Almost needless to say this but we will say it anyway: how glorious was it to have one of the 2017 WFTDA Division 1 Playoffs in Europe this year?! How amazingly did Crime City host it?! And what breathtaking audience and officials’ crews had we there?! And THOSE GAMES! We still have arrhythmia from the London versus Rainy City game.
For the first time, Helsinki Roller Derby and other European teams had the chance to attend the Playoffs without having the usual travel-across-the-Atlantic hassle: no jetlag, no big dent in our personal economy, no extra days off from work, no 300-dollar bill to Whole Foods etc. Don’t get me wrong – we know it’s a part of this sport but it was nice to know how it feels to attend the main tournament of the season just a little bit easier.
Helsinki’s tournament started on Friday morning against Charm City Roller Girls from Baltimore, USA. We knew they were an old, experienced, intense team and had played an even game against Kallio Rolling Rainbow this Spring so we knew we had to keep our heads clear and trust our own game. We managed to do just that, and won the game 308-144 which meant that we would advance to play against the host team Crime City Rollers for a ticket to the Champs.
Helsinki and Crime City have advanced in WFTDA rankings almost hand-in-hand, and the games between our teams are always some of the best ones of the season. Last time we played against each other at Anarchy in the UK in April CCR was missing some of their key players and the game ended with only 18 points’ difference. This time they had their full roster with them in their hometown but we also had more focus and confidence than ever before while playing against them. To no one’s surprise, the game was tight and everyone gave their best effort, and the cheering from the full Baltiska Hallen gave the game a dramatic battle feel. Crime City had fine-tuned their game a little better than us and on the second half they were able to run away with points with the game ending 215-170 in their favor and hence them collecting their ticket to the Championships. Even though the heartbreak was palpable on us for not making it this year, you can count on Helsinki cheering for Crime City the loudest. They played a brilliant tournament and deserved their spot in the Champs without a doubt!
Losing the game on Friday meant that we would only have one game left in the tournament and that would be against a Canadian team Calgary Roller Derby Association on Saturday afternoon. It felt great to play against teams from three different countries and two different continents – it shows that this sport really is more international than before. Calgary surprised us with their fighting spirit and very active gameplay while still being extremely nice to us all the time. We appreciate good sportspersonship and Calgary definitely gave us just that! The game ended 365-107 for us, and after that game our 2017 competitive season ended.
Helsinki Roller Derby Allstars have had quite a rollercoaster of a season with four D1 tournaments in four different countries and 15 games in total of which we have won 11 – we have only lost to London, Crime City and Rainy City this season. We have played against 12 unique opponents from 7 different countries and 3 different continents. This is the most versatile season we have had so far, and we have also learned and developed the most with this kind of a season.
We would like to thank our league for all the support you have given us throughout the season at practices, scrimmages, online and at tournaments. We would also like to thank all our fans, friends and family everywhere – we play for you. Thank you, Lorrae Evans from Victoria, for being our far-away coach in everything throughout the whole season, we love you so much and can’t wait to watch you play in Dallas next weekend! We also want to thank our partner Radar Wheels for supporting us this season with the best wheels available! We have played in so many different floors but the Halos work like a dream on all of them. Also, last but not least, thank you to all of our opponents in WFTDA: we make each other better, and this year the competition has been a dream come true.
One season done and dusted again but like we always say: we didn’t come this far to only come this far. 2018, get ready.
Helsinki Roller Derby – Charm City Roller Girls 308-144
Helsinki Roller Derby – Crime City Rollers 170-215
Helsinki Roller Derby – Calgary Roller Derby Association 365-107
Text: Joanna Koskinen
Pictures: Marko Niemelä