After seven months since their last at-home bout, the Yukon Roller Girls will be back in action in Whitehorse on Saturday.
The local roller derby crew will be hosting a rookie team from Vancouver’s Terminal City Rollergirls as they attempt to remain undefeated on home turf.
“This is a group of rookies who are really passionate and fresh and will be excellent competitors,” said Yukon Roller Girls captain and coach Jennifer Duncombe. “TCRG trains their skaters very well and they are very smart skaters, so I imagine it will be a well-matched game – hopefully.
“That’s what we’re trying to do: we’re trying to challenge our league and match everything up so Whitehorse and the community gets a really good show again and it’s not a blowout.”
In what will be the Yukon squad’s fifth official bout, both teams will be short a player, playing with 13 skaters instead of 14.
In addition to playing with a few skaters competing in their first bout, the Yukon Roller Girls will be without one of their star jammers, Katherine Stewart.
“We are down one of our star jammers, so we’re going to be pulling up some of our blockers into jamming positions,” said Duncombe. “So it’s a challenge as a bench coach to pick lines and put on the best combination of people, to try people out in new roles they are not necessarily used to.”
As a result, Amil Dupuis-Rossi will take on more of a leadership role as an assistant captain.
“The Fighting Mongoose will be my other jammer,” said Duncombe, using Dupuis-Rossi’s derby name. “She’s been doing a lot of the coaching the last few weeks and will be up jamming with me.
“It’s a really good time for her to shine. She’s taken on a new coaching/training role, is a super strong endurance athlete and this is her first time being assistant captain.”
The Yukon Roller Girls are coming off their first ever loss earlier this month. The team lost 307-146 to the Belladonnas, the Red Deer Roller Derby Association’s top travel team.
The loss to Canada’s third ranked team was chalked up as a learning experience.
“We’ve been taking what we learned in Red Deer and tying it to what we will be doing in this bout,” said Duncombe. “We are continuing to work on our strong blocking co-ordination.
“We have our own language now, so when the pivot is talking to everyone on the track, we have a whole set of plays and code words that our girls will all understand, to help sync things up and make things happen quickly.
“In roller derby, because you’re often playing offence and defence simultaneously, what you’re doing on the track has to change in a second.”
Saturday will be the Yukon team’s third bout of the season. The Yukon Roller Girls defeated the Juneau Roller Girls 164-161 in Juneau mid-February.
At the Klondike Klash last September, their first at-home sanctioned bout, the Yukon girls defeated the visiting Fairbanks Rollergirls 159-104 at the Takhini Broomball Arena in front of a sold-out crowd of 749.
This Saturday’s bout will take place at the recently thawed Whitehorse Curling Club. The halftime show will feature a performance by local youth rock band Solid Fuel.
Tickets are available at Molotov and Bricks Tattoo and Mac’s Fireweed Bookstore. The whistle to start the first jam blows at 7 p.m.
Contact Tom Patrick at