Derby girls roll into home bout

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Arch Angels host CutThroat Car Hops of Calgary on Saturday at Servus Credit Union Place

St. Albert’s Heavenly Rollers wheel into Saturday’s home opener as the Arch Angels on the derby circuit.

Last weekend the Angels celebrated their season debut with a tight inter-league decision against Rated PG in Prince George.

“Our first bout of the year was fantastic. It was nice to get back into the swing of things and it helped us get ready for this weekend,” said Celeste Thiesen, a blocker/pivot and the Rollers’ captain last year. “It was a fight to the bitter end because Prince George was a very worthy opponent. We’re a speedy team so it was nice to play a very evenly matched team. It was great to see that our teamwork was exceptional and our communication was exceptional.”

The home bout between the Angels and the CutThroat Car Hops of Calgary is billed as Cast the First Stone. The doors open at 6 p.m. and the first jam whistle goes at 7 p.m. at the Pizza 73 field house at Servus Credit Union Place.

Paul Lorieau, the national anthem singer for the Edmonton Oilers from 1981 to 2011, will perform O Canada.

Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door. Children under 10 get in free.

Tickets are available online at www.brownpapertickets.com, or from the Stella Blu Cafe in St. Albert or any derby girl.

Proceeds from the sale of game programs will go towards Ronald McDonald House Northern Alberta.

The Angels will go with basically the same team that kicked off the season in Prince George.

“We’re very excited. Our girls have been chomping at the bit to get back on our home track,” said Thiesen, a.k.a. Petra Phi No. 1.618 in the program.

“The St. Albert Heavenly Rollers is the name of the league, so within the league we have different teams. We have our travelling team, which is the Arch Angels, and we will also have house teams coming up pretty quickly in the season and they will play each other within the league,” said Thiesen, 38, a commercial rep and interior design teacher at NAIT.

Last year the Rollers averaged between 300 and 400 fans in five home dates at Servus Place. Attendance for the first bout in St. Albert history was 383, as the Deathbridge Derby Dames of Lethbridge outscored the Rollers 139-80 at Performance Arena on June 18.

“The way we set up the track with the chairs around it, the fans are quite involved and very gung-ho. We’re able to hear them and engage with them,” Thiesen said.

The Rollers, founded in September of 2010 for women all of ages, put 25 players on wheels last year during a nine-bout schedule in their inaugural season. They won five and lost four while going 3-2 at home.

“For such a new roller derby league it was an incredible success. A lot of teams in their first year don’t host a game,” Thiesen said. “We were so brand new last year that it took time for us to get everything organized. We’re a not-for-profit [organization]so we had to raise all the money to put it all together and of course train all the girls as well so it was pretty impressive that we had a full season in our first year of being a league.”

This year the ranks grew to 30 players, plus 15 newbies in training. The players average in age between 18 and 50ish, and hail from all walks in life.

The nine-bout schedule for the Angels continues April 28 in Calgary. The next home date is May 26 against Grande Prairie.

Visit www.stahrderby.com for more information.

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About Author

Jeff Hansen

Jeff Hansen joined the St. Albert Gazette in 1991. He writes about sports, athletes and teams from St. Albert and area.