Published on August 17th, 2011 | by DerbyLife0
Inside World Cup: Team Canada
Coach Pauly, Head Coach, Team Canada. (Read the full Team Canada roster on DNN)
DL: What was it like putting together your country’s first team?
CP: First off I would like to thank you and all of the derby journalists for all that your do for our sport.
This historic journey started some time back in Feb, we had the what, why all we needed now is come up with the who, where and the how?
I wanted to put together a comprehensive set of tests to see where the skaters were both in their physical fitness as well as their derby aptitude. To me this is a milestone in the evolution of derby, when it goes Olympic I want to already be working toward that end. So I brought my plan to my coaching staff and we hammered out the minor dents and poof we had the how.
We all go to school and we learn our geography but let me tell you after making my new home Canada I was enlightened to how huge this country really is. With the derby population having its highest numbers in the East, West and Central regions it was easy to section it off and begin talks with local leagues about tryout space and future collaboration for practice space and the like. Toronto (Toronto Roller Derby) stepped up and we set up a weekend training camp/tryout combo.
Working with Junkie Jenni and her league we rounded up volunteers and processed 40+ skaters through the tryout process. The next date to be scheduled was in July in Calgary. Bettie to Rumble (Calgary Roller Derby Association) and her league set up a boot camp and allowed us to have the last day to put 20 applicants through the process. Next we moved on to the west coast, Mack the Mouth worked with Sugah Bomb (Reign Valley Vixens Roller derby) to set up a day camp /tryout weekend by the end of the day we processed 20 Applicants.
From the applicants we took 11 from the east 9 from the central and 9 from the west making our shortlist. We employed the Team USA idea and gave specific Leagues exception to the tryout. So skaters from those teams were added to the shortlist. The coaching staff took the skaters tryout ratings and combined that with the skills we needed for the team and viola! We had our final roster of twenty. Now we have the where and the who. I would like to make a shout out to all the people that made the tryouts possible thank you for your support and time. We will have goodies for you.
DL: What are you doing to prepare the team for World Cup?
CP: Currently we are planning to have all of the skaters from the shortlist play in as many scrimmages as possible. We are appointing regional lead to help as liaisons to the local leagues in their regions. If we had all the money we needed I would love to get the team on a plane and go play some warm up bouts.
DL: What kind of challenges are you experiencing? (Fundraising, equipment, practice, etc.)
CP: Sponsorship has been a huge endeavor to say the least early on Mack had contact with some big companies but because we didn’t have much lead time most of them didn’t want to commit without prep time. So now we have 2 of the best sponsorship wranglers in the country working together to get us what we need.
Transportation, gear and accommodations are the name of the Game at this point. As I said before each piece is connected to the other so money = better opportunities for the team. I think we are doing well all things considered. My coaching staff and I have already asked that the teams be allowed to go for another year as they sit so that we can build everything to its potential and have some international bouts that lead up to the Next cup.
DL: What are the benefits or great experiences you are having from creating a World Cup team?
CP: Well so far I think the one thing that has struck me through this process is the spirit that players have and how much they are willing to give everything they have to represent their country. The competition was fierce and I think people really found themselves or at least found something new about themselves.
DL: How are locals responding to a first national team?
CP: I think people are really coming to know that Roller derby isn’t a flash in the pan sport and that it’s here to stay. In Canada when most people think about skating they it usually goes along with a stick and a puck but I am hoping that with this event we can show the people there is a new game in town with just as much aggression and grace as hockey. It may not be the religion they know but I am sure in time we can make it a sport they will love.
DL: What would help you most right now?
CP: Overall I think the single most important thing that would our team right now is time and funding. We have some awesome people working hard on the funding and time as you know is a harsh mistress but hey, each team if facing the same time constraints so I would say we are in good company.
DL: How do you expect to perform in the World Cup?
I expect our team to show the rest of the world solid competition and play each bout Jam for jam. We all know that the US team boast some of the best and most experienced players on the planet but I would say that people underestimate what the rest of the world has to offer. At the end of the day derby is derby and anything can happen.
DL: What are your hopes for your team?
CP: My one hope for my team is that win lose or draw they can stand proud on the last day and look back on the experience and know that they gave everything they had jam by jam.
DL: What does this first World Cup mean to you or your team for the future of roller derby in your country?
This cup is the first of its kind and this team will set the standard to what is expected to play at this level of competition. I am excited to be part of it.
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