by Stephen Dafoe
The Sturgeon County Junior Roller Derby Association will have their first bout of the season in Airdrie this weekend. A black and white scrimmage in Holden later this month and a major junior invitational event in Gibbons later this summer are evidence the association is rolling strong.
Just finishing their second season, the SCJRDA has grown to 15 players that are eager to lace up their skates and hit the oval each week for practice.
Association President Terri-Ann Waschlik said the assistance from Morinville Public School in providing practice space has provided a stability that has allowed the sport to develop in Sturgeon County.
“We started with seven kids, and now we are up to 15,” she said. “We’re really excited. Next year hopefully we’ll grow even more.”
As when the program began in the area, roller derby provides an outlet for girls who do not fit with conventional sports.
“We’ve noticed that a lot of girls who have come in the last year are girls that don’t really fit in at school, don’t really fit in with other groups,” Waschlik said. “They come here, and we’ve noticed that our whole team is very close. Doesn’t matter how old they are or how big or little they are, they’re really close. It’s nice to see that these girls, who a year ago didn’t have anywhere to go, enjoy coming and look forward to coming here.”
When the two May events are over, roller derby will take a break for the summer with the exception of the Little Brawl on the Prairie, taking place in Gibbons July 18.
The Association is excited about holding their first junior Invitational after two years in the sport. Junior skaters are invited to join SCJRDA for their double header Invitational, which will mix Level 1 and 2 skaters in the first bout, followed by the harder-hitting Level 3s.
The event is being hosted by the Town of Gibbons, which coincides with the community’s Annual Pioneer Days Town Festival.
“It will be open to any junior in the area that wants to travel out to Gibbons,” Waschlik said. “They sign up and we’ll make the teams up.”
Rolling from success to success is a good indication the sport is here to stay. In fact, the Association will be using the summer months to prepare for the next season.
“Over the summer we’ll be putting in a new structure for our practice times. We’re going to be growing, so we need to work on our structure for practice times so that everyone gets time with the coach,” Waschlik said. “We’re going to be working on finding a second coach, so we don’t burn out our first coach. That’s really important. We love our coach.”
For more information on SCJRDA visit them on Facebook.