By Steph Fleming
The coal mining and lumber industries have always played a huge part in the Elk Valley, however the Coal Miners and Lumber Jacks played a very different role on Saturday in Sparwood when the two Roller Derby teams battled each other in an exhibition match designed to increase Roller Derby exposure and raise money for The Coal Miner Days Society.
The two exhibition derby teams who were appropriately dressed in cut-off flannel shirts, high visibility vests and a few drawn on moustaches were made up of the four teams from Fernie, Kimberley, Invermere and Cranbrook that currently make up the East Kootenay Roller Derby League. “Everyone was super keen to get a game under their belts before the season started and to get the camaraderie between the teams happening,” says Jaqueline Fieldhouse a.k.a CrackHer Jax, co-captain and coach of Fernie’s Avalanche City Roller Girls.
Although on this occasion the Coal Miners were victorious, beating the Lumber Jacks 230 to 157, the actual 2012 East Kootenay League bout schedule kicks off on May 12 in Cranbrook. It continues through to September 15 where the championship final will be held in Marysville.
“We are going in really confident; we’ve been training non-stop and have been working really hard on learning the rules and strategies which make up such a huge part of the sport,” says Jacqueline, when asked about how the Avalanche City Roller Girls feel going into the season.
Having formed in 2011, this is the first official derby season for the East Kootenay league although they have big expansion plans for the future. “We are going to bring derby to communities that don’t have teams and raise enthusiasm and awareness,” says Jaqueline, who is involved in ongoing exhibition bouts and workshops across the East Kootenays. “We are hoping to see four more teams including one from Sparwood and Elkford join the league in the near future.”
It is clear speaking with Jaqueline that her passion, and that of everyone involved in Roller Derby, extends far beyond simply strapping on a pair of skates and hitting the arena. There are plans to start up a junior league in the Elk Valley for 12 to 18 year olds and even start a summer camp for children who want to try it out. “The future of Roller Derby is getting kids on skates, not just today but looking forward. Anyone who’s interested should get involved.”
Fernie will be hosting its first ever Roller Derby bout on August 4 and will be looking for the community to get behind them. If you want to get involved in anything from skating to volunteering, contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org or get updates at http://fernierollerderby.com.
2012 East Kootenay Roller Derby League Bout schedule
May 12 in Cranbrook
Fernie vs Kimberley
Invermere vs Cranbrook
June 2 in Invermere
Invermere vs Kimberley
Fernie vs Cranbrook
August 4 in Fernie – Semi Finals
Team 1 vs Team 4
Team 2 vs Team 3
September 15 in Marysville – Championships
Team 3 vs Team 4
Team 1 vs Team 2