Edmonton's E-Ville Dead places 3rd in national championships
Over 120 roller derby competitors converged on West Edmonton Mall this weekend to compete in Canada’s first-ever national roller derby championships.
50,000 people attended the three-day event, which saw teams from Nelson, Regina, Saskatoon, Moncton and Saint John, N.B. go head-to-head.
Joining the fray was local Edmonton team, the E-Ville Dead — the only team from Alberta selected to participate in the national championships.
"It’s a big privilege to make it here, to be put in this tournament in the first place," said E-Ville Dead team member Tracy Hughes. "To have it in our house — to play at home in front of our home town — it’s awesome."
Although roller derby has been steadily growing in popularity over the past few years, it is still considered an underground sport in many places.
Event organizer Barbara Lapointe, aka Banshee Barbrawler, hopes this event will help to change all that.
"We know this is the fastest growing female sport in the world right now." said Lapointe. "So many people don’t even know it exists, even though it is growing so substantially."
Hughes thinks hosting the national championships will go a long way towards popularizing the sport in Edmonton.
"I think this is going to be a big lift-off," she said. "I think we’re going to have a ton of girls knocking our doors down tomorrow, wanting to play, wanting to come and put some skates on."
Lucy Croysdill, aka Lulu Demon, skates on the Canadian national team and attended this weekend’s competition. She credits the sport’s inclusive atmosphere for its burgeoning popularity.
"It’s such a great sport for all ages of women. Different body shapes, lots of alternative cultures. It’s awesome."
"It’s amazing to see every year how much this sport grows and evolves and becomes more athletic and more strategic" said Croysdill on Sunday.
Junior derby girl Kristen Antosh, aka P.O’d Pippy, agrees.
"I think that derby empowers girls and it’s fabulous," said Antosh on Sunday. "This sport was started by girls, for girls. It’s fast, it’s feminine, it’s full contact."
Edmonton's E-Ville Dead finished in third place.