Ohio Roller Derby 2018 Season Preview
Ohio Roller Derby will return to familiar ground as they enter their thirteenth year of competitive play in 2018, taking the track in the Ohio Building at the Ohio Expo Center for all home games this year. Ohio finds themselves in a rebuilding year after a string of retirements following their appearance at the 2017 WFTDA Division 2 Playoffs in Pittsburgh, PA, last August. The OHRD charter team composition may be different, but many of its skaters already have several years of play time together. A handful have returned from long-term absence and others have moved up from the Ohio B team, Gang Green. A focus on developing talent, building chemistry, and playing their best game of derby each game will not only allow Ohio to remain competitive within the WFTDA this year, but will set the team up for continued success as this charter gains experience and confidence together.
Starting players Blitz Lemon, Gorges Curves, Lora “Outa My” Wayman, Slammerhead, and Val Holla have retired from competitive play, but fans may spot them cheering trackside on game day. Also notably absent from the track are Chainsaw, who will spend the season coaching after undergoing spinal fusion surgery earlier this year, and Elektra Magneto, whose live statistics skills will be valuable on the bench as well. Rounding out the coaching staff will be lifelong skater Sauci, and highly accomplished former OHRD jammer The Smacktivist. After a year spent reffing, Kitty Liquorbottom returns to the roster; likewise, KloverKill is back on skates after spending the 2017 season coaching. Pulling double duty, Jessica Rabid, Kruel-Aid, Sarah Sexton, TactiGal, and Vyles will provide an infusion of fresh energy for the All Stars while also remaining a part of the veteran Gang Green crew.
(47) Ohio Roller Derby has ten sanctioned bouts scheduled this season, six of those at home in Columbus, and the majority against new opponents. The 2018 season will kick off with their March 17th home opener against (62) North Star Roller Derby (Minneapolis, MN), followed by home games against (37) Ann Arbor Roller Derby (Ann Arbor, MI) on April 7th and (82) West Virginia Roller Derby, a statewide competitive league comprised of skaters from a variety of West Virginia teams, on April 21st. Ohio will hit the road for a first-time matchup against (65) DC Rollergirls (Washington, D.C.) in a closed game on April 28th, then return home to play (32) Charlottesville Derby Dames (Charlottesville, VA) on May 12th. The All Stars will experience new tournament play this year as they travel to Canada over Memorial Day weekend to participate in the Royal Brawl invitational, where they will rematch against North Star Roller Derby in addition to facing (51) E-Ville Roller Derby (Edmonton, AB, Canada) and tournament hosts (58) Royal City Roller Girls (Guelph, ON, Canada). Returning home, Ohio will play (57) Dub City Roller Derby (West Palm Beach, FL) on June 9th and will finish out the regular season on June 30th with a game against (70) Garden State Rollergirls (North Arlington, NJ).
The OHRD B-team, Gang Green, is also on track for another exciting season. With the addition of a few transfers from other Ohio leagues and a large, promising rookie class, Gang Green will continue to have a solid talent pool. Kirsten returns to coach Gang Green this year and will be joined on the bench by retired skaters Quiet Storm and Ally McSqueal. Gang Green will also play six games at home this year, competing against South Bend Roller Girls and Athens Ohio Roller Derby in addition to B squads from North Star, Ann Arbor, Charlottesville, and Steel City Roller Derby (Pittsburgh, PA). They will join the All Stars on the road, taking on the Capitol Offenders of the DC Rollergirls, and squaring off against the B teams of Royal City and Queen City Roller Girls (Buffalo, NY) at Royal Brawl in their first tournament play since the 2014 Midwest BrewHaHa invitational.
Changes to the WFTDA playoffs model for 2018 & 2019 will likely mean changes for the Ohio All Stars postseason play as well. The top 4 teams based on June 30, 2018, rankings will receive an invitation to the International Championships in New Orleans, LA (November 8-11); teams ranked 5-28 will be sent to Division 1 Playoffs held in A Coruña, Spain (August 31-September 2) or Atlanta, GA (September 21-23), with the top three teams from each location proceeding to Championships. Teams ranked below the cutoff, including those that would typically be seeded into the now-defunct Division 2 Playoffs, may be eligible for one of three new Continental Cup tournaments (dates & locations to be announced).
All of Ohio’s home games will be played in the Ohio Building at the Ohio Expo Center. Doors open at 4 p.m.; the Ohio Roller Derby All Stars play first at 5 p.m., followed by Gang Green (typically around 7 p.m.). Season passes will be available online until March 16th; single game tickets are available online at ohiorollerderby.com/tickets/ or at the door on game days. On-site parking is $5 per car (cash only). Accessible seating is available as well as bleacher, chair, and trackside floor seating (18+ only). Please keep the camping chairs at home as outside seating is prohibited. Food, beverages, beer, and OHRD merchandise will be available for purchase.
Thank you for your continued support of Ohio Roller Derby, and we’ll see you trackside!
Photo by Joe Mac.