Dam City Rollers celebrate new digs

By Contributor
March 7th, 2013

Castlegar’s Dam City Rollers have something in common with that 70’s sitcom The Jeffersons..they’re Movin’ On Up!

The Dams have recently secured a swanky new practice and bouting space, and it’s a polished, heated, sprung-wood one – Castlegar’s Selkirk College Gymnasium!

Moving into this space has been the culmination of years of hard work in much rougher venues.  The team’s humble birthplace was an unheated barn/warehouse space owned by Certified Coatings Specialists, a fabulous Canadian company with offices in Castlegar who are still a valued league sponsor to this day.  Invaluable to the fledgling Dams, the unheated space left much to be desired in the way of being suitable to derby – pitted floors played havoc with trucks and made merely skating a bone-jarring experience, dusty conditions clogged up bearings almost faster than they could be cleaned, and privacy of the washroom facilities was provided by some disused industrial equipment instead of walls and a door.  However it was enough to give the derby-hungry Dams a taste of the game they coveted – and came complete with large barrels on which the skaters practiced their hits!

Shaking off the dust and with sights set on a heated practice space, the team moved on to a building that only looked like a barn – the tiny Robson Community Hall.  The Dam City Rollers were grateful to have access to this space, and the team still returns to the hall on occasion for Fresh Meat and off-skates practices.  However the somewhat cramped interior made it extremely difficult to practice such roller derby staples as powerful crossovers and speed-boosting whips.

It seems like the derby dreams of many teams had come true when the Xanadu Roller Rink opened at Playmor Junction.  Sure, there were huge poles at the inside of turns 1 and 2, and the polished concrete floor was slick enough to send many skaters into walls uncomfortably close to the outer track boundary, but it was all-derby…a permanent track, a skate-up area, and management by derby folks who knew what a boon available practice space was to this growing league with a homeless problem.  Unfortunately this venue was fairly short lived, and when Xanadu closed its doors the Dam City Rollers, along with several other teams, found themselves once again out in the street, in the cold of winter.

2012/2013 was the winter of the Dam’s discontent.  Due to the kindness of our sister teams, some skaters were able to join in practices held at the Trail Armouries, but with derby girls coming in from such far-flung areas as Nelson and Proctor, that venue was not a long-term solution.  Dam dreams danced with visions of a winter venue that was well located, suitable, and safe.  Enter Selkirk College.

Selkirk College had been approached about becoming a roller derby practice venue several times in the past.  Each time the answer had been no, as the College was labouring under the misconceptions that keep many teams out of wood floor venues: chiefly, that roller derby would quickly ruin the expensive sprung-wood floors.  Faced with the dire situation at hand, a concerted effort was put into crafting a well-thought-out proposal that would open the College doors to roller derby.

Queries were sent out to teams across North America, looking for teams that practice on sprung wood floors.  Testimonials were gathered from venues that have successfully allowed roller derby practices.  A strong case was built to show how roller derby would be a benefit to both Selkirk College and to women’s sport in the region.  After some deliberation, the College decided to take a chance with West Kootenay Roller Derby and allow the Dam City Rollers to practice on those coveted shiny wooden floors.  After a month’s worth of practices, the chance they took has paid off for skaters and the College alike – roller derby has been given the green light to continue within the institution’s varnished varsity Valhalla of Venues!

Come on out to Castlegar to watch a bout this season and help the Dam City Rollers celebrate the acquisition of their new practice space. Bright, spacious, safe, and comfortable…we’ve come a long ways, baby, and with Selkirk College on our side, there’s nowhere to go but up!

Categories: GeneralSports


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