Trio of P.A. roller derby players nominated while sport grows

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Andrew Schopp
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The Prince Albert Outlaws of the Prince Albert Roller Derby League. Three members of the league have been nominated for the 2013 Best of Saskatchewan Roller Derby Awards including Stephanie "Spirit Crush" Bourne, a derby referee who "crushes the spirits" of anyone hoping to break the game's rules. Submitted photo

A trio of Prince Albert Roller Derby league members have been nominated for 2013 Best of Saskatchewan Roller Derby Awards. 

Falon “E-Z Bruiser” Friesen, Kristen “Holley Double Thumper” Schick and Stephanie “Spirit Crusher” Bourne, all of the Prince Albert Outlaws team, have received nominations for the first such awards in the province as the sport of roller derby continues to grow. 

“It’s an honour to be recognized in a province where roller derby is really up and coming,” explained Bourne, who calls herself “Spirit Crusher” because as derby referee, she crushes the spirit of would-be offenders who think they can get away with bending the game’s rules.

Roller derby is a full contact sport where the object is to score points by lapping opposing team members on a track. A team consists of five players in three different positions; jammers, blockers and pivots.

Schick was nominated for Blocker of the Year while Friesen, a rookie, received a nod for Fresh Meat of the Year.

Bourne, who was nominated for Most Promising New Official, said she is pleased with the sport’s growth in the province.

“There are a lot of leagues popping up and action going on in the province right now,” she said. “The province just formed a board for the first-ever Saskatchewan Roller Derby Association, to get everything organized.” 

“Vexatious Valkyrie,” a blocker and pivot for the Outlaws, was elected to the newly formed board that will allow the province to host provincial tournaments and other events, Bourne said.

The Outlaws travel throughout the province and have participated in “bouts” in Moose Jaw, Regina, Saskatoon and Swift Current. Most recently, the team took on the Saskatoon Killa Bees on the road at Prairie Land Park in the Bridge City.

In her experience, Bourne has been impressed with the crowds at roller derby matches in Prince Albert, noting a sell-out crowd at the team’s  inaugural bout in 2012 at Dave G. Stuart Arena.

“Our attendance numbers range, it all depends on time,” she said. “There were a few times there was a  (Prince Albert) Raiders game going on at the same time as ours, so we lost some number there but we still have a really good turnout.”

While the sport continues to grow rapidly in the province, several leagues are in the process of applying to the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, the international governing body for the sport.

“Right now in Saskatchewan, roller derby is in a state where it is getting bigger,” Bourne said of the sports development. “Our team’s have played in different provinces and have shown they are a force to be reckoned with.”

Voting for the first annual 2013 Best of Saskatchewan Roller Derby awards is underway and is open to the public until Feb 4. Those interested are encouraged to visit www.derbyfrontier.com to cast their ballot. 

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