© Times-Herald photo by Matthew Gourlie
Mandy Eirich, centre, and Jinger Vitis, left try to block Rocket Richard during roller derby practice Saturday at the Hillcrest.
Some of the most talented derby girls in Saskatchewan gathered in Moose Jaw Saturday with dreams of facing the highest level of competition.
Fifteen skaters took part in a tryout to become part of a traveling team that hopes to one day compete against the best of the best in the growing sport.
The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association — the international governing body for the sport — currently sanctions 172 leagues and ranks 158 elite teams.
The goal is to form a travelling team from the top skaters in the province to earn WFTDA sanction and begin competing at that level.
“There’s only five or six teams that are WFTDA sanctioned in Canada. That’s going to be the goal of this team eventually — to get into those rankings,” said Coach Vegas from Regina’s Pile O’ Bones Derby Club who was putting the girls through their paces.
There was a strong growth of new teams in the last couple of years around the province. That was shown Saturday as skaters from Regina were joined by skaters representing Swift Current’s Redneck Betties and the Hellbilly Hurt from the Estevan/Weyburn area.
Mandy Eirich from Moose Jaw’s Lil’ Chicago Roller Derby was the lone local participant.
“It’s my dream. I’ve been waiting for it for three years,” said Eirich, who is better know as Anya Azz to derby fans, about the chance to compete at this level. “You take a few girls from each team — the ones that are the most competitive, the ones you watch out for — and they’re all here.”
There was a separate tryout held Sunday in Saskatoon. All told 48 skaters expressed an interest and Vegas said he plans to get down to a 20-player roster.
“There’s some talent out here. It’s going to be some hard choices,” said Vegas.