St. Louis-based GateKeepers Roller Derby, the five-time champions of the Men’s Roller Derby Association (MRDA), are primed to host a multi-day tournament with global flavor.
The quad-wheeled squad hosts the “International House of Derby” Saturday and Sunday at Midwest Sport Hockey at Queeny Park (570 Weidman Rd., Ballwin, MO).
The event will feature five visiting leagues, including a pair from outside the United States. One from Mexico, one from Canada, and domestic reps from Orlando, Pittsburgh and Oregon are in the mix.
The sextet will individually compete in trio of 60-minute contests and the ensuing results will funnel to fifth, third and championship games held Sunday night. The IHOD finale takes place Sunday at 8 pm.
“Hosting an event like this is always a great and challenging time,” said GateKeepers co-captain Sole. “It really takes the whole league’s energy and gets everyone involved and firing on all cylinders. We are absolutely pumped to show everyone that derby is back in full swing and that weekends like this will once again be the bright spots in our schedules.”
The GateKeepers returned to play after a two-year pandemic sabbatical in June and claimed a three-game sweep at the “Dawn of the Dead” tournament in Pittsburgh. St. Louis collectively outscored their opponents 952-115 for the trophy trifecta.
Within the qualification rounds, GKRD has Saturday contests against Toronto Men’s Roller Derby and Mexico Roller Derby’s Disorder at 1 pm and 6 pm, respectively, and meets Lane County Concussion at 11 am Sunday.
Preparation has been key in facing a trio of first-time opponents.
“Practices have been intense and sweaty in the very best way,” said Sole. “Personally, I can’t wait to play Disorder after watching their footage. Should be a real barn-burner. It’d be an understatement to say we’re champing at the collective bit.”
The St. Louis line-up at jammer has Sole alongside veterans Magnum, Shred Astaire, Loki, Cat Daddy, Blindt, Static and Jammy. Blocking will be propelled by Hulk, Monster Jam, Spin Diesel, Sir Nixalot, Yoshi, Olson, Evee, Jar Jar Bwinks, Adam Midwest, Badger and Arty Panimal.
As far as strategies go for IHOD, the GateKeepers plan to keep to game plan simple.
“Patience,” calmly said Sole. “That’s pretty hard for a group like us who is used to a constant cycle of play, so we got to try and not get too excited. We have a pretty good formula of precision and discipline that we’ve worked out over the past decade, and if we stick to that, and remember that we play for each other and represent this city we love so much, we’re going to do great things.”
To borrow a restaurant franchises’ catchphrase, the GateKeepers’ overall missive this weekend at Queeny Park is to “come home and leave happy.”
“We’re just waiting to don that Green Arch on our chests and get to work,” said Sole.
Single day passes are $15 while a weekend pass is $20. Children 12 and under are free.
INTERNATIONAL HOUSE OF DERBY SCHEDULE
9 AM Toronto vs Mexico
11 AM Lane County vs Pittsburgh
1 PM Toronto vs St. Louis
4 PM Pittsburgh vs Magic City
6 PM Mexico vs. St. Louis
8 PM Lane County vs Magic City
9 AM Toronto vs. Pittsburgh
11 AM Lane County vs. St. Louis
1 PM Magic City vs Mexico
4 PM Firth Place Game
6 PM Third Place Game
8 PM CHAMPIONSHIP
By trade, he is a six-time, regional Emmy Award-winning news videographer/editor for KTVI/KPLR-TV. By hobby, he is an announcer and digital content producer for St. Louis-based Arch Rival Roller Derby. Also a webcast announcer for post-season roller derby tournaments on wftda.tv. Yep, this Illinoisan primarily writes about derby, covering Arch Rival, the St. Chux Derby Chix and the STL GateKeepers men's league. He also writes about St. Louis SLAM Women's Football, St. Louis Lions women's soccer and other sports topics.