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2010/07/04 Winnipeg Sun - Roller derby muscling in
Roller Derby Muscling in Boosters hope to leave mark
By KIRK PENTON, Winnipeg Sun
When Kim Patchell shows up to work on Monday morning, her colleagues and clients at MMP Architects will no doubt be able to see the decent-sized scrape on her chin.
Bar fight? Car crash? Overzealous cat?
The fledgling Winnipeg Roller Derby League held its second Winnipeg Convention Centre show on Saturday night, but it wasn’t Kim Patchell who was out there on roller skates, giving and receiving the elbows. It was her alter ego, “Ella Hitzgerald,” a member of Winnipeg’s Murder City Maidens roller derby team.
Their opponent on Saturday was the Fargo Moorhead Derby Girls, who got out of town with a 122-72 victory in front of nearly 2,000 spectators. The defeat couldn’t wipe the smile off Ella Hitzgerald’s face, however.
“It was pretty awesome, pretty intense,” said Patchell, an interior designer by day and jammer by night. “I got rocked a little bit, but lessons learned, and I can’t wait for the next one.
“It was tons of fun. Getting smashed around, getting in some good hits and flying off the track, you can’t ask for a better game.”
Some might suggest that does not, in fact, sound like a lot of fun.
The marketing brains behind the operation, Michelle Nyhof believes roller derby is just getting rolling in Winnipeg. The plan for 2011 is six major events like Saturday’s, along with one show per month in smaller venues.
Judging by the fan reaction and the diversity of Saturday night’s crowd, there just might be a future for the sport in Manitoba.
“It’s awesome,” said spectator Michelle Wadelius. “It’s empowering for women and just entertaining.”
“They give each other elbows and knock each other down,” added Emilene Pierce. “That’s cool. That’s the best part.”
Nyhof, who competes as “Portage ’n’ Maim,” has big dreams for the reincarnation of the classic 1970s sport in Winnipeg. Her goal is to even sell season tickets one day.
“I’ve heard a lot of good feedback tonight,” Nyhof said. “One fan said this was way better than a Moose game, so watch out Moose. The Murder City Maidens are coming up behind you and we’re going to take your fans.”
The WRDL has more than 70 registered members who compete on three squads and the Maidens, who are the travel team. They come from all walks of life — nurses, funeral home directors, government workers — and they range in age from 18 to those in their 40s.
Sabrina Treyturik, or “Pretty Deadlee,” was at the Albert watching a band last February when WRDL members were handing out pamphlets. She joined the league on a dare and was on the track on Saturday night as part of the rookie scrimmage prior to the main event.
Treyturik, 27, works for a marketing company during the week but enjoys having an alter ego on nights and weekends.
“This is normal,” said Treyturik, who couldn’t roller skate a year and a half ago. “For girls who played sports in school but didn’t want to play hockey or ringette, this is exactly what makes it fun. You get to dress in fun clothes and hit. What more could you want?”
Roller derby fan Andrew Morden enjoyed the show. He’s old enough to remember the sport’s popularity in the 1970s, and he is ready to be a repeat customer.
“I didn’t know what to expect, but I really enjoyed it,” Morden said. “It’s a great thing, and I hope it keeps going.
“I like the excitement, the hype, and it’s a different sort of sport. It’s just good to see people into something that’s different. And you know what? There’s kind of the aspect with women.”
Yes, it’s no secret that scantily clad women knocking each other on their keesters has a certain level of appeal to one segment of the population. And then there are the nicknames, like Chickie McSluggetts, Jazzberry Ram, Sourpuss Slasher, Skaty Gaga and one that not even we can print.
“The names,” Morden said, “are the coolest thing here.”