West Kootenay Women’s Roller Derby League now the largest in Canada
Head smashin’ hip crashin’ roller derby action is set to hit Rossland with a double-header at the arena on April 16, the opening bouts of the 2011 season for the West Kootenay Women’s Roller Derby League (WKWRDL).
Rossland’s Gnarlie’s Angels will face off against Salmo’s Babes of Brutality in a rematch of last fall’s infamous bout that saw the Angels succumb to a beating by the Babes.
The Angels report that they’ve been tightening up their hits, blocks, and skating in preparation for Salmo’s hardcore team.
The team is also carrying momentum from their momentous win against the Deathbridge Derby Dames in Lethbridge, Alta., in January, and another winter win against Enderby’s River Town Rollergirls.
“The Quads Must Be Crazy” double-header on April 16 also features Nelson’s two new teams, the Killsjoys and the Lumber Jackies, going head-to-head in their first-ever appearance.
Now with seven teams — the four in the double header plus Castlegar’s Dam City Rollers, the Slocan Valley Vendettas, and the region’s travel team, the Kootenay Cannibelles — the WKWRDL has become Canada’s largest roller derby league.
The league has four double headers scheduled for the season, plus playoffs and a championship bout set to rumble on Sept. 11.
The great and growing interest in the sport has even spawned new offshoots for the younger set, namely West Kootenay Junior Roller Derby.
“Women haven’t had an empowering sport in a very long time,” said Shelly Grice-Gold of the Babes. “Full contact sport is usually made for men and then adjusted for women to play. Roller derby was made for women and mountain women are strong, we can handle it.”
Shannon Marion of the Angels said it’s never difficult to fill a roster “because as sweet as us Kootenay women are, there’s a little bit of agro in all of us!”
Roller derby involves skating around an oval track, with points scored as two “jammers,” one from each team, simultaneously lap the “blockers” on the opposing team. Jammers fight their way through the pack, scoring a point for each lap.
To loosen the fans’ holler muscles, beer, coolers, and other beverages will be available, as well as other snacks and WKWRDL merchandise.
And, when the sweat and blood has been wiped off the rink, an after-party will be held at the Steamshovel in Rossland.
The arena doors will open at 6 p.m. for the first bout at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door and $2 for kids 10-years-old or under.
Advance tickets can be purchased at RossVegas in Rossland, Gerick Cycle and Sports in Trail, and HTR in Castlegar.