Four members of a Red Deer junior roller derby league have been named to Canada’s junior squad.
Ana “Gutts” Guttridge, Kaylee “Killerina” Spottiswood, Rayna “Red Streaks” Macfie and Mila “Rennie” Rennie have been named to the 35-member team that will compete at the Junior Roller Derby World Cup in Valence, France, this upcoming July. The four are part of Nuclear Free Roller Derby, which is a Red Deer-based roller derby league.
“It’s going to be a wonderful opportunity – even just to see all of the other teams play. I’m really excited,” said Spottiswood, who first learned about the sport after her mentor from Big Brothers Big Sisters brought her to a game in Edmonton.
“It being a female-dominated, high-contact sport really drew me in. Once I started playing I realized I love everything about it.”
Going into the World Cup alongside three other players from the Red Deer league is exciting, the 16-year-old added.
“We’re pretty close. The relationship between the four of us was different before because I was new to the league in Red Deer. Once we all made Team Canada, it was something that helped us bond,” Spottiswood said.
Rennie echoed Spottiswood’s sentiments.
“Making Team Canada really brought us together. At practices we’re like the only people our age and at our level. We’re kind of like our own little club inside our league,” said Rennie.
The 18-year-old Rennie has already been playing roller derby for a number of years.
“It’s kind of crazy to think about now,” she said.
“When I was five years old I got a pair of roller skates when my mom found out about a local league when we were living in British Columbia. Then when I was eight, we found a league here in Red Deer and I’ve been playing ever since.
“It’s an incredibly unique sport. … I really like the skating itself and the fact that it’s a female-dominated sport. We have so many great role models and teammates. It has a wonderful community that I don’t think a lot of kids growing up in high school get to have. It’s really inclusive. Also it’s a contact sport and I love the violence.”
Team Canada players gathered in Toronto on April 22-23 for their first in-person practice and games as a national team. Canada hosted a meetup with Team France and the Pittsburgh Derby Brats. The three teams faced off in five games between each region’s female and open-gender teams.
Rennie described those games as an “euphoric” experience.
“I was named to Team Canada in 2020, but we got shut down due to COVID. It was incredibly heart breaking. Getting on to this team now, it feels like it’s been a long-time coming,” Rennie said.
“I got to meet Team France. It was such a sports environment. I’d never experienced anything like it. Everyone was screaming and cheering. It was beautiful and so fun to meet everybody.”
The players on Team Canada Junior Roller Derby range in age from 13 to 18. In May, they will travel to Calgary before a final practice in France, before the international competition.
Nuclear Free Roller Derby is hosting a Roller Disco/Skate-A-Thon/Skills Competition fundraiser on June 10 at the Springbrook Multiplex for the four local athletes. The event begins at 4 p.m., with the Roller Disco beginning at 6:30 p.m.