The air was electric at the Bunker on Saturday June 11 – the 10th Toronto Roller Derby league championship was about to get under way, and for the first time since 2012, ToRD’s two most-winningest teams, the Chicks Ahoy! and Gore-Gore Rollergirls, were going to go head to head in the Battle for the Boot. With a narrow regular season victory by the Chicks, and definitive win by the Gores in the Quarterfinal, the table was set for it to be Anyone’s Game™. But first, the ToRD skaters of tomorrow were taking the track, as the D-VAS were hosting Queen City’s Queens Court, up from Buffalo, in what can be viewed as a preview of Battles of the QEW to come.
And then all that electricity would appear to have conspired to mute the Bunker sound system (again) – only this time, the roar of the crowd – ably aided by the pipes on visiting announcer Jax – kept things lively and loud. The sound was back in full force by the latter stages of the D-VAS game, and the house only got louder as the night went on. The D-VAS have grown fast since we last saw them, and many of them had statement games looking ahead to the 2017 home team draft. The future of Queen City looks equally bright, however, and ultimately it was Queens Court who took the win in the opener, 204-142.
History was in the making for Battle for the Boot – the Chicks and Gores entered the night tied for the all-time lead in ToRD championships, so someone was going to walk away with the undisputed all-time lead. Both teams have championship experience on their rosters; Chronic, Jill Em All and Santa Muerte all date back to the Gores most recent title, while Biggley Smallz, Robber Blind (out with injury) and Tess D’Urb Evil (who wore the A for the Chicks this season) were all members of the Chicks’ 2012 Boot-winning team. Both teams even sport skaters who have previously won the Boot with a different ToRD team – the Gores’ Wackedher (Betties, 2015) and the Chicks’ Sleeper Hold (Dolls, 2014) – meaning that for the first time, a skater would be skating in the big game, and winning, for more than one ToRD team.
The first half started with the expected back-and-forth action on the scoreboard that comes from two immensely-talented rosters. In the early going, the Chicks appeared to be in penalty trouble (and indeed at halftime, the had 22 penalties accrued to only 8 on the Gores) as the Gore-Gore Rollergirls were pouncing. At halftime the Chicks had a tenuous 15-point lead, 76-61, and it looked like the second half was going to be more of the same – except somehow, even with the disparity on the whiteboard, the Chicks managed to build their lead. The Gores never stopped pushing, and kept fighting back to the end, but ultimately the Chicks prevailed and took their 4th Boot title by a final score of 164-88.
Immediately after the big game the teams awarded MVPS to one another. Here were the big winners:
- Gores MVP blocker: Stabbey Road
- Gores MVP Jammer: Wackedher
- Chicks MVP Blocker: Joss Wheelin
- Betties MVP Jammer: Boxcar
The Derby Nerd has his writeup of the big game here, with all the details. More recaps will be added as they come!
As usual, the ToRD photographers were out in full force. Here are photo galleries that have come in so far (more will be added as they get posted):
Neil Gunner’s photo set may be found here.
Greg Russell’s photo set may be found here.
George Pelekis’ (aka TO Derby) photo set may be found here.
Paul Devisser’s photo set may be found here.
Broadcast and footage
Mr Force has his trackside footage available for viewing on Layer9.ca here. Make sure you look under “TORD 2016 videos”.
For the full experience, you’ll want to look for re-broadcasts of the Battle for the Boot (and the D-VAS game that preceded it) on Rogers TV. Featuring multiple camera angles, instant replay, and play-by-play and analysis by Derby Nerd and Mr Whistler, Rogers TV puts on a high-level production that you don’t want to miss! These games are not available online, and will only be viewable on Rogers TV. The premiere airdates for the Rogers broadcasts will be announced soon!