For the first time, men in the ACT region will be able to train to play on a roller derby team of their own—not just as referees. From this month, Varsity Derby League (VDL), a Canberra-based flat track roller derby league, will start training men as well as women to play the fast and exciting contact sport of roller derby.

Potential new players—“fresh meat”—are invited to attend one or more free intake sessions on 12, 14 and 19 May 2013 to be held at Woden. The sessions are open to women and men over the age of 18. No previous skating experience is necessary, just a willingness to put in the work it takes to be a roller derby player.

“We’re really excited about this new member intake,” said Jill Wright (AKA Red Hot Jillie Pepper), VDL president. “We knew lots of local blokes had gotten together on their own for scrimmages and training, so the league decided forming a men’s team would be a great opportunity for both us and them.”

While predominantly a women’s sport, men’s derby teams and leagues have increased in number over the past few years. “Merby”, as it’s sometimes called, is played on the same track with the same rules.

VDL is also seeking new members and volunteers to train as on-skates referees and non-skating officials. People who can’t or don’t want to participate as contact sport players can be involved with roller derby in this way.

The first free intake session will be held at 2.45 pm on Sunday 12 May at the Woden Indoor Basketball Courts, 13 Irving Street, Philip. New players will need quad roller skates suitable for derby (not figure skates) and protective gear – knee, elbow and wrist pads plus a helmet and mouth guard. Some equipment other than mouthguards may be available to borrow.

In other news, we have dates for wicked awesome bouts for the rest of 2013:
13 July  – VDL vs South West Sydney Rockets
3 August – VDL vs Wagga Derby Dolls
26 October – VDL vs South Side Derby Dolls (Sydney)