As promised last week, we'll be spending some time up to the Tomodachi Derby Tournament in Okinawa (24th to 26th March) introducing you to the teams competing there.
First up, competing in the Men's event, we'd like to introduce Calgary's own Men's team, Glenmore Reservoir Dogs.
Strictly, the men's team of Chinook City Roller Derby, the Reservoir Dogs are named for both (of course) Quentin Tarantino's film, and the Glenmore Reservoir, not far from their original practice space. Currently ranked at 17th position in the MRDA Rankings, and 65th in the world (men and women) by SRD Rank, the team has been competing since 2011, and an MRDA member since 2013. As well as hosting their own tournament (Flat Track Fever), Chinook City were also the hosts for the 2016 Men's Roller Derby World Cup.
At the Tomodachi, Glenmore Reservoir Dogs will be playing the Japanese National Men's Team, NinJapan Rollers.
The team's only remaining original founder member, Dev Null, was happy to answer some questions from us. The Reservoir Dogs had a pretty busy 2016, at the O-Town Throwdown and the Mayday Mayhem - taking second place at the latter to the formidable Ground Control. Can you talk us through your high-points of the last season?
The Ground Control game was a high point I think for 2016. Stelly is an incredible jammer and we thought without him, we would have had a much better outcome for us in that game. Still, it was such an incredible game and our jammers and blockers did everything we could at the time to face them. At O-Town playing against the Hooligans, it was great for us to go up against a top 15 team and our standing against them and Montreal proved that we belong in the top 20.
You also hosted Argentina's ThunderQuads - probably the strongest Men's team in Latin America. How did you arrange that (possibly one of the longest distances they've travelled away), and how did it feel to be playing that kind of truly international Derby at home?
Most of team Argentina were ThunderQuad skaters at the time so putting the game together was pretty easy. Playing that game at home was awesome and as a precursor to MRDWC it got the whole team involved. It's incredibly difficult to get teams here because of distance and international travel, so having the community come to us we could really show our hospitality.
As joint hosts of MRDWC 2016, you saw your opponents at the Tomodachi, Ninjapan Rollers, compete against some of the best skaters in the world. How are you planning for your own bouts against them?
We're going to be bringing our best defensive game and coupled with the strength of our jamming crew we feel we should have some success against Team Japan. Our practises are also getting better because we've added skaters this year and have a deeper bench. We're really excited for the 2017 MRDA season.
With the schedule as it is, the Reservoir Dogs are going to have a lot of derby to watch. Are there any teams you're looking forward to seeing in action?
The teams are really well matched in the WFTDA division, and I think the Tokyo vs Kokeshi game will be the one to watch. Fairbanks vs the Devil Dogs and Devil Dogs vs Tokyo will also be great games. Most of us just love watching new teams and hopefully new strategies. We'll see where we are when we get there!
Finally, after the Tomodachi, What's in Chinook's future for 2017?
For 2017, we plan to build on our past success and have scheduled games at the Big O and another MRDA event prior to the end of June. Our games at O-Town Throwdown, which worked out nicely for us, and our games at Big O will hopefully see us seed well in Vancouver. In a perfect world, we'd want to come up 1 to 2 spots in MRDA for the June rankings so that we seed in at 4th or 5th place for playoffs but realistically our goal is just to make that 8 from North America. I think having 3 teams from Canada in the top 20 in MRDA is really saying something for Canadian Men's roller derby.