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Yukon derby team on a roll ahead of June 24 home bouts

The Yukon is hosting roller derby for the first time in years, leaving athletes stoked

For the first time in more than five years, Whitehorse will be hosting roller derby bouts. The local team preparing to play in them has been hard at work honing their skills and trying to grow the profile of their unique sport.

Four teams will take to the rink set up at the Mount McIntyre Recreation Centre on June 24. They are: Flower Power Roller Derby of Alberta; Midnight Stunners, a mixed squad with players from various locations; Yukon Roller Derby and Team Ptarmageddon out of Alaska. The double-header bout will be open to spectators for $25 per ticket. Doors and the rec centre’s bar open at 5:30 p.m., with bouts set to go off at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. The event’s name is Wham! Bam! Solstice Slam!

For the uninitiated, roller derby is played by athletes on four-wheeled roller skates decked out in plenty of protective gear. The teams square off on an oval track. Each team has a jammer who wears a star on their helmet and attempts to score points by lapping the other team’s blockers. The blockers live up to the name of their position, trying to obstruct the opposing jammer. Roller derby is full-contact, but skaters aren’t allowed to use their heads, elbows, forearms, hands, knees, lower legs or feet to make contact with opponents.

The results are crashes, collisions and shoulder checks matched with exciting bursts of speed on the skates.

Among the Yukon Roller Derby players hard at work preparing for the on- and off-track events over the June 24 weekend is Christy Huey, the president of the local roller derby association. Huey skates under the name “Christy Crack-her” in keeping with the sport’s tradition of taking on brash and boastful assumed names for use on the track.

Huey is looking forward to the return of roller derby to Whitehorse, which hasn’t hosted a bout since 2018. The event is part of a resurgence of roller derby since COVID-19 and some participants moving away chilled local participation in the sport. Along with the June 24 bouts, Huey said Yukon Roller Derby is planning opportunities for people to learn to skate and try the sport.

The local players have been training hard, and some have even attended recent competitions in British Columbia as pick-up players on other teams in order to hone their skills.

Radish Loos, or “Raging Radish” on the roller derby track, was among those who played with the Prince George team down in Victoria earlier this month. This is the second time they have played with Prince George. Two other skaters from the Yukon also travelled to play in Victoria.

They started playing roller derby with the Yukon team in 2015 before moving to Halifax and joining the league there. The larger league in Halifax afforded Loos opportunities to travel for tournaments.

They moved back in 2021 and started practising with the Yukon team again as COVID-19 restrictions receded. Loos also serves as training director on the roller derby association’s board.

In returning to the roller derby team in the Yukon, Loos said some lessons from Halifax have helped refresh and reinvigorate things here. An important change for Loos, who is non-binary, is the Yukon team’s name changing from Yukon Roller Girls to Yukon Roller Derby and from women-only to an all-gender league.

“That was really kind of something that I found in the Anchor City Roller Derby, which is the league in Halifax, that they were very, very inclusive and, like, had a lot of like trans and non-binary athletes,” they said.

Loos recently legally changed their first name to Radish, taking the roller derby moniker they had already used on the track for some time into the rest of their life.

While they said roller derby has never been as exclusionary as some sports, there is a growing trend towards explicitly all-gender leagues. Loos said it is hoped that the new, more inclusive approach will help grow the sport in the Yukon but acknowledged that it is still fairly niche.

To ensure there are enough players for the June 24 bouts, some Prince George players will be on the Yukon roster for the games. Loos said those relationships between teams are important.

“You want to be able to have these games and these opportunities. We don’t always have a full roster, like enough players, to do it. So it’s really important.”

Loos said they gravitated to roller derby because of the game’s aggressive physical nature.

“I always loved soccer, and I played soccer growing up. I was on, like, the travel teams and stuff in Whitehorse that went to tournaments, and then I was always really aggressive. And I remember I got red-carded for, like, body checking. That was just me in sports. I just wanted that,” Loos said

Despite roller derby’s hard-hitting full-contact play, Loos said there is a focus on safety.

The June 24 bouts are only a part of the four-wheeled fun being hosted in Whitehorse that weekend. Huey said a part of the reason so many skaters from out of the territory will be here for the bouts is the training clinic being put on by “Miracle Whips,” a former Team Canada athlete from Montreal who boasts more than 7,000 participants in the training sessions she has coached across North America.

There will be a roller disco held from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on June 23, also at the Mount McIntyre Recreation Centre. Admission for the all-ages event is $10. Huey said there would be a limited number of skates to be loaned out, including vintage sets that were in storage in Keno until recently.

Tickets for the June 24 bouts are available at

Contact Jim Elliot at

Jim Elliot

About the Author: Jim Elliot

I’m a B.C. transplant here in Whitehorse at The News telling stories about the Yukon's people, environment, and culture.
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