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DNN Best of 2011 Poll: Results

  • Bout of the Year 2011 (Women's): London 137, Montreal 135 in the 5th place game of the WFTDA East Region Playoffs. Photo: Tyler Shaw.
  • Best Rivalry 2011: Gotham vs Oly. Photo: Axle Adams.
  • Most Improved Team 2011: London Rollergirls. Photo: David Andrew Morris.
  • Best Announcer 2011: Dumptruck. Photo: Joe Rollerfan.
  • Best Venue 2011: The Doll Factory in Los Angeles, CA. Photo: Stalkerazzi.
  • Best Regular-Season Event 2011: East Coast Derby Extravaganza, hosted by Philly Rollergirls. Photo: Joe Medolo.
  • Bout of the Year 2011 (Men's): New York Shock Exchange 143, Puget Sound 133 in the final of the MRDA Championships tournament. Photo: Bob Dunnell.
  • Most Underrated Player 2011 (Men's): Gnat King Kill of the St. Louis GateKeepers. Photo: Bob Dunnell.
  • Best Blocker 2011 (Men's): Percy Controll, St. Louis GateKeepers. Photo: Bob Dunnell.
  • Best Double Threat 2011 (Men's): Quadzilla, Puget Sound Derby Outcasts. Photo: Joe Rollerfan.
  • Jammer of the Year 2011 (Men's): Ladies Knight, New York Shock Exchange. Photo: Manish Gosalia.
  • Rookie of the Year 2011: Scald Eagle, Rose City. Photo: Joe Rollerfan.
  • Most Underrated Player 2011 (Women's): Smack Daddy, Montreal. Photo: Axle Adams.
  • Best Blocker 2011 (Women's): Psycho Babble, Rocky Mountain. Photo: Joe Rollerfan.
  • Best Double Threat 2011 (Women's): Suzy Hotrod, Gotham. Photo: Joe Medolo.
  • Jammer of the Year 2011 (Women's): Bonnie Thunders, Gotham. Photo: Joe Rollerfan.

Rookie of the Year

Winner: Scald Eagle, Rose City (396 votes, 24%)

2. Smarty Pants, Texas (296 votes, 18%)
3. Stella Italiana, Oly / Des Moines (221 votes, 13%)
4. Bob Loblaw, Rocky Mountain (183 votes, 11%)
5. Bork Bork Bork, Windy City (171 votes, 10%)

Scald Eagle was a "natural" rookie in 2011, playing her first derby bouts this year and immediately becoming a fan favorite in Portland with her signature lanky stride and spectacular spins to retain balance through big hits. On many levels, it's likely no coincidence that the addition of Scald Eagle came the same year that Rose City finally snapped their long string of underperformance in their regional playoffs and advanced to their first-ever appearance in the WFTDA championship tournament.

Most Underrated Player (Women's)

Winner: Smack Daddy, Montreal (18 votes)

2. Kamikaze Kitten, London / Lil' Mama, Montreal (17 votes)
3. Vicious Van Go Go, Texas (15 votes)
4. Yvette Yourmaker, Windy City / Medusa, Minnesota / OMG WTF, Gotham (14 votes)
5. Soulfearic Acid, Rose City (13 votes)

Once again, we find that most voters skip the write-in only Most Underrated category; though there were 1874 votes cast overall, only about 30 percent of you (576) placed a vote in this one. Of those, you could say the vote was somewhat split - 226 different skaters got at least one vote! The winner by a 3 percent plurality, though, is double-threat Smack Daddy from Montreal, who made her presence known from Seattle to London and many points in between during another very busy year for the Montreal crew. She capped off it by taking the MVP award as a Team Canada player during their second-place finish at the World Cup.

Most Valuable Blocker (Women's)

Winner: Psycho Babble, Rocky Mountain (529 votes, 32%)

2. Amanda Jamitinya, Rocky Mountain (185 votes, 11%)
3. Dolly Rocket, Charm City (173 votes, 11%)
4. Sassy, Oly (171 votes, 10%)
5. Hockey Honey, Oly (160 votes, 10%)

RMRG firebrand Psycho dominated this category this time for the second year in a row, pulling exactly as many votes as the next three nominees combined. The younger half of the Hayden sisters was a huge force on both the flat and banked track this year, at the center of the championship bouts of the WFTDA West Region Playoffs, the Battle on the Bank and the Chicago Invitational, and her departure with older sister DeRanged for newly formed banked superteam Team Bionic looks likely to significantly shake up the power structure in 2012.

Best Double Threat (Women's)

Winner: Suzy Hotrod, Gotham (475 votes, 27%)

2. Stefanie Mainey, London (237 votes, 13%)
3. Joy Collision, Charm City (212 votes, 12%)
4. Urrk'n Jerk'n as Booty Blockya, Rocky Mountain (159 votes, 9%)
5. Juke Boxx, Minnesota (142 votes, 8%)

Now a 7 year veteran of the flat-track game, Suzy Hotrod continued to become the iconic derby skater, building on last year's appearance in the first modern derby video game by hitting ESPN Magazine in a much-buzzed about photo shoot. For those who have seen her on the track, though, it's her ability to play a complete game that's earned her the Best Double Threat accolade for the second year running, as the same speed, agility and track awareness that made her name as a jammer are what makes her yet another deadly effective pack element in a Gotham defense that put up its second undefeated WFTDA season in the last 4 years.

Most Valuable Jammer (Women's)

Winner: Bonnie Thunders, Gotham (650 votes, 37%)

2. Kelley Young, Kansas City (252 votes, 14%)
3. DeRanged, Rocky Mountain (183 votes, 10%)
4. Atomatrix, Oly (150 votes, 9%)
5. Iron Wench, Montreal (136 votes, 8%)

For the second year in a row, Gotham's ace takes Most Valuable Jammer -- and it's arguable that it's even more deserved this year, as Bonnie's style was essentially the perfect complement to Gotham's infamous scrum start strategy that stymied all comers all year long. There remains nobody better at forcing blockers into a reactive state, and her relentless forward motion regardless of the situation in front of her led to many the collapse of a solid-looking wall -- and many the collapse of a solid-looking team.

Comments

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A wonderful list!!

I'm excited to see so many of the votes I cast come out on top! =D

And seriously, congrats to Scald Eagle on the Rookie of the Year award. She's truly an amazing person & absolutely deserving.

:)

Congrats to all nominees and winners! I think you all deserve it!

Yay Percy Controll!

STL <3!

Congrats and whatever

But, how can someone who won MVP of anything be underrated?

Congratulations

Congratulations to all the winners and nominees. You're all awesomely totally awesome sauce!

What's up with so few people voting for Underrated Player?

Less than 10% of the average number of people who voted for the top 5 in nearly any of the other categories voted for Underrated? That's odd, isn't it?

Underrated votes

I think part of the problem is the categorisation of 'underrated'.

All the top few players nominated are (I think) very highly rated by people who know their teams or have seen them play, as evidenced by, say, Smack Daddy's World Cup MVP award.

To my shame, I didn't actually vote in this category because I didn't feel I was really qualified to, in part because of the vagueness of the category. I think that perhaps one solution would be to expand the categories a bit, perhaps with players for Championship-level teams and Regionals-level teams getting separate categories. Smack Daddy, Kamikaze Kitten and Lil Mama would all have very good shouts at MV Double Threat, Blocker and Jammer for a non-champs team category -- and I think that the votes for them were as much for those hypothetical categories as for suggesting they're underrated, as they're all awesome and anyone who's seen them play would agree.

One other potential solution would be to make this category 'the best of the rest' and make it explicitly for the most valuable player not to receive a nomination in any of the other categories.

WHAT??? IT'S AN OUTRAGE I

WHAT??? IT'S AN OUTRAGE I TELL YOU!!!

Underrated is under-mentioned

As Lex mentions above, knowledgeable fans generally give so-called "underrated" players ample credit for their skills and achievements - when their names come up. So we use "underrated" because all our lives we've heard this term mostly associated with sports like MLB and the NFL where everyone already knows who everyone is; but in roller derby what we mean is, essentially, that we feel like we should hear about these players more often, not that we feel their contributions are undervalued per se. Just as importantly, we should look at how the meaning of "knowledgeable fan" has evolved in a short period of time: Not so long ago, this term basically meant someone with a working grasp of what the rules and strategies of the game itself are, as opposed to someone sitting in the stands experiencing prolonged periods of confusion as to what exactly they were looking at, whether they dug it or not.

These days, if you say you are a knowledgeable roller derby fan, there is an expectation that you know not just the aforementioned rules, etc., but also know about the best teams from all over the U.S. (and world,) who their best players are, how they did in the tournaments and so forth. I like to use Trauma from KC as an example. Playing alongside Bruz Her and Eclipse, I feel like she's definitely under-mentioned relative to how much ass she completely kicks - in both the physical and the mental game. But she's not "underrated" per se - I can't imagine anyone saying she's not as good as I'm saying she is right now. The bottom line is, we've never had the chance to watch as much high quality broadcast feed of bouts from all over as we did this year, and I'm guessing the ranks of the "knowledgeable fan" swelled accordingly with all the increased exposure and will continue to do so... It wasn't so long ago all we knew were the local players and a smattering of the biggest stars like Atomatrix, Suzy, etc. I think it'll take a bit more time before everyone gets their heads wrapped around what all this means in terms of the best way to structure these polls, as well as other platforms of recognition given to the skaters.

An incredible year in Derby!

Thanks to DNN for such great coverage of this sport we all love so much! Congrats to all the nominees and especially to my Kansas City Roller Warriors who continue to defy expectations.

Multiple choice

Multiple choice = more votes. It's much easier to click a choice than think of someone yourself, especially when lots of the big stars are represented in other categories. That said, massive congrats to all winners and runners up and thanks to DNN for this poll that I've been reading for 3 years and this year has blown my mind.

Men's Bout of the Year

If anyone didn't make it to the MRDA Championships (the Big Apple Beatdown) in October, all 8 of the games are available on DVD - including the Bout of the Year: New York Shock Exchange vs. Puget Sound Outcast Derby, NYSE vs. Magic City, and PSOD vs. St. Louis Gatekeepers! For more info or to order dvds, send an email to jackrabid@nyshockexchange.com.

Team Bionic looks like the future of derby

Check out the roster of the newest banked track team, hailing from Missile Mountain in Colorado Springs, CO.

Akers 99 CO - DRD
Alde Pantzue Size 5 CO - MMRD
Amanda Jamitinya 9 CO - RMRG
Atomatrix 3 WA - Oly
Bonnie Thunders 340 NY - GGRD
Christy More Cowbell 2ND TX - TCRB
Deadly Aim 22 WA - Oly
DeRanged 27 CO - RMRG
Down Under Thunder 69 CO - MMRD
Ecko 1972 CO - RMRG
Elecktra Highvoltage 90 AZ - TRD
Fluffy Cloud (aka Tannibal) 92 WA - Oly
Francey Pants 24 Canada - MTLRD
Helen Wheels 67 AZ - TRD
Hockey Honey 7 WA - Oly
Holly Ween 1031 AZ - NAZRD
Joy Collision 747 MD - Charm City
Juno It'll Hurt 518 CO - RMRG
Juska 303 CO - DRD
MC SLAMMA (Kiki) 151 CO - MMRD
Krissy Krash 360 CA - ACDG
Lindsey LoBlow 5 AZ - TRD
L'No LN0 CO - RMRG
OMG WTF 753 NY - GGRD
Psycho Babble 21 CO - RMRG
Sassy 2 WA - Oly
She Who Cannot Be Named 88 CO - RMRG
Suzy Hotrod 55 NY - GGRD

15 of these 28 skaters are from last year's top 3 flat track teams in the world. 11 of them are from Team USA. Mark my words - this team could well become the bridge between amateur and professional roller derby.

Your words have been marked.

Your words have been marked.

Team Legit 2.0?

Is this a one off bout? Will these skaters band together for BOTB V?

If they become the bridge between amateur and pro, on what terms will they ultimately perform derby on, the slant or the flat? Or is this more of a polyamorous bitraxual team?

This is definitely not a one-off bout

Bionic's schedule has AT LEAST one game a month through the entirety of 2012.

We have quite a bit of interest in this topic and will be sure to have some details on Team Bionic during the first week of the year. I agree that the nature of this team could have serious ramifications for the future of the sport.

Wow

Who will this team be playing? Anyone who could put up a fight has half their all-stars on the team already.

Edit: With that many skaters perhaps it is against itself, to put on the best show? It also looks like the future of professional derby lies in privately owned teams, not skater owned? At least based on this Team Bionic, and the latest 4 team cash tournament.

I've suggested a superteam

I've suggested a superteam series, but with no hometown team, no one has a clue how to market it. Legit, Awesome, Cruz, Bionic and maybe FSOP. Enough teams so you can't stack all of the best players on one team.

VR

I know there's a lot of crossover, but in your imaginary superteam series, I'd want to see Vagine Regime in the mix.

Sure, why not? Throw Team

Sure, why not? Throw Team seXY in there too. Most of those teams would probably play them.

I think there'd have to be a draft system of some sort. A lot of the teams have skater overlap, and if you were doing a series, they have to pick one team and stick with it.

There are some valid reasons to pursue this sort of thing. One of them is that it will take a lot of money to move this sport into the mainstream. A lot of money means control. Control *may* mean assembling teams from the ground up. If you already present a model of what teams look like when they're made of the best skaters from wherever, it can be a legitimate starting point for assembled teams. Money does like things that have been tried and have the kinks worked out.

The future may follow the lines of the KT Invitationals, where leagues are hired as contractors, or it may follow the lines of traditional pro sports, where teams are specifically assembled from the best players in the amateur system. A superteam series would cover all the bets with alternative models that take national or global recruitment into account.

More teams?

I'd like to see state all-star teams play against each other. I realize some of those might be the same as their best team, but it would be different for some. Florida could put together quite an interesting mix of players from Gold Coast, Jacksonville, Tampa, Tallahassee, and a few other leagues.

Hmmm...

kingjames wrote:

I'd like to see state all-star teams play against each other. I realize some of those might be the same as their best team, but it would be different for some. Florida could put together quite an interesting mix of players from Gold Coast, Jacksonville, Tampa, Tallahassee, and a few other leagues.

Maybe start with the chartered roster Gold Coast put in before Playoffs, heh.

Skater owned

It seems to me that Team Bionic has been created to harvest Bitchy Kitten Invitational cash prizes. There are no rules against that. I can't imagine leagues like Rocky or Gotham showing up again, or even Oly, without their superstars.

As for professional derby, leagues from the dawn of derby have talked about what to do when the man with the seven figure check shows up and wants you to work for him. “For the skater, by the skater” has never had anything to do with going professional. It's about how to go forward until and if, the man with the check shows up.

Derby has always been open to private investors who are willing to dump truckloads of cash on the sport.

Kitten Traxx Inv series.

The objective with the Invitational series is to grow the highest level of competition in BT derby. To harvest most of the best sk8rs to create say even two super teams.. Legit vs Bionic does nothing to grow the sport in a direction that is sustainable. IMHO. Not that I am against this type of derby cus it is amazing to watch. Like an All Star Pro bowl. but that is not the bread and butter of any pro sport.

Once again to be clear I love what Bionic will do for BT derby. But to invite other leagues to play without their superstars is pointless. The NBA and the like keep this from happening in their sports. Yet the Inv. series does not aspire to being anything beyond events. We want to work with those people already doing the work of governance, be that on a league or national level.

To me pro sports are very much US vs THEM (I love the Lakers {I dont} and I hate the Nicks) That is was fuels pro sports.

For now it is an Invitational because you are invited due to past performance on what ever surface you desire. We are planning the 2nd Inv. right now which will be tier 2, as we are dedicated to developing the whole of this sport.

A wider focus is what we hope to be a part of. Not a narrowing focus. More teams of equal footing that can play at the level we all saw in Chicago.

AS far as Busta's Draft comments... I think things could head in that direction, but that takes money to make that happen. But that is what all pro sports do in the end.

Just a more public announcement of what we are about.

Bionic venture

I think listening to this great interview on the subject starts to lay out a outline of what Team Bionic is about. http://derbydeeds.com/2012/01/ddp_ep089/
Not meaning to redirect traffic, but it is on point.

When you listen I noticed that there seems to a flexibility for possibilities. As RD develops adapting to changes is key in my mind. No one knows where RD is headed.

I've been trying to find the

I've been trying to find the team bionic schedule but to no avail. Do you happen to know any of the games they've scheduled (other than LADD obvs)?

Team Bionic Schedule

From their Facebook page:

Team Bionic 2012 Season Schedule:

January 14, 2012 Team Bionic vs LADD Tough Cookies in COS

February 11, 2012 Team Bionic vs LADD LA-Riettes in LA, CA

April 21, 2012 Team Bionic vs Sugarland Rollergirls (Oxnard, CA) in COS

May 19, 2012 Team Bionic - Light vs Dark in COS

August 11, 2012 Team Bionic vs Reno Rollergirls in COS

September 8, 2012 Team Bionic vs OKC Outlaws in COS

October 13, 2012 Team Bionic vs Long Beach Roller Derby in COS

(Hopefully Battle on the Bank V will be added to that list)

Which team, which future?

There's 38 (and probably more?) skaters on that roster. A fair number of whom are living and working across (and outside of) the country from this team's supposed "home base" (which already has a league with a travel team).

What I'm getting at is, the team that plays against the LADD travel team is going to be different from the one that's playing against a home team. And different from the one that plays SugarTown and Reno Rollergirls, too. Honestly, if it weren't, that'd make for some rather ugly one-sided games, wouldn't it?

Derby Advocate Since 2004 wrote:

Check out the roster of the newest banked track team, hailing from Missile Mountain in Colorado Springs, CO.

Akers 99 CO - DRD
Alde Pantzue Size 5 CO - MMRD
Amanda Jamitinya 9 CO - RMRG
Atomatrix 3 WA - Oly
Bonnie Thunders 340 NY - GGRD
Christy More Cowbell 2ND TX - TCRB
Deadly Aim 22 WA - Oly
DeRanged 27 CO - RMRG
Down Under Thunder 69 CO - MMRD
Ecko 1972 CO - RMRG
Elecktra Highvoltage 90 AZ - TRD
Fluffy Cloud (aka Tannibal) 92 WA - Oly
Francey Pants 24 Canada - MTLRD
Helen Wheels 67 AZ - TRD
Hockey Honey 7 WA - Oly
Holly Ween 1031 AZ - NAZRD
Joy Collision 747 MD - Charm City
Juno It'll Hurt 518 CO - RMRG
Juska 303 CO - DRD
MC SLAMMA (Kiki) 151 CO - MMRD
Krissy Krash 360 CA - ACDG
Lindsey LoBlow 5 AZ - TRD
L'No LN0 CO - RMRG
OMG WTF 753 NY - GGRD
Psycho Babble 21 CO - RMRG
Sassy 2 WA - Oly
She Who Cannot Be Named 88 CO - RMRG
Suzy Hotrod 55 NY - GGRD

15 of these 28 skaters are from last year's top 3 flat track teams in the world. 11 of them are from Team USA. Mark my words - this team could well become the bridge between amateur and professional roller derby.

deets

so thats a pretty stacked-up roster! who exactly will be providing the competition for these fine athletes? really, it would be tough to find suitable opponents for one bout let alone 12?!

Good point

I suppose opposing teams will hope to counter all that talent with teamwork and strategy, as I'm assuming that Team Bionic won't have a lot of team practice time being so spread out. Of course, that arguement has been made in the past about Team Legit and Team USA. As it was with the World Cup, I'd think opposing teams will just look forward to the experience of playing with athletes of that caliber.

I've been having this

I've been having this conversation, too. The Washington Generals, maybe.

Googled!

Google says they'll be playing their first game against LADD on January 14th.

LADD (ish)

Blackie Braless wrote:

Google says they'll be playing their first game against LADD on January 14th.

Just to clarify a little -- they're playing the LADD Tough Cookies. According to the LADD website, that would be the #5 (of 5) LADD home team.

Not saying it won't still be awesome to watch...but not quite the same as the LADD team that just won the Chicago thang. (though Bionic IS scheduled to play the LADD all-star team in February.)

I'll be seeing the Washington

I'll be seeing the Washington Generals in action tomorrow, so i'll ask them if they've got any upcoming bouts scheduled.

bionic

also here on their facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Team-Bionic/240873955984619?sk=info

Best video of the year

IMHO, that needs to be the next topic. I have to admit, I like trolling down youtube, looking to see what's new and neat.

This would be my suggestion: SamREye's Minnesota vs Naptown video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=routg_mrRRI

Good but no cigar

Didn't see a better vid than this last year!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=endscreen&v=AGuJZvf6ERQ

Well, I can think of only one solution!

Montreal is coming down to play Minnesota on March 3 -- Sam R Eye needs to bring his camera!

best derby video i've ever seen

2011 spring roll:
http://www.youtube.com/user/TheSamreye#p/c/B8C612F86596C766/2/IR6Wt4ZeMik
no other video has more big hits, combined with low mo finesse moves. then she tops it all off with feel-good bromance and pure joy of being on wheels.
best.video.ever.

agreed

excellent editing

WFTDA needs more tournaments

With the announcement of three more leagues joining WFTDA, (Congratulations, Humboldt!) I am yet again drawn the need of expanding WFTDA tournaments. I have in the past suggested doubling the number of regions so as to increase league participation, but another idea has come into my head that I like just as well.

It's sort of a division based system without the promotion/delegation BS. First, the regions would basically stay the way they are now (WFTDA can adjust them as they feel necessary) and the voting system would remain as well, we all know that a true season is either beyond the financial capabilities of most leagues or would be deathly boring. Then as happens now, the top ten leagues of each region would go to a tournament with the winners advancing on to a championship. My idea is to simply iterate this procedure. The second ten leagues (rank 11-20) of each region would go to a tournament, the winners advancing on to a championship, you can call it group 2 championship, if you like. This can now be done a third time (rank 21-30), a group 3, and as WFTDA continues to grow can be repeated as many times as there are leagues to make it happen. I'm sure this idea has been thought before, probably years ago, but I'm just throwing it out there again.

Back in 2006 almost every league that existed was invited to the first WFTDA tournament. Now the Big Five make up about 30% of the leagues and that percentage will be dropping in the future. WFTDA's mission is to promote roller derby to a widest number of women as possible. Does the WFTDA membership only want to support only a small number of elite leagues? I think not. Skaters want to skate. All WFTDA members ought to have a reasonable chance to enter some kind regional/championship tournament.

But how far does it go?

How far do you want to go to make everyone able to participate? What percentage are in playoffs for the NFL? MLB? NHL? NBA? More or less than 30%?

And how do you think a team that is right on the cusp of the top 10 of a particular region (DC or North Star, for example) will demolish a #20 team? The complaints about the difference between #1 and #5 in a particular region will be nothing compared to the blowouts in a #11-#20 tourney.

A different approach

I agree that there should be more tournament opportunities, but I suggest a different approach:

1) Expand the playoffs to include the top 14 in each region.
2) Seeds 1-6 in each region qualify directly for the regional playoffs.
3) Seeds 7-14 compete in a qualifying tournament a few weeks before the regionals. Top two from that tournament qualify for the regional playoff as seeds 7 & 8. The main regional playoff tournament would then have a less unwieldy 8-team bracket.

I like this idea...

so the Big 5 becomes the Big 9? Does the bracket for the Championship Series stay the same?

Yup, pretty much.

That's the effect I was going for. The Championships would remain the same.

I think with more leagues, there will be a bit more depth in each region. An expanded playoff gives lower-ranked teams something to shoot for.