by Jim Almy
It’s not enough that the Minnesota RollerGirls All-Stars will show up this Saturday, Aug. 9, at KeyArena to take on the Rat City All-Star Team (AST) with a string of sanctioned bout victories hanging gaudily around their necks.
Nor is it enough that those skaters from Minneapolis/St Paul are, according to Head Coach Betsy Wrecksie, “…on the rise and working hard to make sure that we get back to the Championships.”
They’re also coming with an attitude. You’ll see them take the track with the proverbial chip on their shoulder, reading from the “We’ve got something to prove” book of derby strategy. “Not making that trip (to Championships) last year was hard to swallow, and has increased our drive towards improvement and it shows in the games we’ve played so far this year. This is a team that has earned their current ranking (8th worldwide) and is only going to improve it as we close into Playoffs,” said Coach Wrecksie.
Of course AST Head Coach Ho Chi Danh has a few players-with-attitude on his team also. AST, boasting an international ranking of 16, will be looking for a win over Minnesota as they prepare for the first round of post-season playoffs in Sacramento, CA beginning the weekend of September 5-7. Coach Danh and his assistants, given a couple weeks to watch video and refine strategy, will put a formidable obstacle in Minnesota’s way.
Minnesota, who play their regular home season in the Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St. Paul, are the charter team of a six team league. There is a B All-Star team also, the Minnesota Nice.
Head Coach Wrecksie said that the league just finished its tenth season. “We will be embarking on our 11th in the fall (seasons run from Sept./Oct. through April/May). There are 4 other full WFTDA member leagues in Minnesota, and we also share the cities with an MRDA team, the Twin City Terrors as well as the Minneapolis WFTDA team, the North Star Roller Girls. The four home teams that play in our league are the Atomic Bombshells, the Dagger Dolls, the Garda Belts, and the Rockits.
This is not the first meeting between the two teams. Minnesota skater Shiver Me Kimbers remembers that Rat City AST was, “…a good team, hard and jumpy. I’m excited to play them again, especially with all the work we’ve been doing on working together, walls, and containment.”
In their seven sanctioned bout victories Minnesota has outscored their opponents by an average of 251-93. Their only loss was by 163-105 to the Rose City Rollers from Portland, OR. They outscored the Angel City Hollywood Scarlets by four for a 131-127 victory. In the recent Pac Destruction mega-bout in Los Angeles hosted by the Angel City Derby Girls, AST absorbed a 250-79 loss to the Scarlets.
“The thing about Minnesota, is that we play as a team,” said Coach Wrecksie. “We have a lot of great individual skaters; but you don’t get very far in this sport if you don’t play together as a cohesive unit. That being said, there are a lot of familiar faces on this team. We have Second Hand Smoke, who is on Team USA this year; and is an amazing all-around derby player. We have Trudy; whose quiet nature makes you forget how deadly she can be on the track. There’s Diamond Rough who is a dominant smart player, you just go ahead and try to get around her. And that’s not even mentioning our amazing line-up of jammers, including the powerful Slambda Phage and the killer moves of Harmony Killerbruise. Let’s just say, as a long time Minnesota fan, and now happily part of the team as the program’s head coach; I’m incredibly happy with our entire line-up this year.”
Rat City’s B All-Stars, the Rain of Terror (ROT) won’t have it any easier in their Saturday bout, skating against Denver’s B All-Stars, Bruising Altitude.
There will also be a hangover bout Sunday at 1 p.m. in the Rat’s Nest where Minnesota will skate against the Terminal City Roller Girls All-Star team. Terminal City, from Richmond, BC, is ranked 18th. That match takes on added significance as AST, seeded fourth when playoffs begin in Sacramento, will open in the fifth game on Friday against Terminal City. Minnesota and Denver are also seeded teams in the Sacramento Playoffs.
Here is Minnsota’s record for sanctioned bouts this season:
No Coast Derby Girls 301-84 W
Atlanta Rollergirls 175-150 W
Nashville Rollergirls 277-56 W
Arch Rival Roller Girls 228-115 W
Naptown Roller Girls 330-42 W
Dairyland Dolls 318-78 W
Rose City Rollers 163-105 L
Angel City Derby Girls 127-131 W