the Smoke City Betties

The Beast of Beasts: Daughters win second Beast in a thrilling tournament

Tommy Toxic's trophies are always a hilight of the tournament, but this year's were particularly beastly. (Photography by Joe Mac)

Tommy Toxic’s trophies are always a highlight of the tournament, but this year’s were particularly beastly. (Photo by Joe Mac)

Some things just get better with age. Like wine, cheese and scotch, Montreal Roller Derby’s annual Beast of the East just keeps on improving. While it could just speak to the age of the sport and overall development of the game, it also speaks to the strength, popularity and steady growth of roller derby in this region specifically. Despite the fact that the best players in the two biggest leagues represented (Montreal and Toronto) were not involved in the tournament (their talents were on display in a thrilling Friday night WFTDA showdown won by the New Skids on the Block 210-121), the competitive level and the display of skill far surpassed the expectations for a house league tournament.

The Slaughter Daughters accept their second Beast in three years. (Photo from the Slaughter Daughters Facebook page)

The Slaughter Daughters accept their second Beast in three years. (Photo from the Slaughter Daughters Facebook page)

It was a historic tournament on a historic date, and in the end it became a duel between the two most successful teams in the tournament’s history. In the process, MTLRD’s La Racaille became the first team to appear in four finals, while their opponents, Rideau Valley’s Slaughter Daughters joined the 2008-2010 La Racaille team as the only to reach three consecutive championship games, but then one-upped them by becoming the first ever repeat champion.

From the energy and consistency of the nearly perpetually capacity crowd, to the stunning displays of athleticism on the track, this 6th annual Beast certainly lived up to the moniker the Beast of Beasts.

ToRD's Chicks Ahoy! kicked off the tournament with a minor upset over Rideau Valley's Riot Squad. (Photo by Joe Mac)

ToRD’s Chicks Ahoy! kicked off the tournament with a minor upset over Rideau Valley’s Riot Squad. (Photo by Joe Mac)


A remarkable twenty games get played on the opening day of the Beast, and the tone was set when the tournament kicked off with a minor upset. The Chicks Ahoy!, ToRD’s most inexperienced team (playing short handed at that) managed to hold off Rideau Valley’s Riot Squad by 8 points. Remarkably, seven teams managed to top the century mark in the opening round as for the most part things went as expected early. The Slaughter Daughters dispatched two ToRD teams early on to advance straight through to the quarter finals (scoring over 100 points in both games including a 117-2 win over the Smoke City Betties), joined by Montreal teams Les Filles du Roi and La Racaille and ToRD’s Death Track Dolls as teams going 2-0 to advance. Even at this stage of the tournament it was clear that La Racaille and the Dolls were joining the Daughters at a level of play that was going to be hard to match. La Racaille also topped 100 points in both their openers, while the Dolls looked equally impressive dispatching Les Casse-Gueules and then shocking the hometown Contrabanditas 96-30 in a surprisingly one-sided win.

Vicious Dishes pivot Sofanda Beatin puts a hit on Filles du Roi jammer Beth Rave. (Photo by Joe Mac)

Vicious Dishes pivot Sofanda Beatin puts a hit on Filles du Roi jammer Beth Rave. (Photo by Joe Mac)

The rebuilding Vicious Dishes became the first defending champion not only to lose in the first round, but were actually the first team eliminated from the tournament when they lost to the Riot Squad. First timers from Quebec, Les Casse-Gueules, and London, the Luscious Lunch Ladies, also fell 0-2 to be eliminated, joined by five-time participants, the Derby Debutantes, who have yet to make it past the first round in their history at the event.

The final four elimination games lived up to the expectations, all providing thrillingly competitive action. The Chicks Ahoy! concluded their surprising tournament by giving the far more experienced Thames Fatales all that they could handle before falling 53-46. It took a while, but Les Contrabanditas were able to hold off the Riot Squad 86-57 and the TKOs eliminated the Gore-Gore Rollergirls in a scrappy, penalty-filled affair that seemed closer than the 85-42 score indicated. Finally, rookie participants from Quebec, Le Rouge et Gore, pulled off the stunner of the tournament, holding off a shocked Smoke City Betties teams 58-56 in the closing game of the opening day, and arguably the most emotional win of the tournament.

ToRD's Death Track Dolls picked up momentum early in the tournament and carried it all the way through. (Photo by Joe Mac)

ToRD’s Death Track Dolls picked up momentum early in the tournament and carried it all the way through. (Photo by Joe Mac)



By the time the quarterfinals rolled around, three teams, at least, had clearly distanced themselves from the pack. While Les Filles du Roi were able to dispatch Le Rouge et Gore 76-17, it was the performances in the other quarterfinals that truly impressed. La Racaille simply overwhelmed their leaguemates Les Contrabanditas (117-64), while the Daughters slaughtered the Thames Fatales 113-31 (with only a 29-0 four minute run midway through closing the gap for the Thames), and ToRD’s Dolls, despite major penalty trouble, rode some phenomenal power killing to a 79-35 win over the surging TKOs.


Photo from Slaughter Daughters Facebook page.

2013 Beast champs the Slaughter Daughters flanked by 2nd place La Racaille and 3rd place Death Track Dolls. (Photo from Slaughter Daughters Facebook page)

In the opener, Les Filles du Roi played their absolute best derby of the tournament. With La Racaille leading 50-9 and seemingly on cruise control, Les Filles mounted a major comeback, completely flipping the table to outscore their leaguemates 51-10 the rest of the way and set up a final jam with the score tied at 60. An FDR jammer penalty on the first pass sealed the deal and La Racaille picked up 25 to win 85-60. In the other semifinal, the Dolls and Daughters engaged in one of the hardest hitting bouts of the tournament with blockers from both teams providing their entries for hit of the tournament, while the Daughters ended up pulling away in the end (it was 26-24 at the midway point) to win the thrilling game by 28 (68-40).


The Dolls shook off their semifinal loss to compose themselves and come back and dominate Les Filles du Roi 136-29 in the third place game, completing an impressive tournament and earning them third place honours for the second time in three years. The historic final matchup (this year extended to two twenty minute halves) started off incredibly tight with La Racaille playing some of their best derby to keep pace with the Daughters, down only 2, 43-41 at the half. While La Racaille were able to keep pace, they could never dictate it, and eventually the relentless Daughters, who had the deepest bench in the tournament, inched ahead before pulling away for good at the end, holding on for a 103-74 victory to become the first ever two-time Beast of the East champions.

The Dolls' Rainbow Fight (right, warming up with Santilly In Yo Face) was virtually unpassable as a blocker and unstoppable as a jammer. (Photo by Joe Mac)

The Dolls’ Rainbow Fight (right, warming up with Santilly In Yo Face) was virtually unpassable as a blocker and unstoppable as a jammer. (Photo by Joe Mac)


MVP: Rainbow Fight (Death Track Dolls)

The continued development and depth of the Slaughter Daughters knocks Hanna Murphy (formerly Semi-Precious) off the perch she’s held for the past two years. Not that she’s not still worthy, but the play of skaters like Eh Nihilator (finals MVP), Margaret Choke, Da Big Block, Sister Disaster and others have risen to a more equal level (no doubt pulled up by the continuous excellence of Murphy). And certainly a few other skaters warrant consideration with the exceptional Mel E Juana leading the way (Sofanda Beatin looked strong early but her Vicious Dishes only played two games). But this weekend, Rainbow Fight emerged as a powerhouse in the sport (those who saw her dominate on the smaller scale of last year’s RDAC Atlantics aren’t surprised).  Virtually unpassable as a blocker/pivot, Rainbow also could win the argument for top jammer on the Dolls, if not in the tournament: handed the star whenever her team needed a shift in momentum, she consistently delivered. On a Dolls team loaded with individual talent, Rainbow Fight still managed to stand out.

Breakout Player: Miracle Whips (Les Contrabanditas)

Miracle Whips jamming against the Thames Fatales. (Photo by Joe Mac)

Miracle Whips jamming against the Thames Fatales. (Photo by Joe Mac)

There were a handful of players in contention here. Beth Rave and Demanda Lashing stepped up for Les Filles du Roi in a big way, and Nana Bistouri was a huge reason behind the surprising success of the Le Rouge et Gore, while it’s easy to forget that Ova Kill is only in her second year with the TKOs, and rookie Kindree Surprise seems to be the centerpiece of a rebuilding Thames Fatales offense; however, there is no new player who had a bigger impact on her team than Miracle Whips. A star at last year’s Fresh and Furious rookie tournament in Toronto, the argument could be made that there was no single player who was more important for her team all weekend. The rebuilding Contrabanditas were constantly buoyed by the consistent play of Whips who almost single-handedly gave them a boost whenever things seemed about to get out of hand.

Le Rouge et Gore made it all the way to a quarterfinal bout against La Racaille in their first Beast. (Photo by Joe Mac)

Le Rouge et Gore made it all the way to a quarterfinal bout against La Racaille in their first Beast. (Photo by Joe Mac)

Breakout Team: Le Rouge et Gore (Roller Derby Quebec)

For the second year in a row, this was a pretty easy selection. From their record-setting performance against the Derby Debutantes (most points scored by a single team, 159, and most combined points in a 20 minute BOE game, 191), to their stunning upset over the Smoke City Betties (58-56 in a must-win elimination game), Le Rouge et Gore proved to be a team to watch in a league on the rise. From the clutch jamming of Nana Bistouri to the relentless pounding of Mobydith to the depth provided by Dina Myth and Douche Nuken, this Rouge et Gore team more importantly displayed a spirit of perseverance that was impossible to ignore.

** For the fourth season in a row, Canuck Derby TV broadcast all of the action live, and you can relive it here at the archives.

**The Nerd would like to extend a special thanks to Montreal Roller Derby once again, and also to the crew (production and announcing) at Canuck Derby TV led by Dr. Johnny Capote.

Gores wreak vengeance on Betties in ToRD semifinal

The Gores were looking for revenge against the Betties after a regular season loss. (Photography by Greg Russell)

Smoke City Betties 86 vs. Gore-Gore Rollergirls 166.

Some teams just know how to win. They’ve done it so long, the know what it takes, and they know how to bring it when the situation calls for something a little extra special. After this weekend’s dominant performance, there can be no question left about what kind of team the Gore-Gore Rollergirls are. Coming off of their worst ToRD regular season ever (they’d finished atop the standings after all five of the previous regular seasons) and having sustained their largest ever defeat (a 142-point loss to this same Smoke City Betties team), it seemed that the streak of appearing in every championship game in ToRD’s history was in jeopardy. But with an offense led by ToRD’s all-time leading scorer, Bambi (returning from injury), and a pack of fiercely determined blockers clearing the path, the Gores led from start to finish in the semifinal showdown with the Betties and looked like a team renewed as they booked their ticket to the 2012 Battle for the Boot and set up a showdown with their long-time rivals, the defending champion Chicks Ahoy!

Bambi’s performance was not affected by her absence due to injury.

Facing adversity all season and feeling the strain of injuries and mid-season retirements, the Gores limped into the post season (actually only qualifying after a very close plus/minus tiebreaker with the Dolls). With an offence run by committee, the Gores could not get any momentum in their season closer. With Bambi returning from the first major injury layoff of her career, the Gores offense got going early. A 3-0 jam by co-captain and regular pivot Lady Gagya got things started, but on the second jam disaster struck for the Betties. With Bambi skating her first jam since May, the Gores were rewarded with a power jam and the Betties paid dearly. A remarkable 34 points later, and the Betties found themselves floundering in a 37-0 deficit only three minutes in.

Despite strong individual efforts from the likes of Renny Rumble and Platinum Bomb, the Betties couldn’t sustain momentum.

That power jam would prove to be the difference maker in the first half: at the halfway point, the lead remained similar, 54-11. Early penalty woes both in the pack and with their jammers had the Betties scrambling in a way that they hadn’t done all season. Indeed, this was truly the first setback in what has been a banner season for the skaters in black and blue. After two years of rebuilding, it seemed that this was finally the year the Betties would claw their way back to the top. After promising performances against the Death Track Dolls and the Chicks Ahoy! and culminating in their lopsided victory over the Gores (not to mention a quarterfinal appearance at the Beast of the East) it had been a season of steady progression. Led by a core of skaters having breakout seasons (the finally healthy titmouse and rookie Slaptrick Swayze jamming; Sin D Drop-her and Platinum Bomb in the pack), the Betties seemed poised to make their first appearance in the championship since 2009. Down 86-40 at the half, the Betties were certainly still within reach, but the Gores seemed to be gaining confidence by the jam.

Once again the Gores found offense from many different sources, including Santa Muerta, while the Betties stuck to a tighter rotation that included BruiseBerry Pie.

The Gores received standout performances from some usual suspects. With jammer corps depleted, it was Lady Gagya, Santa Muerte , Chronic and Kandy Barr who did double duty to support Bambi (D-VAS call up Getcha Kicks also got her skates wet in her first ever on-track action in ToRD). While Lady Gagya’s phenomenal footwork makes her a natural fit to jam, Santa Muerte’s tireless determination helped her have her best ever game with the star. But since the Betties had a jammer core at least equal to the Gores on this night, the difference was in the pack; and where they Betties had been tight and consistent during the regular season, they were stretched and penalty prone in this one.  Chronic had another fantastic bout in the pack, and Foxy Sinatra added another top-notch bout to what has been, arguably, the best season of the long-time veteran’s career. It was this relentless attack and punishing defence that allowed the Gores to increase their stranglehold to 123-53 at the halfway mark of the second half.

Renny Rumble continued her breakout rookie season.

But despite the loss, the Betties had standouts as well. titmouse capped  a remarkable season with another consistent performance with the star, while BruiseBerry Pie continues to develop into one of the true superstars of the league (and had the possible highlight of the night late in the game on an apex-jumping steal of four points). Rookie of the year candidate Renny Rumble had another strong performance as well showing extraordinary track sense and impeccable one-on-one positional blocking. Renny diversified her game tonight as well, entering the jammer rotation (a position she has experience playing, though not for the Betties). Regardless of the strong individual performances, they seemed overwhelmed on this stage (falling behind by 100 points at one point late in the half) and were never able to claw their way back in the 166-86 loss.

The Dolls had a strong finish to what was a somewhat disappointing season.

***In the first half of the double header, The Death Track Dolls closed out what by all accounts was a disappointing season with a massive 282-102 victory over the shorthanded Queen City champions the Nickel City Knockouts (out of Buffalo). It was an emotional game for the last-place Dolls, who will see the retirement or loss of some key skaters in the off season including long-time Doll Lucid Lou and the last original Doll, Jubilee. They cruised from start to finish, leading by whopping 163-18 at half on the back of some super-strong defence and steady jamming. It was an inspiring victory for the team, a big confidence builder heading into the off season.

*** The Battle for the Boot 6 (Toronto Roller Derby’s 2012 championship game) will go on September 22nd. Three-time champs The Gore-Gore Rollergirls with try to unseat the defending champion  Chicks Ahoy!. Tickets are available online in select retail locations.