JAMES O’CONNOR/BRANDON SUN
Katie-Mayhem (A535) of Brandon’s Gang Green roller derby team fights her way through members of Minot’s Nodak Knockouts during the opening game of the Wheat City Roller Derby League’s second season at CFB Shilo on Saturday night. An extensive photo essay of the event will be featured in an upcoming edition of Weekend magazine in the Brandon Sun.
CFB SHILO — Gang Green, Brandon’s roller derby team, glided into the Wheat City Roller Derby League’s second season with a bang on Saturday night, beating the Minot league’s Nodak Knockouts 324 to 185.
Jenn Janzen of Brandon’s Gang Green roller derby team, right, gets help with her helmet from Reaver Song prior to the Wheat City Roller Derby League’s second season opening game against Minot’s Nodak Knockouts at CFB Shilo. (JAMES O’CONNOR/BRANDON SUN)
With only five home games per season six weeks apart, each match is a special event and Saturday’s game was the first time the two teams have met, which attracted around 200 people to CFB Shilo.
Gang Green is now trying to tighten its roster and make sure there is consistencies in the positions each player is in.
"We have built a very strong line," said Ange Diamond (or Kreep’n Koas as she’s known on the track), the team’s bench manager.
"It is difficult when you’re playing more than one position," she said. "The second season is a lot different for us, we can feel the difference ... I think we’re all pretty excited."
Though still not in the mainstream, Diamond said interest in the Wheat City Roller Derby League continues to grow as it starts its sophomore year.
"It’s much bigger than people realize. Winnipeg has a large league and there are a lot of leagues in Saskatchewan that are thriving," she said. "Teams from as far as Alberta have expressed interest in playing us."
Brianne Hamilton (a.k.a. causeAscene) will be heading up the team as captain for the first time, which means she helps the bench manager during games and offers dressing room support for her teammates.
"I’m going to be as bossy as possible because that’s what I’m good at," she said.
Also, as captain, she is the only player on her team who serves penalties.
As Gang Green came rolling out of the gate in bright colours and fishnet stockings, the tactic for game one of the season was speed.
"The (Minot) girls are a lot bigger than us, so we have to move fast and wear ’em down and tire them out."
Minutes before the game started, the home team huddled for a chant: "Gang Green," the coach yells, and the women respond: "Kills!"
And for the audience, a quick rundown of the rules were given for the fringe sport.
In roller derby, two teams of skaters make their way around a flat oval track while trailing jammers, one from each team, make their way up from behind to try to lap the pack.
Jammers score a point for each opposing player they pass and opposing players can hit opposing skaters. Knocking an opponent player on their butt is not only allowed, but part of the appeal.
While the women were getting psyched in the dressing trailers, Jeff Larson and Ashley Holdnick made some time to hold a small tailgate party for themselves.
While enjoying a cup of chili from a pot in his trunk, Larson said Saturday’s game was the first he has seen, coming into Shilo to see his girlfriend, Saucy Trebble from Minot, N.D.
"It’s aggressive," Larson said.
"It’s very challenging, being on rollerskates is hard enough ... it takes some skill, there’s no question about it."
"You can’t be a typical Canadian and say sorry ... it’s cutthroat."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition March 4, 2013