It all comes down to this, our 11th home team championship, Battle for the Boot XI! Saturday, June 3 will see the thrilling finale to Season 11, as the regular season champs, the Death Track Dolls, take on the reigning ToRD champs, the Chicks Ahoy! for the coveted Boot. In the warmup to the Battle that night, our farm team, the Vipers, will be hosting the Knockouts of Norfolk County Roller Derby (Simcoe, ON) at 5pm, and then the Championship game follows at 7. Advance tickets are on sale now online, and also at our ticket outlets.
How they got here
The Death Track Dolls finished the 2017 regular season in first place, going undefeated in the regular season for the first time since 2014 (their last Boot title year), but fell to the Chicks in the Quarterfinals. The Dolls are led by a strong veteran blocking core, including Dawson, DaSilva, Getcha Kicks, and Wheatabitch, not to mention a productive jammer rotation of Holly Rocket (regular season leader in points), Bat Ma’am, Ellen Rage, and Scrappy. The Dolls were also bolstered by the return of double threat blocker/jammer Rainbow Fight, and some new faces — rookie and transfer — in Arrrguile, Fleetwood Smack, and Kate Silver. The Dolls are ready to go “Doll the Way” on June 3.
Meanwhile, The Chicks Ahoy! finished the 2017 regular season in second place and are looking for a repeat of last year’s Boot victory. The Chicks second-place finish, due to a harrowing 1-point defeat at the hands of these same Death Track Dolls in the regular season, was avenged by their convincing win over the Dolls in the Quarterfinals, giving them a bye directly to the big game. A strong veteran core, led by returnees Boxcar (regular season leader in points per jam and lead percentage), Joss Wheelin, Francesca Fiure, and Vag Lightning, among others, and a power-packed jammer rotation composed of Banshee, Monster Muffin, Sleeper Hold, and Sammy Destruction, have combined to bring the Chicks back to the glory days of old. The Chicks are setting sail for the big game.
ToRD History in the Making
The Death Track Dolls are aiming for their 3rd win in as many appearances for the champs game, while the Chicks Ahoy! sport a 4-2 record in Battles for the Boot and are looking to expand their all-time lead. This will be the first time these two teams face each other in the Battle for the Boot in ToRD history. These two teams have already made history this season, with a 1-point Dolls win over the Chicks in the regular season. Another historical battle between these two teams is the perfect way to cap off ToRD’s 11th season. Let’s take a look back at our first ten Battles for the Boot before we write the 11th chapter.
2007, Battle for the Boot I: Gores 89 – Chicks! 53, Rinx Entertainment Centre
The 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
In 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
In 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
In 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
The 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
In 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
2013 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
2014 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
They 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.
2016, Battle for the Boot X: Chicks 164 – Gores 88, The Bunker
Seemingly in honour of our 10th season, a classic matchup occurred between the Chicks Ahoy! and the Gore-Gore Rollergirls. Indeed, the Chicks and Gores had faced off in 5 of the first 6 title games, and this sixth matchup did not disappoint. (In fact, 2017 marks the first time the Chicks will face an opponent other than the Gores in the title game.) The Gores led halfway through the first half, as the Chicks endured penalty problems, but ultimately the team in green found their footing to take a 76-61 lead into halftime. The Chicks took control in the second, and completed their “worst to first” comeback (having gone winless in 2015) with a 164-88 victory to claim their fourth Boot title. For more about Battle for the Boot X, catch up with the Derby Nerd here.
2017, Battle for the Boot XI: ???
Who knows what will go down on June 3 – will the Dolls go 3 for 3 in the champs game, or will the Chicks! start a new Dynasty? 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.