Preamble: After the wrap-up of the ToRD season at The Hangar with the festive Clam Slam leading into the Canada Day weekend, July turned into the jampacked Derby month as we ventured into the realm of the 2 Fresh 2 Furious tournament, then the longest weekend afterwards which started by heading out to Tri City and ending up in the Hammer, then the next week back to Royal City and finishing the week amongst the Rollergettes. The following takes place between July 16th and July 17th.
All photos on this page link to Midnight Matinee on Flickr
The Hammer City Harlots were set to square off against the Royal City All-Stars on a hot Saturday in the middle of July. The trick was trying to get there.
The weather was not letting up which meant traffic congestion for cars trying to escape the city. And the proverbial weekend closures and road constructions only added to the mess. Zipping out to Guelph for their doubleheader was an adventure in itself. Trying to navigate and remember landmarks and the vagaries of Wellington and landing a parking spot in Guelph was accomplished just in time for the second half of the first bout of the Royal City Brawl between the blue of the Our Ladies of Pain and the red Killer Queens.
All the tension was in the atmosphere as the final spot for the Royal City Championship was up for grabs. In the three team Royal City Rollergirls league, the winner of the night would go up against Violet Uprising two weeks hence.
When we finally landed on the floor of the venue, the score was as close as it could be with a 53-55 advantage for Our Ladies of Pain over Killer Queens. Most of the crowd were congregating upstairs in the glassed-in lounge. The Sleeman Centre is one of the best arenas in which to watch Derby with lots of seating in the stands and suicide seating on the floor with supplied chairs, plus great amenities such as the licensed bar serving Sleeman on tap and PBR in the fridge [along with a barfood kitchen] and the ample room in the aisles and hallways for merchandise tables and charitable promotions. No wonder since it is the rink of the hometeam Guelph Storm of the OHL. But when the ice is off the floor, the place is an air-conditioned paradise with first class treatment for everyone alike.
Killer Queen Bonny BruiseHer gives her take on the scenario detailing the intensity displayed by the opponent Our Ladies of Pain who were “not smiling and very serious. In fact, I recognize that look of intensity. It’s the Tri City look! [However], the Killer Queens were going to be victorious as they have been all summer. Our Ladies of Pain was very systematic and I noticed that right away.”
Afterwards, “I told them I thought they played awesome. We [as Killer Queens] were quite scattered at first half. We have a lot of talent on this team. Combine this with teaching skating and footwork along with coaches strategies and it’s all been good.” The focus of attack for the Pain was one fast tandem of Spunky and Hot Cross Guns which was countered by the Killer Queens jammers Build Ford Rough and the Archbitch of Slamterbury. The Killer Queens crew with Mandy Maggotbone and Lady GoreJess gelled and stepped up their game, [this is an example of the Oxford comma] and pulled away to the 110-88 victory.
With Hammer being in the house, they brought along some of their zebra crew, so it was good to see D-Minus, Hot Carl and the fragile on skates again. The whistles were busy and it was a battle of the fast and the furious as the reformation of the Hammer City Harlots continued against the hitters and speedy jammers of the All-Stars from Royal City.
It would have been to the advantage of the Harlots if they had concentrated less on getting their own jammer through and focused on the one two tandem of #1910 Hellcat of Panar and #38 Hot Cross Guns. But the Harlots were being distracted as the All-Stars jammers gained the inside line and racked up the points. By the second half when it was painfully clear that victory was beyond their grasp, the Harlots settled down and focused on hitting their opposition which made for a more effective game and made the bout even more a joy to watch. One could never anticipate that Hammer could be so much fun on the track, but the moments watching ScoobyDoom and her team and the All-Stars hitting the hell out of each other, then shucking and jiving to the music during and afterwards reflects the true dynamic of Derby. Derby is always in a cycle too, with the reformation of the Hammer City and restarting its ascendancy and Royal City in its infancy and blossoming. The night ended with the Royal City All-Stars ahead by 168 to 47 and a mad dash out of the arena and on the highway and a zip back into Toronto before 12:30 could strike.
With only days left to go, the Royal City teams have been incommunicado leaving only Waldow left to speak for the league which has exploded beyond early imaginings. Quoting from facebook:
“It’s outgrown the house we built for it. It’s got a mind of its own and we’re just along for the ride!”
So looking forward to this weekend for a Derby skills competition inspired from Australia and a skate demonstration from Bonny BruiseHer and Chocolate Meltdown as a lead-in to the game this Saturday night. Killers Queens vs. Violet Uprising!
Over in the land of Forest City in Goderich:
Hammer City Harlots take on Roc City [from Rochester, New York] at Dave Andreychuk Arena with doors opening at 6, have you seen the bout poster?
Meanwhile, closer to Toronto itself comes the revival of last year’s Fresh & Furious with this year’s Freshie tournament 2 Fresh 2 Furious. The sequel is even longer this year expanded to 16 teams from last year’s four which featured the debut of the GTA Rollergirls’s own Chrome Mollys. This season’s Chrome Mollys sees even fresher Mollys as they keep their eye on the prize against an invasion of leagues, some of whom have brought in their own teams of players who meet the maximum requirement of five bouts
or less experience or there has been a blending of leagues to form the sixteen teams who engage in a Beast of the East tournament format. All the games will be held concurrently at the two rinks of Ted Reeve Arena – with the semi-finals being played in the main arena. Twenty minutes playing time, double elimination knockout, 28 games in all. Starts at 11 a.m. Last game scheduled for 9 p.m. How much more fun can you have? This photographer will be one tired puppy at the end of it all.
[On another note, many apologies to all the players and teams who have provided background for some stories that are still in the creation stage. Life is getting in the way but we're doing our best, but keep your eyes tuned here! Cheers for now!]
Via Flickr:Hammer City Eh! Team vs. Lake Effect FuriesDave Andreychuk [Mountain] Arena Hamilton, ONTARIO CANADA
Preamble: Woke up got out of bed, that was a good way to start the day. With so many events on the 11th of June, there were all the conflicting choices and no handy dandy DeLorean and flux capacitor. The Derby Debs were hosting Rideau Redux with the Riot Squad at Ted Reeve, Royal City Rollergirls had their Royal City Riot with first time South Simcoe facing Killer Queen and Our Ladies of Pain going up against Violet Uprising, Toronto Roller Derby had their 2 vs 3 semi-finals with Chicks Ahoy! meeting the Dolls in their second bout in two weeks. Mais les jeux sont fait with Hammer City Eh! Team facing the Hammer City Eh! Team.
Hammer time in the city as the Lake Effect Furies brought their brrrr! game to Hamilton. It was storm und drang as the Hammer City Eh! Team led by mainstays Bitchslap Barbie, Lock and Eduskating Rita fought back with their classic hit and run style. The travelling Furies from Queen City Roller Girls in Buffalo, New York ventured across the border with a squad of eleven captained by #52 CU-T and LipService wearing #77 instead of her customary #360, some rookie Furies #303 Konichiwow and #711 Day TripHer with their new coach in tow Mr. T and Diamond Crushher running bench. The Furies ranked currently #17 in Q1 in the Eastern Division in their first year of WFTDA are nothing if not new Derby on the edge of a revolution.
Meanwhile ranked #19 in Q1 Hammer City Eh! Team were into their second bout of the home season while the Furies had already been busy at home against Steel City, Hudson Valley and Maine, and on the road against the likes of Green Mountain and Montreal New Skids on the Block, and the QCRG home teams just finishing off the Queen City Cup championships won by the Devil Dollies over the NCKO.
The match with Hammer City would be QCRG’s seventh ranked match of the year whereas Hammer City would be back from BrewHaha 2011 and their part in the doubleheader with Forest City.
History shows there have been bouts between Queen City and the Hammer. So the night would be marking the resumption of their small rivalry. Miss Carriage, #33 with Hammer City Eh! Team vet noted: “The Eh! Team hasn’t played Queen City since 2009 so I was really excited to skate against Queen City.”
From the moment the Furies skated onto the track, they brought their style and fluidity in skating that showed they meant business. The Furies have demonstrated in the past through two matches in Ontario with Tri-City Thunder and CN Power they have defence and speed. And their coach Mr. T had brought in some track savvy and wiles. It also became apparent during their speedy and fervent warmup that the Furies had something up their sleeves [if they had been wearing any].
Hammer City Eh Team #613 Hammerhead said: “The Furies brought intensity to the track. They were strong, and fearless competitors. Often incorporating the element of ‘surprise’ into their game play and strategy.”
One of the elements of surprise was a manner of skating which is not commonly seen in Derby but taken to the heart and actively encouraged within Queen City.
Miss Carriage continues: “Watching the Furies warm up it was apparent that they incorporated backwards skating into their game play, so our team chatted about ways to combat it. Whatever direction the Furies skated in, swarming our jammers and throwing big hits were a part of their successful strategy, which we countered with everything we had, including some solid blocks of our own.”
The bout was as swift yet defensive and hard hitting as could be imagined by any fan of the Hammer or the Furies. The gameplan by the Furies was a sight to behold. Trying to keep it on the mum side, Lake Effect Furies ploy of backwards skating and blocking as shown by their #44 R. Rose Selavey nonetheless looked revolutionary, then again, anything involving players in Derby on the track is revolutionary. Backwards skating and blocking in the direction of play may not be prevalent, but it is a tactic that could be incorporated. The advantages are within the realm of the teams themselves.
Wily Lambchop #71 of the Furies always eyeing out her opposition, delivered the hit of the night for her team on an unsuspecting Oh! Henry, while Miss Carriage countered in kind for Hammer.
Although the Furies were racing up the scoreboard reaching triple digits, it was not due to any lack of heart or hustle by HCRG to match their opposition. Hammer jammers #5 JJ Bladez, #33 Miss Carriage, co-captains #2009 Eduskating Rita and even #00 Lock N Roll [and others] were going against the likes of Furies’s #525 Addy Rawl, #10 B.J. Harmstrong, #77 Lipservice [all three of whom tried out for Team USA for the World Cup coming in December]. Furthermore, Crazy Legs #24 was chosen Captain for Team Argentina. The win due more to a cohesive Furies team out to get to the top of the scoreboard and rankings, agile jammer for Lake Furies #525 Addy Rawl says: “In our post game talk we all agreed that the score did not reflect how we felt during the game. It was high intensity from the first whistle to the last. We were able to incorporate the things we have been doing in practice over the past few months and we did a great job of communicating and working together. Our blockers were extraordinary, holding the opposing team’s jammer for most of the jams. Our blockers make our job easy.”
One of the nice parts of Derby is the afterwards picking of the MVP by the two sides for the night. The Eh! Team chose #711 Day TripHer as Lake Effect’s MVP, while #5150 Oh! Henry was chosen as Eh! Team’s MVP by their Queen City counterparts. This thrilled #5150 no end.
“This was my first home game and it was alot of fun, having some friends and family cheering me on really helped! I didn’t expect to win an MVP award but I’m obviously thrilled and can’t wait till our next game.”
To help sum up the night, Miss Carriage proudly states: “Our team achieved some of the goals we set out to and look forward to furthering them at ECDX. All in all it made for a really fun game that the fans enjoyed despite the score differential, we hope to skate with QCRG more often!”
Furthermore, says #795 Tempura Tantrum who skated last year in the Waterfront match in the sauna like conditions: “The Eh! Team is rebuilding but we still bring the HCRG fight to every bout. But credit clearly goes to the Furies. You learn so much from playing a team as cohesive and strategically sound as the they are. With every jam we play, I definitely think we’re continuing to grow stronger as a team. The Eh! Team is on the right track.”
Next matches to come for Hammer City slotted against Maine and Long Island down at East Coast Derby Extravaganza. Then July 9 back at home with Roc City currently WFTDA Apprentice. Roc City have played previously against Suburgia, Lehigh, Long Island and QCRG, with future bouts against Garden State, Lake Effect and Harrisburg.
/… more to come
As we write this: Lake Effect Furies have just defeated Central New York 152-135 on June 18th. Cheers!
all content copyright © midnight matinee
From rochestersportsfan.com: “The Furies might be ranked a hair low, their first three bouts were booked a bit ambitiously, they faced some stiff beatings from Steel City, Maine, and Montreal, while blowing out unranked opponents like Green Mountain and Hudson Valley Horrors. Later in the season they face off against Suburbia Roller Derby and Long Island Roller Rebels, who might give the rankings voters a better idea of where their team belongs in the rankings.”
Well, we could not be at the Beast of the East, but going to Hammer City to their season opener doubleheader was not second best to say the least.
By admission within their programme for the night, the Hammer City Rollergirls were going through rebuilding and “some realignment. Under the new HCRG structure we have two fierce teams”, the regional Hammer City Harlots and the WFTDA Hammer City Eh! Team.
The rematch between HCRG and Forest City brought back to mind the two matches from last year, both won by the Hammer, and one of which we were privy to watch at Thames Fatales’s Western Fair stage. The vaunted run and gun and take no prisoner style of Hammer City Eh! team at Quad City Chaos’s first year in 2010 was in full evidence against Thames, rekindling the memorable hits and memorable names at the Battle of the Waterfront (which took place on the hottest day of the year between Death Row Dames in blue and Harlots in red that with the most sudden of sunshowers brought the bout to a skidding stop). The battle with the Thames was the last we were to see of HCRG in 2010 where Perky Set and VicaDoom led the red of the Harlots over the Thames Fatales in forest green and black.
But before we go too much further into the nitty gritty details, one really begins to appreciate the massive organizational efforts made by leagues everywhere to get their events up and running. Original Tankgirl Miss Carriage amongst everyone at HCRG fielding questions from the volunteers and marshalling the media and the musicians and the scoreboard and the NSOs and zebras and merchandise tables and food options and setting up change rooms and kids friendly areas and all the family types and balloons and drawing materials and announcers and the areas for beer [no beeramids in Hamilton] the track and the benches and the chairs with the big J on them for Mirambo and company and the ticket handlers and sellers and suicide line wavers and waivers and keeping everything friendly. And did we mention that Dave Andreychuk Arena with the sunlight streaming in through the end doors was so reminiscent of George Bell Arena and the lighting which is amazing for photo types. If only The Hangar could be as good. [Happy Mothers Day too!]
HCRG, once the champions of Beast of the East in 2008, were missing at this year’s Beast and Quad City Chaos as HCRG as a league underwent a massive organizational change. HCRG carry their Derby history through the Steeltown Tank Girls, Hamilton Harlots, Eh! Team, Death Row Dames. But for now it’s down to the two teams in the Hammer.
This piece is not intended to be another history of HCRG or Thames, but another chapter is being written, so to add to that story is our valued contributor: Lee Way Wreck’Em [incidentally the lead jammer with GTA Rollergirls Derby Debutantes] who witnessed the weekend. The first thing noticed was the massive changes in rosters. Forest City’s Thames Fatales were already without Sufferjet on the jammer line [although playing at Beast] in Hamilton and Piepshow was taking time off since November, but looking forward to a return at the end of May. As well, missing in action in more ways than one was CommieKaze.
These were not the HCRG Eh! Team or Hamilton Harlots of days yore. This was a HCRG without the likes of Dicey or Dangermouse, Vicadoom or Carla Coma, ChainSaw Mary or Jett-Girl, Perky Set. Longtime vets Eduskating Rita and Bitchslap Barbie, Hawkeye Fierce and Miss Carriage are still on the Eh! Team, yet the league as a whole incorporated newer talents presenting new challenges in defending the name of the Hammer.
It was probably Thames being battle toughened already in the season and Hammer playing in their first games of the season that gave Forest City an advantage. Thames Fatales had already launched their season by travelling down to Mid Michigan in a rematch of their bout from 2010. Then came two very tough losses at Beast of the East 2011 against eventual finalists Gore Gore Rollergirls and ultimate champions Slaughter Daughters.
From the get-go in Hamilton, Thames showed themselves to be a high speed team in warm-up that continued onto the game. Thames Fatales have been around longer as an experienced unit, with their roster of ten led by the able veterans including C of 234 Anya Face and A of Mirambo #69 along with 420 Backalley Sally, 13 Dollface Massacre, 5678 Annie Takers amongst others pulled ahead. Both sides dealing with penalties and attendant problems, power jams and Thames trapping walls allowed points to accumulate. Without Piepshow or Tamahawk, the jamming core revelation of the Fatales was Slacker Smacker who practically rotated 1-2 with speedster Killson. Eventually, Jemecide got thrown into the action, too getting two jams, including last jam!
There was no lack of will however on the track, the trademark Hammer style on display, Eduskating Rita still laying the big bombs on the track, captain Bitchslap Barbie, JJ Bladez and Miss Carriage on the jam and Lock N Roll’s go for broke takeout play.
Down 39-63 at the start of the second half, Eh! Team woke up, playing more effectively in the second half, coming up with plays to stop the jamming invasion. Thames’ speed on the jam though negated that, with the presence of Killson. It was a toss-up between Killson and Slacker Smacker as to who was more effective from the jammer position.
“London played solid, they dominated the pack,” says Lee Way. Though it was thought the score was going to be closer, “Hamilton tried to execute plays [to deter the scorer], but they had to pay attention to who was the jammer. London knew what plays to run at the right time. The jammers skated incredibly.”
The first game of the night was the newlook Harlots wearing the Hammer black and white and gold.
The Hammer City Harlots wearing the Hammer City Rollergirls logo tops of black [sans Harlots symbol or red!] squared off against the bright yellow and blue of Luscious Lunch Ladies, the more rookie laden team of the Forest City Derby Girls.
The Luscious Lunch Ladies already had a handful of bouts to their name. But added to their roster was the presence of 666 Elle Boes which gave the Ladies a major, almost unfair advantage because of her Derby background with the original London Thrashers, then the Thames Fatales. Coming out of inaction, it was decided to put her on the Luscious Lunch Ladies for the night to get some gametime in.
The MVP of the night for the Lunch Ladies was Grisly Baire as chosen by the Harlots. The final 210-64 score in favour of the LLL signalled to all on the outside that this was a new Harlots in the making. It was not a night without casualty as #K9 Scooby Doom left the bout leaving with a shoulder injury.
Hammer City coming on the short end of the score on both games does not belie the gritty efforts and hustle and heart of Luscious Lunch Ladies and Harlots, Thames Fatales and Eh! Team on the track and kudos to everyone who ran the show so the fans could see their favourite players in the Derby world.
Andi Slamberg with the Luscious Lunch Ladies knew they had to step up their game to face the Hammer.
“As soon as we knew the Lunch Ladies were going to be playing the Harlots we kicked our practices into overdrive! Regardless of the the shake up at HCRG we knew that the Harlots were a fierce team and we weren’t sure what to expect. We knew that they had some rookies and some more experienced players who weren’t ready to join the Eh Team, so we were lucky when Elle Boes was added to our roster! It was great to add some experience to our team as well since all of us only have 2 or 3 games under our belts.”
“We also had amazing leadership from our captain Mighty Thor and our bench coach Anya Face! Everyone took a a huge leap forward with their game play during this game, spotlight on Grisley Blaire who was a huge force with keeping the Harlots jammers on lock down, and then ended up being a super awesome jammer for us in the second pierod and won MVP voted by the Harlots. The entire Lunch Ladies team really came together, and pulled everything we’ve been learning onto that track. The Harlots were an amazing team, and you can see that they are working towards being the dominating force they once were, I can’t wait to see how they grow and continue to improve! As they do so will the Lunch Ladies and we will be there with open arms to challenge them on the track again! The FCDG Vs. HCRG games aren’t going away anytime soon! We have nothing but love for this league and all they’ve accomplished but it seems like this year is the year of FCDG this is the first time our league has every won against them and it was a huge honour but we’ve worked hard to earn it and boy did we ever!”
Thames Fatales and Luscious Lunch Ladies in their development have shown they are going to be teams to look out for as they represent the Forest City Derby Girls. Lots of savvy and coaching.
For Hamilton, it’s a process that’s going to take time, trying to make a cohesive whole again on both teams. Lee Way concurs herself there are no worries for HCRG: “They’ll be a force once again. I expect them to be dominant again.”