About

About Us

The Terminal City Rollergirls are Vancouver’s first female roller derby league. Established in 2006, our league is composed of local women who discovered this revolutionary way to combine athleticism, creativity, and female empowerment.

Since its inception, the Terminal City Rollergirls have set out to make our mark on Vancouver. Our mission is threefold:

  • To showcase exhilarating live sporting events featuring strong female athletes;
  • To improve each member’s athletic ability, self-discipline and character;
  • To work together to improve our communities as a whole.

Since 2006, the Terminal City Rollergirls league has grown exponentially! What started out as a meeting over nachos with a handful of women has spawned a league that is now over 10 years strong, and continues to grow and evolve.

We have four house teams that play locally in our annual season, two levels of travel teams that represent Vancouver in competitions throughout North America and worldwide, dozens of rookies participating in our Mix Tapes training program every year, an outstanding crew of skating and non-skating officials, an indispensable group of support volunteers, and the best fans in the world. Terminal City Rollergirls has become a major force in the world of roller derby, and a prominent part of the Vancouver community.

TCRG is a 100% player-owned and operated, and each of our members contributes to the productivity of this non-profit organization. The league is made up of a diverse group of women and men, from nurses to construction workers, graphic designers and teachers to stay-at-home moms, PhD students, and aspiring rock stars.

Each member brings their unique skills and perspectives to the table, and this allows our league to operate as a dynamic and successful organization. Every TCRG event has been conceived, orchestrated, and run exclusively by our members as a labour of love for each other, our community, and our sport!

What is Roller Derby?

Modern roller derby has come a long way from the the staged fights and theatrical punches of the televised derby from the olden days.

Modern Flat Track Roller Derby, while inspired by the spectacle of the old, televised banked track derby, is a legitimate contact sport with clear rules and sophisticated strategy. The hits and bruises are real! That said, there are rules against dangerous and unsportswomanlike behavior, such as punching or tripping.

The Rules

The game is played in two half-hour periods composed of short intervals (up to two minutes) called jams. Each team can field five players — a pack of four blockers, and one jammer — during each jam. Jammers score the points: one point each time they lap an opposing blocker. However, there are no points scored the first time a jammer passes through the pack. Instead, this “initial” pass determines which jammer gets lead status. The first jammer to get out of the pack becomes the lead jammer, and has the power to end the current jam by “calling it off” — with a gesture of tapping both hands on the hips — whenever it is most strategic. If a jam is not called off, it ends after two minutes, and a new jam begins.

While the jammer is trying hard to maneuver — or ram! — her way through the pack, the blockers have two objectives: help their own jammer get out by obstructing the other team, and prevent the opposing jammer from getting through. Since both jammers may be engaged in the pack at the same time, it’s one of the few sports where offensive and defensive gameplay happens simultaneously!

Check out this video from the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association for an excellent overview of game basics.

Penalties

Nope, slide tackles are not allowed. Nor is clotheslining another player, despite what you may have seen in Whip-It! We get enough bruises and broken bones as it is. The rules are meant to protect skaters from unnecessary and severe injury, as well as keep the gameplay interesting for skaters and audience alike!

Examples of penalties include:

  • initiating contact with the lower arms (from the elbows down) or lower legs
  • landing a hit on another skater’s lower legs, head, or square in the back
  • going out-of-bounds and re-entering the track ahead of skaters that were in front (“cutting”)
  • tripping — intentionally or unintentionally!
  • hitting a player while skating counter gameplay direction (clockwise)
  • for blockers: initiating contact when too far away from the rest of the pack (“out of play” penalty)