June 11: Battle for the Boot X!

Toronto Roller Derby 2016 Battle for the Boot X

It all comes down to this, our 10th (!) home team championship, Battle for the Boot X! Saturday, June 11th will see the thrilling finale to Season 10, as the regular season champs, the Chicks Ahoy!, take on the second place Gore-Gore Rollergirls for the coveted Boot. In the warmup to the Battle that night, our Deadly Viper Assassination Squad (D-VAS) will be hosting Queens Court of Queen City Roller Girls (Buffalo, NY) at 5pm, and then the Championship game follows at 7. Advance tickets are on sale now on Brown Paper Tickets, and also at our ticket outlets.

How they got here

chicksThe Chicks Ahoy! finished the 2016 regular season in first place, going undefeated in the regular season for first time since 2012 (their last Boot title year). A strong veteran core, led by returnees Biggley Smallz, Joss Wheelin and Rosemary’s Rabies among others, strong transfers from both within (Sleeper Hold) and outside of ToRD (Boxcar, Monster Muffin, Pink Slamminade) and an impressive crop of rookies led by Banshee, have combined to bring the Chicks back to the glory days of old. After suffering an upset to their Battle for the Boot opponents in the Quarterfinals, the Chicks bounced back with a decisive victory over the Death Track Dolls in the Semifinal, and are setting sail for the big game.

goresMeanwhile, The Gore-Gore Rollergirls return, once again, to the Battle For The Boot final, making their 9th appearance out of 10 Battles all time. The Gores second-place finish, due to a defeat at the hands of these same Chicks Ahoy! in the regular season, was avenged by their convincing win over the Chicks in the Quarterfinals, giving them a bye directly to the big game. The Gores are also led by a strong veteran blocking core, including Jill ‘Em All, Santa Muerte, and Viktory Lapp, and a four-headed jammer rotation monster of Beaver Mansbridge, Lexi Con, Murdercat! and WackedHer, and looked dominant in the Quarters. All signs point to one heck of a Battle on June 11.

ToRD History in the Making

chicksBoth of these teams have captured three Boot titles in our history, with the Chicks Ahoy! sporting a 3-2 record in Battles for the Boot, and the Gore-Gore Rollergirls going 3-5 in their previous eight appearances. In fact, over ToRD’s first six seasons, these two teams went head to head in five of the Finals. So, what better way to mark our historic 10th season, than a classic Battle for the Boot matchup? Let’s take a look back at our first nine Battles for the Boot before we write the 10th chapter.

2007, Battle for the Boot I: Gores 89 – Chicks! 53, Rinx Entertainment Centre

chicksThe very first Battle for the Boot happened late in 2007, so late, in fact, that our original home had already laid ice for the winter. No matter – we packed up and headed to North York for the first time, to Rinx. The first Battle was a relatively low-scoring affair, a back and forth battle ultimately captured by the Gore-Gore Rollergirls. Blog TO was there to commemorate the event, and you can read their recap here.

2008, Battle for the Boot II: Chicks! 114 – Gores 97, George Bell Arena

chicksIn 2008 ToRD was able to hold the second Battle for the Boot in our then-home, George Bell Arena. Another see-saw battle, this one featured multiple lead changes, including a late comeback by the eventual winners, the Chicks Ahoy!. In a sign of things to come, mainstream media covered the Final, including this CP24 recap that still exists online.

2009, Battle for the Boot III: Gores 129 – Betties 88, The Hangar

chicksIn mid-summer 2009, Toronto Roller Derby moved to Downsview permanently, first settling in the Hangar. After two seasons of six-team home season play, ToRD consolidated down to four, and for the first time, the Chicks Ahoy! were not in the Final, as they were defeated in the regular season by the second-place Smoke City Betties. The Betties had been on the rise for some time, and after this season concluded underwent a large rebuild, but in 2009 they gave the Gores all they could handle. The Gores survived, however, becoming the first ToRD team with two titles under their belts (which some skaters still wore in those days). Kevin Konnyu’s photos of the event on Flickr start here.

2010, Battle for the Boot IV: Gores 107 – Chicks! 31, The Hangar

chicksIn 2010, again at the Hangar, the Chicks returned to the big game, but the Gore-Gore Rollergirls Dynasty was in full effect. The Gores scored early and often, and didn’t allow the Chicks much breathing room on the track. By 2016 standards, the final score was still incredibly low, but in 2010 it was insurmountable, and the Gores nailed down a throrough victory to claim their then-league-leading third Boot, and in the process became the first ToRD team to win two titles in a row. Joe Mac was there, and in addition to shooting the action, he even wrote this recap which you can find here.

2011, Battle for the Boot V: Chicks! 111 – Gores 46, The Hangar

chicksThe 2011 Final was almost a mirror image of the previous year’s, as once again the Chicks! and Gores met in the final, only this time it was the Chicks! who dominated, and the Gores who were playing catch up all game. Having cruised through the regular season, the Gores earned a bye directly to the Final, but the Chicks! used their own momentum to buoy (ha ha!) themselves to the win, with a points cushion similar to that of the Gores in the previous year. Derby Nerd’s recap of the 2011 event, featuring a collection of photos from various ToRD photographers, can be found here.

2012, Battle for the Boot VI: Chicks! 196 – Gores 56, The Bunker

chicksIn late 2011, ToRD moved across Downsview Park into the Bunker, and 2012 was the year of the Chicks Ahoy!. For the first time – and only time until this season – the Chicks! finished in sole possession of 1st place, having previously tied the Gores for regular season wins on two occasions. 2012 was also historic, as it was the last time until 2016 that this classic Chicks!/Gores matchup occurred in the big game (and 2012 also marked the final call by original ToRD announcer, Crankypants). Much like in 2011, the Chicks dominated, putting up what was then the highest Championship game score in ToRD history, claiming their third Boot, and tying the Gores for the all-time lead. Little did anyone know that it would take until 2016 for one of these two teams to claim their fourth. Derby Nerd’s excellent recap can be found here.

2013, Battle for the Boot VII: Dolls 258 – Betties 73, The Bunker

chicks2013 was a year of big change in ToRD. First, the All-Star CN Power squad saw its members largely leave their home teams, in order to train exclusively for WFTDA action representing ToRD against the world. This power shift (heh) largely affected the previous top dogs, the Chicks! and Gores, the most, and the Dolls and Betties took full advantage. The Dolls were the last remaining home team to make an appearance in the Final, and having finished in last place in 2012, were well re-armed at the draft, and coupled with a strong veteran core, put together their first first-place finish and cruised to the Final. The Betties made their second Boot appearance, but were no match for the Dolls, who topped the year-old points record set by the Chicks!, and set a Boot record that still stands in their first title. Derby Nerd’s recap is here.

2014, Battle for the Boot VIII: Dolls 184 – Gores 139, The Bunker

chicks2014 saw more upheaval on ToRD rosters, as again the top players on the home teams largely left to play exclusively with CN Power. The Dolls, however put up a second consecutive undefeated regular season, and the Gores, after a one-year absence, returned to the Battle for the Boot. The 2014 edition proved to be one of the tightest in years, as the Gores kept it close throughout. In the end, the Dolls won their second straight title, joining the Chicks! and Gores as all having done so. Once again, Derby Nerd provides the recap here.

2015, Battle for the Boot IX: Betties 171 – Gores 140, The Bunker

chicksThey say that the third time’s the charm, but early on it didn’t look like it would happen – in fact, the Gores enjoyed a decent lead well into the second half. But a big pushback by the Betties – a team so long in its history that not only do they predate ToRD itself, but even begat the Gores ahead of the first season – led them to their first-ever title. (Catch the CityNews recap here, and read Derby Nerd’s recap here). With that big win, all four of ToRD’s teams have now claimed the coveted Boot, and while Smoke City won’t get a chance to repeat (after being eliminated by the Dolls in the playoffs) history is still in the offing on June 11, as either the Chicks! or Gores will take their fourth title for all-time supremacy.

2016, Battle for the Boot X: ???

Who knows what will go down on June 11 – will the Chicks! ride the tides of victory, or will the Dynasty re-emerge to take their first Boot since 2010? You don’t want to miss this – get your tickets now! Advance tickets are available for $12 online or at our outlets (group discounts are available when purchasing online only in 4 and 10-packs) or you will be able to buy tickets at the door on game day for $18.

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