Give It Up For the Dogs; MRDA Comes to Canadian Prairies

They made it their team’s goal over a year ago and took their final step in a private bout against Puget Sound this past April during Flat Track Fever 2013, so now it’s official! As of October 12th Chinook City Roller Derby‘s men’s team, the Glenmore Reservoir Dogs, have been named a Men’s Roller Derby Association (MRDA) affiliated league, making them Canada’s 2nd men’s derby team to join the organization after the Mont Royals out of Montreal, Quebec became members in March of 2012.

In order to join the organization they first had to slowly work on a number of membership requirements, which involved:

  1. Having a fully rostered Men’s Team consisting of at least 10 skaters
  2. Be skater owned and operated
  3. Play by the MRDA/WFTDA Rules of Flat Track Roller Derby
  4. Have played 5 full length bouts as a team. At least 1 hosted by the applying team and at least 1 against a current MRDA Team
  5. Have at least 1 letter of recommendation
  6. Submit an MRDA application (from a competing league/team)

“It was time consuming and difficult in some points,” said Jim Bourne, aka Dev Null, captain of the Glenmore Reservoir Dogs and Head Official of the CCRD’s Pulp Conviction officiating crew. “Likely the most difficult was ensuring that we play with only our roster, and even though we might be short skaters to resist asking players to join us from other leagues as guest skaters.  That’s not allowed during the application process.” But it has all paid off and this of course now brings a world’s worth of growth opportunities to not only the Reservoir Dogs themselves but also to their officials. “Being involved in a sanctioning organization we will be able to allow our officials to work towards recognition and eventually certification through MRDA. It’s not just about the growth of the teams, but of the officials as well who need to grow with the sport.”

Dev Null (left) and co-captain Poppa Chubby work together to block Noah Backtalk of the Vancouver Murder. Photo courtesy of Chris Edwards.

Dev Null (left) and co-captain Poppa Chubby work together to block Noah Backtalk of the Vancouver Murder. Photo courtesy of Chris Edwards.

Aside from being able to participate in MRDA sanctioned bouts and tournaments, as a member league the Dogs will now be allowed an active voice toward decisions that pertain to men’s roller derby throughout the world. “This is important as when we see growth it’s not just for our team but for the sport in general.” With the ability to voice the ideas, concerns and needs of men’s players from Western Canada, Bourne is hoping the Dogs can lead the way in advocating the sport for Canadian male derby athletes while also bringing in essential resources to aid in everyone’s improvement. “Always it’s a goal to promote men’s roller derby as an alternative sport and as a legitimate sport.”

Men’s roller derby has been getting a LOT of attention lately between the modern formation of Team Canada Men’s Roller Derby, the 2014 Men’s Roller Derby World Cup in Birmingham, England, an increase in men’s and coed bouts popping up all throughout the prairie provinces and the boys of Saskatchewan currently hard at work getting organized with fully forming their Sask Roughrollers Men’s Team. It’s something Bourne has been very happy to see. “I think these things are great vehicles to boost the visibility of Men’s Roller Derby past the local level to the National level and maybe get more men’s teams in more cities across the country.”

Bourne is also looking forward to perhaps seeing more bouts hosted in Calgary with the CCRD against other MRDA member teams like the Mont Royals, Puget Sound Outcasts (Tacoma, Washington), Uinta Madness (Salt Lake City, Utah) and Capital City Skull Crushers out of Boise, Idaho. But all of that will come in time. According to Bourne the Dogs currently plan to focus on co-promoting league events alongside the CCRD and to bring substantial growth for men’s derby in the region. “We don’t see this as changing the Dog’s identity as much as being a resource to help us build a larger presence in Calgary and Western Canada,” explained Bourne. “We’re hoping that this leads to discussions about different methods of training, and travel opportunities for the team such as to MRDA sanctioned tournaments and games in US and other Canadian Cities.”

Strong walls at Flat Track Fever 2013. Photo courtesy of Chris Edwards.

Strong walls from Graffiti Petey, Dev Null and Nick Repka at Flat Track Fever 2013. Photo courtesy of Chris Edwards.

Long term, Bourne would love to see the Dog’s climb the MRDA rankings, expand their knowledge and skill, and experience team advancement that includes perhaps starting a second men’s team; all of which is more than possible thanks in large part to support from the CCRD. “Chinook City Roller Derby League is an incredibly supportive league when it comes to all of the league’s and team’s endeavors. From events to team initiatives we’ve only had to ask to have these things move forward.”

Needless to say, exciting times are ahead for the sport in Western Canada and I for one cannot wait to see what sort of events, resources, training and opportunities the Glenmore Reservoir Dogs and CCRD present over the 2014 season. This is advancement for us all!

You can follow the boys on their Facebook page to stay updated on their progress.

Headshot1 Written by Kevin “Kevlar” Dennison

Owner-Operator of Derby Frontier