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.
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.
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.
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!