Roller derby wrecks the halls at mixer

By Adam Brazeau
CORNWALL, Ontario - Roller derby is fast, furious and yes, it can be aggressive. But it's also a sisterhood on wheels that accepts all newcomers.

The Seaway Roller Derby Girls (SRDGs) hosted their second annual ‘Black & White' interleague scrimmage on Nov. 30.

The gymnasium at St. Lawrence College was transformed into an arena for several roller derby teams and officials from Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa and Lindsay, ON.

The Cornwall Power Dames were ready to roll against seasoned competitors to gain experience and keep the relatively new SDRGs league razor sharp.

Traditional teams were abandoned as players mixed it up in white and black shirts.

As they repeatedly circled the track in a tight, rambunctious manner, adrenalin, team work and skills were in full force.

“We hope to host these once every few months to give skaters an opportunity to play during our off season which is from September to January,” said Penny Rudderham, Power Dames and SRDGs league co-founder.

The league is certified by the Canadian Women's Roller Derby Association. That means there are gruelling physical dues to pay to be able to play the contact version of the game. Rudderham assures the pain is worth the gain since roller derby has a lot to offer.

“We train hard. We have boot camp to integrate their skills and bring them up to speed to be ready for the season,” she said.

The Power Dames are always looking for a few good women to fill the blanks in roster changes.

That's where Sam ‘Game Boi' Lajeunesse comes into play. Standing at five-feet-tall and 117 pounds she is a tiny troublemaker on wheels. The tenacious skater is a regular with the Smash Squad out of the Montreal Roller Derby League. Lajeunesse also plays for several teams in Ontario and Quebec.

“A couple of leagues asked me to fill in spots and that's how I got to know everybody,” she said.

Game Boi even played the Power Dames in Long Sault with the ‘Wagon Burners' out of Kahnawake.

“Roller derby is getting popular in Cornwall,” said Lajeunesse. “It's in the right place in between to get all the leagues to meet here.”

Bella Lewkowicz, Neon Skates representative and roller derby referee, said that roller derby is one of the fastest growing sports in the world and the Black & White scrimmage is action-packed proof.

Neon Skates is a roller skate shopped based out of Montreal and a sponsor of the Power Dames.

“Cornwall has a budding roller derby scene,” said Lewkowicz.

You can find the Cornwall Power Dames on Thursday and Friday nights between 7 and 9 p.m. training at St Lawrence College. For their latest events and updates on the new season, click here.

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