KAMLOOPS - The Kamloops Roller Derby Association is expanding this year.
The Tournament City Derby Dolls is looking to recruit younger players as the association grows. Karen Hungar, president of the association, says they’re starting a junior team for 12- to 18-year-olds.
“Its so fun having juniors,” Hungar says. “It’s goofy and fun; fun teaching them how to fall, take a hit, skate.”
They will teach participants everything they need to know about roller derby, including how to choose an alter ego. Hunger, who goes by Tenacious Double DDs, says choosing a new name is one of the perks of joining up.
“All the juniors, they’re all just starting to think of their names,” she says. “We have Cholly the Yeg, and a little lady called Lil’ Kill.”
The move to start a junior team was instigated by a player who goes by Mad Max, a teen from Prince George, who’s skilled and looking to stay involved with the sport.
“He’s helping coach and train,” Hungar says. “He played in the junior Olympics.”
For the juniors, much of the first season will be training to get them up to a level where they can play in games. It’s a physical game and new participants need to be trained properly before heading onto the track. Players will be taught skating, falling and blocking before they play in games.
“There’s a progression to play full on, you have to pass skill levels,” Hungar says. “They learn to hit over time.”
She encourages hockey players to consider joining. Current members play both sports right now she says, as roller derby provides good summer training.
Typically roller derby teams were all women, but that trend is starting to change, and Hungar points out the sport is about inclusivity. This year will be the first time men will be able to join, at the adult and junior levels.
“The community of roller derby is pretty amazing,” she says. “It’s all inclusive, there’s a roll for everyone on the track, not just athletes.”
There is an information night for teens and parents on March 8 at the Westsyde gym at 3550 Westsyde Rd. from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Helmets and mouthgaurds are needed, but other gear will be supplied.
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