For the first time in four years, Ohio Roller Derby will travel internationally for tournament play, heading to Canada over Memorial Day weekend for the first annual Royal Brawl Invitational. One of 22 WFTDA Recognized Tournaments occurring this year, the three-day event will take place in Guelph, ON, Canada, presenting an opportunity for both A- and B-level competition for teams from across Canada and the northern United States. In addition to Ohio and hosts Royal City Roller Derby, participants include E-Ville Roller Derby (Edmonton, AB, Canada), Ithaca League of Women Rollers (Ithaca, NY), North Star Roller Derby (Minneapolis, MN), Ottawa Valley Roller Derby (Ottawa, ON, Canada), Queen City Roller Girls (Buffalo, NY), Toronto Roller Derby (Toronto, ON, Canada), and Tri-City Roller Derby (Kitchener, ON, Canada).
The Ohio All Stars will play three sanctioned games over two days, starting with a first-time bout against E-Ville on Saturday afternoon before rematching against prior opponents Royal City that evening and North Star on Sunday.
Like Ohio, (47) E-Ville earned a spot at the 2017 WFTDA D2 Playoffs & Championships last August, but the two teams did not meet on the track. The E-Ville Dead are 2-2 thus far in 2018, losing an early season match against Calgary, but going 2-1 at the Dust Devil invitational in March.
Taking advantage of the close proximity while visiting Buffalo to play Queen City last May, Ohio scheduled a next-day game against Royal City. In what turned out to be a fiercely contested tug-of-war, Ohio retook the lead in the final minutes to secure a 5-point victory. (59) Royal City has been steadily climbing the WFTDA rankings and is well prepared for a long weekend of skating, as they’ve scheduled multi-game weekends and tournaments to make the most of two trips to the United States. After losing back-to-back games to Naptown Roller Derby and Gem City Roller Derby over Easter weekend, Royal City traveled to Michigan at the end of April and dominated at the K Town Shakedown invitational with a trio of wins against the Birmingham Blitz Dames, Brandywine Roller Derby, and V-Town Derby Dames. The following weekend, they went 2-1 at Put Up Your Toques, pulling off victories against Winnipeg Roller Derby League and Long Island Roller Rebels while narrowly falling to the Dock City Rollers of Sweden.
(69) North Star kicked off their travel season with losses to Ohio and Gem City in mid-March, but found success at the K Town Shakedown last month. Upended by Gem City in a single-point difference game, North Star went on to squeeze out a 164-159 victory against Brandywine and a comfortable 221-156 win over V-Town. Following Royal Brawl, North Star will take a short break before playing the Chicago Outfit in July.
On the B-level side of play, Gang Green will experience their first tournament play since the 2014 Midwest BrewHaHa invitational as they take on the Royal City Rum Rollers on Saturday and the Queen City Subzero Sirens on Sunday. While the former are new opponents, the latter will be familiar to Gang Green, as they skated away with a 190-146 win on Queen City’s home track last year. The Sirens have one game under their feet this year, a 149-370 loss to the Arbor Bruising Co. of Ann Arbor Roller Derby. Like the Royal City A team, the Rum Rollers have packed multiple games into each trip to great success, and are currently 7-1 after undefeated runs at both B Cup and K Town Shakedown, a solid win against the Gem City Violet Femmes, and a solitary loss to the Naptown Warning Belles.
Schedule and additional information about the Royal Brawl invitational can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/events/1899399290370246/
Following this weekend, Ohio Roller Derby will enjoy a brief respite before returning to the Ohio Expo Center to take on Dub City Roller Derby (Palm Beach, FL) and Steel City Roller Derby’s Steel Beamers (Pittsburgh, PA) on Saturday, June 9th.
Photo by Ashley Gerlach: AMG Photography.