MONTREAL, QC — In a epic 16-team, 28-bout, all-Canada double elimination tournament hosted by WFTDA members Montreal Roller Derby, MTLRD home team La Racaille emerged victorious with a 5-1 record and a win in the final over fellow MTLRD team Les Contrabanditas to win the second annual Beast of the East crown.
Most competing teams were home teams from Canadian leagues rather than all-star squads. All three of Montreal’s home teams — La Racaille, Les Contrabanditas and Les Filles du Roi — advanced to the final four of the tournament. Other home squads included five from Toronto Roller Derby (the Bay Street Bruisers, Smoke City Betties, Death Track Dolls, Chicks Ahoy! and the Gore-Gore Girls), two from Hamilton, Ontario’s Hammer City Roller Girls (the Death Row Dames and the Hamilton Harlots), two from Kitchener, Ontario’s Tri-City Rollergirls (the Vicious Dishes and Venus Fly Tramps), and one from London, Ontario’s Forest City Derby Girls (the Thames Fatales.)
The final three slots were filled by leagues fielding their only team: Ottawa Roller Derby (Capital Carnage), Rideau Valley (a separate Ottawa league represented by the Slaughter Daughters), and GTA Rollergirls of Toronto (Derby Debutantes.)
All bouts in the two-day event were 20 minutes long, which made for a remarkably high number of bouts that would remain in question until the last jam — of the 28 contests, exactly half would be decided by 15 or fewer points.
Day One – First Round
Toronto Gore Gore Girls 103, Ottawa Capital Carnage 11 — The first bout’s action was not at all representative of the drama that the rest of the weekend would hold. The Gore Gore Girls were the only team to break 100 points on the weekend as Capital Carnage’s defense had no answer for the very fast GGG jammers, most notably Lunch Box, Bambi and Dust Bunny.
Hammer City Death Row Dames 23, Forest City Thames Fatales 19 — Things quickly got interesting in a far more defensive bout here. Standout pivot work from the Dames’ Mean Little Mama was key to keeping this game one of the most low-scoring of the weekend. While it looked like a mid-bout 10-0 power jam for the Thames Fatales’ Sufferjet would be the difference, the Death Row Dames closed to within 1 point at 19-18 and called time with just one second left on the clock to set up a thriller of a final jam. They’d pull a lead jam and 4-0 out with no time left on the clock to snatch victory away from the Thames Fatales.
Montreal Les Contrabanditas 59, Tri-City Venus Fly Tramps 26 — Though Les Contrabanditas were never in too much trouble here, they lost standout jammer Ewon Wotarmy to a rib injury during this game, and that loss would color the rest of their tourney as they leaned on Georgia W. Tush very heavily on the jam line for the remainder of the long weekend, supported by the effective but less resilient Mange Moi El Cui and Karla Shnikov.
Toronto Smoke City Betties 32, Rideau Valley Slaughter Daughters 24 — The Slaughter Daughters were up 12-9 halfway through, but Smoke City pulled ahead on the back of jamming from Marvel S. Maven and Slaughter Lauder along with some very timely blocks from Dyna Hurtcha, who’d prove to be one of the standout blockers of the tournament by the end.
Montreal La Racaille 66, Bay Street Bruisers 10 — The Bay Street Bruisers had an outstanding pivot in tall, tenacious Rebel Rock-It, but La Racaille just had too many weapons for them to deal with, including jaw-dropping speed and agility from jammer Iron Wench and a brutal pivot of their own in K-Dawg.
Toronto Chicks Ahoy! 48, Tri-City Vicious Dishes 32 — Chicks Ahoy! proved themselves to be one of the more physical teams of the weekend with a pounding victory over the Vicious Dishes, led by jamming from the fiery Dolly Destructo and pack work from Mega Bouche and Tara Part.
Montreal Les Filles du Roi 77, Toronto Death Track Dolls 6 — Les Filles du Roi put up the second-biggest point margin of the weekend on the back of some of the best team and individual blocking on display, most notably from Smack Daddy, Jess Bandit and Romeo. On the jam line, Maude E. Tabersmack and Beater Pan-Tease had little trouble following their blocking to big scores.
Hammer City Hamilton Harlots 69, GTA Derby Debutantes 6 — Experienced Hamilton had emerged as the winner of the 2008 Beast tournament, while GTA is a relatively new league — and it showed on the scoreboard, as Hamilton demonstrated the best assisting of the opening round and featured a solid core of skaters dangerous on both the jam line and in the pack — Dicey, Perky Set, Vicadoom, and Carla Coma seemed to be either an offensive or defensive element of every big jam of the bout. The Harlots noticeably took their foot off the gas in the final few jams of this bout, opting to get lead and call immediately at 0-0 rather than continue to run up the score on an overmatched opponent — and also to conserve energy for the rest of the event.
Toronto Gore Gore Girls 32, Hammer City Death Row Dames 5 — After putting up the best offensive performance of the weekend with 103 points in their opening victory over Ottawa, the Gore Gore Girls continued to prove they were a force to be reckoned with by putting up the best defensive performance of the weekend, holding the Death Row Dames to just 5 points in 20 minutes. The jammer rotation of Lunch Box, Bambi and Dust Bunny continued to impress, but this time the story was more effectiveness from GGG’s Brim Stone and Mia Culprit in the pack.
Forest City Thames Fatales 67, Ottawa Capital Carnage 20 — Ottawa became the first team to be eliminated, unable to get much offense going — meanwhile, the Thames Fatales jammer rotation of Mirambo, Elle Boes and Sufferjet looked happy to take advantage of considerably more daylight than they saw in their very low-scoring, last-jam loss against the Death Row Dames.
Montreal Les Contrabanditas 36, Toronto Smoke City Betties 20 — The final score didn’t quite reflect how narrow this one was. The lead flipped three times right around the middle of the bout after standout Smoke City jammer Jewel Kicker changed a 12-4 Ditas lead to a 12-12 tie. Smoke City took the lead for the only time at 17-16 with about 7 minutes to play, but a critical defensive stand from Ditas Tush, Trash n’ Smash, Boxcar Bethy and Lil’ Homewrecker got their jammer Mange Moi El Cul lead out of the penalty box, making it 21-17 for the Ditas with 3:01 to go. Tush took the jam star to bring it home on the game’s penultimate frame, cheerfully ignoring the pleas of her bench to call the jam while rolling to a clock-killing, game-sealing 15-3 win.
Rideau Valley Slaughter Daughters 48, Tri-City Venus Fly Tramps 14 — The Slaughter Daughters played a much more physical game than the smaller Tramps in this one, resulting in a lot of dramatic jammer take-outs. Rideau Valley pivot Scotch Minx continued to impress after a solid performance in a losing effort in the first round, and seemed especially effective when paired with teammate Madder Splatter at the front of the pack. The bout ended the weekend without a win for the Fly Tramps.
Montreal La Racaille 36, Toronto Chicks Ahoy 35 — In the narrowest bout of the weekend, a battle of speed vs. strength was a near-draw. Chicks Ahoy! nearly managed to take advantage of La Racaille jammer Izzy Skellington’s propensity for hitting the box as a jammer in two power plays, but Izzy redeemed herself with the jam star in the final jam, battling for more than a minute before getting declared lead jammer and getting the right to call off the jam with La Racaille’s 1 point lead intact.
Tri-City Vicious Dishes 21, Toronto Bay Street Bruisers 16 — Once again, the Bay Street Bruisers’ Rebel Rock-It was an astoundingly effective gatekeeper at the front of the pack, but it wasn’t quite enough to translate into a BSB win, as the Dishes bounced back from their beating at the hands of Chicks Ahoy! to edge out the Bruisers and eliminate them from the tournament.
Montreal Les Filles du Roi 34, Hammer City Hamilton Harlots 25 — As last year’s champions, Hamilton had the air of being the team to beat and seemed to be playing with slightly more discipline than any other team on the track — but Les Filles du Roi came into this one clearly fired up, with the home crowd behind them, and opened up a 21-7 lead after four jams. While Hamilton whittled the lead to 8 points with about 5 minutes left at 27-19, they could not close to within single-pass range.
Toronto Death Track Dolls 61, GTA Derby Debutantes 20 — The Death Track Dolls had far more success in their second bout than they had in their 6 point outing against Les Filles du Roi. Speedy Land Shark was a standout with the jam star for the Dolls, along with Miss Tress NIghtmare ad Sista Fista. The Derby Debutantes looked to have some talented individuals, but were lacking the teamwork to establish a serious defense, and became the last of the four teams to be eliminated in the second round.
Toronto Gore Gore Girls 35, Montreal Les Contrabanditas 26 — The Gore Gore Girls became the only team to defeat a Montreal home team in the tournament, but did so at a very high price, losing blocker Desmon Deck-Her to a broken ankle in the very last jam of a close bout.
Once again, Georgia W. Tush saw a lot of action on the jam line, taking the star in three of the bout’s first four jams. but after a momentary 8-7 lead for the Ditas after three jams, the Gore Gore Girls took over and opened up a lead of 23-8 after 10 minutes and held what looked like a safe 35-15 lead with under 2 minutes to play. Tush got lead jammer for the Ditas, but the jam was called early on injury as GGG’s D-Rail was on the bottom of an ugly pileup. With the score 35-19, the Ditas had one last shot and gave the star to Tush again against Dust Bunny for GGG — but although Tush once again got lead with 0:00 on the period clock and had an outside chance at closing the gap, the jam would again be called for an injury that proved to be much more severe, with Desmon Deck-Her down with a broken ankle.
In response to the injury, the Gore Gore Girls withdrew from the tournament at this point with an undefeated 3-0 record.
Toronto Smoke City Betties 24, Hammer City Death Row Dames 15 — Smoke City was up 16-3 after the first ten minutes, but the Death Row Dames tried to crawl back in it with back-to-back 4-0 jams for Cheese Grater and Mean Little Mama, getting within striking distance at 16-11 with 7 minutes left in the bout. However, after a 8-4 Smoke City frame to follow up and put the score at 24-15 with 5:10 to play, there wasn’t a single point scored in the remaining time, in no small part due to SCB’s Dyna Hurtcha patrolling the pack very effectively as a blocker. The Death Row Dames were eliminated with this loss.
Rideau Valley Slaughter Daughters 68, Forest City Thames Fatales 28 — The Rideau Valley crew seemed to be improving as the tournament went on, this time having little trouble with Forest City as Soul Rekker was the main force of a Rideau Valley jamming attack that also included Sister Disaster and Olympia following continued excellent pack work from Scotch Minx and Madder Splatter. The Thames Fatales were eliminated with the loss.
Montreal Les Filles du Roi 43, Montreal La Racaille 35 — The crowd was amped for this one, as two of the tournament’s three undefeated teams met in Sunday’s opening action, and it was every bit as closely matched as Saturday’s action would have suggested. The score was knotted up at 17 after the first 10 minutes, but Les Filles du Roi took over in the next few jams. After a quick 3-0 for Romeo while teammates Jess Bandit and Smack Daddy bottled up La Racaille ace Iron Wench, Les Filles du Roi dropped the hammer with a 13-3 power jam for Beater Pan-Tease followed by a 5-0 for Smack Daddy.
That pushed the score to Les Filles du Roi 39, La Racaille 21 with about four minutes left to play — but La Racaille almost made a run by exploiting a power play that boxed Les Filles jammer Heartless Bitch over consecutive jams. A 10-4 followed by a 4-0, jam call and timeout with 14 seconds left put La Racaille in a position to steal the win, having whittled an 18 point lead to 8 points at 43-35. But after a lengthy, dramatic opening pass, it was Les Filles du Roi getting a lead jammer call after nearly a full minute of scrapping to call the bout and seal the win.
Hammer City Hamilton Harlots 38, Toronto Chicks Ahoy! 21 — The Harlots jumped out to a relatively large 25-6 lead after ten minutes of this one, keyed by a 9-1 for Carla Coma and a power-jam 8-0 for Dicey. A mid-bout jam between the Harlots’ Vicadoom and Chicks Ahoy!’s Dolly Destructo proved to be a good illustration of the Harlots’ strategic sense, as Vicadoom had lead and turned to jammer defense after the first scoring pass for both jammers, leading to a rare full-length 4-4 jam with no jammer penalties and killing two minutes of clock.
That made it 29-10 with about 8 minutes to go, and though Chicks Ahoy! momentarily narrowed it to the edge of possibility at 33-21 with 1:17 on the clock, the Harlots owned the last jam for a game-sealing 5-0. Chicks Ahoy! were eliminated from the tourney here, although they’d looked very dangerous in their one-point loss to eventually tourney champs La Racaille.
Toronto Death Track Dolls 32, Tri-City Vicious Dishes 27 — The Vicious Dishes seemed much more tired in this bout than they had looked on Saturday, leading to two jams where Dish Lippy Wrongstockings had almost no gas to start an opening pass and the Dolls capitalized for big points, most notably on a 15-0 for the speedy Land Shark. The bout looked out of hand at 32-17 going into the final jam, but Dish Inca Pacitate, in her first jamming action, fell just a few seconds short of tying the bout with an exciting 10-0 run with no time left on the clock. The loss eliminated the Vicious Dishes from the Beast.
Round Four — Quarterfinals
Entering the fourth round, the tournament switched from a double-elimination to a single-elimination, with eight teams left — Toronto’s Gore Gore Girls, Toronto’s Smoke City Betties, Toronto’s Death Track Dolls, Montreal’s Les Contrabanditas, Rideau Valley’s Slaughter Daughters, Montreal’s La Racaille, Montreal’s Les Filles du Roi and Hammer City’s Hamilton Harlots.
The Gore Gore Girls and Les Filles Du Roi were the only undefeated teams, as all others had won 2 and lost 1– but the Gore Gore Girls decided to drop out of the tournament after the injury to their skater Desmond Deck-Her. Therefore, their quarterfinal opponents, Smoke City, automatically advanced to the semifinal.
Montreal Les Contrabanditas 28, Rideau Valley Slaughter Daughters 25 — A low scoring back and forth thriller all the way ended in a tremendously chaotic last couple of jams. Going into the second to last jam, the Ditas were up by just one point at 24-23, and it seemed that they tacked on 4 points before the Rideau Valley lead jammer could get the jam called — but an official challenge determined that the points had been scored after the jam call-off.
The scoreboard went back to 24-23 for a final jam between Ditas jammer Georgia W. Tush and Rideau Valley’s Soul Rekker, and after a lengthy opening pass for both jammers in which they both almost broke pack and had to start all over again after getting knocked to the deck, Soul Rekker finally burst out with lead jammer and no time left on the clock. She appeared to gesture to her bench asking whether she should call the jam — which would have ended the bout right there with a one-point loss — causing the Contrabanditas bench to explode in protests that she actually had called the jam. But the jam went on, and Rekker scored one to tie but could not find her way to a second point before Tush finally entered on her scoring pass and picked up 4. The heart-stopping jam ended at 4-2, sending the Ditas to the semifinals against Toronto’s Smoke City.
Montreal Les Filles du Roi 24, Hamilton Harlots 11 — Yet another closely matched bout didn’t see the FDR pulling away until the very end, with the Harlots constantly just one big jam away from taking the lead. It was only 9-7 for the FDR after about 10 minutes, but it looked like they had a chance to pull away when the Harlots had a full penalty box, giving FDR jammer Romeo a jammer’s dream as she got to go unopposed against a 4-2 pack. But Harlot Dicey stepped up big with a critical jammer takeout that held Romeo to just 4 points on that jam.
The FDR returned the favor on the next jam, though, holding back Harlot jammer Perky Set on a power play so effectively that she had to call a nearly full-length jam with just a 1-0. It was 14-7 for the FDR at that point, and it stayed relatively even until it was 20-11 with 3:08 left on the clock. FDR blockers Lady J and Jess Bandit helped win the day at this point with excellent teamwork on Harlot jammer Dicey that gave the FDR time for a 4-0 win that pushed it to 24-11 with 1:27 left. The final two jams ended with 0-0 calloffs, putting FDR in the semifinals.
Montreal La Racaille 77, Toronto Death Track Dolls 17 — After a lengthy series of closely contested bouts, this one was lopsided from the start and didn’t change much, as La Racaille ran circles around the Dolls to advance to a semifinal rematch with league rivals Les Filles du Roi.
Round Five — Semifinals
Montreal Les Contrabanditas 33, Toronto Smoke City Betties 22 — This rematch of the second-round match was almost a carbon copy of the original, featuring a number of lead changes, a narrow lead for the Ditas going into the second-to-last jam, and a double-digit score from the ubiquitous Georgia W. Tush to seal the win late.
Halfway through the bout, Smoke City’s Marvel S. Maven scored a 4-1 jam that made the score 18-15 with 9:20 to play, and that score stood through a full-length scoreless jam to 7:20 remaining. Ditas jammer Tush had a chance for big points with opposing jammer Memphis Kitty in the box to start, but excellent situational defense from Dyna Hurtcha and Goldlocks + Load made it a another full-length 0-0.
Smoke City pulled one point closer on the following two jams with a 3-2 win and a 4-3 win that made the score 23-22 with 2:03 left on the clock, but they ran into very serious penalty trouble as their entire penalty box filled up during the course of the penultimate jam, leading to one moment where Smoke City jammer Jewel Kicker was with three Smoke City blockers while the queue backed up. Georgia W. Tush, once again jamming with the game on the line, came through with a 10-0 on the full-length jam — but the alert Smoke City bench called time the instant the jam expired, getting the clock stopped with 0.3 seconds left on the clock. But Contrabanditas jammer Mange Moi El Cui froze the score at 33-22 with a lead jammer call on the final jam.
Montreal La Racille 38, Montreal Les Filles du Roi 24 — La Racille had lost in the third round to FDR, but got revenge when it counted. They’d put up nearly the same amount of points they did in the first meeting, but held FDR to 19 fewer points for the win.
As had been the case all weekend long, K-Dawg and No Holds Bard were critical parts in the defense for La Racille, and K-Dawg especially shone in the sixth jam of this one, all over FDR jammer Beats Per Minute as LR jammer Iron Wench raced for a 5-0 that made the score 14-7 with about 10:22 to go. The teams would keep the football score alive at 21-13 for La Racille with 6:30 to play.
FDR suffered a serious setback on a odd start to the next jam, where their standout jammer Maude E. Tabersmack apparently pulled a muscle right off the jammer line and collapsed immediately, causing the jam to be called off for injury before she even got to the pivot line. La Racille extended the lead to 34-16 with under three minutes to play, and although FDR’s Smack Daddy got an 8-4 to make it 38-24 with 11 seconds left, La Racille’s Iron Wench ended FDR’s waning hopes by getting lead and calling it off for the win.
Montreal La Racille 49, Montreal Les Contrabanditas 34 — The final bout of a long weekend did not disappoint and proved to be a showcase for many of the most effective players of the event — for Les Contrabanditas, Boxcar Bethy, Trash N Smash and El Kaboom! were in full effect in the pack while Georgia W. Tush continued to play in almost every jam, both with the star and without. For La Racille, jammer Iron Wench continued to be a force of nature, while Izzy Skellington and Lyn-Dah Kicks supported and K-Dawg and No Holds Bards ruled the pack.
The Ditas drew first blood with an 8-4 win, but La Racille had pulled ahead 18-12 by the start of the fourth jam. In one of the most confusing sequences of the weekend, though, La Racille lost its entire pack when every single blocker got whistled off for out-of-play engagement during the same pass, leaving a few moments where Ditas jammer Georgia W. Tush was left looking around for an opponent to pass. That went 10-0 for the Contrabanditas, but then points suddenly became a lot hard to come by for both teams, with only 4 points for La Racille and 3 points for the Ditas over the next four jams. It was Les Contrabanditas 25, La Racille 22 with just about 9 minutes to play.
As fate would have it, the narrowness of the ensuing three jams left the score tied at 34 each with 2:13 left on the clock, and both teams turned to the jammers that had been coming through in the clutch all weekend long — Georgia W. Tush for the Ditas and Iron Wench for La Racille. It was Wench coming through with a key 10-0, and the Ditas called time to get one last jam in — but final La Racille jammer Lyn-Dah Kicks put the game away after a long battle with Boxcar Bethy, Trash & Smash and Tush to get lead and add a 5-0 exclamation point to their tournament victory.
Order of Elimination
Second Round: Ottawa Roller Derby Capital Carnage (0-2), Tri City Venus Fly Tramps (0-2), Toronto Bay Street Bruisers (0-2), GTA Derby Debutantes (0-2)
Third Round: Hammer City Death Row Dames (1-2), Forest City Thames Fatales (1-2), Toronto Chicks Ahoy! (1-2), Tri-City Vicious Dishes (1-2)
Fourth Round / Quarterfinals: Toronto Gore Gore Girls (3-1, loss by forfeit), Rideau Valley Slaughter Daughters (2-2), Hammer City Hamilton Harlots (2-2), Toronto Death Track Dolls (2-2)
Fifth Round / Semifinals: Toronto Smoke City Betties (3-2, one win by forfeit), Montreal Les Filles du Roi (4-1)
Finals: Montreal Les Contrabanditas (4-2)
Photos: Derek Lang