As we reported last year, this season's Pohjola Cup - the official tournament for the leagues of Northern Finland - has broken new ground by inviting their first competitors from outside Finland itself.
St Petersburg's White Night Furies, Russia's first Roller Derby team (and currently the only bouting one) have played about half of their scheduled bouts in the tournament now, so we thought we'd catch up with them to see how it has been.
The Furies' Hulk answered a few of our questions.
How did the Furies get the idea to compete in the Pohjola Cup?
White Night Furies decided to to compete in 2016-2017 Pohjola Cup a year ago. We wanted to take a part in a tournament or Cup, to try our derby and team skills and and to see what we can do if we have one game a month, every month. I found the Pohjola Cup organizer (it wasn't very easy ><) and asked if we can join, despite the fact that we are not from Finland. And we're here :)
It's fair to say that the tournament has been a tough experience for the Furies so far, as first tournaments often are. How have you been adapting to the experience - what have you learned?
I can say that all our bouts there were tough :) Each bout we try to use different combinations of tactics and players and see how it works. Each game we change bench stuff and player's roster - from now we just started participating in serious games and we need to know what and how works. That's why I can say that this Cup is very helpful for us - we're learning new things. Also our first two games were on one day, and we'll have the same experience in April, in Oulu. That can be tough, especially if you drive the whole night and then play :) We've learned to play all together as a team regularly (and of course faced a lot of problems inside the team from this), to play a roster of 12, to have a bench and line up for the first time in our team's life :)
At this point, are you hoping to return to the Pohjola Cup in the 2017/18 season?
And of course, we are planning to return to the Pohjola Cup next year, we should climb higher to the first place :)
This year is very much the year that the Furies are breaking out and making waves. What else do you have planned for 2017?
Our plans are huge for this year: we founded a B-team and they will have their first game in May, also all of us will have 3-4 days of awesome practices with a Rose City coach who will come and train Team Russia members in Saint-Petersburg: we'll have a big presentation and couple of newbie practices for girls in Minsk, Belarus. One of our big plans is to visit the Moscow team again and help them with making a team (they are reunited again this year!) and, in September-October we want to play 2-3 bouts and haven't decided yet where, but are thinking about teams in Sweden and Netherlands!