Roller derby looking for new members

Lucas Punkari

It seems like an annual problem for the Borderland Roller Derby League.
Entering its third year of operation, the team is on the prowl for new members to come out and try the sport, especially with previous competitors leaving.
“We’re still at a steady number with nine members, but we lost four of our skaters since our last bout [in September here] due to people moving away or because of other commitments,” head coach Aurora Doerksen explained.
“However, we have had four new members come out to our practices since September and that excites us a lot,” she added.
The league held an open house last Wednesday night at the Super 8 Motel. And while few girls expressed interest in coming out to one of their practices in Barwick, Doerksen is staying optimistic.
“It’s exciting, obviously, but it’s one of those things where you have to wait and see what happens,” she noted.
“Once we get back established at the arena here in Fort Frances in May, we plan on having another open house night where people can get a chance to watch.
“When we did that last year, we were able to pick up three new skaters, and every time that we get a new skater is amazing,” she smiled.
At the moment, the team practices every Thursday from 7-9 p.m. in Barwick. But they will move back into the Memorial Sports Centre once the ice is taken out for the season.
Besides hunting for new members, the league also has streamlined things behind the scenes, cutting down a number of their committees and putting them under one umbrella.
“When we started, we [had] a committee for planning events, a committee for new recruits, and a committee for fundraising, among others,” Doerksen noted.
“Now we’ve streamlined things so that things can be done quicker and more efficiently.
“Plus, it allows those who want to work behind the scenes to do the work that you need to make things go, and those who just want to skate to do just that,” she reasoned.
Looking ahead, two dates currently are set aside for bouts here—for the weekend of July 13-15 and on Labour Day weekend in September.
However, there could be a new Northwestern Ontario rival for the local squad this year as a team in Kenora is on the verge of forming.
“I’ve been working with their group there and sending them papers on how we went about recruiting people when we got started here,” Doerksen explained.
“They are planning to have their first information sessions in mid-April and they plan to get started with practices once they get a space figure out as they are in a similar situation to us where we have to wait for the ice to come out.
“But to have a new team that is close by, like Bemidji is, is very exciting,” she enthused.
Those interested in joining the Borderland Roller Derby League can reach Doerksen, or any other member, via e-mail at