15 Wing DameBusters inspire roller derby community

The 15 Wing DameBusters
The 15 Wing DameBusters, the first military Roller Derby Team from 15 Wing Moose Jaw, SK. Photo: 15 Wing Public Affairs

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By Corporal Sophie Quemeneur

The DameBusters, 15 Wing’s roller derby team, hosted their first open practice session with civilian players who wanted to improve their rollerblading skills. This new practice challenge also included referee training offered to new referees, also known as zebras within the roller derby community.

“We realized that incorporating them into our own team practices was a perfect opportunity for new zebras to gain experience while also enhancing our own team training,” said Captain Gallagher, and added: “We hope that the sport will attract even more individuals to referee once they see how fun and challenging the bouts can be. This is an excellent opportunity for anyone who wants to be challenged mentally and physically”.

Since last season’s victory against the Saskatoon Rebelles, which hosted over 300 spectators and Her Honor Vaughn Solomon Schofield, Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan, the 15 Wing DameBusters have caught the attention of many roller derby teams in Saskatchewan.

Created in April 2016 by Captain Andie Gallagher, the 15 Wing DameBusters are the first military roller derby team. Despite the team’s young age, they are well known in the province for the rapidity at which the beginners progress through their training and “benchmark”, which allows them to compete in bouts.

“In average, it takes one to two years for beginners to benchmark. At 15 Wing, the average is three to five months, which really speaks to the quality of the training we do and the motivation of our players,” said Captain Gallagher, adding: “This has caught the attention of the larger roller derby community and we hope to capitalize on that momentum to keep growing the sport and empowering women through it.”

The fact that sport is an integrated part of the Canadian Armed Forces culture has played an important role in the team’s fast progression and success. The skills that team sports provide such as fitness, teamwork, motivation and discipline are also fostered in the military and key to operational success.

Roller derby is a growing sport with new leagues popping up all over the world.  While the sport counted less than a dozen leagues ten years ago, it now comprises of over 1500 leagues today.

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