This Saturday, the Arch Rival Roller Girls (ARRG) and GateKeepers Roller Derby (GKRD) launch their 2014-15 local campaigns on the flat-track.
The pair of St. Louis franchises recently announced that their respective brands of women’s and men’s roller derby will co-present a six-game regular season schedule monthly at Midwest Sport Hockey at Queeny Park (570 Weidman Rd., Ballwin, MO.) The joint announcement was featured in an Arch City Sports’ column at THIS LINK.
At Saturday’s twin bill, two-time, defending ARRG League Champions, the Smashinistas, meets last season’s runner-up, the M-80s. That game will be followed by GKRD’s “Turf Wars” champs of 2014, the South Grand Slammers, battling the Dogtown Rockets.
Doors open at 6 pm and the first contest featuring the Arch Rival Roller Girls begins at 6:30 pm.
Both leagues each contain three local squads. At the conclusion of ARRG’s six-game regular season, the two teams sitting atop the league standings will meet in a championship game, set for June 2015 at Chaifetz Arena. For the men, the two top teams will meet at the Chaifetz event for the “Turf Wars” title.
The women’s contest on Saturday features a re-match of last year’s local trophy game and both teams look for a quick sprint out of the gates to grab the early advantage in the ARRG standings. Both squads added to their respective rosters via a supplemental draft during the off-season, featuring both newcomers and members of a recently-dissolved intraleague team from last season, Rebel Skate Alliance.
Looking for a “three-peat” are the high-octane Smashinistas. Pacing the jammer rotation is recently-crowned ARRG League MVP Brickyard, who netted league-high numbers last year and blossomed into an upper-echelon player internationally. Right behind her is veteran ARRG skater EnYa Nightmare, who joined the squad late last season.
The key to the Smashies has traditionally been its stellar blocking battalion and the same can be said this season. At the forefront is Eli Wallop, who begins her seventh season with the league. Returning starters include long-tenured troopers Downtown Dallis, Shimmy Hoffa, Cloak N’ Drag-her, Girl Fawkes and Party Rockher.
A trio of former Rebel Skate Alliance blockers dons camouflage this season: Chewblocka, Prof. Rumbledore and Fletch-A-Sketch. The squad also debuts two newcomers to ARRG, Penalty Rex and Rock Slobster.
Standing in their championship path are the red-hot firecrackers of last year’s ARRG runner-up, the M-80s.
Jammer IDA the Living Dead posted a league-topping 130 points in a solo local contest last season and looks to keep that traction intact. Blockers Rhino-Might, The Ginger Assassin, Tupac Shank-her, Jamheiser Bush, Sp!ce Rack and Carmina Piranha return to set the foundations.
The acquisition of former RSA skaters certainly opens eyes. Science Friction, Party Foul, Warpath O’ Jen and Deuce Bomber can fill numerous responsibilities. Veteran blocker Arcane Sugar returns to ARRG this season to supplement. eZe, a transfer from Wisconsin’s Paper Valley Roller Girls, and Betty Blaster are new additions to the league and will sport red.
In the second game featuring the men, the South Grand Slammers, notched a pair of GKRD benchmarks in 2014 with an undefeated season and its second championship, both League firsts.
Many familiar faces return for the defense of the title. Jamming is paced by veterans Gnat King Kill, Hand Rail, D Mouthful, Sweet Tooth and Spin Diesel while the walls are set by blockers Percy Controll, Neil Death Experience, Double Excel, Inquadable Hulk, Fruit Wall-Up and Indecent Exposure.
The Slammers look to keep the undefeated streak alive tonight. Its opponent wants to shut that down immediately with a win and take an early lead in the GKRD hierarchy.
The Dogtown Rockets, last season’s third place finishers, sport a line-up that is comparable to its opponent in both skill set and depth. Jammers Magnum P.I.M.P., Shanego Fett and High Pains Drifter are joined in the rotation by returning GKRD standout Bat Wing. Blockers Wrecking Bill, Kurt Mangle,Monster Jam, Mueller, Darby, Specs Offender and Atom Bomb will provide the muscle up-front while newcomers Red Rider and Dr. Dredd are primed for their initial launches.
It’s hard to predict a favorite in either bout as both women’s and men’s squads are evenly-matched.
For more information on the Arch Rival Roller Girls, go to archrivalrollergirls.com.
For more information on GateKeepers Roller Derby, go to stlgatekeepers.com.
Advance discount tickets are available online at Brown Paper Tickets by going to THIS LINK.