Whistler goes roller derbying 

Wolfpack looking for pivots, blockers and jammers (no experience necessary)

This season the sport of roller derby rocked into Squamish in a big way with the Sea to Sky Sirens taking on teams from Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland. Not wanting to be left out of the fun, a group of Whistler women are launching their own team, with the goal of competing in the spring of 2012.

The team already has about 50 supporters through word of mouth, but is still recruiting athletes. "We're looking for any female over the age of 19 - you don't need to know how to skate or much about roller derby," said Kathryn Marsh, who founded the Wolfpack. "All you need is to be interested in it, and we want a good attitude."

A full set of mandatory equipment - skates, mouth guards, wrist guards, knee and elbow pads - is $240, and the team will start training in the fall in various indoor locations. The team will have a coach and trainer to teach skaters the basics of the sport, but if you have a background that includes skating, hockey or inline skating then you've already got most of the skills.

If you've never seen the sport, it's been around since the late 1930s. It was big in the 1960s and 1970s, fell off the map a little, but in the last decade has had a huge resurgence. Currently there are about 600 women's leagues around the world in 20 different countries. It's primarily a women's sport, but there are men's, co-ed and junior co-ed leagues as well.

A roller derby match is called a bout, which is comprised of a series of jams. In a jam, two teams of five works against each other to get their jammers through the pack and score points for their teams. Because a lead jammer can end a jam at any time (and usually when her team is up in points) there can be a dozen or more jams in a bout - hence the need for lots of skaters, all of which will be guaranteed some time on the floor, Marsh said.

The Whistler Wolfpack will play in a flat track league, which means gyms and ice rinks when the ice is out. They will also be affiliated with the Canadian Women's Roller Derby Association, which has the complete list of rules at www.cwrda.ca.

If you're looking for more information or would like to skate for the Whistler Wolfpack, email marshkathryn@hotmail.com. The team is also recruiting referees, coaches and volunteers.



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