Ohio Roller Derby – 2017 Preview
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Ohio Roller Derby – 2017 Preview

Ohio Roller Derby will be kicking off their 2017 season in a familiar setting as OHRD will continue to play all its home bouts at the Ohio Building located within the Ohio Expo Center. What may not be familiar to some of Ohio’s die-hard fans are a few of the faces of the skaters that will make up this season’s charter squad. After an impressive debut with Ohio at the Division 1 Playoffs in Madison last season, Ithaca transfer Gorges Curves has solidified herself as a go-to jammer for OHRD and can also be thrown into a clutch pack for defensive purposes if the need arises. Another transfer coming Ohio’s way via Dayton’s Gem City is the powerful Pain Train. In her first action for Ohio last month in an unsanctioned bout at Naptown (Indianapolis), Pain Train obtained lead jammer on the bout’s final jam and was able to solidify a two-point victory for Ohio. If powerful hits and fancy footwork are something you’d be interested in, keep an eye on #00 (short for chOO chOO) as Pain Train will see a lot of track time for OHRD this year. Adding a blast of talent and youth to Ohio’s roster this season is Kelsey Khaos, formerly with Central Ohio Roller Derby in Mt. Vernon, Ohio. Kelsey brings a controlled, defensive aggression to the league and she played in every other jam in last month’s bout against Naptown. Able to be a relief jammer, playing as a pivot should be right in Kelsey Khaos’s wheelhouse. They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder. Well, after taking a year off to coach with Andrew Marron, Amy Spears has made her return to the track for her 11th season with Ohio. Spears will play for both the charter squad and Gang Green, the latter of which she has been recently named Team Captain.

Fans this season will miss a couple of skaters who decided to retire following last year: Burnadeath and The Smacktivist. Burnadeath, although no longer skating, remains with Ohio as Executive Director and will still be active with the day-to-day business of the league and can still be seen at nearly all hosted functions. The Smacktivist has decided to step away from derby for the time being to focus on other personal goals and aspirations, but has not ruled out a return in the future. Although she didn’t retire, fans of KloverKill will unfortunately not be watching her skate this season either. After suffering an injury during last year’s playoffs, KloverKill has joined the coaching staff for both the charter squad and for Gang Green.

(35) Ohio Roller Derby will play 14 sanctioned bouts this season, with six home dates starting on March 18th with a rematch against (31) Naptown Roller Derby. The other home bouts include an April 1st contest with (48) Brandywine Roller Derby (Downington, PA), an April 22nd match against (38) Blue Ridge Rollergirls (Asheville, NC), a bout against the (37) Charm City Roller Girls (Baltimore, MD) on May 6th, a June 10th matchup against the (69) St. Chux Derby Chix (St. Charles, MO), and finally against long-time rivals (28) Detroit Roller Derby on July 1st. OHRD will also host (27) Stockholm Roller Derby (Stockholm, Sweden) in a closed bout as the Swedes make a trip through the midwest in June. Ohio will be on the road this season at the Skate To Thrill Invitational in Missouri, where they’ll play (49) Houston, (34) No Coast (Lincoln, NE, in a rematch of last year’s playoff bout), and (89) Killamazoo (Kalamazoo, MI). Ohio will also travel to play (26) Queen City (Buffalo, NY), (88) Royal City (Guelph, ON), (32) Ann Arbor, and the (36) Mad Rollin’ Dolls (Madison, WI) in an attempt to qualify for the WFTDA Playoffs.

Overall, Ohio will face seven teams currently ranked ahead of them in the most recent WFTDA rankings release, as well as three teams ranked right below them. Of note, Charm City, Brandywine, and Blue Ridge all played exceptionally well at the Division 2 Playoffs last season and, along with Ohio, are all bubble teams on the cusp of Division 1. In fact, Charm City finished in third place at the Lansing Playoff location and Blue Ridge defeated Brandywine in the Division 2 Championship bout which aired on ESPN3. All three teams feature top returning skaters and a hunger to climb the WFTDA ranks.

Ohio’s home bouts will be played at the Ohio Building at the Ohio Expo Center. Doors open at 4:00 p.m. with the charter team playing first at 5:00 p.m. and Gang Green to follow (approximately 7:00 p.m.). Season tickets are still available and you can purchase individual tickets at http://ohiorollerderby.com/tickets/. Thank you again for supporting Ohio Roller Derby… and we’ll see you trackside!

Andrew Marron