D-VAS TKO’d! in Tri-City

DSC_4670, originally uploaded by Midnight Matinee 24.

The Deadly Viper Assassination Squad aka D-VAS from Toronto Roller Derby aka ToRD took on the Totak KnockOuts of Tri-City aka TKOs in a very spirited and very hard fought bout. The cheering squad for the TKOs were matched by the chants of D-VAS. With all the energy in the air, would the teams be tight or would they bring it? So, did they bring it on? Oh, they brought it.

Preamble: This piece is not any final summary of the game but serves as another chapter as a prelude to a story growing in the telling of our sojourns into Derby. This takes us back in time into New Hamburg and the world of Tri-City on the weekend of September 24. It’s a promise the final story will be told.

Being back in New Hamburg was a return down the path to where we started our road trips, back to the New Hamburg arena, the site of where the Tri-City Thunder and the Lake Effect Furies were seen for the first time. Back then the Thunder and the Furies were both vying for WFTDA status. Some names seen then and heard for the first time included the likes of BareLeigh Legal, sin-e-star, Lilith NoFair, Skate Pastor and Lippy Wrongstockings. It was the most defensive bout we had seen so far, and rough as well for the Furies Lamb Chop who had her dress ripped at the seam.

The last time we had been at New Hamburg was the memorable encounter between the Thunder and CN Power. One bit of photographic evidence from that bout would be my first published shot in a Derby publication: the five on five Photo Annual 2010. The familiar Huskies logo on the blue background and the rink lighting made New Hamburg a total pleasure to be in again. The smooth floor made sliding around into shooting position easier but the surface was a slipperier factor for the real focus on the track: the skaters. Being back in Tri-City meant getting to be able to talk a bit of Derby sometimes to the personalities such as Lightning Slim of GenX Mike plus the referees such as Matt S. Factor or Ro$ Vega$ along the way. And all the players and volunteer crew who work the doors and really know how to set up merch and the rink generate a friendly, receptive atmosphere to welcome fans and children alike.

The D-VAS had been having a busy season, after what seemed like a long hiatus. They quickly popped back up on the map seemingly gathering bout experience whenever they could, even up in Sudbury’s Nickel City to play Sister Slag. After the D-VAS’s second place finish at the 2 Fresh 2 Furious tournament, D-VAS had been popping up here and there making their presences known, a handful showing up in uniform or t-shirt on a Saturday morning in Peterborough for the Wakestock experience, or down back in east end Toronto for a Derby scrimmage held by the Toronto Junior Roller Derby aka TJRD. The little black and white affair was a small exhibition of what the next step Derby was all about for the juniors and those in the crowd baking or basking in the sunshine.

The D-VAS re-engaged their engines at the debut of The Bunker, Toronto Roller Derby’s new hangout. Two weeks later, the D-VAS were back on the road to New Hamburg to meet the Total Knock-Outs of the Tri-City Rollergirls.

So the D-VAS next match after their debut at The Bunker was a test against a relatively new commodity in the form of the Total Knock-Outs who have been well-drilled and well-coached by the veteran elite of Tri-City. The TKO’s inaugural bout could have been in November 2010 against the Luscious Lunch Ladies from Forest City. The TKO’s had also hooked up against Royal City to great success. Then re-engaged LLL in July 2011 for the Rival Revival doubleheader [also featuring the Venus Fly Tramps against the Thames Fatales]. Would the D-VAS with their levelling up and their inherited experience be able to match up?

The two teams’ first head-to-head match-up was a testament to the fortitude and the personalities of the teams as they engaged in a strategic war of attrition and a very toughly played battle. There was no questioning of heart as blockers took one for the team as they tried to launch their jammers through the other teams, wall or no wall they were going over and through the other side. Black and blue was again the definitive appropriate colour for this newest team in Tri-City. Asking a TKO dressed player at trackside who to watch out for in terms of good play or good players, she quickly noted captain Tiny Dancer who had smoking wheels on the jammer line followed by compadres Booty Two Shoes and Low Block Lois, and the pivots Fox Smoulder and Rain Blows Brite and Evil Liza. Annaslaysia Killsemov was someone be overcome if possible as she stood in front of the D-VAS jammer. The D-VAS team of now were not the same team of last year, growing in the process and blending in the new blood from Fresh Meat amongst the more experienced [considering the D-VAS first bout was only August last year.] Getting to play on the track for real was in its way the payoff to all the training and passing the minimum skills grade. For some, the D-VAS were the stepping stone to the draft at ToRD while others might choose to stay and gain more real experience and track time. So Mean Streak wore the whipping belt, Skinned Knee Crosby wore the C pivoted and blocked along with Bridget Bones, Cory Maim and Laya Beaton laying on the beating. D-VAS jammer rotation was shortened in the second half with Renny Rumble, Keri Daway and Roadside Bombshell. Laya Beaton carried on as blocker. And who could forget #TKO Upher Cut on the D-VAS?

Both teams proved they have the most ardent of fans, egged on by their teams to engage in chants of “TKO TKO!”or “D-VAS D-VAS!” This is Derby when it is at its most fun and entertaining – although the falls and the injuries accumulated from the track are still reminders that Derby is pain and the bruises and the subsequent healing process is a badge of courage and honour. So Tiny Dancer and Roadside Bombshell were in a battle for who was more slippery and elusive, although there was no mistaking the Bombshell fall. In her second full bout with the D-VAS Roadside Bomshell was a formidable jammer with even more speed than she had during her Rollergettes days. But as wild and pellmell as the rest of the D-VAS, she too was found in the penalty bin and the TKOs took the points in power jam situations and building up a lead. They were never to look back.

The captain’s statement reflecting back on the night says: “The game was great – pooching my ankle, less so, but it gave me the opportunity to see how far the TKOs have come, and watch the talent of the D-VAS. You don’t really get to see how your team gels along the way while you’re playing. Being sidelined does – it’s very cool to see the strategies that we practice come together so well during game time!”

The final score showed the TKOs ahead by just a shade over a hundred over the D-VAS, but the margin was not indicative of the mettle and heart of the players as they move into their next stages of Derby, whether it be with D-VAS or crossing fingers for the draft ahead.  The TKOs are a very dedicated third team in Tri-City with a hardcore band of followers. The level of support for teams breaking out into Derby bigtime such as the Total Knock-outs or those lovely Luscious Lunch Ladies from Forest City and the new leagues blossoming everywhere [including Orangeville and Alliston] is the next wave of Derby. The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.

/… more to come of our summer adventures in Derby and the fall ahead

Lippy! and the New Ditas

Lippy with the Contrabanditas
A strange melange of Les Contrabanditas took to the track in New Hamburg on a Saturday night to take on the flying Vicious Dishes of Tri-City.

DSC_5205 originally uploaded by Midnight Matinee 24.

noted along with Dr. Johnny Capote:

The Tri-City Rollergirls were just about ready to wrap up their regular home season throwing in their newest and “black and bluest” Total Knock-Outs against the D-VAS from Toronto Roller Derby to start off the evening. Then the second half of the double-header featured Les Contrabanditas from Montreal Roller Derby [MTLRD] against the Vicious Dishes.

It was a strange time to be on Les Contrabanditas. Players who did not normally wear the red and black awoke and made the trip to Tri-City. The roster at Tri-City was not what Dr. Johnny Capote saw in Montreal this summer.

Our own trips up to Tri-City this year up to the Waterloo Rec Centre always came with some manner of ride to the arena by very generous people within the league or someone officiating [thanks Suzy Slam, Christa Jane, T-Ref], and this time we were met by Lippy Wrongstockings herself and the husband sometimes known as Big Bag who adorned with kilt leads in the charges of the Thunder or Dishes or Venus Fly Tramps with his bagpipes. On the way there was a bit of chat harkening back to the last venture to New Hamburg itself to see CN Power and the Thunder. Then the famous encounter of the Thunder against the Montreal Sexpos last August who brought along names such as Georgia W. Tush, Trash ‘n Smash, Nameless Whorror into their lineup. Wonder what became of them since then? So almost as a jest, it was asked who would possibly be in the Contrabanditas roster for the night? And we found out.

This was not the Skiditas. Even Sparkle ‘n Maim from La Racaille switched sides for a day. Rookie Ti Loup who had just been jamming with the Sexpos at ToRD against CN Power and down at the Big 5 Eastern championships with the New Skids on the Block as their third jammer … Greta Bobo from La Racaille … Bikini Skills [co-captain of Sexpos, triple threat with Ditas], blocker Dame of Doom, Charlotte Bruise-A-Lot co-captain, Ninja Simone [co-captain, blocker and pivot with Ditas and blocker with Sexpos], Ti-Loup, Roch Dee Taunt blocker … add in Bean Stalker, Naughty Bee Oh!Henry from the Hammer and this was definitely not Ricky Balboa’s usual line-up of Les Contrabanditas. Regardless the Ditas team came to play.


The Vicious Dishes came out with their precision style of speed and blocking and jumped to a very quick lead. Boss Applesauce had her Dishes ready. Motorhead Molly, Skate Pastor, Lippy Wrongstockings, the ceaseless jammer rotation for the Dishes going against the likes of Ti-Loup, Naughty Bee, Greta Bobo. It truly was one of the fastest games seen this summer. And for the first time, Matt S Faction granted photographer access to the centre of the track itself. If the game seemed fast from the outside, trying to track the players from the middle was a thrilling challenge. Not only were Lippy Wrongstockings and Ti Loup and Motorhead Molly and company keeping up a blazing pace, the inner track referees following and calling were another impediment to the view, or they could be embraced and become part of the action itself. The centre is a world of its own with all the bodies on the inside, referees, NSOs, penalty wranglers, line and stats trackers, the referees. The roar of skates is something the crowd doesn’t hear from the stands, and the four blasts of the whistle calling off the jam is indeed earsplitting.


The score stood at 85-10 which looked bleak, but based on the comeback, the Contrabanditas coach Ricky Balboa got everybody in line. The new and current Ditas began to blend and stepped up the pace.

“It doesn’t matter what team you give to Balboa, he won’t accept lack of effort from his players, this I know,” says Dr. Johnny Capote.


There were maybe a couple of unconventional jammers for the Dishes on the night, with sin-e-star wearing the star once. Then Stacie Jones was put in as last jammer for the night with Motorhead Molly as a blocker, but the Contrabanditas were not giving up with Ti Loup running up a final 14-4 jam.

The final score of 117-80 was an indication of the Ditas ability to claw back and what could have been.

One of the TKOs comments: “I’d like to say that Tri-City had home turf advantage, but the truth is that the Ditas were a brand new team almost, and there were players fielded from Hammer City to fill the roster. It probably wasn’t the best situation that the Ditas could be in, but they pulled it together pretty quickly for what they had to do to play the game. P’tit Loup was still on fire – it was nuts to see her play another away game right after returning from Easterns!”


As the track was being dismantled, and the scoreboards wiped clean and display tables carted away,  more Derby goodness was on the offering with not just one but two offers of rides back to Toronto, and indeed, two is better than none. Bidding farewell to the players and volunteers who were fueling up on the after-bout repast that Tri City always seems to provide [and being given access to a slice of pizza], they like most leagues everywhere do treat everybody right. Everyone is always willing to field a question or two about Derby, there were multi-discussions with players and coaches about strategies and plays such as the crowded jammer line at the Westerns. So on the ride home, it was comfortable to talk about what people saw on the track, learn more about the draft and the future of the D-VAS in Toronto Roller Derby and tactics once again.

All in all there are good people in Derby everywhere, on and off the track, all promoting the world of Derby, and we feel privileged to know them. And we don’t take any of this for granted.

Soon to come: more catching up with the stories of being on the road this summer in the pursuit of Derby.

all content copyright © midnight matinee

Blister in the Sunday – just another Fun Day with TJRD

TJRD, TJRD Outdoors
TJRD, TJRD Outdoors
TJRD Sunday Funday - September 18, 2011

Let me go on like I blister in the sun

Preamble: With summer coming to a very quick conclusion and we remark upon another amazing season of Derby that never comes to a stop. Falling far behind on words to write and thanks going out to all we’re going to have to work backwards or ramble on a random basis. So don’t feel neglected or rejected if the mentions haven’t been as frequent or forthcoming for we have been forthright pumping up the volume on the photographic side of style and wile while we have been at it. Starting with the most recent and keening backwards we start with le weekend passé.

TJRD Sunday Funday - September 18, 2011

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Dear Diary: This has been the weekend of roadtrips – but the most hellish of all has been the trip within this city of Toronto on Sunday. The TTC in all its infinite wisdom blocked off the subway for maintentance between Eglinton and Bloor subway stations, and adding in its stead their version of a shuttle bus service. Compounding the woe, is the 54 bus coming late and only offering the short turn version plus the Terry Fox Run being held in the neighbourhood park down the street with all the cars turning into the park and holding up all the traffic towards the station. And what was beginning as a chilly day rapidly warming up. The shuttle bus decision when we should have gone the other way was only one of a myriad of decisions gone awry. And a Queen Street streetcar that takes forever to arrive, but as we notice during the game itself they came ever so frequently. Yesterday came suddenly. But this is not my story. This is the story of a Fun Day with Toronto Junior Roller Derby.


Having been corrected on occasion, TJRD is not ToRD Jr but a league unto its own with no affiliation to Toronto Roller Derby, formally fostering Derby amongst the juniors between the ages of 9 to 18 years of age. TJRD has found a new place to skate down amongst the Queen Street East scene at Jimmie Simpson Rec Centre between Broadview and Pape. The tweet of the whistle and the sight of helmets and stripes indicated we had found the place. To some surprise, this bout was being held in the outdoor hockey or lacrosse arena. No goalie nets in sight, but the taped down track and all was ready to go. Some readily recognizable players on the Black and White teams from previous games seen at Ted Reeve or at The Hangar, all ready and able to roll.

Mouth of the South

What had begun as a chilly morn turned into a perfect day to skate in the words of coach Mouth of the South who was once again going against her bench counterpart Lucid Lou. We may have slightly begged to differ, as the Roots pullover and outerjacket was reduced to a black Thunder shirt. The day was not Hammer City hot from the past while outdoors, but it was hot enough to make the camera a baked potato in the hand.

This was an ideal Sunday to introduce Derby to the neighbourhood. For this Sunday Funday scrimmage admission was free with donations as you wish. Plenty of Derby moms and dads with cameras in hand to take in all the proceedings of their younglings, but unlike what may be heard at a hockey arena, all that was being heard was the encouragement and no badmouthing. Merch tents from Cardinal Skates and tables with TJRD shirts for sale. A ref crew down to a minimum with no outside refs still meant be careful while you must, but a lack of suicide line meant a camera vantage point not to be taken for granted. T-Ref was centre stage sans stripes as a timekeeper while R’effin Adora Bell and crew kept the players in line.


Lucid Lou and Mouth of the South have been among many players instrumental in the formation and coaching of Toronto Junior Roller Derby. The group was birthed and berthed at The Hangar in Downsview Park, then they along with the other tenant at The Hangar started looking for a new place to practice. TJRD settled into Jimmie Simpson Rec Centre in the east end of Toronto. Sunday Funday was a means to showcase their talent and Derby in the neighbourhood.

“TJRD has a new home at Jimmie Simpson,” says Lucid Lou. “We hosted a scrimmage (mid-September) for kids and adult and had and excellent turn out from the community!
The kids did their thing first and then got to see the big girls play. We had skaters for all Toronto leagues, it was such a great day of derby all around!”

The young Black and White teams on the track had their gameface on, make-up or not. They exuded confidence, ready to go into competition. Their Derby names blazed in bold on the back of their shirts, and their faces replete with the warpaint. The teams played fearlessly, ready to take a hit, not scared to fall. With the rules being purportedly low contact and positional blocking, the ladies still looked ready to indulge in some full engagement, but held back. A lot of dazzling skating and crossovers at the corners by the jammers, even the tiniest of the skaters were outracing their older competition. It is almost astounding to think that a lot of the older talent were still in the twelve to thirteen year old range, playing wiser beyond their years. The coaches [12 Gage might have been the coach for white as she donned Hammer gold colours on the back and the logo from DDRD on the front, Lucid Lou coached the black side] were still preaching fun, and shouting out encouragement in the most sporting of ways. Veteran and senior coaches should take note how these young players responded to calm coaches at the bench. The players could actually comprehend a single voice instead of a rabble of din, and jammers gazed attentively at the bench and received instructions about going to the front, speeding up or slowing down the pack, and telling the jammers when to call it off. Although there were times the coaches were not heeded in the heat of the moment, or maybe the players could not actually hear their bosses from the other side of the track, the coaches did not display any frustration and only smiled at their players who in return responded to the bits of wisdom and praise as they returned exhausted to the bench.

There were reminders that these were youngsters who sought out the advice of the coaches or asked questions about how and when to return from the penalty box, one or two minutes? It did not matter, all major penalties were one minute. The teams were learning rules and applying them on the fly, trying out new tactics, even taking the knee down during power jam situations and a bit of football style Derby springing the pack on the jammer line. Asking Lucid Lou why skaters did this, she noted that she had seen a lot of this practiced at ECDX. The jammer at the line was gently guided by her coach: “You know what to do.” So the jammer skated around the line in front of her and took off.


It was indeed hot, and the heat was taking its toll. But the TJRD were having great fun and showed off their amazing Derby skills, mixed with a bunch of team spirit and utter fearlessness on the track. And coaches were ensuring everything was being kept cool and at safe levels. Lots of Derby savvy and awareness on the track as holes in the walls were open and shut and positional blocking squeezing the jammers out. The potential of these ladies is astounding and they will certainly knock around a lot of the current generation off the track in a few years as they grow up and graduate into the next step of Derby.

As the juniors assembled for their postgame peptalk from the coaches, the more senior members of the TJRD Sunday Fun Day ensemble took to the track to continue the exhibition of Derby for the community and show the future stars more of what Derby skills had of their own and for the juniors to look forward to.

The hour was approaching three and the magic moment of light during the day. The golden pale of the hot sun cast an appealing light upon the players on the track. The black and white team were forced to re-mix again as two whites showed up against an almost full minimum team of black. A brief reshuffle into shirts and two teams of six were assembled.


The teams configured as a mix of GTA Rollergirls in black and white along with Durham. eSkimoJo tried to rally her white cohorts during the warm-ups but Chicks Ahoy!’s Robber Blind seemed to take over leadership with her bites of coaching advice, mentoring the jammers to keep their legs moving and they’ll do all right. Black featured Betties, D-VAS, GTA and Durham. With the short benches, T-Ref asked if they should stop the 30 second countdown between jams and it was decided the teams would roll when they were ready. Who would be jammer or pivot was an on-the-spot decision. Unnatural jammers vied against unlikely jammers.


Skating on the uneven cement surface proved easier for the younger set than the old ones on the track, but it didn’t stop the players from giving ‘er all and leaving ‘er all on the floor. Plenty of trips to the penalty box were welcome respites. The size of the benches and chairs reminded some of the players of being back in public school. Ten jams per period with a five minute break and all came to a sweltering stop. The final score on the wall was tallied by the TJRD and consigned to a chalk mark blown away in the wind.

Sunday was not just another Funday, it was a good day to bring Derby into the community and no doubt attracted a new group of the piqued for the future, a future filled with this current generation of flourishing talent.


Boo D. Bloxx representing Queen City Baby Brawlers @ 2 Fresh 2 Furious

Queen City Baby Brawlers @ 2 Fresh 2 Furious - July 7, 2011

Preamble: It has been a little more than a year since we had first made contact with the constantly travelling Queen City Rollergirls. Whether it be witnessing the Lake Effect Furies up in Tri-City

Lake Effect Furies vs. Tri-City Thunder - July 10, 2010

or seeing the freshies of the league at Fresh & Furious or its sequel, the league of extraordinary QCRG  has always been the friendliest of ambassadors.

A certain lot of the Queen City Rollergirls made their presence known in the Toronto area at the very first Fresh and Furious tournament hosted by GTA Rollergirls at Ted Reeve Arena. Back then it was a doubleheader with a combination of fresh meat talent from leagues such as WEWRA Rollergettes, Ottawa ORD, Sault, Queen City, Auld Reekie mixed together, wearing either the black or pink in each game. Ostensibly, the second game was the debut of the Chrome Mollys.

Continue reading “Boo D. Bloxx representing Queen City Baby Brawlers @ 2 Fresh 2 Furious”

Timmins united to form new league in the City with a Heart of Gold

Life in a Northern Town derbywise just became more interesting. Out of the blue came the announcement that Timmins’ “first roller Derby team” The Gold Miners’ Daughters would join forces with the Dark Angels,  “the first team established by the Timmins Roller Derby League.”

ON Thursday, Nick L Bagg [aka Jeff Latham] of Gold Miners’ Daughters announced the two teams would join forces to form the new league. The Gold Miners’ Daughters and the Dark Angels would fall under the auspices of the new creation. Adding to the story, Aimes to Mame [aka Amy Hefferman] says the three suggested names so far come from the membership itself: the possibilities being Gold Rock City Derby, Gold City Rollergirls, or Hardcore Roller Derby. Listeners on the local Timmins Q92 Best Rock radio station and a Facebook poll are helping in the final decision on the name. [It has been pointed out there is a Gold City Rollers extant in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia who at this moment are also recruiting Fresh Meat.]

Coach Nick L Bagg cited the expanding popularity of Derby in Timmmins as one of the reasons for the union. “We had no choice but to pool our resources. We are boasting over 40 skaters now.”

There is enough talent for two interleague house teams at the moment and a larger pool to come next season. A steady stream of new and interested Fresh Meat skaters are coming to the league on a constant basis and “some of them show real promise for next year.”

For now, intentions are to have two house teams and another 2 Fresh type roster. The Dark Angels and Gold Miners’s Daughters would stick to their current rosters with a few exceptions. While some players take the time off, others wishing to continue training through the winter ahead would do so with the Gold Miners’s Daughters. Newbies as soon as they pass their minimum skills requirements would be pooled into the lottery for roster spots on the teams, “unless they have a specific preference.” And out of the talent in the league a more experienced travelling team would emerge.

The constant challenge for leagues is a place to practice. Space in the city is at a premium, so the teams will practice separately on various gym floors through the school systems. They have faced resistance to having wheels on floors, but the Catholic school board has been “generous” in allowing the players to roll.

“Over time the public will see the demand and open their doors to us,” declares Nick L Bagg. “Forty five plus women on roller skates can persuade anyone.”

No kidding. Who would dare refuse a Derby lady?

In the meanwhile, the next bout in Timmins takes place this coming Saturday on September 10 where the Gold Miners’ Daughters take on the visiting Soonami Slammers who are kindly venturing forth from Sault Ste. Marie. And the bout will be announced by none other than Night Train.

It’s a long way to the top, but the Gold Miners’ Daughters have proven they can take on Derby in the south by claiming the first place trophy at 2 Fresh 2 Furious and shocking a lot of Derby people in the process. Furthermore, with all the mutual support for each other by the other teams and leagues such as Nickel City or the Soo or Thunder Bay in the area and their willingness to cover the daunting distances between cities to bout each other, it has become evident there should be a vying for a Northern style Cup for North Ontario Derby Supremacy.

Latest update on the story as of June 2013: The Dark Angels was absorbed by the Gold Miners’ Daughters and the league was renamed the Gold City Roller Girls.

There is another Northern Ontario team preparing for 2 Fresh 2 Furious this year, the Neo-Fights. Also many of the GCRG are skating for the NORD Wildcards.