The Kootenay Kannibelles defeated the visiting Spokannibals in roller derby action Saturday at the Castlegar Complex. The final was never in doubt as the Kannibelles dominated and beat the Spokannibals 301-55.
“The girls played awesome,” said Phil Yer Pants, head coach of the Kannibelles. “We actually played this team in Spokane in March and only won by 50 points. It was a real tight, hard fought game. We were expecting the same today. But I think the difference in score today is a measure of how much the Kannibelles have improved.”
Defence was the key to the victory, said the coach. “Their jammer had a lot of trouble getting through,” he said. “We were able to hold their jammer with three of our blockers and have one of our blockers help our jammer offensively. The other key was our teamwork. This team has an amazing team feeling and team attitude. That really reflects on the track.”
Pants says the team has been working a lot in practice on strategy and leaving the fitness up to the girls to work on with their league teams.
“We practice twice a week,” he said. “That allows us to focus on strategy and work on what we do on the track without having to work on the fitness so much.”
The Kannibelles are an all-star team of players from throughout the West Kootenay Roller Derby League. The team plays exhibition games against other all-star teams across Western Canada and the U.S. They recently hosted the Western Canadian Championships in Nelson, where they finished second.
“That was an amazing experience,” said Pants. “We were the host league so we got to play in front of our fans. We came second which was our goal going in.”
The Terminal City Rollers from Vancouver won the championship, but the Kannibelles gave them a good battle in the final. “We came away feeling very, very pleased with what we achieved,” he said. “That result put us ranked fifth in Canada.”
The next game for the Kootenay all-stars is August 11 in Calgary.