Roller derby fans in Terrace will be able to track their team’s progress better than ever before this year with the North Coast Nightmares hosting three home bouts over the course of the season.
That’s a major increase from the one bout hosted last year and the year previous, and an indication of the team’s continued growth and success in northwest B.C. – and provincial – flat track roller derby.
“We’re really excited,” said Nightmare Jessica Hogg. “We’ve got a pretty packed season.”
Aside from the three home bouts at the Sportsplex – the first is May 9, so mark your calendars – the team is heading to Prince George this month for the second annual Northern Exposure invitational tournament and has games booked in Quesnel and Vancouver for April and June, respectively.
The team is hoping to get “the same bang for our buck” at the Prince George tournament as they did last year. “Last year we started off with five bouts at the very beginning of our season and it was so valuable just to have that much experience to go home with and play the rest of the season,” she said.
And the team will have a better idea of where it is ranked after the season kicks off in Prince George, but Hogg says the team’s new coach Chris Thomas is pushing them to climb the ranks.
“He’s definitely ambitious and has us training and working a lot harder than maybe in the past year or so,” she said.
The Nightmares have been serious about training this year. Now that they have a new home at the Thornhill Jr. gym for the colder months (they practise at the arena when the ice is off) they’ve been able to solidify their training schedule and progress.
“We’re really fortunate this year because we’ve got into a really awesome practise space – we’ve really moved around, we haven’t had a home,” she said.
And when the Fresh Meat program was running – a chance for new recruits and returning members to up their basic skills, and also an opportunity for the team to recruit and train officials – some derby girls were on the track five days a week.
“It’s been pretty full on roller derby since January,” she said. “We wanted to start the year focussing on high endurance and injury prevention, and now we’re moving more into more game play, strategy and scrimmaging, that sort of thing.”
Now in its third official year, the Nightmares have a decent balance of veteran players and new recruits. “For the few new players, going to the (Prince George) tournament is going to be their first game, so for them to have two or three games is going to be really great for the rest of the year, too,” she said.
Terrace will get to see the team in action for the first time May 9 when they take on Quesnel and the team is looking forward to growing its community and fan base here at home.
“We’re all out there doing some hard hitting and playing our hearts out,” she said, of what the fans can expect. “Hoping to have some wins on home turf this year.”
And as the team grows, fundraising efforts will inevitably continue with the team consistently seeking sponsorships and avenues to pay for travel and training. To that end, the Nightmares are hosting a St. Paddy’s day dance tomorrow night – check the team’s Facebook page for more details.