7 Tournaments, 2 Organizations and a Big Letdown Later: Can CRDi Help Canadian Derby Mend Old Wounds?

Written Kevin Dennison Unbeknownst to myself, as well as many others, I’m sure, Canadian Roller Derby Information Services (CRDi) has been struggling to engage in conversation with derby participants in filling out a survey about the possibility of two regional tournaments and a national competition for 2015 (or 2016, it’s just brainstorming right now). What feedback that has come in isn’t looking good either as many are apparently not interested in the idea due to what happened with the now infamous Roller Derby Association of Canada (RDAC). In response to this, Hoochie, owner of CRDi and Bad Girlfriend Skates, made a post this afternoon to ensure everybody that the CRDi was not RDAC.

CRDi Tourn 01

From the CWRDA to RDAC, Are People Just Not Ready for Another Go At It?

The RDAC came under fire after they planned a number of regional tournaments and a national competition in 2013 before abruptly pulling all support from the remaining events after the first two contests concluded. Public reaction to RDAC’s announcement was, unsurprisingly, extremely negative. Many criticized and outright condemned the RDAC for their failure to see these plans through to the end and despite a few attempts from representatives of the organization on social media, RDAC has since slipped into obscurity.

Now, information on everything is extremely limited due to countless dead websites, dead external links on pages, and pages that have changed, moved or deleted content, but from what I could gather the RDAC actually began as the Canadian Women’s Roller Derby Association (CWRDA) in 2009 (read more about the CWRDA’s early years here). A CWRDA Facebook page, which is still accessible despite no activity on their timeline since a post made on November 20th, 2011, states it’s mission was: “To promote Canadian flat track roller derby and our member leagues that play it and provide information to the public on the greatest sport in the world!” At one point in time the CWRDA seemed to be doing quite well. It hosted what appears to have been a successful bootcamp and even had an impressive list of 40 leagues from the province of BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario that were listed as members of the group.

And there’s more! The CWRDA also actually successfully hosted a couple of tournaments in 2011 with the “Blood Spill on the Hill” Eastern Championship in Navan, Ontario and the “Best of the West” Western Championship in Kelowna, British Columbia. Then, on December 1st, 2011, the CWRDA announced that it would now become the RDAC. With this evolution also came the new mandate that RDAC would serves as: “…an organization which leagues join to gain access to awesome bootcamps and tournaments, as well as ref training, and even special insurance deals, with the new incarnation of CWRDA insurance, CRDI…”

With a new name and big plans for growth, the RDAC hosted two more major Canadian events in 2012 with the “Dame of Thrones” Eastern Championships in Guelph, Ontario and the Best of the West 2012: Klash in the Kootenay’s Western Championship in British Columbia. All of this led to what would be the RDAC’s first and last national tournament hosted in a DREAM venue, at the West Edmonton Mall from March 15 – 17, 2013. Less than a week after the 2012 Nationals in Edmonton, the RDAC announced not two (like in previous years) but FOUR regional tournaments for 2013 that would lead into another national competition. These events were set to take place in St. John, New Brunswick for the Atlantic Region, Windsor, Ontario for the East Region, Fernie, British Columbia (who later withdrew and Prince George stepped in) for the West Region and Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan for the Central Region.

RDAC 2013 Regional Announcement

While the Atlantic and Eastern competitions both saw a team crowned champion, the Canadian derby community was caught off guard when the RDAC suddenly pulled out of the Western and Central events and announced that there would be no national tournament after all. The Rated PG Rollergirls, who took over as hosts of the Western competition after East Kootenay Roller Derby backed out, worked hard to ensure that an event would still happen, however, despite their best efforts it was eventually cancelled. In lieu of this, Noah Backtalk, coach for the Mainland Misfits travel team, the Anarchy Angels, spearheaded the formation of the West Coast Dust Up competition, which proved to be a great success and ran again in 2014. The Central tournament also managed to hold itself together due to support from a number of sources all across the Canadian prairies and west coast.

CWRDA even tried to reform and take another kick at the bucket by helping to organize the Alberta Iron Woman Tournament from September 14-15, 2013, in Crossfield, Alberta.

The Iron Woman Tournament

So, what happened behind closed doors with RDAC? I sure as hell don’t have a clue. Whatever you can find lingering around out there on Facebook walls and message boards is pure rumor and speculation. Regardless, people were upset, a LOT of people, and maybe that’s what is behind a lot of the apprehension and negativity the CRDi is seeing with this survey. I must say though, if there is one thing I’m personally discovering it’s that no good comes from staying angry. From what I can see, it looks like they’re considering the two regionals (East and West) and 1 championships event structure, which DID work for CWRDA in 2011 and for RDAC in 2012.

It sounds like a perfectly reasonable goal to me. Whether you love the idea or hate the idea, be a part of the conversation and fill out the survey!


One comment

  1. As with every news story not all the facts are correct but I have to say I am glad to see this story.
    As most people know I don’t really play derby anymore,(and when I say “I” it’s a referral to myself, Lesley McDonald aka Hoochie). I like to say I am retired but the truth is I took time off due to illness and I was “burnt out”. I have been playing derby since 2006 and instrumental in helping develop Oil City in Edmonton with Sour Cherry as well as a few other leagues, taking a team to England, pulling off a lot of great boot camps as well as tournaments. Derby was my life hard core for over 5 years.
    The switch up from CWRDA to RDAC was because we needed an organization that reflected derby in Canada. With men playing the sport as well as Juniors, CWRDA (The Canadian Women’s Flat Track Organization) just didn’t fit as the title anymore. All Canadian leagues needed to be involved and a board voted in. I had simply been holding a position under CWRDA that I fell into and took leadership of. Since I had started the insurance end of derby and spent COUNTLESS hours entering skaters info, dealing with claims, making cards, answering emails (G Force in Toronto can attest to the time we spent doing this and not collecting a paycheck) the split from CWRDA went to —> RDAC handling tournaments and boot camps and —> CRDi becoming it’s own corporation handling all the insurance and the people involved would get paid.
    I don’t believe CWRDA ever announced it was now RDAC!
    CWRDA was supposed to just go away! I will get on the Facebook page thing soon (lol).
    When RDAC pulled out of the tournaments I was no longer involved as a board member and the news of this was shocking but not surprising. RDAC just did not have the funds and it also did not have the right people running it with a business plan of money needed to do these type of events. RDAC had been turned down for Not for Profit because another organization was holding the title and not letting it go. Without this they were entitled to NO FUNDING.
    I stepped back in to a temporary role with RDAC to host a National tournament and held it with CRDi funds and my own personal funds because I honestly felt ALL those leagues and ALL those skaters that worked so hard and still went ahead and did their tournaments when RDAC pulled out deserved something. Once that tournament was over I stepped away but still no one stepped up to help get RDAC to where it should be in Canada and I find that really sad. We have been playing derby longer than England and Australia and we still don’t have it together and they do.
    I get that it’s a lot running your own leagues and also having to skate but if you want derby to succeed in Canada someone needs to step up. CRDi posted for a board to help decide the next step, get some new ideas, get some new people and get derby going again and the response was once again PATHETIC. In the end CRDi as well as a few outside people put their heads together and decided that since provinces have been putting together teams made up of the best skaters from all the leagues formed in their province this would most likely be the best way to go and your can’t deny there is nothing like watching players in this game that excel in this sport put on a great game.
    CRDi will take the step needed to get derby back on track if you want us to. One of the first steps is getting the non profit for RDAC so we can have a national body and get the funding needed for events like this. (Then of course we still need a board – and no I don’t want to be on it!) If we don’t get a National body derby we might as well ask RSC to be the governing body, which they think they are, and yet they do nothing for you either but take your money for insurance!
    THE SURVEY: We have actually had a GREAT response from the survey we put out….. from the West! So CRDi put CatLProd to work posting in the East to stir the skaters up there. If anything I really expected a lot of bad words to come from the east but there have only been a few. The only reason I posted on the CRDi page that CRDi is not RDAC is because there were about 5 people that posted in the survey that they never wanted to be involved with RDAC again. CRDi wants people to know who we are and what we do. With RDAC being dormant, hopefully not buried forever, CRDi will try to keep things alive by holding a tournament in 2015 if we get the right feedback.
    We are not asking any league to put their leagues name on this and be held responsible for anything. We just need help, especially in the East if this goes ahead, finding the right venue.
    The easiest thing with CRDi holding this is we already have what I think is a great relationship with skaters across Canada. I think CRDi gives GREAT service and that’s because I expect nothing less from anyone else.
    I’m not perfect, I have made mistakes. But I learn from them. I apologize when needed and I would like to say I have cleaned up many messes, some of them my own. Lets stop pointing fingers and playing the blame game. This sport has over 8000 skaters in Canada. STEP UP!!!

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