Tonawanda News — Roller derby fans will again converge on North Tonawanda’s Rainbow Roller Rink on Saturday, as the Queen City Roller Girls league opens its 2014 season with a bout between the Devil Dollies and the Nickel City Knockouts.
It’s the first match of the league’s eighth season, the start of a series of bouts that routinely draws hundreds into NT — and it’s also the latest rematch in a bit of a rivalry. The two teams met for last year’s QCRG championships (indeed, the championships of the past three years) and are well used to gunning for each other on the rink. (The Knockouts won in 2013 and 2012, while the Dollies took the trophy in 2011.)
Heather Lippard (derby name: Abercrombie & Fists), assistant captain of the Knockouts, said she’s looking forward to a very competitive year.
“It’s going to be a great season,” she said. “I think there’s going to be a lot more competition, a lot more teams evened out. And that’ll be good for the crowd, because it won’t be a total landslide, there will be a lot more action.”
Corey Hart (derby name: Giant Boy Detective), co-chairman of public relations for the league, said that this year’s season includes 15 new players on the league’s four teams, which also include the Alley Kats and Suicidal Saucies. (There’s also an all-star travel team, the Lake Effect Furies, and a junior division.) The draft system was changed this year to try for a more competitive balance for the teams, and four of those new players are on the Devil Dollies.
It’s a change Lippard, who also skates on the Furies, anticipates.
“The league really is focusing on making it even more fun for the crowd,” she said. “The crowd can also look forward to some really good new rookies.”