2012 MRDA Championships Preview: #8 Mass Maelstrom
By James Brains
Though they were the last team to punch their ticket to St. Louis, Missouri for MRDA Championships, the Mass Maelstrom competed and won the most games of any team to qualify for men’s roller derby’s top tournament. The team from Lancaster, Mass. participated in thirteen MRDA-sanctioned bouts this season and won nine of them. Maelstrom earned their first trip to MRDA Champs with a breakout showing at the Mohawk Valley Cup in August. They took second place in the eight-team tournament and beat then #7 Race City.
“My favorite moment this season was our rematch against Race City at the Mohawk Valley Cup,” Mass Maelstrom’s Stryker said. “Their entire team is full of talented skaters and they play a really tight game. It’s really challenging and fun to play against them. Our loss to them at Spring Roll was disappointing for me because I felt like we played a sloppy game. I knew if we got another game against them we could take them.”
Teammate Zed enjoyed the Mohawk Valley Cup for a different reason. “One of my favorite moments of the 2012 season was the huge outpouring of help and love I received from the derby community after I broke my leg at the Mohawk Valley Cup,” Zed said. Zed remains confident and focused on returning to the track in time for MRDA Champs despite his major setback: “My preparation for Champs involves resting, healing, eating properly, and exercise. I’m hoping for a swift recovery to be able to play!”
Stryker is able to take a more active approach to his training: “I’m eating better and hitting the gym a bit more frequently. I take competition and team play very seriously. I refuse to let Maelstrom down by becoming fatigued during a game. As a team, Maelstrom is bumping up our practice time from one two-hour practice per week to two two-hour practices. We’re also reviewing bout footage and talking out game theory.”
Both Zed and Stryker would like a shot at the Magic City Misfits. “Although the seeding makes it fairly unlikely, I would love to skate against Magic City,” Stryker said. “When I watched Championships last year and saw how they played, it opened my eyes to an entirely new concept of how to play roller derby. They have some of the best skaters I’ve ever seen play the game. I feel like we would learn a lot playing them.”
So, what can we expect to see from Mass Maelstrom at the MRDA Championships? “From the start of our season Maelstrom went out to not only win but to make our games enjoyable to watch as a fan. We refuse to play ‘stroller derby’ and have gotten away from using pace-lines to rack up points on power jams. We go out every game to PLAY the game, not to stand around for two minutes not doing anything. We love and appreciate all the support our fans give us, and the least we can do in return is play the game they’ve come to see.”
Mass Maelstrom take on undefeated #1-seed Your Mom Men’s Derby at 9am, Saturday, October 20th in the first bout of the tournament. Both Zed and Maelstrom jammer Peter Rottentail are excited to face off against Your Mom. “I believe the harder the opponent the more you learn,” Rottentail said. “I skated in toe plugs for the past 2 years. After seeing (Your Mom blocker) Seahorses Forever at Spring Roll, I decided to put toe stops back on. They have been my best friend ever since.”
You can expect to see fast, action-packed old-school roller derby in this bout as both teams play a very “no nonsense” game. The Maelstrom will likely be over-matched skill-wise by a Your Mom teams that features world-champion speed skaters. Keep an eye out for Maelstrom’s No Big Deal and Jack Hammer’d winners of the Mohawk Valley Cup’s Jammer MVP and Blocker MVP, respectively.
Tickets are still available for the MRDA Championships “Gateway to the Best.” Visit Brown Paper Tickets for more information. And, keep your browser refreshed at MRDA for more team profiles and interviews.