Purple was the colour of dominance last weekend, when the Dam City Rollers beat out the competition at a two-day roller derby tournament hosted by the Harbour City Rollers in Nanaimo.
The West Kootenay travel team ended Day-1 in first-place position, seeding them for the Day-2 championship bout against the Hard Cores from Victoria.
“We had a mixture of OG skaters and fresh meat, plus a couple pickup players gracing our bench, but when it came down to it, we really performed as a cohesive team,” says Valerie Rossi, also known as Lois Slain.
In true Dam form, half the bench was ousted from the final game when several players reached the seven penalty maximum limit. Adamant that the penalties didn’t reflect their clean play, Rossi says the team worked hard to ensure they kept a 50+ point lead throughout the game – even with a short bench – resulting in a 185-118 final tally. Bench coach Leanne Reitan (aka Brutsie Roll) helped the Rollers stay calm, cool, and collected for the duration of the bout; Coach Rick Déchaux also offered some guidance in a guest appearance.
“The Hard Cores are a tough team; they quickly changed their strategy and were sending offensive help to bust up our blockers. Thankfully we’ve been working on switching from offence to defence so much this season that the Dams ultimately set the tone. We managed to hold their jammer, or knock her out and drag her back, which can be debilitating for a team,” adds Rossi. “And even though we’re all competitive, everyone was smiling big the whole time we served hard hits and smart strategy.”
The Dam City Rollers started as a house team nine years ago under the West Kootenay Roller Derby League. Over the years numbers diminished, and they’ve adapted and changed their focus to become a regional travel team.
Every year, the team recruits players to fill the roster, training from fall into early summer and playing both away and at their home base, Selkirk College’s gymnasium in Castlegar.
“Without the support from the community through fundraising initiatives, we wouldn’t be able to participate in tournaments like Tidal Track,” shares Rossi. “Special thanks to all of our supporters and fans – we really couldn’t do it without them!”
Rossi says that the energy within this group of women is electric, and adds that she’s never felt such a strong, unique love and respect like her derby community provides, whether at home or amongst new friends.
“It’s a very large yet small group of people,” she explains. “Roller derby is more than a sport. It teaches you discipline and resilience, and the camaraderie and pure joy it gives you is unparalleled.”
To find out more about the Dam City Rollers, check them out on Facebook.