1. How do I join Helsinki Roller Derby?
Helsinki Roller Derby holds a Beginners Course (BEC) twice a year. BEC lasts usually approximately 3 months and in that time you learn all the basic skills that you need to lay the foundation of your roller derby career. The timing of our BECs varies so to find out when the next one is being planned you can send us an e-mail to beginners [at] helsinkirollerderby.com or keep your eyes glued to our Facebook page and website. To join the BEC you must be 16 years of age or older. Our juniors are 10 to 17 year old; if you are 16 or 17 years old, you can decide whether you want to practise with the juniors or with the adults.
Before each BEC, we also arrange Open Skate sessions, where you can try on quad skates and other roller derby gear under experienced skaters’ supervision. We advertise Open Skate sessions on our website and on Facebook.
2. How much does BEC cost?
BEC costs usually 120 € and it is to be paid before the first BEC-session. Note that the price may vary based on the availability of training spaces.
3. Do I have to have my own equipment for BEC?
Yes, you will need to have your own equipment for BEC. The obligatory equipment includes quad skates (no inlines are allowed!), helmet, mouth guard, knee pads, elbow pads and wrist guards. We highly recommend the rookie sets of our collaborator, Jam in the Box!
4. Once I start BEC, when do I get to play roller derby?
Eager newbie, me likey!!! Already during the BEC you will be doing some non-contact pre-gaming drills. You will get to participate in scrimmages as a player, once you have passed your WFTDAs minimum skills test at the end of BEC. Don’t worry, BEC is designed to prepare all of our new skaters for this test. The test is regulated by the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association.
5. What if I don’t pass my WFTDA minimum skills test right after the course?
Don’t worry! Skaters who fail their WFTDA minimum skills tests will get to try again. Meanwhile you can attend our all league skating practices and also scrimmages as a skating or non-skating official. Also, HRD trainers will always give feedback and tell you what it is that you need to work on – we want to see every BEC skater succeed and move on to the next level!
6. If I have just missed a BEC, how can I get involved? // I don’t want to skate, how can I get involved?
You can join Team Officials! HRD is always looking for referees and NSOs (non-skating officials) and there are no tryouts for these positions. The officials have a slower-paced training program that runs throughout the year, the time commitment for the officials is not as big, and female officials always have the option of trying out for the league later, when the next BEC comes up. To find out more about officiating, please contact officials [at] helsinkirollerderby.com.
You can also volunteer. We always need people to help out with various tasks such as, but not limited to, bout production, announcing, fundrasing, and general running the league. If you’re interested, please contact info [at] helsinkirollerderby.com.
8. How about the gender policy?
Our Beginners Course is open to everyone (over 16 year old). However, since Helsinki Roller Derby is a Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby Association (WFTDA) member, we select the skaters on our competitive teams (=All-Stars, Queen B’s and C-cassette) according to their gender policy*. For the non-competitive side (all-league), everyone is welcome!
There are three men’s leagues at the moment: Helsinki Coast Quads, Tampere Rollin’ Bros and Kouvola Block’n’Trollers. In Helsinki we are in collaboration with the Coast Quads, meaning that we are honored to train their new skaters as well in our Freshmeat training period! Mens Team Finland is also training actively at the moment for the 2019 World Cup. Mens teams are open for everyone.
* “An individual who identifies as a trans woman, intersex woman, and/or gender expansive may skate with a WFTDA charter team if women’s flat track roller derby is the version and composition of roller derby with which they most closely identify.” Read more about the WFTDA gender policy here!
This post is also available in: Finnish