The Men’s Roller Derby World Cup will take place in Calgary, Alberta, Canada from July 21- 24 with 21 countries participating to be crowned the top men’s roller derby nation in the entire world.
Among the participating countries vying for a gold medal is the host country Canada, who finished third at the first Men’s Roller Derby World Cup in Birmingham, England.
Among the 32 skaters selected for the Canadian National team, all but one of them belongs to an MRDA member league, and the same can be said of the final 20 selected to represent the maple leaf at the biggest event of them all.
“This is the ultimate derby experience,” Montreal skater Buddy Oli said when asked why playing for Team Canada was special to him “This is it. I get to represent my country, doing something I love, in front of our fans, against the best in the world. It’s something I will never forget.”
Canada will face stiff competition from countries such as the United States of America, England, France and Australia,who comprised the top five at the first event, while teams from Chile, Italy, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Spain make their first appearances with hopes of putting their respective countries on the map.
The idea of playing new nations has the Canadian squad pumped, especially those skaters who have roots outside of Canada.
“I am Canadian, but Spanish too,” one of Team Canada’s captains El Tannant explained. “I was sad that (the first) MRDWC had no team Spain. I am pretty sure that this game will be a special one for me.”
Like El Tannant and Buddy Oli, other members of the squad from the Great White North are pumped about playing for their home nation, but another one of Canada’s captains Riceball gets to relive one of the greatest moments of his derby career while proving that age is just a number.
“I get to play with my son BrADASS for a second time,” Riceball said. “Being over 50, I believe this is my last opportunity to play for a National team in this capacity. I also really wanted to play because it was being held in Calgary where I was born and raised.”
While Canada sends BrADASS and Riceball to their second World Cup, along with a slew of others, there will be some new blood representing the nation whose ever-growing roller derby community is churning out spectacular talent, such as Vancouver Murder triple threat Dan Zimmer.
“I’ve anyways wanted an opportunity to represent my country,” Zimmer said. “After I went to the Team Canada tryouts in 2014, I knew that one of my goals going forward with roller derby was that I wanted to make Team Canada (when) the next time tryouts came around.
“I’m looking forward to playing in front of the home crowd and just feeling the atmosphere that will be created in the venue.”
With the atmosphere inside the Acadia Recreation Complex expected to off the hook, especially with an enormous contingent of Canadian fans shaking the foundations of the arena, Canada has a lot of pressure on them to stand on the podium by the end of the World Cup, a goal which captain and long-time veteran skater Jeff Tichbourne says will happen.
“This is our home, these are our fans. We have a nation behind us and we’re ready to play our hearts out for them,” he exclaimed. “Will we bring home a medal? Yes, yes we will.”
**The Men’s Roller Derby World Cup will be hosted by Chinook City Roller Derby and can be live-streamed at http://mrdwc.com/**