Roller Derby Returns to Springhill Arena
Roller derby is coming back to Springhill at the Dr. Carson & Marion Murray Community Centre.
The Derby for the Cure is taking place at the Springhill arena Saturday, from 9 am to 5:30 pm to celebrate the return of roller derby after two years of COVID-19 restrictions.
It’s a fundraiser for a cause, important to many of the event’s participants.
The event organizer said, “Roller derby has been growing across Atlantic Canada, but especially in Nova Scotia, for 12 years.” Denice Nicholson added, “Because of the pandemic we weren’t able to play.”
Described as a very close-knit community of female athletes ages 16 to 60, Nicholson revealed, “Several of the players were diagnosed and treated for breast cancer, while some of the members lost loved ones to breast cancer. We thought this event would be a way to bring our community back together and raise money for breast cancer research.”
Each team is paying an entry fee to participate, while admission to the event is by donation, with proceeds donated to breast cancer research.
There will be a silent auction and 50/50 draws during the roller derby and roller night that follows.
Nicholson says, “It’s going to be fun for the whole family and it’s open to everyone.”
Eileen Davage, Cumberland’s marketing officer, said bringing roller derby to Springhill was too good to pass up.
She said, “It’s a great opportunity to introduce area residents to a new sport, either as a spectator or as a participant,”
Davage says, “We are working hard to attract new and exciting events to the Dr. Carson & Marion Murray Community Centre. Roller Derby is fast-paced, action-packed and a lot of fun to watch. It’s definitely an alternative sport — one you certainly don’t see everyday, not taught in schools, and isn’t very well known in most sporting circles.”
The centre is also bringing wrestling back to Springhill when Live Pro Wrestling returns on Saturday, August 20th. It will feature a Coal Miner’s Glove match.
Davage said Cumberland County is fortunate to have the community centre in Springhill as a place to host events such as roller derby.
Nicholson, who goes by the derby name Ice Queen Sandwich, said the group is excited about hosting its first big event in more than two years and is thrilled it’s happening in Springhill.
While there are roller derby teams in Moncton and New Glasgow, she would love to see a team be created in the Cumberland and/or Colchester areas to join in on the fun and competition.
“There is a league in Moncton and a league in New Glasgow and if there were interest in Springhill,” Nicholson said, “A lot of people would be willing to go there and help it out.”
Roller derby has two teams of five players on the track at any given time. Each team has four blockers and a jammer, whose job it is to score points. Jams are a maximum of two minutes with a 20-minute time limit on each match.
The jammer skates through the pack and for every blocker they pass, they get a point.
While there won’t be any flying elbows or clothesline takedowns, as seen in movies, Nicholson said it’s a very physical sport. There is a penalty box and offending players are sent off for a 30-second break in the sin-bin.
Nicholson said, “It’s full contact and it’s a lot of fun.”
The Springhill jam will feature six teams from across the Maritimes. Both the Halifax and Moncton teams will feature internationally-ranked players.
The photo shows Rebel Riot jammer (in red with the star) has her work cut out trying to evade the four blockers from Moncton's Muddy River Rollers. More photos below by Richard Lafortune.