Talk Derby To Me: Keeping It PG With The Rollergirls

By Charelle Evelyn on February 16 2015

The Rated PG RollerGirls bring in the noise and, if you’re
unlucky enough to be on the opposing team, they also
bring the pain.

For nearly seven years, the local roller derby team has been capturing hearts, minds, fans and teammates as they showcase the toughest game on eight wheels.

Haylee Tucker was one such convert, watching her first Rated PG bout at the Roll- A-Dome two years ago. Now the 20-year-old is fully indoctrinated into the cult of roller derby, complete with derby name (Mother Tucker) and a spot on the squad’s A-Team, the Northstars.

The first thing she noticed about the sport was the athleticism of the women rounding the track, said Tucker. Then she picked up on the ferocity.

“There’s a player named Lockdown. She’s actually a friend of mine now, but when I came to the game, she laid out this huge, massive hit on a smaller player,” Tucker recalled. “She went down pretty hard and came up and Lockdown knocked her down again. I was like: I want to do that.” It turned out to be a perfect fit for Tucker, who said she had played roller hockey after getting kicked off the ice hockey team for fighting “because all the boys got bigger than me and I couldn’t hit them back the way they could hit me.”

However, once she was a part of the team, what kept Tucker going was the welcoming environment she found. “It’s more than a sport for a lot of us. It’s a community of healthy-minded, healthy women, which is just so cool to be involved with,” she said. Roller derby players come in all shapes, sizes, ages and backgrounds.

Long-time member Denise Hogue (a.k.a. Sistah Viberosis), came out to the team’s inaugural Try-It Night, not too long after her son was born. “We have a lot of moms that play derby. It’s a good way of getting back into shape post-baby,” she said with a laugh.

Hogue also works full-time as a forester and started the RollerGirls’ signature introduction of taking a lap of the track wielding a roaring chainsaw. Currently recovering from an injury, Hogue has taken on more coaching duties, handling the squad’s more recreation-focused house team - and is teaching other players to handle the saw in her stead until she’s back on skates.

“It’s such a fixture on the team. It’s the nose and the smell, it really gets the team going,” she said. With the grip of the Canada Winter Games, there won’t be a Rated PG home bout at the Roll-A-Dome in February. Instead, the team is opening up a Thursday night practice and scrimmage to the public on Feb. 19 between 6 and 9 p.m.

For those who want to mark down their next fix, there will be roller derby influx with the Northern Exposure tournament March 21-22. In it’s second year, the tournament will be broken into two sessions, with the next coming up on April 25-26.

There was such a positive response to the first Northern Exposure in 2014 that the Roll-A-Dome can’t accommodate all the teams who wanted to participate this time around in one go, said Hogue. Rated PG is always looking for Fresh Meat. Practices for newcomers run Sunday from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Roll-A-Dome. Participants should try to come equipped with a mouth guard and helmet and other gear - including skate rentals - can be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis.

For more information on joining the team or a bout schedule, visit ratedpgrollergirls.com or find them on Facebook.

CHARELLE EVELYN

REPORTER FOR THE PRINCE GEORGE CITIZEN

Journalist, west coast native, music lover. Made in Canada.

WGO2015Norm Coyne