Derby girls on a roll – Roller derby team may see action this year

Kristen Campbell/NNSL photo Angela Dueck is one of the women helping to organize the Hay River Roller Girls team. So far the group has had three free skate events. The group is currently trying to find ways to fund their equipment and arena rentals for the coming months.

Some eclectic and athletic Hay River women are working to get a new female-only activity rolling in Hay River – roller derby.

Although the club will not technically be a derby team until it joins a league, a group of approximately 10 women have been meeting weekly at Ben Sivertz Arena to break in their roller skates and knee and elbow pads.

Trish Broedner, one of the masterminds behind Hay River Roller Girls, is thrilled by the turnout and is confident this will be the year for a league to start up in town.

“We’re hoping to offer something new to the North,” said Broedner.

“As far as women’s sports go, there aren’t many offered locally. It’s a chance for us to not only get active and exercise, but it’s a very empowering sport.

“I think our little town has a lot of really tough women and I’m positive that we would do really well at a competing level.”

She explained the club started in the summer of 2010, but it wasn’t until this year that they had filled out a form to become a society.

“Just last week, we sent out our package to register as a society, so we’re moving in the right direction,” said Broedner. “Once approved, we will be able to offer a lot more.”

Currently, about 15 women are on the roster, with six committed to being on a roller derby team and the rest participating for the fitness and social aspects.

“Everywhere I go lately, I’m asked about the sport and I think, once we’re organized a little more, we’re going to see more women coming out,” Broedner said.

She noted the club is even looking at getting an under-18 class of junior roller girls who would require full sets of gear and a parental waiver.

But with these dreams within reach, the club also needs to overcome a few obstacles such as finding a full-time venue and all the required equipment.

“One thing that has put a huge damper on us really being able to get this going is the lack of equipment,” said Broedner. “It is an investment of about $300 per person to purchase a full set of gear.”

The equipment is mandatory and consists of helmets, knee and elbow pads, wrist guards and mouth guards, she noted.

“We would really like to be able to offer rental gear to women interested in trying and not having to commit to a $300 purchase, and also to women who want to skate, but just can’t afford to buy their own gear.”

In the meantime, women interested in trying out skating can attend the drop-in nights at the arena on Mondays and Wednesdays from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Wednesday nights will be reserved for more casual skaters, or the Hay River Roller Girls, as Broedner and the club named themselves.

Monday nights will see the more committed skaters hit the floor under the name Hay River Rebellion, named by Keelen Simpson who is currently skating with the club in Yellowknife.

“Soon we will be able to travel to Yellowknife for a bout, or even host one here in our hometown,” said Broedner.