Roller girls pumped for Saturday bout

Tyler Clarke
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If the NorSask Roller Derby League’s opponents saw them during Tuesday’s practice, they’d weaken at the knees.


Skating around a dimly-lit leaky warehouse with ply board covering its windows and paint peeling off the walls and ceiling, they gave off a certain badass ambiance.

Lacing up her skates on Tuesday, the group’s newest member Janel Schock, who goes by Roller Derby name Rock ‘M Shock ‘M, clarified that the roller derby of today is much different than the roller derby of the ’70s.

“There’s a lot more strategy to it, now,” she said. “I remember watching it when I was 10, and they were on ramps -- on banks -- and bars where they would be flipping girls over. It was like wrestling.”

Now, although girls still aggressively slam into one another, they’re not out there to “kick the crap out of girls,” she said.

Today’s incarnation of roller derby is an actual sport, she said -- a point she’s had some difficulty sharing this week while selling tickets for Saturday’s bout at the Steuart Arena.

The misconception that roller derby is like the fake wrestling one would see on television is still out there, she said; although things appear to be turning around.

The NorthSask Roller Derby League’s Diefen-Break-Hers team has seen interest in the sport grow since they formed in late 2011, member Megan Nemish, a.k.a. Nemesis, said.

“It’s growing everywhere in Saskatchewan,” she added. “As for Prince Albert, we’re still working on it.”

After watching a family friend play on the Prince Albert Roller Derby League’s Outlaws team (the city’s other roller derby team), Schock, 23, was drawn into the game.

However, when she found it difficult to stand while wearing roller skates, let alone block, hit and transition (go from skating forward to skating backward), it wouldn’t have been a stretch for her to have given up from the get-go.  

“It takes a few months to get used to the skates and learning the process of the rules and how to do stops properly and hitting properly, but once you get that down it’s quite fun to play,” she said.

It takes a few months to get used to the skates and learning the process of the rules and how to do stops properly and hitting properly, but once you get that down it’s quite fun to play. Janel Schock

Although a handful of roller girls explained roller derby rules to this reporter on Tuesday, Nemish concluded that the best way to learn the games ins and outs would be attending Saturday’s bout.

The gist of the game surrounds collecting points while passing members of the other team while circling a track, with players hitting and out-racing opponents along the way.

The doors to Saturday’s Steuart Arena family-friendly bout with beer gardens will open at 6 p.m. with the games beginning at 7 p.m.

The NorSask Roller Derby League Diefen-Break-Hers will play against the Black and Brew Crew -- comprised of members of the Lakeland Ladykillers (Cold Lake), Pile 'o Bones Derby Club (Regina), Saskatoon Roller Derby League, Prince Albert Outlaws, Battlefords Roller Derby League, and the Gapland Rollers (Rocanville).

“Although they’re a mixed team, they’re all strong skaters, so it’s probably going to be a lot faster and a lot more exciting,” member Colette Kadziolka, a.k.a., Sockeye, said.

Fresh from a recent tournament in Whitewood, where they won both of their games by about 200 points apiece, the team is poised to do well at Saturday’s bout.

“We’re hoping to keep our momentum and taste our opponents’ tears!” Kadziolka said with a good-natured laugh.

“Don’t write that!” a teammate added, sharing in Kadziolka’s good-natured competitive spirit.

Tickets are $10 in advance at Treasures in White, Gus’s Automotive and Accra Lock & Safe, and are $12 at the door. 

Organizations: Prince Albert, NorthSask Roller Derby League, NorSask Roller Derby League Diefen-Break

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Whitewood

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