Like another well known Alberta team, the rebuild is continuing for roller derby in Grande Prairie. Formerly the Rage N Fyre, the team has re-branded thanks to some new sponsorship and members.
Now the RadLeak Rollers, they are made up of five veterans and a growing number of newbies. Coach Kerrie Skarberg, or “Hacksaw”, says they are always looking for new members.
“We need 14 players to play in a game. So for our game in Fort St. John we’ve had to pick up a couple extras from the Grimshaw team, the Grimreepers. They’re going to help us on the track.”
That game is scheduled to go April 28th in FSJ but they are hoping to host an event here sometime this year. Previously a derby event in 2011 attracted 1,400 people.
Skarberg says finding a location is part of the challenge. The group is currently based out of the curling rink in Clairmont but they are still in search of a permanent home.
“We definitely want to get into Grande Prairie. I’ve had a couple of people say that they let that hold them back. They’ve been coming but say, ‘well it’s a commute’, or if they have to come in from Wembley or even just the south side of Grande Prairie to Clairmont it is about a half an hour drive.”
The Grande Prairie Roller Derby Association has plans to check out the arena in Clairmont and the Dave Barr Arena when the “ice comes off”. However, it seems talks with Revolution Place have fallen off. Skarbeg says the city has concerns about potential damage over the long-term to the floor in the Bowes Family Gardens.
The group plans to set up at the Grande Prairie Sports Expo this weekend where they hope to recruit some new members. Skarberg says the sport is for anyone.
“I keep seeing all of these ladies in my inspirational Facebook groups they’re like 50 years-old and still playing. They’re still killing it and making their travel teams. I think, hey I could do that!”
The derby girls are even looking to setup a co-ed team in the area. There is a common misconception that only women/girls can participate in derby which Skarberg says isn’t the case.
“There’s a couple of co-ed teams in Alberta that we would be able to play with directly. I know there’s some guys around here that like playing hockey. If you already played hockey then you already got the skating part down. It’s an easy transition.”
She adds that it’s a great workout for anyone looking to get active and anyone is welcome to skate with them. To participate in games though team members must be 18. They are also looking for additional sponsors and referees and hope to hold a referee clinic soon as well.
The group initially approached Grande Prairie city council in February looking for space. Dawson Creek, Fort St. John and High Prairie have all launched teams in recent years.