Roller Derby debuts in the East Kootenays

Rollerderby girls race across the track trying to score points. They often tumble and crash which makes for excellent spectating for the whole family to enjoy. - bySteph Fleming
Rollerderby girls race across the track trying to score points. They often tumble and crash which makes for excellent spectating for the whole family to enjoy.
— image credit: bySteph Fleming

What is red, rolls at incredible speeds and can take you down when you least expect it? An Avalanche City Roller Girl of course! And that’s exactly what the girls set out to do on Saturday night when they headed to Marysville Arena to skate off against Kimberley’s Bavarian Barbarians.

This ‘Sucker Punch’ event was the first Roller Derby bout to be held in the East Kootenay region and was the first chance for our Fernie girls to put their months of training into the rink. ‘There were a couple of us that had skated when we were young but when we started people were very beginner and we had to train hard,’ says co-captain Jacqueline Fieldhouse AKA: CrackHer Jacks.

Roller ‘Derby’ dates back as far as the late 1800’s but has made a resurgence in the last decade, being moulded into its modern format. Now with powerhouse hitting girls dressed in colourful and creative outfits, Roller Derby teams are rolling up all over the country, making this sport the fastest growing in Canada.

In 2011 some dedicated skate fanatics formed the East Kootenay league which now has four teams and over 60 girls registered with the Canadian Women’s Roller Derby Association. ‘I was hooked from my first game, it’s really fun and very addictive’ says Jacks.

The basic game rules see five players from each team skating in an anti clockwise direction around a flat, oval track. Four girls from each team act as ‘blockers’ and skate around in a pack while one ‘jammer’ from each team attempts to get through the pack as many times as she can in a two minute ‘jam’, scoring points for her team.

As a first time spectator I was both thrilled and thoroughly impressed. The determination, skill, agility and sheer guts of these girls was like nothing I had ever seen. Gone are the days of women’s sport being limited to a spot of tennis or a quiet round of golf, these women are tough and they have a goal to make Roller Derby a sport to be reckoned with. ‘We want to raise the profile of Derby in Fernie, really get people involved... We want to see Derby explode!’ says Jacks when asked about the future of Derby in the Elk Valley.

The team is looking forward to some exciting fundraising events heading towards Christmas with their sponsors The Northern and Midges Mags. At the moment the team is relatively self sufficient and is definitely looking for the support of the Elk Valley residents to take Roller Derby to the next level.

Although Fernie were not successful in their bout against Kimberley on this occasion, with a final score of 54 to 110, I have no doubt that captain Lacey “DD” Daggers, CrackHer Jacks and their team of focused and fierce ladies will be rolling out avalanches and taking charge all across the East Kootenays. For more information on the Fernie Avalanche City Roller Girls and their upcoming events, visit their website at

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