The Invermere Killer Rollbots took their game to Marysville on August 27 for their first-ever bout against Cranbrook’s Mountain Town Maulers.
The special bout night, titled “Sucker Punch,” featured an hour-long game between the Invermere and Cranbrook roller derby teams, and a half-hour warm-up bout between Kimberley’s Bavarian Barbarians and Fernie’s Avalanche City Roller Girls.
Tickets for the event were completely sold out at the doors, and both stand and track-side seating in the Marysville arena were packed.
The Killer Rollbots began their major prep for the big bout on August 25 with a dress rehearsal and the first steps of laying out the track, which was completed before the main event night.
The Killer Rollbots met fierce competition from the Mountain Town Maulers, but held strong throughout the game despite many penalties.
“One of the strategies was that we were looking to get four points in a jam and call it off,” said Rollbots coach Chris Corey (a.k.a. Coach Meat Hammer). “We would try to get our jammer through the pack first, and if we didn’t hold off the other jammer as much as we liked, we would call off the jam. The idea was for us to score four points and them to score none for each jam.”
And the initial tactic was, to start, successful, said Corey.
“It went well for the first bit. But we got in trouble with penalties. I knew we would be coming in aggressive, with aggressive skating and aggressive attacks, that’s our team’s nature.”
With the many penalties issued, several Rollbots blockers and the point-scoring jammer had to sit out, sometimes leaving only one or two other skaters on the team out on the track.
The two teams went into half-time with a score of 89-47 for the Maulers, and while the team began to rebound in the second half, they weren’t quite able to claw past Cranbrook. The game ended 173-111 for the Maulers.
However, Corey is hardly disheartened by this.
“We maybe played half the game with two girls on the track, but we still managed to keep getting points,” said Corey. “We played exactly how we should have played. We formed a firm wall to try to slow the other jammer down and we effectively did that. As a coach, that’s a really positive sign because we did that a lot in practice.”
Looking forward now, the Rollbots will be hitting the books with a more in-depth look at the rules of roller derby. Video was taken for the team during the bout and will be used for review by the team.
“I did speak with the Maulers coach, and they said the other girls had a lot of fun and that we really took it to them,” said Corey.
Corey coached a roller derby team five years ago, and when asked how it felt to be back out coaching on the track he had this to say:
“It’s great, once you get derby in your blood, it doesn’t want to go away. I was super-stoked and super anxious to get rolling again. The girls got that taste in their mouths too, they want a victory, they know what they have to do to accomplish that. I’m very proud of them.”
The Rollbots will be looking into a few avenues of opportunity for winter training to hone their game throughout the off-season, and will be back for boot camp, practices and recruitment in the spring to prepare for another bout in the new year.