The next team to be interviewed from Scandinavia are Team Denmark. This will be their first World Cup appearance, and they have already played in two tournaments recently to prepare for the challenge ahead.
Mai Olesen a.k.a Toxic Noir - Manager for Team Denmark - has been speaking to us to share how the team are preparing for the Blood & Thunder World Cup in Dallas later this year.
1. Team Denmark is filled with skaters from 5 different Danish teams, and even a skater from Crime City Rollers in Sweden! How did you organise the team selection process since your skaters come from all over Denmark, and beyond?
First we had 4 training sessions where everyone that applied for a spot could come. These training sessions also included an off-skates strength program and a strategy session. After these sessions we had the try-outs, where we tested them in strength, understanding, rules, technique and scrimmage. This format made it possible for us to get to see the skaters in action quite a bit before the day of try-outs. For us, Team Denmark is also an opportunity to spread the knowledge [learnt in training sessions] to all the leagues in Denmark and move the sport forward here.
All try-outs and training sessions were held in Copenhagen. Organizing it all is a question of trying to make sure that the players and people involved know well in advance what dates to block out. Transportation is quite expensive in Denmark and as you pointed out the players come from all over the country + Sweden - and we also have our player Miss Mane who is from the Faroe Islands - so letting people know when and where is an important task.
2. How often are you able to meet up, and what do you focus on to make the best use of your training time together?
We have an activity every month which could be a training weekend, a bout or a tournament. At one of our activities we had the pleasure of having Olivia Coupe from London Rollergirls visit and coach us, which we really enjoyed!
We focus on teamwork, building an understanding of some basic plays we do, and also spend time to get to know each other as skaters and coaches. On the side of this, we have a strength and endurance training program to step it up.
3. I see that Team Denmark have recently played in a triple-header tournament with Team Norway and Team France, and you will soon be playing in a European tournament with 7 other teams. What are you hoping to learn from these experiences that you can take forward into the World Cup?
It was important for us to get some bout experience as a team so playing at the [triple-header] tournament was very useful for us. Many of the skaters had never played in a tournament before so it was great to get this opportunity. In this tournament our key focus was to learn to save energy and play smart, because after the first bout you´ll have another one to play! It was also an inspiring weekend to see how dedicated the other National Teams were and how they played. We got the chance to play people in different positions and to see how they reacted under pressure and with a loose schedule.
The European Roller Derby Tournament let us build on what we tested and established in Norway. It was an amazing tournament and we saw Team Denmark really coming together and getting some great learning experiences.
After these experiences we feel much more prepared for what awaits us in Dallas - still exited, still a bit nervous, but definitely much better prepared:)
4. Since Team Denmark did not participate in the 2011 World Cup, what are your aims for the tournament this year?
Oh, we fully expect to get our butts kicked...Royally!! But in true derby style we are looking forward to that :)
There are many teams playing in the World Cup that we simply have no idea how good they are. So we will get in there and compete hard for one jam at the time. Much has changed in the derby world since 2011, but our goal is to be one of the top 5 "new" teams that are participating in the tournament. And of course that we will get to play some good games. Other than that we are very committed to having the best time ever and soak up all everything that we learn. We want to bring this knowledge back home as a foundation for development in roller derby on a national level in Denmark.
5. Given the expense of getting to Dallas for the World Cup, how are you raising funds and gaining sponsorship?
We are doing what everyone else is doing I think: selling merchandise and hosting a 'crowd funding' page. Our latest plan is to organize a fundraising event with a scrimmage and a raffle or auction.
We have contacted a lot of Danish companies for sponsorships, but without luck. Denmark doesn't really have a great history or culture for sponsorships in upcoming sports (which roller derby is in DK) , but we will keep chasing money - so who knows, we might succeed yet. We also got a little bit of monetary support from the Danish Roller Skating Union. We had a raffle at the European Roller Derby Tournament so that also gave us a little money. We are currently sponsored by Atom Wheels and S-One helmets as well which is great.
6. And just for fun, does your team have a mascot? If you don’t, what would type of mascot would symbolise your national team?
We don't have a mascot but if we did it would be either a lion, like the one we have on our uniform. Or maybe a hotdog or a Carlsberg beer mascot!
Team Denmark Roster
- Hald, Copenhagen Roller Derby
- Beastie Bob, Copenhagen Roller Derby
- Bay, Copenhagen Roller Derby
- Cater, Copenhagen Roller Derby
- Durakill Bunny, Copenhagen Roller Derby
- Fjabbeline, Copenhagen Roller Derby
- Kimmer, Copenhagen Roller Derby
- Rode, Copenhagen Roller Derby
- Jelly, Copenhagen Roller Derby
- LOL, Copenhagen Roller Derby
- Miss Mane, Copenhagen Roller Derby
- Pedersen, Copenhagen Roller Derby
- Yaya Woosh, Copenhagen Roller Derby
- Arachna, Aarhus Derby Danes
- Kris, Aarhus Derby Danes
- Keller, Aarhus Derby Danes
- Panzer, Roller Derby Århus
- Deenfeldt, Crime City Rollers, Malmö
- Panini, Odense Rollergirls
- Möxie Crüel, Aalborg Roller Derby
- Team manager: Mai Olesen
- Head coaches: Emma Hedman (Sabo) & Henrik Levinsson (Slutty Summers)
- Assistant coach: Tore Brynaa