For over a year, E-ville Roller Derby has been quietly planning to launch the Alberta roller derby scene to the next level.
On November 24, 2007, E-ville Roller Derby, a non-profit sports organization, blew the roof off the Kingsway Hangar. Packed beyond capacity, hundreds of people were turned away at the door. They were literally “hanging from the rafters”. Fans denied entry jostled in front of windows to watch as the E-ville Dead banged heads and hips against the Bloody Marys of the Calgary Roller Derby Association. But this wasn’t just a game—it was the first ever challenge cup in the history Canadian women’s roller derby.
Shroud in the Alberta flag, the three foot gold trophy stood silent and shining under the bright lights of the opening ceremony. E-ville Dead’s captains Beretta Lynch and Dee Vicious ominously shook hands with Bloody Marys’ Lucille Wrecking Ball and Scarla Maim. That was the last of the pleasantries.
The room exploded as E-ville and Calgary’s blockers jostled for positions in their pack. The jammers, who are the team’s point scorers, raced from behind. Jammers earn a point for each blocker she can pass of the opposing team—a fate no blocker wants and for which every jammer bleeds. Blockers try to help their own jammer through, while aiming to stop the other team’s jammer from getting past. The result is a fast-paced, full body-contact test of strength, speed and skill.
Calgary’s blockers formed tight walls and threw stiff checks as E-ville’s jammers dodged and side-stepped, using their own blockers to get through the pack. Jammers literally flew into the crowd as blockers landed hit after hit on the four corners of the oval rink. The competition was fierce as the evenly matched teams struggled against jammer tenacity and blocker strength.
Fans waited with bated breath as the referees tallied the score change after each jam. Consistently within 4 points of each other, tensions quickly escalated during the first of two 30-minute periods. One of E-ville’s strongest brawlers, Dee Vicious, sprained her shoulder in a fall with Calgary’s Lulu Cthulu and would not return to the game. After the first period, the E-ville Dead and the Bloody Marys were at 46.
Excitement continued to mount in period two. Calgary blockers denied E-ville points for five jams, giving the Bloody Marys a commanding 10 point lead early in the second period. Soon thereafter, a Bloody Mary jammer and blocker were sent to the penalty box. With their scoring chances gone for a minute, E-ville closed the gap to six points. The gap widened again as E-ville lost their jammer to penalties. With 2 minutes left in the game and 12 points behind, E-ville’s Beretta Lynch stepped to the line. Her power blockers were free to concentrate on getting her through the pack. Ninety seconds into the jam, Lynch was called for a penalty and pulled from the track. Bloody Marys’ Chrissy Cruizzer was back out on the rink, but E-ville’s blockers left her pointless.
Thirty seconds later, the final whistle blew and the crowd erupted as E-ville’s points were tallied. Ten points were not enough to close the gap, and the Bloody Marys held off the E-ville Dead, 105 to 103. A bitter fight till the end, the Calgary Roller Derby Association took home the inaugural Wild Rose Challenge Cup
The Wild Rose Challenge Cup was covered extremely favourly by the Edmonton Sun, Edmonton’s Vue Weekly , K-Rock, the Bear, CJSR and on the CTV national news(!), and will be featured on Slice Televisions’(formerly Life Network) reality program X-Weighted.
Until now, the three leagues have only competed within their own league. The 1st Annual Wild Rose Challenge Cup was created in an effort to foster competition between leagues within Alberta. Keep your eyes and ears open for more news from E-ville Roller Derby. E-ville’s regular season schedule begins in February 2008.