The Northcoast Nightmares roller derby team is coasting towards the future and looking to add some financial padding to their upcoming season with a gender-bending fundraiser this weekend at the Thornhill Community Centre.
As a sport, roller derby has been gaining serious traction and respect over the last few years. Games, called “bouts”, feature all-female five-on-five play with players skating in circles as a pack and one player, the jammer, earning points by lapping the group. It’s a fast-paced contact sport with players encouraged to have major personality.
The Nightmares’ team is still in its formative years, and the women are always looking for new players, volunteers, and cash to help cover costs.
This is just one of the reasons they are hosting their fundraiser on Dec. 1 starting at 6 p.m., that will feature dinner, dancing, and an all-male beauty pageant and auction where the contestants will auction off tasks like “shovel driveway” or “walk dog.”
Proceeds from the auction portion will go to the Salvation Army, while the rest of the event’s proceeds will go towards financing the team.
“Until we have more teams closer to home, the costs for the games will remain high,” said Tarea “Dream Warrior” Roberge, whose team travels for away games regularly to Prince George to face-off and train with the team there, the Rated PG Girls.
“We have to bring trained refs in from out of town, which means covering their travel costs as well as lodging,” she said of home games, noting they also give money to the teams who travel here to help them out. “The distance becomes costly.”
This is one reason the team is pushing to get Prince Rupert, Kitimat, and Smithers registered, bench-marked leagues running.
“With our four communities, we could hold our own tournaments and travel far less,” she said, noting that the lack of venue space in those communities is delaying things, even though there is a lot of interest from women there.
“The dream is not too far off,” she said. “Once [the women find venues], there will be no stopping us from bringing plenty of live roller derby action to the area.”
Until then, the team aims to have two games at home next year, hopefully with one of those games being an open invitation to all of the leagues in B.C.
“This is so that Terrace (and area) get a taste of what the hype is about and see some amazing more experienced players in action,” she said.
Aside from the cost, in order to host more home games the team needs volunteers for all of the supporting positions.
“Penalty trackers, announcers, security, jam timers, score trackers, a head non-skating official,” she said. “We’d also really love to have trained local refs, which for the right person with the right dedication we will help get the training by covering travel and training costs.”
And even though the team is asking for support from the community, they’ve always made a point to give back.
“The Northcoast Nightmares have raised $5,000 for the Canucks Autism Network, $1,200 for United Way in the fire truck pull, and with our kids we also participated in the Kidney Walk this summer,” she said. “We are proud of the contributions we have made in our community and plan to always be involved and give back.”