Roller derby's appeal catching on in Cowichan

Roller derby has rolled into Cowichan.

The popular fad sport of the 1970s has undergone quite a revival and the valley isn't being left out.

Kelly Corby of Crofton, who plays for the Nanaimo Nemesis Derby Dolls, is also the coach of a junior team called The Candy Crushers that was originally based in Nanaimo but now practices at the Cowichan Exhibition's Mellor Hall once a week.

Corby said there are girls from Duncan, Crofton, Youbou, Ladysmith and Nanaimo, ages 10 to 17, who make up the team.

"We're getting a lot of juniors from Duncan,'' said Corby, whose daughter Lexi, 13, is the captain.

Roller derby has been a recent phenomenon for both mother and daughter.

"I've only been doing it for a year and a half,'' said Corby. "I saw it on Facebook. My daughter started skating with me and now she's way better than me.''

Corby is 41, proving it's a sport women can take up at any age.

"I love it so much and my daughter wanted to play,'' she said. "We wanted to get our juniors going.''

A boot camp was recently held at the Cowichan Exhibition site that attracted junior girls from all over the island and Powell River.

Fancy monikers are a big part of roller derby. Amanda Gould, the coach of the adult Nanaimo Nemesis, goes by the name Miss B Haven.

Kelly Corby uses Pain Kill-her as her alter ego and daughter Lexi is known as Goldy Lex.

It's all part of the fun.

Roller derby is a bigtime sport in other parts of the island, with two women's teams in Nanaimo plus one each in Courtenay, Campbell River, Port Alberni and Victoria. The valley is the only void in between but that's all changing, especially with the explosion of interest among the juniors.

"We're definitely trying to bring it to Duncan,'' said Corby.

"We've got such a great space.''

She said Mellor Hall is perfectly suited for the flat track that's used, not the banked style seen in the sport's early days.

"That's not as dangerous,'' said Corby. "There's still the bumping and the crashing and the hitting.''

No previous skating skills are necessary. Corby found she picked up the game quickly; you just have to adapt your style to the correct position.

"If you're a jammer, you want to be a good fast skater,'' she said. "If you're a blocker, your job is to stop the jammer.''

Corby's daughter has progressed rapidly and is actually going to the Junior Rollercon in Las Vegas in July of next year.

Practices have been on a break now over Christmas but will start again soon after New Year's.

Corby said adults or kids wanting to find out more can contact her at 250-709-7208.




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