Enthusiasm plus new skills is a powerful combination for new skaters GEJRDA Boot Camp Review

Summer is winding down for most but at Greater Edmonton Junior Roller Derby the fun is just beginning. After a short summer break from regular practices GEJRDA hosted their third annual junior roller derby boot camp this past weekend featuring Camp Pivotstar out of Vancouver. Trainers Luludemon and 8mean Wheeler of Camp Pivotstar flew into the capitol city to assist in the training of approximately 60 skaters from all across western Canada.

  8Mean Wheeler (aka. Kim MacKenzie) has been playing roller derby since she joined TCRG in 2006.

8mean is a two-time Team Canada player. In 2008 she captained the team that traveled to the UK and in 2011; she helped her team bring home the silver medal at the Roller Derby World Cup.

In 2010, 8mean was the recipient of the Iron Pivot award and has made the North West Roller Derby All Stars team two years in a row. She was also voted on BC Roller Derby’s All Star starting line up in December 2012.

  Luludemon has been skating with the Terminal City Rollergirls since it formed in 2006 and has traveled widely across North America playing with the TCRG All Stars. A member of Team Canada, she was part of the roster that brought home silver at the first roller derby World Cup in December 2011.

Luludemon has coached all skill levels and is a Coaching Association of Canada Level 2 Certified Coach. Past coaching experiences include Blood and Thunder Training Camps, TCRG All Stars Rookie Revolution, RollerCon and Pivotstar’s UK Tour 2011. Luludemon also owns Pivotstar, her very own Roller Derby clothing line.

The boot camp was attended by benchmarked skaters of all levels and this year GEJRDA added a one day Try Derby Camp for new and aspiring roller derby skaters. The newcomers received support and basic skills from trainers of area adult leagues St. Albert Roller Derby, E-Ville Roller Derby, Hwy 14 RDA and Oil City Derby Girls.  

The sport of Roller Derby is continually growing, with leagues in 40 countries worldwide (including Egypt and Dubai) and Roller sports is being considered by the International Olympic Committee for inclusion in the 2020 Olympics. Twelve sports were initially considered with eight retained that will go to vote at the IOC session this September in Buenos Airies.

Roller Derby enthusiasts worldwide are counting on the growth and widespread appeal as an engaging, edge of your seat spectator sport with youthful appeal to tip the scales on the side of their favorite contact sport. Primarily women dominated, the fastest growing sport on eight wheels is gaining popularity amongst men, with male and co-ed leagues popping onto the grid quickly

JRDA recently announced the addition of regional and national junior roller derby tournaments as well as the anticipated 2015 Junior Roller Derby World Cup. If you have been considering becoming a Junior Roller Derby Girl, what are you waiting for? There couldn’t be a better time to get involved!

Roller Derby is a full contact competitive sport between two teams on Roller skates played moving counter clockwise on an oval track. Each game (called a Bout) consists of two 20 or 30 minute periods which are divided into two minute “Jams” Jams consist of five girls from each team on the track, one jammer (points scorer) one pivot and two blockers. That is the short version, but if you ask a Junior Derby girl what Roller Derby is she will describe it much differently. They describe it as a family, as empowerment, as testing their own strength and most often their way of life!

As important as the relationships are on the track there is always a lot going on off the track as well. Roller Derby is an extraordinary spectator sport that prides itself on having the best and loudest fans in the word. They arrive carrying thunderous cow bells and carrying wild signs and they always have some money for Merchandise!


“These young skaters are so passionate about their sport and the camaraderie amongst Roller Derby skaters is a culture all on its own,” explains Michelle DeBay, Media & Public Relations Director for Greater Edmonton Junior Roller Derby, “That is what makes it an excellent sport for all youth, from the bookworm to the Prom Queen. It is a big family that applauds your individuality so you should never be afraid to be yourself! The camp is a lot of work and our Athletic Director Kerri Doyle (IBad OCDG) volunteered a great deal of time to make sure that the enthusiastic skaters that travelled here for the first time or for the third year in a row had the very best experience possible. The feedback was positive”

The Sportsdome in South Edmonton was filled with junior skaters absorbed in a fast paced, strategy based weekend that was encouraging, challenging and fun.  A lunch and learn was  held both days, one with roller derby coach, player and Certified Dietician  Leanne Johnson of Soulfull Nutrition Counselling (Cherry-oto-Fire STAHR) as well as a safety session with Craig Brososky of We Physio (Dr. Sting)

GEJRDA All Stars Jennasaurus Wrex, Morgan Mayhem, Shelly Helly and Hailstorm all guested on adult teams this past Saturday night. Boot Camp ran till four p.m. so a couple of them spent over 12 hours on skates and were back on them bright and early the next day for training and scrimmages. Junior Roller Derby is a fun and exciting sport but the girls who work to play at a higher level take it very seriously. At such a young age their dedication and willingness to learn is inspiring. They are also very lucky to have had and continue to have the very best training and support available in Junior Roller Derby.

“Boot Camp was a fun and rewarding experience for skaters, trainers and volunteers. The skills, friendships and memories that the junior skaters took with them this weekend will be invaluable to them in the sport of Roller Derby and in life, ” explains Michelle DeBay,” A lot of the skaters are entering their preteens or smack in the middle of the difficult teen years. Junior Roller Derby gives them the strength and courage to weather difficult times and make better decisions. It gives them a place to belong and a sense of community that they may be struggling with in other areas of their young lives. I applaud everyone who selflessly dedicates their time to making this sport a reality for junior skaters.”

Juniors between the ages of 7-17 wishing to join the sport of roller derby can contact GEJRDA through their website @ http://www.juniorderby.ca or Media & Public Relations Director Michelle DeBay HERE





Daily Prompt-Fandom

Are you a sports fan? Tell us about fandom. If you’re not, tell us why not.Photographers, artists, poets: show us SPORTS.

I am a sports fan. I like most sports but especially sports that draw crowds whether it be Super Bowl in your rec room with your closest friends or a stadium packed full of cheering fans, overpriced beer and the unmistakable smell of hot dogs!

There is an unmatched camaraderie at sporting events. Respect,  passion, hope and unabashed pride.

My husband takes sports VERY seriously. He yells at the TV and he is certain our attitudes affect gameplay.  He has on occasion tried to make me leave the room during an L.A. Kings game because he thought my negative vibes were causing them problems.

I am a little bit more laid back. Nobody likes to go to a one sided game/match but as long it is a hard fought battle I feel satisfied.  That being said I cried when Brock Lesnar knocked Randy Couture out (Only UFC fans will get this) Big, fat, heartbreaking tears rolled down my face. If I like a sport I get invested. I pick my faves or rather they pick me, I follow them, I know their strengths and struggles. Being a fan makes you a part of something larger.

After being reunited with my son Jeffrey after 19 years I got to take him to his very first NHL game. Playing hockey his whole life it was a milestone for him and definitely one for us. The love of sports brings people together,  creating a common ground to seed and grow from.

On our first wedding anniversary Kirk and I went to a Nascar race in Louden New Hampshire. Smack in the middle of a scorching New England day with thousands of fans; walking billboards for their favourite racers, we were enthusiastically caught up in the excitement.  The roar of the engines, the squeal of the tires, the fighter jet flyover, an unexagerated version of the star spangled banner preceding the checkered flag. A day we will never forget.

Haley and Morgan both play Roller Derby so of course we are their biggest fans.  There is nothing like cheering for your child in a full contact, edge of your seat sport. I have been known to whoop, clang a cowbell, scream, close my eyes, shout loudly, hold my breath and yes I have probably held back a tear or two.

There is something very raw about an athlete focused on a goal. They are like machines ready to unleash their power and fury.To witness that type of passion is an amazing experience!

Are you missing out?


Morgan Mayhem playing Roller Derby

Me with Dan Henderson (Hendo) at UFC 100 In Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay

Haleyluhjah Playing her First Roller Derby Game

Jeffrey  and Kirk playing garage hockey