The Avalanche City Roller Girls (ACRG) are prepping for another season of intense roller derby play. To ring in the new season, they are inviting the public to try the sport, allowing people to test out the activity before an investment is made.
Jess DeGroot of the ACRG encouraged anyone who is curious about the sport to try it out before signing up for the season.
“We will have skates and gear and people can come and take a few laps and learn about when we do practices, how to roller skating and learn about the team and the history and then practices will start shortly there after,” said DeGroot. “It gives people time to get skates and decide if they want to join or not.”
Since the clubs conception in 2011, it has grown to include an All Star team, a B Team or recreation league, along with a bombsquad, which is a co-ed group for youth aged seven to 18. The league has three coaches, but its main aim is to be a fun, welcoming league and values success, teamwork and integrity.
DeGroot plays with the ACRG travel team, commuting from Invermere to play in Fernie, but she still plays for her local team. She said that the higher-level competitions and skill make the travel team worth it for her, but realizes it might not be for everyone.
“We also have a B team with the ACRG so there is that higher level competition team and then there is the B-Level team. It’s the rec team, people who are just learning and joining, we are not going to make them play against high-level other teams. They are going to play against low level teams so everyone is learning and having a good time together,” she said.
There will be equipment that people can try at the info night, enabling people to see if they want to invest in the sport before buying their own equipment. DeGroot said that a starter equipment package costs around $300. “[It’s] called a Fresh Meat package – new derby players are sometimes referred to as Fresh Meat. They’ll make a package with beginner skates and all your pads and your mouth guard,” she said. She also added that sometimes slightly used equipment will be for sale as current team member will update their own equipment.
As for the season itself, the Learn to Skate program, which teaches program skating and derby techniques, will be held on Tuesday evenings from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. There will be an additional free skating hour on Thursdays, where people can practice their new skills and get advice from some of the more advanced roller derby girls.
The All Starts start their competitive season in February, which will last roughly until July. The B Team will play friendly games against local clubs to get experience in derby matches.
DeGroot said that smaller teams such as the ACRG have an advantage in that they are more willing to move people into teams and positions that make sense at that time.
“It’s harder in a big city to get involved because there is way more people and they have this structured system. Kind of the beauty of Fernie is, it’s a smaller population so there is more room on the team for skaters and to move around and find the spot that fits for them, depending on how involved they want to be, how much practice they want to do, how competitive they want to get, there is a spot for everyone,” she said.
The Learn to Skate night will be on Oct. 6 at the Max Turyk gymnasium, starting at 7 p.m. The team is also looking for referees and other officials, so anyone interested in encouraged to come out and see what roller derby has to offer.