NANAIMO — Roller Derby will take over Frank Crane Arena on Saturday with a double header to kick off the 2018 season.
At 5:30 p.m. the Harbour City Co-ed team will take on Victoria Co-ed, then after that the Harbour City Ship Rex will battle the Eves of Destruction Hard Cores.
There are are three different teams that play under the Harbour City Rollers banner, and coach and Co-ed skater Mike Barker says there are nine games confirmed on the schedule this year.
There's a wide age range with players as young as 16 all the way up to 60-years-old.
In derby there are four blockers and a jammer on the course at one time.
Points are awarded when the jammer laps a member of the opposing team but the blockers are allowed to use their bodies to prevent the jammer from passing, and also to clear the way for their own jammer.
'Karma' is one of the skaters for Harbour City and she's also an official.
She's drawn to the sport for many reasons and a big one is the camaraderie among the players.
Karma says as a blocker one of her favourite moments is getting her timing right to knock down another opponent.
'Booty and the Beast' is a jammer for the Harbour City Rollers and says fans can expect some great entertainment on Saturday.
"They'll see some hits, and they'll see lots of action."
Another member of the team 'Block Beauty' has been part of the squad for a year and a half.
She says there's a lot of new faces this year so it's hard to gauge how competitive the team will be.
There's a good rivalry with the other teams up and down the island - but it's a friendly one.
Mike Barker whose derby name is 'Barker' says there's a cluster of about eight teams in Victoria and there are also roller derby teams in most major cities on Vancouver Island.
Having a good nickname is a key part of the derby experience, it's not unlike pro wrestling in that way.
'Barker' says taking on a different persona is part of the fun.
"People use them as alter egos on the track so people will come up with a name that suits them, their personality, their style. They'll basically turn into an alter ego on the track."
A character that 'Barker' has run into in the past is a good example of that.
Roller Derby is full of unique terms, like helmet panty, which is a cover placed on the helmet of the jammer.
It also has a star on each side.
The pivot wears a helmet panty as well with a strip in the centre.
Fresh meat is a term used to describe a skater new to derby.
There are events called Fresh Meat Nights which take place to encourage newcomers.
Roller derby referees are often referred to as zebras, which is similar to hockey, but the term is more endearing in the derby world than on the ice.
Recently at Maffeo Sutton Park in Nanaimo members of the Harbour City Rollers demonstrated some of the other aspects of the sport.
Booty and the Beast explains being a jammer
Barker executes an apex jump
Barker, Booty and the Beast, Block Beauty, and Karma do a tomahawk stop
Booty and the Beast, Block Beauty, and Karma demonstrate blocking against Barker
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