While this weekend continues the tradition of being rather busy in roller derby, in Glasgow, something a little epic is being planned. Fresh from the end of the British Championships Tier 4 competition, Voodoo Roller Dollies are hosting a mini-tournament, with an international bent. Returning from Voodoo's last tournament (only this February!) are Glasgow C, the Cannie Gingers; however, flying in all the way from Lucerne (Luzern), Switzerland, the third team are The Hellveticats, part of the new wave of Swiss and Central European roller derby.
Founded in 2012, the Hellveticats started with the usual enthusiasm of new leagues, despite, as Referee Lucy Cat Rolls told us "that most of the girls on the team haven't even watched a roller derby game, we did our best to train and build up our league". They've been bouting since late 2013, according to Flat Track Stats, mostly playing the rest of the Swiss and Central European derby community. In fact, the tournament will not just be a new experience for the Scottish teams, as it's the furthest trip that the Hellveticats have made in their history."As we have many members with family or other responsibilities we try to get bouts which are possible to travel within a day trip. But, every now and then, we make a journey with the team - we went to [Prague] in the Czech Republic and to Nice in France. Scotland is within a very good distance by plane so we decided to travel there together, we are thrilled to be invited to this awesome event."
As it happens, the fact that the tournament exists at all is actually down to the Hellveticats' enthusiasm for a long distance trip. As Voodoo's Roll-N-Pin told us: "[The Hellveticats] actually contacted us, believe it or not. They got in contact with our very own Titan and from there it progressed. We wanted to make sure that they got as much of a Scottish derby experience as possible, [so we organised the tournament around them]." Not that Voodoo have ever been shy of a tournament, as Pin admitted, "tournaments are always a great way to involve so many people at the same time. To come up against new teams and get to spend even more time in a weekend or day playing against them. I mean, who doesn't love more derby time? It's double, and even triple, the fun at times with tournaments."
While the Hellveticats are travelling the furthest, it's Glasgow's Cannie Gingers who are the most dangerous competitors in the tournament, sitting almost 200 places above Voodoo, and 130 above the Lucerne team, in Flat Track Stats' European ranking scheme (although our own prediction scheme places the latter somewhat closer in ability to the Glasgow team). Despite the huge challenge they represent, Voodoo are relishing the rematch. "The Canny Gingers are always a fierce opponent and are really the definition of a true challenge, " said Roll N Pin, "but with each bout we play against superior teams, we gain more knowledge , discover more tactics and get to try out more strategies. It would take a phenomenal achievement on our part to win against them, but for us it's not all about the win. At the end of the day if the other team are walking away with bump and bruises, sore spots and dead arms or legs then we know we have put up a great fight and have made them work for it. It gives us a goal to work towards as well, a comparison to ourselves to see how much we have improved and how we can improve more." And the Cannie Gingers aren't willing to rule out the possibility of a Voodoo win, saying "there are no guarantees in Derby; just look at the Rose/Victorian/Gotham games in the WFTDA Championships. We just want to play our games and take each jam as they come!"
Glasgow C are also keen to see what Swiss derby has to offer, noting that "one of the great things about roller derby is the opportunities it brings, and it's an honour to play every team we face, for the things we are taught in each game. It will be interesting to see how our styles play against each other; we hope it will also be a fun experience and that [the Hellveticats] have a good Scottish welcome".
Regardless of who actually wins, all the teams have the same goals at heart. Roll N Pin "First and foremost, and it may seem cheesy, [our goal] is to have FUN! We want to present an environment to welcome all and make sure that the players and the crowd are having fun. But hey that's not too hard to do when you've got derby, tunes and CAKE!", and Lucy Cat Roll agrees, "I guess the biggest challenge will be understanding the Scottisch dialect and resisting to the urge of drinking whisky before the first whistle ;-) We hope to have fun and to meet many nice derby people and we hope to have you over in Switzerland one day and invite you for a nice tournament, some cheese and a ton of chocolate." The Gingers also, "above all,  just want to have a nice time! We have some established skaters, and some who will be playing their first game, so it's a nice mix. We work hard at training, and in running our league, so we just want to represent GRD in the best way we can."
Voodoo Roller Dollies have a new intake planned for the end of November, and extensive plans for the future. As Pin puts it: "Voodoo's future is looking bright. We have a new intake at the end of this month (as always we are looking to expand) and we have many a teams to play again for return games. We are hoping to get more involved in the derby community and attend more scrims. Maybe even host a few ourselves. One thing is for sure we will always come back hitting harder and pushing ourselves further."
The Tournament starts from Midday at the ARC Sports Centre in Glasgow Caledonian University on Saturday 14th November.
The event page can be found on Facebook, and tickets will be £5 on the door.
As far as we are aware, the planned schedule of play is:
Skate outs 12:20
1st game - VRD v GRD - 12:30
2nd game - GRD v Hell - 13:55
3rd game - Hell v VRD - 15:20