The Yukon Roller Girls are getting back to basics.
With some turnover among the ranks, and a possible tiebreaker against rival Juneau on the horizon, the Whitehorse-based roller derby crew is working to re-establish cohesion on the team.
To help make this happen, 14 Yukon Roller Girls (and one ref) went on a three-bout road trip in Washington state March 22-24.
“It was an epic opportunity for us as we working on gelling as a team again and getting some more momentum,” said Yukon jammer Amil “The Fighting Mongoose” Dupuis-Rossi. “It was a winter that proved to be a bit difficult for our team because we had lost some of our integral members. So there was some turnover. Recruiting again and building our team became our main focus.
“Getting cohesive was a huge goal for us.”
The Yukon crew got pointers from some high-profile derby girls and competed in three un-official bouts on the road trip.
They competed against Bellingham Roller Betties’ All-Star team, Blunt Force Trauma, on March 22, Grave Danger from Seattle’s Rat City Rollergirls on March 23 and Everett, Washington’s Camaro Harem team from the Jet City Rollergirls on March 24.
Going winless in the three bouts did little to diminish the trip’s excitement and team-building, said Dupuis-Rossi.
“They were all pretty epic. This opportunity was pretty huge for us – it was a once in a lifetime experience,” she said. “Offers for high-profile players to mentor you don’t come around all the time, especially for a small northern team.
“The purpose of all the scrimmages we played was give everyone equal playing time. So we put out lines where each player got an equal amount of time to try to test their skills, regardless of who we were up against.
“We wanted to make sure we were coming together as a team and playing as a team.”
The Yukon Roller Girls lost to Blunt Force Trauma (unofficially) by 45 points.
“When you consider the team we were playing against and the fact that we were so exhausted … we did a good job,” said Dupuis-Rossi.
“We had gotten up at six in the morning to catch the early flight out and we landed in Vancouver and had a rental car, so we all drove – it was a long day. We ended up bouting at seven at night after a pretty long day.”
Yukon then took a 355-130 thumping from Grave Danger and lost 320-250 to Camaro Harem.
“We were a pretty evenly match team,” said Dupuis-Rossi of Camaro Harem. “One of the things we realized we need to work on is communication between blockers and the jammers … And staying in our walls is a huge one we need to work on.
“Defensively we are quite a good team … Sometimes what happens with us is we get caught up in the other team’s game play; we start to play to their strategies, countering their strategies instead of sticking to our own game play. And that messes us up a little bit.”
This was not the first time the Yukon troupe made a lengthy trip in search of experience.
Six members traveled to Honolulu, Hawaii, to participate an intensive camp before competing in a series of bouts called SK808, organized by the Pacific Roller Derby association, in January.
In Yukon’s most recent official bout, the Juneau Rollergirls produced a last-minute win over Yukon at “A Love-Skate Relationship” in Juneau in February.
Juneau won on the final jam, taking the bout 188-182.
Yukon defeated Juneau 164-161 last year, in a last-minute comeback, in the two teams’ first encounter.
There may be a tiebreaker coming up next month.
The Yukon Roller Girls are invited to compete at a statewide tournament in Alaska, hosted by the Fairbanks Roller Girls, in the middle of May.
Contact Tom Patrick at