I said whip it, whip it good

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Roller derby hits Regina: Fishnets, short shorts, and nicknames required

Autumn McDowell
Sports Editor

It may be the only sport where wearing fishnets and miniskirts is not only allowed, it’s encouraged.   

Roller derby has skyrocketed in popularity in the past few years – and, thanks to the help of movies like Whip It, in visibility as well – but Jodi Holliday, president of Queen City Roller Sports and organizer of Regina’s Rockin’ Roller Derby, discovered the sport through her husband.

“My husband got me interested in roller derby after he had gone down to Austin, TX, and watched it live,” Holliday, who plays under the moniker D. Ablo, said. “Once I found out that there was a league in town, he bought me my gear. I went to my first practice and knew that I had found something amazing.”

In the four years since that first practice, Holliday’s curiousity about the sport has become a passion for it. When she’s not playing roller derby, she’s deeply involved in its organization in Regina.

“It helps that my husband is also involved,” she said. “Otherwise we would never see each other.”

In many ways Holliday can be credited with bringing the roller derby craze to Regina, but it hasn’t come without a few setbacks along the way.

“Starting this new league presented some new challenges, but we’re happy to say that we are growing by leaps and bounds,” Holliday said. “We should have at least two league teams this year and will continue to expand as the interest in our league and roller derby in general keeps growing.”

With plenty of room to grow in the province, Holliday believes that the sport is just starting to gather momentum.

“I see roller derby as having a huge growth potential in Regina, as well as throughout Saskatchewan and beyond,” said Holliday. “Leagues are popping up everywhere; we just heard that Humboldt is starting [its] own league. I also think that having the junior league will have an even bigger impact on the growth of roller derby.”

So far, Holliday admits finding people who are interested in roller derby isn’t the problem, it’s finding proper facilities.

“The major downfall for almost any derby league is finding adequate and safe practice space,” Holliday explained. “In the new year, we will be juggling our schedule between three different spaces, none of which are an ideal size. This is especially problematic for us, as our season runs from September to June. There are numerous practice spaces available in the summer, when no one is curling or playing hockey, but the real struggle is during the winter. We are hoping to find a wealthy benefactor who will build us a rollerdome.”

In order to get more people involved with roller derby, Holliday and her team have started a junior league, where kids as young as 10 can compete. While in theory the league will make the kids better competitors in the future, the idea of starting 10 year olds in roller derby has had mixed reviews.

“The response to our junior league has been overwhelming, the girls love it,” Holliday said. “Some of the parents are a little hesitant at first, but soon realize the potential that it has for their daughters’ growth, both physically and emotionally. With an emphasis on empowerment and individuality, this is a sport that many of us senior players wish we would have found at that age.

“Parents are usually concerned about their child getting hurt. What some don’t realize is that it is no more dangerous than hockey, football, or rugby. We place a huge emphasis on safety and rules and teach the girls how to skate and the skills needed to play roller derby.

“We have a full team of girls and are looking to recruit more. We would love to have enough girls so that they could play against each other and really get some ’bouting experience.”

For those that are interested in roller derby, or for those who would like to take in the action first hand, Regina’s Rockin Roller Derby has an upcoming event that is sure to be entertaining for everyone in attendance. On Feb. 4, the Queen City Massacre is to be held at the Agribition Building, Evraz Place.

“It will be an all-day affair with two junior scrimmages in the afternoon and two senior scrimmages in the evening,” Holliday said. “The Massacre is an invitational scrimmage with people from leagues in Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, so far. We are also hoping to hear from some of our American neighbours to the south. We are hoping to host over 140 skaters, 50 refs, and officials and countless volunteers and spectators.”

Holliday encourages anyone and everyone to attend the event and see firsthand what roller derby is all about. For those interested in participating in roller derby, even if you are skeptical, there are other ways to get a taste of the action. Send an email to rrrderby@gmail.com for more information.

“You don’t need to have any experience; we will teach you the basics of skating and the game of roller derby, but you will need to purchase gear,” Holliday said. “There is a heavy emphasis on safety and rules, as this is a fast-paced game that requires the players to know how the game works, as with any sport.

“If you are a little hesitant about playing, you can always come and check out a practice. Roller derby isn’t for everyone, but you will know soon enough if it is a sport for you. We are also always looking for skating referees as well as non-skating officials. We also welcome anyone who wants to help out as a volunteer, sponsor, or in any other capacity.”

12 comments

  1. Dallas 9 January, 2012 at 16:20

    I suggest you check your facts before publishing a very misinformed article. Holliday is in no way credited with bringing roller derby to Regina. In fact she joined an already established league and quit to start her own after disagreeing with an all inclusive operation of a roller derby league. Regina Roller derby also known as Pile o Bones Derby Club heralds 60 plus skating members with three house teams and two travel teams.  Please give the proper credit where it is due. 

  2. Mark 13 January, 2012 at 07:54

    Where in the article does it credit Jodi with bringing roller derby to Regina?  D. Ablo, said. “Once I found out that there was a league in town… I went to my first practice and knew that I had found something amazing.”
    Why don't y'all settle your dispute with a battle royale match of some sort?

  3. Suzanne 15 January, 2012 at 21:26

    WOW. What a horribly misinformed article. There has been an established league in Regina since the beginning of 2008 with upwards of 1000 people attending games each season. You should probably check your facts before publishing such nonsense. Both the Holidays started in this league in 2008 after it was already established. They then left to start their own league. 

  4. Carla 15 January, 2012 at 21:28

    "In many ways Holliday can be credited with bringing the roller derby craze to Regina, but it hasn’t come without a few setbacks along the way." 
    WRONG!

  5. Smithy 15 January, 2012 at 21:33

    This is a horribly misinformed article. You should really check your facts before publishing something.
    "In many ways Holliday can be credited with bringing the roller derby craze to Regina, but it hasn’t come without a few setbacks along the way."
    WRONG!!!!!
    Too bad RRRD won't play the PBDC. That would be a game to see!!!

  6. Liberty 15 January, 2012 at 22:30

    It is one thing to write an article to highlight and discuss activities of Regina's newest roller derby league (RRRD). That is of course more than fine. But if you are going to write abut the beginnings of Roller Derby in Regina you should discuss that there are in fact two leagues within the city and that the other league (PBDC) was in fact the founding league within the city. This is clearly a very skewed article that wishes to fool our city in to thinking RRRD is the only league. I also find it interesting that in the article it was discussed by the founding members of RRRD about how much Roller Derby is growing in this city and its potential for growth. BUT yet they fail to discuss how they continue to pass spiteful policy that blocks PBDC members from working in a sisterhood fashion with them.. Both leagues could be so much stronger if we worked together in a supportive manner. Unfortunately, RRRD blocks attempt after attempt by Pbdc members (who have extended their hands in support of RRRD) only to have their hands slapped and their efforts rejected over and over. How unfortunate.

  7. Cassie 15 January, 2012 at 22:38

    @Mark I believe the others are referring to this quote: "In many ways Holliday can be credited with bringing the roller derby craze to Regina…". 

  8. yoyoma 15 January, 2012 at 22:48

    @Mark   "In many ways Holliday can be credited with bringing the roller derby craze to Regina"…
    The comments make no mention of a "beef" that needs to be settled between the two leagues, it seems that they take ought with the reporting of unsubstantiated opinion.  Bouting of any kind ("battle royale", as you propose, notwithstanding) between the two leagues would be a boon to roller derby in the city any way you look at it.  Sadly, RRRD's exclusionary policies will prohibit the two teams ever meeting on the track, as well as prohibiting any PBDC member from participating in their invitational events. 

  9. D Mack 16 January, 2012 at 14:31

    In many ways Holliday can be credited with bringing the roller derby craze to Regina." sounds like credit to me. Besides it is RRRD's official league policy to never play PBDC. Although I am sure it would be a blast, they won't let it happen. 

  10. Mark 22 January, 2012 at 15:47

    Fair enough, not sure how I missed that quote, but the two quotes combined are still contradictory… and here I thought the Carillon was a beacon of journalistic integrity.
    I still stand by my suggestion that some sort of battle royale needs to occur, this feud is marketing gold I tell ya!!!  Settle it on the track bitches!

Comments are closed.