this country’s oldest leagues, Forest City seems to have taken a turn toward a more competitive focus in 2013 and look to be well on their way.

Hammer City fell to 0-2 on the year, but nonetheless, seem to have turned a corner.

Hammer City fell to 0-2 on the year, but nonetheless, seem to have turned a corner.

CANADA STORMS THE FORT (AGAIN!)

Just over a month after ToRD’s CN Power and Bay Street Bruisers traveled south to take on the Fort Wayne Derby Girls, Hammer City and Royal City did the same this past weekend. In the opening game, the rapidly rebuilding Brute-Leggers took on The SWAT Team in a high scoring contest that saw the hosts hold on for the 218-168 victory. In the main event, the Hammer City Eh! Team took on Fort Wayne in a WFTDA sanctioned bout. Hammer City and Fort Wayne have a history that dates all the way back to 2007, but the last time these guys squared off in a WFTDA bout was in 2010 (a 119-44 Fort Wayne win). Hammer City, who have had a rough go of it for the past few years (including enduring the WFTDA’s longest losing streak), seem to finally be turning things around, and lost narrowly 199-177 on the weekend (falling to 0-2 on the season).

POWER RANKINGS RELEASED

And finally, just in case you missed it, the first ever Canadian Power Rankings were released on the Nerd yesterday. Read about the first rankings here.

Beast of the East Update: Participants Named!

The participants for the 2013 Beast of the East were named this weekend, with a very experienced group of teams getting selected to take part. This year will mark the 6th time this tournament has been held; hosted by the Montreal Roller Derby, this year’s tournament will run from April 27th to 28th.

THE PARTICIPANTS

Montreal Roller Derby

Les Contrabanditas

Les Filles du Roi

La Racaille

The host league, and Canada’s most competitive roller derby league, Montreal’s three home teams always seem to have something to say about the outcome of the event. Of the three teams, only Les Contrabanditas remain without a championship, while the Beast of the East’s winningest team La Racaille (17 wins and three trips to the finals) won in 2009 and Les Filles du Roi won it all in 2010. Last year, all three teams made it to the quarter finals, with La Racaille managing a 4th place finish.

Tri-City Roller Girls logo

Tri-City Roller Girls

Vicious Dishes

Total Knock Outs

Tri City’s Vicious Dishes return to defend the title they won so convincingly last year. While the Dishes lost some key skaters in the off season, they remain a seasoned crew. This year, they will be looking to achieve what no other team has: a successful defence of the Beast of the East trophy. The TKO’s make their return to the Beast after an 0-2 debut in 2011.

Rideau Valley ROller Gilrs logo

Rideau Valley Roller Girls

Slaughter Daughters

Riot Squad

The 2011 champs, the Slaughter Daughters, made it all the way back to the final last season, before falling to Tri-City’s Dishes. Nonetheless, it has been a successful two years for the Slaughter Daughters at the tournament and inter-city level, and remain the top ranked home team in the country. As with the Vicious Dishes, many of Rideau Valley’s WFTDA-team skaters play on this team, making them an experienced, formidable crew. The Riot Squad did not complete last year, but compiled a 1-4 record over two appearances in 2010 and 2011.

ToRD logo

Toronto Roller Derby

Chicks Ahoy!

Death Track Dolls

Gore-Gore Rollergirls

Smoke City Betties

All four of Toronto Roller Derby’s home teams have taken part in all of the Beast of the East tournaments, but despite each team’s various successes over the tournament’s history, none have taken home a title. The Chicks Ahoy! finished in 3rd place last season, while Dolls finished 3rd in 2011 when the Gores were runners up. The Smoke City Betties (who had a spirited run to the quarterfinals last year) made their only top 4 appearance in 2009. This year, many veteran skaters are now playing exclusively for ToRD’s WFTDA team, CN Power, meaning that it will be somewhat of a rebuilding year for ToRD’s home teams.

Forest City logo

Forest City Derby Girls

Thames Fatales

Luscious Lunch Ladies

Outside of Montreal and Toronto, London’s Thames Fatales are the only team to have played in every Beast of the East, making it as far as the quarterfinals in 2010. While one other Forest City team has played in the Beast (The London Thrashers in 2008), the Luscious Lunch Ladies will be making their debut in 2013.

GTAR logo

GTA Rollergirls

Derby Debutantes

The Debutantes made their debut in 2009 and have appeared every year since. They’ve picked up two wins along the way, but have yet to advance to the quarterfinals.

Roller Derby Quebec logo

Roller Derby Quebec

Les Casse-Gueules

Le Rouge et Gore

Roller Derby Quebec made its Beast debut in 2011 when it was still a one-team league. This year Les Duchesses, that original team, are now the travel team supported by two home teams, Les Casse-Gueules and Le Rouge et Gore, who will both be appearing at this year’s Beast. Les Duchesses picked up Quebec’s first Beast victory last year.

Beast of the East 5: Preview

The nature of the Beast is changing.

Montreal’s wildly popular annual Beast of the East tournament will be played out for the fifth time this weekend at Arena St. Louis. In the beginning, this tournament acted as a showcase of Eastern Canada’s top hometeams. All fifteen teams in the region took part in the first tournament in 2008, and Queen City’s Devil Dollies (Buffalo) were brought in to fill out the 16-team bracket. Once again in 2010 an American team (Vermont’s Green Mountain Derby Dames) were brought in to fill out the bracket. But around that time there was an explosion of derby happening all across North America: the post Whip It second wave of derby expansion that has continued unabated. Remarkably, it has only been two years since there weren’t quite 16 Eastern teams prepared to play in the tournament. Well, times certainly have changed.

With upward of 25 distinct leagues operating in Ontario and a major boom happening in the Atlantic provinces, finding 16 teams to play in the Beast of the East is certainly no longer a problem, limiting the number to 16, on the other hand, is a new challenge. While spaces were held for the eight teams that had taken part in every tournament, and an additional one held for the defending champions, for the first time in the tournament’s half-decade history a lottery had to be performed to determine which teams would fill out the rest of the bracket. This lead to an interesting mix of participating teams, ranging from the very experienced, to the very new. While this system may not have produced the most competitive tournament, it has successfully succeeded in continuing what has always been the underlying importance of the tournament: the idea of developing the competitive level of the Eastern Canadian hometeams. It’s an opportunity for some of our nation’s best skaters to face against some of our nation’s newest.

THE COMPETITION

Rideau Valley's Slaughter Daughters defeated Toronto's Gore-Gore Rollergirls in last year's final. (Photo by Derek Lang)

Last year, because of Montreal’s 2011 travel-team realignment, it was widely known that the defending champion Les Filles du Roi (with an almost unrecognizable roster) would be hard pressed to repeat as champions; it left the field wide open. In 2012, the defending champion Slaughter Daughters are not facing the same kind of impossible odds, though they do have to contend with history: no team has successfully defended the Beast championship (La Racaille appeared in the first three finals, winning in 2009). The Daughters have suffered some big roster losses, but have gained some new skaters as well, and retain the core that carried them through last year’s stunning victory.

Toronto Roller Derby will be represented by all four hometeams, three of whom appeared in last year’s final four; the teams look strong again this year, and based on very early action in the 2012 ToRD season, the Smoke City Betties look the strongest that they have looked since their exciting run to the semifinals in 2009. Although all three Montreal teams appeared in the quarterfinals last year, none made it any further, the first time that has happened at the tournament. With one more year of experience under their belts, expect the host teams to look to change that. The final invited team is Forest City’s Thames Fatales. Although the team has only advanced out of the first round once (2010), they are always a hard-working team that provides exciting games.

The lucky lottery winners are the Tri-City’s Vicious Dishes (making their fourth appearance); GTAR’s Derby Debutantes (also for the fourth time); Roller Derby Quebec’s Les Duchesses returning after debuting last year; and first-time participants Reines of Terror (from Moncton’s Muddy River Rollers), Motor City Madames (Durham Region Roller Derby) and Thunder Bay’s Babes of Thunder.

Chicks Ahoy! have only been on the rise since last year's impressive 4th place finish. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

THE EXPECTATIONS

Despite having a ton of success in ToRD’s house league (including finals appearances in 2007, 2010 and a championship in 2008), the Chicks Ahoy! could never find success at the Beast of the East. A quarterfinal loss in 2008 was followed by shocking first round exits in 2009 and 2010. Finally, last year the Chicks made it to the final four before being taken down by the eventual champion Slaughter Daughters (they were then upset by the Death Track Dolls for third place). But with another ToRD championship under their belt and a four game winning streak on the go, the Chicks Ahoy! could finally erase those bad memories and pull it all together this year. With a solid and now experienced four-jammer rotation, packs led by all star pivots and supported by all-star blockers, the Chicks Ahoy! look a lot like a roller derby juggernaut, and for the first time in the team’s history, may be steamrolling into Montreal at just the right time. With a deep bench and a winning swagger, the Chicks may be a hard team to beat right now.

One team that will have a lot to say about that is the defending champion Slaughter Daughters, and they’ll get to say it in the opening game of the tournament. The Chicks and Daughters will get things started on the opening day of the two-day double elimination tournament and the outcome of that game could inform a lot about how things shape up (no matter who wins this first game, both teams could—and should—still make it to the semifinals). Based on the way the bracket worked out this year, and based on continuously excellent performances, it is conceivable that this year’s final four could be same as last year’s (Dolls and Gores being the other two).

Les Filles du Roi won Montreal's season-opening round robin tournament, making them automatic contenders for this year's Beast. (Photo by Single Malt Scott)

The three co-hosts, of course, will be looking to keep that from happening. Although defending Montreal champions and Beast record setters (a 148-0 shutout last year), Les Contrabanditas lost to both La Racaille and Les Filles du Roi in Montreal’s season opening round-robin tournament, they have an amazing roster and should not be overlooked. They will get a chance to avenge a 2011 quarterfinal defeat to ToRD’s Dolls in another intriguing opening-round matchup. La Racaille, the winningest team in Beast history, also has a massive challenge in the first round, slotted to play last year’s finalists the Gore-Gore Rollergirls, and it may not get any easier after that (with either the Daughters or the Chicks after that). This year’s intriguing Montreal team, round robing winners Les Filles du Roi, will face off against BOE freshmen Babes of Thunder, and while they could face a daunting second match against the Vicious Dishes, should also have a clear path to the final eight. Without any significant action outside of Montreal, it is hard to judge how far these Montreal teams have grown. One thing is certain: it would be dangerous to underestimate them.

While this tournament has a tendency to be unpredictable in the early rounds, things usually settle down by the knockout stages, and this year should be no different. Expect the ten most experienced teams to compete for the final eight spots, with La Racaille and potentially Les Contrabanditas and the Gore-Gore Rollergirls facing the biggest challenges for a spot in the quarterfinals out of that elite group.

*** For the third year in a row, Canuck Derby TV will be covering all 28 bouts live. Tune in beginning at 8:00 AM on Saturday, April 21, 2012, for all the weekend’s action (the tournament opener is Chicks vs. Daughters; if that’s not enough to get you up at 8 on a Saturday morning, I don’t know what is!)

***The Derby Nerd’s coverage of this year’s Beast of the East is brought to you in part by the fine people at Neon Skates!

Beast of the East: History by the Numbers

Beast of the East: By the Numbers

To get ready for the 2012 Beast of the East, take a look back at the history of the tournament.

PARTICIPANT HISTORY (BOE 2012 participants first)

Team League BOE Record Notes
Les Duchesses RDQC  0-2 Second appearance.
Thames Fatales FCDG 4 – 7 Quarter final in 2010
Hamilton Harlots HCRG 7 – 4 Fourth Appearance (2008-2010). Missed 2011. Champs in 08.
Derby Debutantes GTAR 2 – 6 Fourth appearance.
La Racaille MTLRD 14 – 4 Runners-up in 08, 10. Champs in 2009.
Les Contrabanditas MTLRD 12 – 5 2nd place in 2009. 3rd in 2010.
Les Filles du Roi MTLRD 13 – 4 Semi-final losses in 08, 09. Champs in 2010
Slaughter Daughters RVRG 7 – 4 Fourth appearance. Champs in 2011
Chicks Ahoy! ToRD 6 – 7 Quarterfinals in 2008. 4th place in 2011.
Death Track Dolls ToRD 6 – 7 Quarterfinals in 2009. 3rd place in 2011
Smoke City Betties ToRD 3 – 7 Semi-final 2009.
Gore-Gore Rollergirls ToRD 10 – 4 Forfeit 2009 at 3-0. 4th 2010. Runners-up 2011
Vicious Dishes TCRG 5 – 6 Fourth appearance. Quarterfinals in 2010, 2011
Motor City Madames DRRD  – First appearance
Babes of Thunder TBRD  – First appearance
Reines of Terror MRR  – First appearance
NOT APPEARING in 2012
Death Row Dames HCRG 3 – 5 2008-2010. Quarterfinals in 2010.
Steel Town Tanks Girls HCRG 1 – 1 2008
Bay Street Bruisers ToRD 1 – 3 2008, 2009
D-VAS ToRD 0 – 1 2008
London Thrashers FCDG 0 – 1 2008
Bytown Blackhearts ORD 0 – 1 2008
Capital Carnage ORD 0 – 2 2009
Devil Dollies QCRG 1 – 1 1st US team (2008)
Derby Dames Grn Mtn 2 – 1 2nd US team. Quarterfinals in 2010
Chrome Mollys GTAR 0 – 2 2011
Riot Squad RVRG 1 – 4 2010, 2011
Total Knock-Outs TCRG 0 – 2 2011
Venus Fly Tramps TCRG 2 – 6 2009-2011

PAST CHAMPIONS

Hamilton Harlots won the first Beast of the East in 2008. (Photo by Derek Lang)

2008: Hamilton Harlots (HCRG)

2009: La Racaille (MTLRD)

2010: Les Filles du Roi (MTLRD)

2011: Slaughter Daughters (RVRG)

RECORDS

Wins: 14 (La Racaille [MTLRD] 2008-2011); Win%: 78% (La Racaille [MTLRD] 2008-2011)

Points Per Game (tournament): 80 (Les Filles du Roi, 2010) Points Against (tournament): 9 (Les Filles du Roi, 2010)

Most Points (Bout): 148 (Les Contrabanditas [MTLRD], 2011) Combined/Differential: 148 (Les Contrabanditas 148 vs. Chrome Mollys [GTAR] 0, 2011) [*The Gore-Gore Rollergirls [ToRD] were the first team to score 100 points in a bout–a 103-11 victory over Capital Carnage in 2009; Les Filles du Roi did it against the Vicious Dishes in 2010; four different teams accomplished it in 2011].

YEAR-BY-YEAR RESULTS

(Generally, all games 20 minutes until final, which is 30)

Beast of the East 1: 2008

First Round

POOL A

Steel Town Tank Girls 40 vs Smoke City Betties 18
La Racaille 65 vs The Bytown Blackhearts 29
Death Row Dames 17 vs Devil Dollies 54
D-VAS 27 vs Les Contrabanditas 50

POOL B

Gore Gore Rollergirls 13 vs Hamilton Harlots 52
Bay Street Brusies 45 vs Thames Fatales 38
London Thrashers 13 vs Chicks Ahoy 65
Death Track Dolls 23 vs Les Filles du Roi 37

Quarter Finals

Steel Town Tank Girls 30 vs La Racaille 32
Devil Dollies 16 vs. Les Contrabanditas 42
Chicks Ahoy 30 vs Les Filles du Roi 38
Hamilton Harlots 53 vs Bay Street Bruisers 15

Semi Finals

Hamilton Harlots 58 vs Les Filles du Roi 29
Les Contrabanditas 32 vs La Racaille 39

Final

Hamilton Harlots 55 vs. La Racaille 18

* Read the Derby Nerd’s reflections on a tournament he didn’t see.

Beast of the East 2: 2009

First Round (Double Elimination)

Capital Carnage 11 Gore-Gore Rollergirls 103
Death Row Dames 23 Thames Fatales 19
Les Contrabanditas 59 Venus Fly Tramps 26
Slaughter Daughters 24 Smoke City Betties 32
La Racaille 67 Bay Street Bruisers 10
Chicks Ahoy! 48 Vicious Dishes 32
Les Filles du Roi 77 Death Track Dolls 6
Derby Debutantes 6 Hamilton Harlots 69
Gore-Gore Rollergirls 32 Death Row Dames 5
Capital Carnage 20 (eliminated) Thames Fatales 67
Les Contrabanditas 34 Smoke City Betties 20
Venus Fly Tramps 14 (eliminated) Slaughter Daughters 48
La Racaille 36 Chicks Ahoy! 35
Bay Street Bruisers 16 (eliminated) Vicious Dishes 21
Les Filles du Roi 34 Hamilton Harlots 25
Death Track Dolls 61 Debutantes 20 (elimin.)
Gore-Gore Rollergirls 35 Les Contrabanditas 26
Death Row Dames 15 (eliminated) Smoke City Betties 24
Thames Fatales 28 (eliminated) Slaughter Daughters 68
La Racaille 35 Les Filles du Roi 43
Chicks Ahoy! 21 (eliminated) Hamilton Harlots 38
Vicious Dishes 27 (eliminated) Death Track Dolls 32
 

Quarter Finals

Gores (forfeit) Smoke City Betties
Les Contrabanditas 28 Slaughter Daughters 25
Les Filles du Roi 24 Hamilton Harlots 11
La Racaille 77 Death Track Dolls 17
 

Semi Finals

Smoke City Betties 23

 

 

Les Contrabanditas 33

La Racaille 38 Les Filles du Roi 20
 

Third Place (Cancelled)

Smoke City Betties

 

 

Les Filles du Roi

 

Final

Les Contrabanditas 34

 

 

La Racaille 49

* Read the Derby Nerd’s commentary.

* Read a bout-by-bout recap by DNN’s Justice Feelgood Marshall .

Beast of the East 3: 2010

First Round (Double Elimination)
Thames Fatales 38 vs. Smoke City Betties 11
La Racaille 81 vs. Chicks Ahoy!12
Green Mountain Derby Dames 40
vs. Riot Squad 17
Death Row Dames 63 vs. Venus Fly Tramps 6
Les Contrabanditas 72 vs. Death Track Dolls 9
Gore-Gore Rollergirls 43 vs. GTA Derby Debutantes 20
Vicious Dishes 37 vs. Slaughter Daughters 20
Les Filles du Roi 92 vs. Harlots 6
La Racaille 91 vs. Thames Fatales 0
Chicks Ahoy! 89 vs. Betties 15 (eliminated)
Green Mountain Derby Dames 29 vs. Death Row Dames 15
Venus Fly Tramps 43 vs. Riot Squad 14 (eliminated)
Les Contrabanditas 63 vs. Gore-Gore Rollergirls 17

Derby Debutantes 38 vs. Death Track Dolls 29 (eliminated)
Les Filles du Roi 115 vs. Vicious Dishes 7
Harlots 28 vs. Slaughter Daughters 24 (eliminated)
Thames Fatales 24 vs. Venus Fly Tramps 15 (eliminated)
Death Row Dames 42 vs. Chicks Ahoy! 34 (eliminated)
Gore-Gore Rollergirls 45 vs. Harlots 20 (eliminated)
Vicious Dishes 52 vs. Derby Debutantes 24 (eliminated)

Quarter Finals
La Racaille 57 vs. Vicious Dishes 4
Les Contrabanditas 64 vs. Death Row Dames 11
Gore-Gore Rollergirls 45 vs. Green Mountain Derby Dames 22
Les Filles du Roi 91 vs. Thames Fatales 12

Semi Finals
La Racaille 69 vs. Les Contrabanditas 46
Les Filles du Roi 65 vs. Gore-Gore Roller Girls 1

Third Place
Les Contrabanditas 91 vs. Gores 21

Final
Les Filles du Roi 36 vs. La Racaille 20

* Read the Derby Nerd’s preview and recap.

* Watch the archived bouts.

Beast of the East 4: 2011

First Round (Double Elimination)

Duchesses de Quebec 4 vs. Derby Debutantes 124
La Racaille 55 vs. Riot Squad 7
Chicks Ahoy! 63 vs. Total Knockouts (TKOs) 7
Filles du Roi vs. Death Track Dolls 47
Vicious Dishes 50 vs. Gore-Gore Rollergirls 48
Contrabanditas 148 vs. Chrome Mollys 0
Slaughter Daughters 38 vs. Venus Fly Tramps 28
Thames Fatales 75 vs. Smoke City Betties 12
Derby Debutants 8 vs. La Racaille 100
Duchesses du Quebec 4 vs. Riot Squad 97 (Duchesses eliminated)
Chicks Ahoy! 40 vs. Death Track Dolls 21
TKOs 0 vs. Filles du Roi 81 (TKOs eliminated)
Vicious Dishes 21 vs. Contrabanditas 27
Gore-Gore Rollergirls 131 vs. Chrome Mollys 10 (Mollys eliminated)
Slaughter Daughters 62 vs. Thames Fatales 12
Venus Fly Tramps 66 vs. Smoke City Betties 14 (Betties eliminated)
Derby Debutants 29 vs. Filles du Roi 62 (Debutantes eliminated)
Death Track Dolls 84 vs. Riot Squad 8 (Riot Squad elimanted)
Vicious Dishes 49 vs. Venus Fly Tramps 3 (Tramps eliminated)
Thames Fatales 36 vs. Gore-Gore Rollergirls 49 (Thames eliminated)

Quarter Finals
 La Racaille 11 vs. Gore-Gore Rollergirls 88
Contrabanditas 49 vs. Death Track Dolls 58
Chicks Ahoy! 48 vs. Vicious Dishes 8
Slaughter Daughters 81 vs. Filles du Roi 3

Semi Finals
Gore-Gore Rollergirls 51 vs. Death Track Dolls 11
Chicks Ahoy! 19 vs. Slaughter Daughters 33

Third Place
Death Track Dolls 42 vs. Chicks Ahoy! 31

Final
Gore-Gore Rollergirls 85 vs. Slaughter Daughters 87
 

* Read the Derby Nerd’s preview and recap.

* Watch the archived bouts

* The thrilling final jam of the 2011 Beast of the East:

Beast of the East 2012 Update: Participants Named

It’s official! The 2012 Beast of the East draw has been complete and all 16 teams have been named. The Beast of the East is hosted by Montreal Roller Derby and will take place April 21st and 22nd, 2012 at Arena St. Louis.

PARTICIPATING TEAMS

Representing Montreal Roller Derby (MTLRD)

Les Contrabanditas

Les Filles du Roi (Beast Champs 2010)

La Racaille (Beast Champs 2009)

Representing Toronto Roller Derby (ToRD)

Chicks Ahoy!

Death Track Dolls

Gore-Gore Rollergirls

Smoke City Betties)

Representing Forest City Derby Girls (FCDG)

Thames Fatales)

Representing Rideau Valley Roller Girls (RVRG)

Slaughter Daughters (Beast Champs 2011)

Representing the Hammer City Roller Girls (HCRG)

Hamilton Harlots (Beast Champs 2008)

Representing the Tri-City Roller Girls (TCRG)
Vicious Dishes

Representing the Greater Toronto Area Rollergirls (GTAR)
Derby Debutantes

Representing Roller Derby Quebec (RDQ)

Les Duchesses

Representing Durham Region Roller Derby (DRRD)

Motor City Madames

Representing the Muddy River Rollers

Reines of Terror

Representing Thunder Bay Roller Derby

Babes of Thunder

Forest City Pounds Hammer City in Double Header

It was an almost completely new look Harlots who hosted the the Lunch Ladies. (photography by Derek Lang)

Saturday night marked the beginning of a new era in history of the Hammer City Roller Girls, and they kicked it off against a familiar foe. Since 2007 the Forest City Derby Girls have been challenging their Hamilton rivals to no avail, but that all changed on Saturday as they proved greedy guests in sweeping the double header between the two cities’ four teams.

Luscious Lunch Ladies 210 vs. Hamilton Harlots 64

Although it is only their second year in existence, the Luscious Lunch Ladies looked like the veterans in this one as the historic Harlots tracked an almost completely new-look roster. Key veteran pivot Judge Jodie was almost immediately battling for control of the pack, which was being wrestled out of control by stand-out Lunch Lady Andi Slamberg. Given that neither team has had any competitive track time yet in 2011, it wasn’t surprising that there was a lot of sloppy pack play in the early, and some botched power jams kept things close, tied at 22 at one point in the early going.

The Lunch Ladies did not look intimidated by their historic opponents.

The new London team seemed to be taking after their big-sister Thames Fatales in their fearlessness, and Mighty Thor, Bloodlust Barbie, and Elle Boes led the offense, jamming admirably late in the first half, taking advantage of some inconsistent and undisciplined play from the Harlots to help the London team pull ahead 93-37 at the half.

The Harlots needed to come out strong to start the second half to fend off the Lunch Ladies’ threat to pull away. Unfortunately for Hamilton Andi Slamberg made a statement early. Trading the stripe for the star and laying down 18 points to maintain the momentum they’d built up through the first half. Urged on by the home town crowd, the Harlots certainly did not relent, and some dogged jamming from Frec-Kills and Abbya Stabya led by determined pack work from Scooby Doom and Whacks Poetic ensured that points were put on the board, but as the Lunch Ladies became more and more comfortable with one another the Harlots could not contain their offense and the skaters from London pulled away for a big 210-64 victory.

This marked the first victory ever for Thames Fatales over a Hammer City squad.

Thames Fatales 170 vs. Eh! Team 64

Although certainly not as radical a restructuring as the Harlots, it was also a revamped Eh! Team roster that took to the track against a Thames Fatales team loaded with talented veterans. While this was the 2011 debut for Hammer City’s WFTDA team, the Thames Fatales were coming off of an appearance at the Beast of the East and a recent win over Mid-Michigan. That comfort and familiarity on the track was obvious in the early going, as London quickly established control led by extraordinary jamming from star jammer Killson. Killson would dominate the jammer battles all night, and especially in the early going, no matter if she was matched up against Eh! Team slawarts Bitchslap Barbie and Miss Carriage, or the speedy JJ Bladez. Thames rushed out to a quick 41-8 lead thirteen minutes in.

Thames Fatales' Slacker Smacker was fearless in her jamming.

Hammer City has lost a lot of their core over the past few years, and were missing a few key players on the night, and the inevitable growing pains that come with integrating new players into a veteran lineup were on display in the pack dominance that Thames Fatales had over the Eh! Team in this one. London has great lines featuring players very familiar with one another. In the early going the Line pivoted by Mirambo and featuring Back Ally Sally, Jemicide and None Ya Biz clearly had the Eh! Team’s number, executing consistently well, and pulling off solid and effective traps on power jams to ensure a big 52-14 lead twenty minutes in. But for all of the youth on the Hamilton team, there was significant experience too and Hawkeye Fierce was key in helping Miss Carriage pick up key points on a late power jam to pull the host team within striking distance down 63-38 at the half.

Even veterans like Bitchslap Barbie couldn't help the Eh! Team survive the Thames Fatales on this night.

The Eh! Team clearly tried to mix it up in the second half, and there were strong jams led by veterans Eduskating Rita and the athletic Lock N Roll. Homewrecken Molly also stepped it up in the second half for Hamilton, and despite some penalty trouble for London’s “Shake n Bake” duo Back Ally Sally and Mirambo (who seem to stick together like glue when forming walls), Thames Fatales managed to respond to every push back that Hamilton could manage and with aggressive jammer Slacker Smacker putting up big points, actually managed to run up their lead 115-38 before Hamilton was able to get any offensive momentum in the second half.

London never looked out of control in this one and rode their solid team-play to a convincing 170-64 victory, the team’s first over a its southern Ontario rivals.

This was a historic win for a scrappy Forest City league that highlighted a strong young core in the Lunch Ladies, and the steely determination of the Thames Fatales, a team that has been grinding away in southern Ontario for years; this victory continues what has been a solid start to 2011 for the strategically sound team, building on the momentum gained from their one-sided victory over Mid Michigan and a solid 1-2 performance against stiff competition at the Beast of the East (their two losses were against the two eventual finalists in the tournament). For Hammer City, this double header kicked off what will be the first major rebuild in the history of the league, although they have survived the rise and falls of teams before, and have the veteran leadership in place to ride out this as well. This night also marked the important debuts for many skaters, many of whom will be relied upon to lead eventually lead Hammer City back to competitive form.

Beast of the East 2011: Daughters Go Undefeated to Tame the Beast

The top three teams at the 2011 Beast of the East (Slaughter Daughters, Gore-Gore Rollergirls and the Death Track Dolls). (Photography by Derek Lang)

Last year, at the 2010 Beast of the East, amidst all of that Montreal dominance, there were some major surprises. The Toronto Roller Derby League had a terrible tournament by their own standards, with the Smoke City Betties, Death Track Dolls (both 0-2), and Chicks Ahoy! (1-2) all eliminated unceremoniously in the first round. Similarly, Rideau Valley’s Slaughter Daughters—who had an amazing 2009 and came into the tournament with high hopes—were two and done on Saturday. At the 2011 Beast of the East it was a different story, as the Ontario teams were the talk of the tournament and the Slaughter Daughters would be the only squad to go through both days undefeated to deservedly hoist the award, that to trophy-designer Tommy Toxic’s credit, was the by far the most beastly yet created.

La Racaille (MTLRD) and The Derby Debutantes (GTAR) face off in the double elimination round.

DOUBLE ELIMINATION ROUND

The cliché is that records are made to be broken, and although coming into the tournament there was a lot of talk about parity among the top teams, records were set and then broken continuously on day one. It began right with the opening game of the tournament when the GTAR’s Derby Debutantes became the third team to lay down 100 points in a BOE bout with a 124-4 victory against BOE newcomers Les Duchesses de Quebec (who were playing their first-ever bout). It was just the beginning of record setting scores as four teams would be capable of putting down 100 points (the Debutantes would become the first team to have 100 points scored for and against in the same tournament). When all was said and done, it was Montreal’s new-look Contrabanditas setting all of the records in a 148-0 shutout against the GTAR’s Chrome Mollys (who were the second of three teams playing in their first BOE).

For the most part, the opening bouts of the double elimination round went as expected; if there was an upset, it would be the Death Track Dolls victory over the defending champion Filles du Roi (who were tracking an almost unrecognizably young lineup after MTLRD’s off season shake-up)—a bit of foreshadowing of the Dolls-as-Montreal-killers on the weekend. The top game of the opening round easily went to the much anticipated matchup between the Vicious Dishes and the Gore-Gore Rollergirls. Two of the pre-tournament favourites—the top teams from Tri-City and ToRD—did not disappoint. Although the two teams had never played before, there was considerable history built up in recent, tense bouts between the all star teams of the two leagues. This one came down to the final jam, with the Dishes pulling out a thrilling two-point victory.

The Dishes would also be involved in another close first round bout, on the losing end this time to the Ditas (27-21) although both teams would make it through to the round of eight. Joining them in the quarterfinals were the Ditas’ MTLRD league mates La Racaille (who went 2-0), and defending champs FDR who had to win a qualification showdown against the Derby Debutantes. The quarters were rounded out by the Slaughter Daughters and three Toronto teams, the perennial powerhouses Gore-Gore Rollergirls along with Chicks Ahoy! (first quarterfinal experience since 2008), and the Death Track Dolls who returned to the second round for the first time since 2009.

ToRD's Gore-Gore Rollergirls saved their best for day two, scoring one-sided victories in both the quarter and semifinals.

PLAYOFFS

Quarterfinals

From the opening bout of the quarterfinals, it was clear that the top teams were able to step it up to another level when it mattered most. MTLRD’s La Racaille, who had a solid opening day, were dominated by the considerably more experienced Gores, 88-11, marking the first time that La Racaille, the most successful team in the tournament’s early history, would not qualify for the final. Two of the other bouts were somewhat one-sided as well, with the Slaughter Daughters throwing down their “A” game in a 71-3 victory, knocking out the defending champion Filles du Roi; similarly, pre-tournament favourites the Vicious Dishes just couldn’t ever wrestle momentum away from a very physical, very tight Chicks Ahoy! team, going down 48-8, in what was an extremely close bout until the Chicks were able to pull away on the strength of a well-executed power jam with Dyna Hurtcha sporting the star.

ToRD's Death Track Dolls recorded the biggest upset of the tournament in their quarterfinal win over MTLRD's Les Contrabanditas.

But it was the Death Track Dolls and Les Contrabanditas who would provide the greatest excitement in the second round. Montreal’s hopes were clearly on the backs of the experienced Ditas, who looked to be the strongest, most consistent team in day one of the tournament. The Dolls, on the other hand, were already pleased with a return to the second round of competition, which, regardless of what happened, qualified as a success. Not surprisingly, the experienced team from Toronto came into the bout loose and relaxed; taking advantage of early penalty troubles from the Ditas, the Death Track Dolls rode some consistent pack work and fine jamming from Land Shark and breakout player Santilly In Yo Face to an early lead that they would hold onto in the face of a considerable push back at the end of the bout, holding on for the 58-49 upset to push three of the four Toronto teams into the semifinals.

The Slaughter Daughters' bench watches the scoreboard during the final jam of the 2011 Beast of the East.

Semifinals

In the first all-ToRD semifinal, the Death Track Dolls just couldn’t summon the kind of performance that had led them to their win over the Ditas, what may have been the biggest victory in the team’s history. After a so-so Saturday that saw them hold on for a victory over Thames Fatales in a qualifying bout, the Gore-Gore Rollergirls continued to step it up on Sunday. They’d had some slow starts in the first round and certainly remedied that, pulling away from the Dolls early to qualify for their first ever BOE final. It was vindication of sorts for the team that has been the tops outside of Montreal for the past two years.

In the second semifinal, the Chicks Ahoy! continued their strong play on Sunday, creeping out to a slim 8-4 lead in what was another scrappy and defensive performance from the ToRD team. But the Slaughter Daughters showed the same kind of focus and determination that they had all tournament and stayed close, taking their first lead, 11-9, at the midway point of the bout. It would remain close through to the very end, with both teams displaying fantastic pace control defensively to keep things tight and low scoring. It was 19-19 with just under two minutes left when Soul Rekker took a lead on a hard-fought, slow moving jam that allowed her to pick up a double grand slam to break the stalemate and give the Daughters a 10-point lead that they defended, riding a 33-19 victory to advance to the finals.

RVRG's Slaughter Daughters: 2011 Beast of the East champions

Finals

The Death Track Dolls capped off a hugely successful tournament with a historic 42-31 victory over their ToRD rivals, Chicks Ahoy!, in the third place bout. The Chicks didn’t have much left in the tank, their previous two bouts being defensive grinders against very physical opponents. For the Dolls, it represented their first victory over the Chicks after some very close bouts over the past two seasons, and their best showing in this tournament.

When all was said and done, and 14 teams fell away, it was clear that the two best teams of the tournament remained. Rideau Valley’s Slaughter Daughters and ToRD’s Gore-Gore Rollergirls were set to make history as the combatants in the first ever all-Ontario final. The final lived up to and eventually surpassed all possible expectations, coming down to a remarkable final jam. Five-on-five these two teams were well matched, keeping the crowd guessing through numerous lead changes (including three on a Ripper A. Part vs. Bambi jam that had no lead called). What it came down to was special teams and who could take advantage on power jams. Despite leading by 16 at the start of the final jam, the Gore’s jammer Bambi took her fourth minor on her initial scoring pass to send the inexhaustible Soul Rekker on a power jam. Semi Precious and Assassinista led an indestructible trap that kept the pack crawling, and with only 9 seconds left, Soul Rekker was finally able to complete the comeback and take the 20110 Beast of the east 87-85. (*There seemed to be some confusion about scoring at the end, although it looked like Rekker made four, five-point scoring passes).

The Daughters were more than worthy champs, facing any style of play they encountered with confidence and adaptability. They had extraordinary depth at jammer (easily the top 1-2-3 jammer rotation in the tourney), and played special teams simply, but masterfully, owning pace lines and setting hard traps.

The Nerd's 2011 MVP: Semi Precious of the Slaughter Daughters

THE NERD’S PICKS

MVP: Semi Precious (Slaughter Daughters)

After last year’s pack-play-evolution, it was obvious that the team with the top pack would do very well this weekend: that was certainly the case with the champion Slaughter Daughters who could dole out timely punishing hits, positionally block one-on-one with the best of them, and set devastating traps. At the centre of it all was Semi Precious. Big-time recognition has been a long-time coming for this extraordinary blocker.

Breakout Player: Assassinista (Slaughter Daughters)

There were at least a few players in the running for this one, but once again, the packs were the difference all weekend and Assassinista was undeniably a force in the Daughters’ championship pack. This is almost a cumulative recognition for Assassinista whose play for both her hometeam and the travel team Vixens has been turning a lot of heads for some time. This weekend, she proved that she deserves recognition among the elite.

The Nerd's 2011 Breakout Team: The Death Track Dolls (ToRD)

Breakout Team: The Death Track Dolls (ToRD)

In 2009, Dolls’ star jammer Land Shark took home this recognition as a player; two years later, and she’s leading her team to the award. The Dolls recorded an early minor upset over a young FDR squad, and then looked lacklustre in a loss against leaguemates, the Chicks Ahoy!, but things got rolling in a must-win, 84-8 surprisingly dominant victory against the Riot Squad. A major upset over Les Contrabanditas in the quarterfinals, and a third place rematch win over the Chicks cemented this teams’ status as breakout team of the tourney.

* The Beast of the East in its entirety was boutcast live by Canuck Derby TV and has been archived for your viewing pleasure.  Keep an eye out for layer9’s trackside archive as well.

***A special thanks to Montreal Roller Derby who hosted another amazing tournament and Canuck Derby TV for making sure that everyone could see it.

2011 Beast of the East: Preview

This is the fourth edition of the important tournament.

Although the role of the Beast of the East tournament has shifted over the years, its value, and its importance in the development of a stable, sustainable Canadian roller derby community is undeniable. More and more the shift in focus in roller derby in general is toward the travel teams: the teams striving to compete at WFTDA’s highest level. All over North America the growing trend is for more travel-team based tournaments as a way in which to get a handful of sanctioned bouts done in a short period of time (necessitated by the realities of travel expenses, scheduling and the other trivialities that get in the way of a rollergirl’s derby life). So to have a tournament devoted solely to hometeams is becoming an increasing rarity; it also casts an aura of levity around the event: it becomes as much about a celebration of the sport than anything else. But that’s not to imply that teams don’t want to win (they do), and certainly there is a particular expectation in the air this year, as the recalibration of the Montreal Roller Derby League means that its new-look hometeams will not be as formidable a juggernaut as they have been in the history of this tournament, and certainly were last year.

In the beginning the Beast was an opportunity to learn the sport, both on and off the track. On the Friday before the inaugural 2008 tournament, the participants gathered for a viewing of Hell on Wheels, the documentary that tracks roller derby’s revival at the turn of the millennium, and inadvertently the birth of the flat track version of the sport. By 2010, when all three of Montreal’s hometeams completely dominated the tournament, the Beast had become an opportunity for Montreal to introduce the ever-evolving strategies of the sport that they’d learned toiling at the front lines of roller derby’s highest competitive levels. There was a distinct culture shift last year: it became evident that to remain competitive at flat track roller derby, it was necessary to reach for a higher level of physical training and strategic consideration.

One year later, it will be fascinating to see how the teams have adapted; which teams accepted the formidable challenge and have stepped up their games.

THE COMPETITION

Hammer City's absence will be felt (The Death Row Dames were quarterfinalists in 2010). (Photo by Derek Lang)

The noticeable absence this year is Hammer City. Three HCRG teams have played in the Beast of the East, with the Harlots winning the first BOE in 2008, and even last year they were a serious presence as the Death Row Dames went on a spirited run to the quarterfinals. The league has refocused, and reshaped with a clearer focus on travel teams (word on the track is that the historic Harlots will be retained as a B-Team). Nevertheless, 13 teams will be returning from last year including six of the eight teams from the quarterfinals (Vermont’s Green Mountain Derby Dames are the other absent quarterfinalists). Three new teams will be debuting including fresh league additions in GTA (The Chrome Mollys) and Tri-City (The Total Knock Outs), while the newly formed Les Duchesses de Quebec will be making their bouting debut.

ToRD's Gore-Gore Rollergirls have been the top non-Montreal team for the last two years; this could be their opportunity. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

The biggest change in competition comes through Montreal’s realignment. All three of Montreal’s teams have qualified for the semifinals in every tournament (a run that has included all-Montreal finals in the last two tournaments, won by La Racaille and Les Filles du Roi respectively), but this year with the top fourteen players being lifted from their hometeams to play exclusively with the New Skids in the Block, there will obviously be some growing pains for the Montreal teams (only one team, La Racaille, has played with its new roster, scoring a 60 point victory over the GTA’s Derby Debutantes). This opens the window for a handful of teams who have the experience and depth to do very well in 2011 including ToRD’s Gore-Gore Rollergirls, Tri-City’s Vicious Dishes, and Rideau Valley’s Slaughter Daughters. While the Montreal teams remain largely mysterious, they have all retained an important core and shouldn’t be counted out; on paper anyway, Les Contrabanditas look to be most dangerous as they retain seven skaters from last season’s impressive team and picked up two more vets in the off season (Beats Per Minute from Les Filles du Roi, and Low Dive Jenny from La Racaille).

Death Track Dolls and Les Filles du Roi will meet in the opening round; they last met in the opening round of the 2009 BOE. (photo by Derek Lang)

EXPECTATIONS

The timing and nature of this tournament make predicting what will happen tricky. A team could potentially play up to six bouts over the course of the weekend which means that energy conservation and roster juggling become important aspects of the game. Also, the 20 minute mini-bouts mean that often anything can happen: a good power-jam could be the difference, and teams that take longer to warm up could be at an obvious disadvantage. On top of this, there are also differences in the amount of track time these teams have had as well, with the ToRD teams potentially already rounding into mid-season form.

Only the opening match ups in the double elimination round are set, with paths getting complicated after that. While it doesn’t appear that there will be any major upsets, there are a few intriguing pairings. At the top of the list is the Gore-Gore Rollergirls vs. Vicious Dishes bout. Either of these teams are capable of winning this tournament, and if all goes as predicted may even cross paths again in the semi-finals (regardless of who wins this one). The Smoke City Betties and Thames Fatales game could also be an entertaining one, with both teams already having some bouts under their belts this year (and the Betties improving quickly). Finally the Death Track Dolls vs. Les Filles du Roi bout could be surprising. Les Filles (the defending champs) lost a lot of skaters to the Skids realignment and look like they will be tracking a very inexperienced team: because of that, there could be an upset up the Dolls’ sleeve. The harsh reality is, is that one win is not enough and half of the teams will be done by Saturday night.

This could finally be the year Les Contrabanditas rise to the top in MTLRD.

While Montreal may not have the dominant squads they once did, I still think all three teams will make it through to the quarterfinals, joined by three ToRD teams (The Gores, Chicks Ahoy! and Death Track Dolls), the Vicious Dishes and the Slaughter Daughters. Unfortunately for the hosts, I think the round of 8 will mark the end of the road for two-time finalists and ’09 champs La Racaille and the defending champion Les Filles du Roi, with the final four being the Dishes, Gores, Ditas and Daughters. I honestly think anything could happen between these four teams, but it would be nice to see the Gores (or Dishes) and Daughters meet in the final to truly bring an end to Montreal’s dominance. In both 2009 and 2010, the Gores were clearly the top team outside of MTLRD, and this could finally be the opportunity they need. The Ditas, though, who always seemed a step behind one of their Montreal counterparts will be extremely motivated to finally break through and win this.

Whoever manages to prevail, to be capable of pulling it off nothing less than a monumental effort will be required.

***The Beast of the East 2011 gets under way at 8:00 am on Saturday, April 30 at Arena St. Louis. If you’re not going to be in Montreal on the weekend, no need to worry! For the second-year in a row, all of the action will be boutcast live on Canuck Derby TV beginning at 8:00 AM (eastern) and running straight through until a champion is crowned on Sunday.

Hello 2011 (Part 2): Thunder to take WFTDA by storm; Vixens on the rise

Tri-City will compete in WFTDA's North Central Region this year.

A Few to Watch in 2011

In eastern Canada in 2010, no league turned more heads than Tri-City. Top hometeam the Vicious Dishes scored huge victories over ToRD runners-up the Chicks Ahoy! and both hometeams from Hammer City. This season, TCRG has added a third hometeam as well, the Total Knock-Outs, who look to help drive uip the competitive level during the home season. The Thunder clapped loudly this season as well, when the Tri-City travel team closed out the year with somewhat of  an upset in a one-sided victory over ToRD’s CN Power. Having attained full WFTDA status (they’ll join Hammer City’s Eh! Team in WFTDA’s North Central Region), the Thunder will embark on an ambitious first season in the big leagues challenging a number of North Central foes including Chicago Outfit (in Chicago on May 14) and Killamazoo (at home in October); they’ll also play Montreal’s New Skids on the Block in a closed bout in March, which could be their toughest challenge of the year. With such a challenging and exciting schedule, the Thunder could be this year’s New Skids on the Block.

RVRG recently became Canada's latest WFTDA apprentice league.

If the Thunder are this year’s Skids, than this year’s Thunder will be the  Rideau Valley Vixens. Adding a second hometeam late in 2009 and then creating the Vixens early in 2010, last year the Ottawa league suffered some early growing pains. So-so performances at the Beast of the East were a far cry from the Slaughter Daughters’ run to ’09 quarterfinals, but it all proved to be for the best: Both the Daughters and the Riot Squad picked up some big late season victories.  Taking the Montreal approach and jumping into competition head on, the travel team Vixens took their lumps early in 2010 with losses to tough teams in Toronto, Montreal and Pittsburgh, but they continued to reach wide and aim high for competition and spent the rest of the year turning the tides with a series of big victories south of the border over New Jersey (Jerzey Derby Brigade) and Utica.  They begin 2011 as Canada’s latest WFTDA apprentice league.

Thames Fatales had some big victories against US competition in 2010.

The Expanding Eastern Canadian Scene

The Thames Fatales had another strong season in 2010. Starting with a solid showing at the Beast of the East, the Thames Fatales made forays south as well, scoring some big victories in the US, while making inroads in Canada too with some improved performances against Hammer City and two one-sided victories over GTAR’s Derby Debutantes. With a new Fresh Meat squad (The Luscious London Lunch Ladies), and a continued acceptance of all challenges, the skaters from Forest City could be the next break-out Canadian league. A potential WFTDA apprenticeship in the future?

GTAR was another league to make some big steps forward in 2010 with the Debutantes shocking the competition at the Beast of the East and putting in a hard-fought performance against Edmonton’s E-Ville. An addition of a second team, the Chrome Mollys, could help them narrow the gap between them and the other eastern Canadian leagues. Canada’s original WFTDA league, Hammer City, will also look to rebound after an up-and-down year. With the Eh! Team unable to work their way up the WFTDA rankings, suffering some big losses, including their first ever loss to ToRD’s CN Power. Hammer City hometeams also suffered setbacks to Tri-City and saw the gap narrowed between them and Forest City. But with the realigned hometeam rosters creating a competitive parity between the Death Row Dames and the Harlots that hasn’t been seen in years, Hammer City could get that competitive edge back in 2011.

Halifax is leading the development of a buoyant Maritime roller derby scene.

New roller derby leagues continue to sprout at a surprising rate as well. In Ontario, leagues in Sudbury (Nickel City Roller Derby–who will be playing ToRD’s D-VAS in February), Guelph (Royal City Rollergirls), Oshawa (Durham Region Roller Derby), and Kingston (Kingston Derby Girls) are on the verge of bouting, and there are so many other leagues sprouting up that this is really just the tip of the iceberg of the sport in this province. But the sport is moving further east as well with leagues forming in Quebec City, Moncton (Muddy River Rollers), St. John (Fog City Rollers), Charlottetown (Red Rock ‘N Roller Derby) and St. John’s (709 Derby Girls). The Nerd has a personal interest in the development of a stable league in the city of his birth, Halifax, Nova Scotia. And is excited to say that after a few false starts in the city, the Halifax Roller Derby Association finally has solid leadership and is up and running and gaining a lot of momentum. With Muddy River set to host the region’s first major flat track roller derby training camp in July, 2011 will see a huge surge in the participation in and popularity of roller derby in eastern Canada. This bodes well for the future.

**The Derby Nerd will be business as usual in 2011 continuing here and also my work behind the mic for ToRD.TV. One change is that I will be writing about learning the sport from the inside as well, as I embark on ToRD’s latest Fresh Meat training session. You can follow my growing knowledge of the practical side of roller derby on the Nerd Meat: The Nerd Does Derby page (beginning Friday). Also, I’ve done a little reorganization of the site (to the stats and results pages) and you can now subscribe and share!

**Please feel free to use the comment section below to promote any important dates, tournaments, non-mentioned leagues, events, etc. To a successful and exciting 2011!

Weekend Recap: Gores Gore Chicks

Nasher the Smasher and Brim Stone leading their packs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lunchbox tries to get around Robber Blind

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

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

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

NICKEL CITY’S EXHIBITION IS A KNOCKOUT

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

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