Yukon North Of Ordinary

Sports archive for May 31, 2012

Yukon derby girls on a roll, junior program making strides

The Yukon Roller girls will be back to throwing shoulders and hip checks on June 23rd, when they square off against the Fabulous Fourteen at the Takhini Arena.

By Sam Riches on May 31, 2012 at 2:22 pm

The Yukon Roller girls will be back to throwing shoulders and hip checks on June 23rd, when they square off against the Fabulous Fourteen at the Takhini Arena.

The Roller Girls were originally scheduled to face the Reed Deer Belladonnas but issues within their league forced the Belladonnas to cancel.

In their place will be the Fabulous Fourteen, a squad made up from 14 players from across western Canada.

Soupmix, a member of the Yukon Roller Girls Board of Directors and the Junior Derby League Coordinator, said the team isn’t sure what to expect from the traveling team.

“Hopefully it will be a good balance and the skill level will be on par and it will make for a really good bout,” she told the Star while conducting a practice session for the junior team at the Takhini Broomball Arena on Wednesday night.

The Roller Girls were last in action two weeks ago when they traveled north to take on the Fairbanks Gold Diggers.

Eight girls from the junior program accompanied the team and also competed on the trip.

The Roller Girls prevailed in their match-up, 150-123 and were boosted by a 30-point jam from team captain, Wilder Than Her.

The junior girls were split into two groups and joined the Alaskan ranks, competing as members of the Alaskan Bruise Berries and Fools Gold.

Soupmix said the junior girls impressed the senior team.

“They were phenomenal,” she said.

“I think they even surprised themselves.”

The juniors have been skating with the Roller Girls and practicing the sport for the past year. In Fairbanks, they got a chance to show what they’ve learned.

The Alaskan teams embrace a more physical style of game, while the junior girls development has been more focused on blocking and juking, maneuvers to get around defenders.

“We feel those skills (blocking and juking) are really important to develop,” said Soupmix.

“We don’t talk about hitting at this level.”

When the junior girls strapped on their skates, they were met with force as the Alaskan girls immediately got to work throwing their weight around and showing their physical prowess.

“The juniors in Fairbanks subscribe to a more physical game and I think that caught our girls off guard,” said Soupmix.

When play came to a stop, the juniors received some impromptu lessons on the sidelines so they could respond to the physicality.

“We showed them some things about the physical nature and staying safe and they kept up on the pack and kept up to the level of play,” she said. “It was impressive to watch.”

The Roller Girls returned to town on Monday and were back at practice on Tuesday night.

“We know that there’s going to be a strong team coming and Yukon’s really keen to put on a good show at home,” said Soupmix.

In their last home bout, the Roller Girls dropped a tough battle to the Terminal City Rookies of Vancouver, 189-163 at the Whitehorse Curling Club.

The home team got off to a slow start in the first half but came storming back after halftime.

Their efforts won them the second half but it wasn’t enough to close the deficit.In the next bout, titled Midnight Stun, the Roller Girls will be taking their game to the Takhini Arena.

“I think it will be a really great venue,” said Soupmix. “We’ll have the floor seating and the stands up high and the beer garden. It will be a lot of fun.”

After the bout the Roller Girls will take a two-month break and be back in the rink in September.

Because of the busy summer sports season in the Yukon, the Roller Girls focus on getting their time in during the shoulder season of the late winter and spring and again in September to November.

“It’s a split season,” said Soupmix.

“We’ll finish off the first half with that bout on June 23, take a two-month break and be back at it in the fall.”

The Roller Girls are encouraging those interested in competing to come out to a training program in August.

The new athletes are referred to as “fresh meat.”

“We’ll have a fresh meat intake happening in August,” said Soupmix.

“We’ll have practice times with the coaches and we’ll take people who are interested through a four to six week program that will bring them up to the speed of the league.”

Information for those interested will be available at the next home bout and through the team’s website at http://www.yukonrollergirls.ca.

“It’s really essential,” Soupmix said of the training camp.

“The way the league is playing now, you can’t just show up and play, you need to have your roller derby on training wheels time to get ready.”

The junior team, which ranges in age from 12 to 18, has several members that will be moving up to the league in September.

“It’s really exciting, it’s been a year now since we started the junior league and to have this conversation that in August you’re going to join fresh meat and skate with the league in the fall is just really great,” said Soupmix.

“It’s been great watching them develop their skill and their connections to the roller derby community. It’s a really nice group to be a part of.”

Soupmix said the junior program extends beyond the sport.

“It’s also about community building, self-esteem, self confidence, healthy lifestyles and making good choices,” she said.

“It’s all bundled up in the package of roller derby.”

Midnight Stun is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. on the 23rd, with the door opening at 6 p.m.

Soupmix said the Roller Girls will be looking to put on a show.

“They are hungry for a win at home,” she said.

“They want to give the Yukon fans something to celebrate about.”

CommentsAdd a comment

Beverly Chmelik

May 31, 2012 at 8:45 pm

Your girls did a great job here in Fairbanks.I had a great time refereeing the bout with your refs in a close contest. We enjoyed having them here. The Jr’s intergrated well with our girls and and I’m glad they learned some from our girls. I’m hope our leagues have future bouts and would love an oportunity to referee a bout there if it happens.

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