The East Kootenay Roller Derby League opened its season on Saturday (May 12) night and, in a thrilling doubleheader, Invermere’s own Killer Rollbots defeated their rival team out of Cranbrook, the Mountain Town Maulers, by a score of 257 to 96.
For those unfamiliar with the budding sport of roller derby, each side fields five skaters at a time. Four of these skaters are designated as blockers, while one skater from each team, who is usually a little quicker on their feet, is designated a jammer. Jammers score points by passing members of the opposing team.
“I didn’t expect to win by this much,” Rollbots captain Jess ‘DeVotchka Thrash’ de Groot said. “Now we know we’re going in the right direction, so we’re going to keep working on it so we can do even better next time.”
A typical roller derby team consists of 14 players, but the Rollbots only brought ten to the bout, losing one skater due to injury not long after. This left skaters playing positions they didn’t normally play, but de Groot says as a whole the team responded well.
The sport has evolved from its early days where the physical aspect was much more emphasized, she said, and teams have started developing more and more complex strategies since familiarizing themselves with the rules. She feels her team’s overall grasp of strategy was the deciding factor in their victorious opening bout of the season.
“Although [Cranbrook] hit us hard, for sure,” de Groot said. “We definitely have some bruises.”
As the team has been preparing for the season’s opening bout for over a year, de Groot said it was particularly gratifying to see the skills and techniques they have been practising for so long actually work in a game situation. While she feels there are things for the team to improve on before their next appearance in Invermere on June 2, as a whole, she thought the team had an exceptional performance.
“I think overall the team did really well,” de Groot said. “We worked together instead of skating as individuals out there; we communicated and worked together.”
While de Groot feels her team has the chops to make it to the championship match this season, she wants to stay humble and just focus on one bout at a time.
“The goal is to be number one,” she said. “We’re playing for first place.”