In an effort to promote the sport in Cochrane, the Rocky View Roller Derby Association (RVRDA) has organized a showcase game May 31 at the Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre.
The two competing teams will include the Rocky View Rollers from Airdrie and the East Side Wheelers of Indus.
“Essentially, we’re the same league,” said Sheena Galvin, a member of the RVRDA. “If we go to a tournament, we generally take players from Rocky View to build up a team, and vice-versa. Indus doesn’t necessarily have the numbers for a full team, so we basically share players as needed.”
According to Galvin, the idea for the showcase game spawned from a conversation an RVRDA member had with a woman from Cochrane last year.
“She was interested in starting a league of her own in Cochrane,” Galvin said. “This showcase game is kind of part of our promotion, letting people know what it’s all about.
“We want the town of Cochrane to know that roller derby is a family-fun event.”
Roller derby is a contact sport played by two teams of five players, comprising four blockers and a jammer. The two teams skate counter-clockwise around a track, while the jammers attempt to score points by lapping the opposing team’s blockers. The blockers, meanwhile, try to prevent the other team’s jammer from passing.
The sport’s popularity has grown in RVC in recent years, according to Galvin, due to its inclusivity.
“Any person, any gender, any body type can be an athlete, and I think that’s what’s nice about roller derby,” she said. “You don’t have to be this fit, athletic type of person. You just want to be one of those people who comes out, has fun and has a group of people that supports you.”
RVRDA formed in 2012 and, while the association is based out of Airdrie, it includes members from Crossfield, Carstairs, Cochrane, Calgary and Canmore.
According to Galvin, the next step for the association will be to hold a try-it night in Cochrane this fall. RVRDA already holds try-it nights twice a year in Airdrie, where women 18 years plus can learn roller derby basics.
“We lend all the gear and we go through the skills required to play derby,” she said. “They get to come out, try it and ask questions, to see if they like it or not before they actually decide to join the league.”
The May 31 game will also have a charity component. Entry is by donation, Galvin said, and proceeds will support Big Hill Haven, Cochrane’s women’s shelter. The event will also include raffle and bake tables, face painting for the kids and a half-time show.
–With files from Troy Durrell