The Summerside Twisted Sisters will host the Cape Breton Tar City Rollers at Credit Union Place in Summerside on Saturday at 7 p.m. Members of the Twisted Sisters are, seated, front row: Erik McKay, Jason Hickey and Tammy Bryant. Seated second row: Dianne Ford and Timothy Wall. Standing, from left: Kendra MacLellan, Nancy Manderson, Jacquelyn Mantie, Tara Simmons, Bryeanne Steele, Jennifer Grant, Holly Osborne, Kristine Heer, Tina MacAdam, Winny Edgcomb, Maureen Gay, Sheri Warren and Shelley Schurman. Missing from photo are team members Jana Selby, Sally Bernard, Amber Kenny, Lindsay Mckay, Alyssa Laperriere and Didi Kenny.
©Angie Perry Photo
SUMMERSIDE – The sport of roller derby is nothing like it used to be.
That is the message the Summerside Twisted Sisters is hoping to convey.
“I like to tell people to erase what they might have formed in their minds of prior derbies from the ‘70s and ‘80s, where it felt like it was more a wrestling exhibition,” said Maureen Gay, a member of the Twisted Sisters. “Now it’s morphed into a legitimate sport with strategy and skills that people will see on the track.”
Shelley Schurman, who is in her third season with the Twisted Sisters, added: “The sport world wide has grown exponentially. It’s one of the fastest-growing sports in the world right now.”
Schurman went on to say a number of rule changes have had a positive impact on the “resurgence” of roller derby.
“With the progression to a flat track it started becoming more of a legitimate sport . . . more of a true athletic sport,” said Schurman. “That is where we are at right now.”
I like to tell people to erase what they might have formed in their minds of prior derbies from the ‘70s and ‘80s, where it felt like it was more a wrestling exhibition,” said Maureen Gay, a member of the Twisted Sisters. “Now it’s morphed into a legitimate sport with strategy and skills that people will see on the track.
Summerside Twisted Sister Maureen Gay
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The Twisted Sisters return to action on Saturday, when the Cape Breton Tar City Rollers visit Credit Union Place for a 7 p.m. start. Admission is by donation, with a portion of the proceeds going to Anderson House.
“It should be a good bout,” predicted Sally Bernard of Freetown, a member of the Twisted Sisters. “We played against Tar City before and it was a good match.”
When asked what fans can expect to see, Gay commented: “A lot of action. It’s fast moving, it’s fast paced.”
It will be the second home bout of the season for the Twisted Sisters, who defeated the Halifax Dockyard Brawlers in their home opener in Bedeque on June 17 by a score of 240-196.
“It’s 100 per cent volunteer and player driven,” said Bernard, who added some rules have been changed in an attempt to make roller derby more of a spectator sport. “It takes a fair bit of time to organize bouts and get it going.
“We figured about one a month is what’s feasible for us.”
The Twisted Sisters, who recently competed in a tournament in Moncton, N.B., are in their sixth season of operation and are currently the only entry in the Wharf City Roller Derby League, which features more than 20 league members. Team rosters for bouts consist of 14 players.
“This is our biggest roster year since I have been involved, and probably since the beginning of Twisted Sisters,” said Schurman, a junior high teacher at Athena Consolidated School in Summerside. “We used to have an average age of 38, but we had some younger girls join us this year, so we are closer to an average age of 35.
“We have people who had no team sports experience up to people who have had lots of team sports experience. We have people who have figure skated, played hockey, played rugby . . . We have all different levels of body types, small and petite to taller and bigger girls.
“Roller derby really is a sport that encompasses all different types of people. We have teachers, accountants, moms. I’ve never played in a sport or been part of a group that has such a varied cross section of all different types of people.”
Twisted Sisters’ roster for Saturday night:
7. Jana Selby
11. Maureen Gay
24. Tara Simmons
33. Osborne (co-captain)
45. Shelley Schurman
65. Sally Bernard
73. Jennifer Grantie
76. Amber Kenny
79. Sheri Warren
88. Alyssa Laperriere
116. Kendra MacLellan
262. Kristine Heer co-captain)
333. Nancy Manderson
716. Tina MacAdams