Puma Thurman jukes the opposition to break out of the pack at the semi-finals held in Fernie on August 4. Killer Rollbots took the win 267-145 and will play for first place in the finals.

Killer Rollbots advance to derby league finals

The Invermere Killer Rollbots have done it again and while the roller derby team is advancing to the league.

The Invermere Killer Rollbots have done it again and while the roller derby team is advancing to the league finals thanks to a forfeit, they still managed to prove their worth by winning an unofficial bout in the East Kootenay Roller Derby League (EKRDL) semi-finals that took place on August 4.

Called “Scrap to the Future” and held at the Fernie Memorial Arena, the semi-finals saw the four EKRDL teams fight for victory in two different games. Ranked second because of a loss in the regular season to the Fernie Avalanche City Roller Girls, the Killer Rollbots were matched against the Kimberley Bavarian Barbarians — third in the league — who forfeited the game because they were short too many of their strong players. By forfeiting, the Barbarians were granted the right to recruit players from another team for an unofficial game, and brought in help from Creston, the newest team in the league, to fill up their roster.

“We went to this game with pretty much no pressure because we’d already won and we knew we were going on to the finals against Fernie,” said Rollbots captain and EKRDL media representative Jess ‘DeVotchka Thrash’ de Groot. “Because we didn’t have that pressure of having to win, we worked a lot better as a team; we could just focus on executing what we’ve learned and playing well instead of freaking out  and worrying about the score… so I think that really helped clear our minds going into this game.”

Seven of the Rollbots recently returned from RollerCon, a world-wide roller-derby conference in Las Vegas, and will be applying what they’ve learned in the next month leading up to the EKRDL finals, which are set for September 15 in Marysville.

“I think we’re going to just focus on a few strategies and we’re just going to practice them a lot over the next month so we can execute them, and more teamwork,” said de Groot. “We’ve discovered that working in smaller teams within the team helps us a lot.”

In the finals, the Rollbots will face the team in the league that forced them to suffer their only loss of the season, mainly due to penalties. Penalties, said de Groot, tend to happen when a player is not moving her feet fast enough and illegally lunges after a jammer who is getting by, usually resulting in an elbow call.

“Part of [decreasing penalties] is learning to clean up your play,” said de Groot. “You have to constantly be aware where that jammer is, where your other blockers are and be ready to move; you’re waiting for them but you can spring any moment to get where you need to be — those penalties go down a lot once you keep your feet moving.”

For the big bout, the team is planning to rent a van or bus to help bring local fans out to the game, similar to what was done last year when fans could purchase a combination ticket that included transportation, entry to the bout, and a drink.

“We’ll definitely be doing something like that again, getting a fan bus together so that we can get a whole bunch of people together and support us,” de Groot said.

Another way to support the team is coming up on Wednesday, August 22 at Bud’s Bar and Lounge in Invermere when the Killer Rollbots present a movie called Derby, Baby! as a team fundraiser. The feature length documentary explores the culture around roller derby, now considered the fastest growing women’s sport in the world, and is narrated by actress/musician Juliette Lewis.

“It’s really good, it’s fantastic,” de Groot said. “The whole idea behind it is to show to people who are not involved in roller derby why it’s so addictive, the women that are a part of it, and just how amazing the sport is.”

Tickets will be available at the door for $10, with the film starting at 8 p.m. For more information on Invermere’s Killer Rollbots, and the upcoming league finals in September, like the TheKillerRollbots page on Facebook.

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