May 2010 Featured League: Brewcity Bruisers

May 3, 2010

The Brewcity Bruisers are hosting May's WFTDA-recognized tournament, Midwest Brewhaha, as well as co-hosting the North Central Playoff Tournament with PMI Entertainment in September. Take a moment to learn more about this busy league!

Photo by Joe Kirschling

Milwaukee, WI

How does your season run?
Intra-league runs from January to May, and interleague is year-round, with primary focus starting in May through WFTDA Championships in the fall.

Are you close to any other WFTDA leagues?
[Mad Rollin' Dolls] Madison, WI and [Windy City Rollers] Chicago, IL

How many skaters/teams do you have?
We have around 70 skaters, which make up four home teams and also intermingle to form an All-Star Team and our Battlestars.

How is your league structured (home teams, travel team, management)?
We have a Board of Directors, then a Steering Committee (heads of each major committee), then our members, and lastly our affiliates/volunteers. All work together with a checks-and-balances system to keep our league growing and moving forward.

How often do you practice?
Currently, as we are in our home season, we offer a wide variety of practices our skaters can choose from to do as little (within the means of our attendance policy) or as much as they want for personal growth:

  • Sunday mornings are team scrimmages.
  • Mondays we offer an Interleague practice, followed by our All-Star practice.
  • Wednesdays we have practice for two of our home teams, and then on Thursday the other two home teams have their practice.
  • Saturday mornings we offer an endurance/conditioning practice, and once a month on Saturday afternoon we hold a “Boot camp for Newbies” to the general public to capture and retain new skaters and refs until our annual recruitment takes place in the summer.

During the summer when "Fresh Brew" training begins, and with our All-Stars and Battlestars training, it changes a bit, but there are always several practices being offered all week long!

Who is Brewcity's biggest rival? And have you had any outstanding, memorable moments against them when you bouted?
The North Star Roller Girls. We've played them twice, won both times including breaking their winning streak in 2009 by 1 point, yet we've only just been ranked higher than then in the WFTDA Rankings. They are also currently ranked higher than us on the DNN Power Rankings, keeping their spot as Montreal and London bump us down. We've definitely got something to prove this summer.

Do you have any sister leagues you'd like to give a shout out to?
Our sister league would probably be considered the Mad Rollin' Dolls of Madison, WI. They’ve reached out to us from the beginning, and have always been helpful in our growth. We’ve played them on an All-Star level, B-team level, and even very recently [home] team level.

What are some of the individual challenges of your city?
We haven’t had resources to include speed skate coaching in our training, which we feel is our weakness. But we have plans in 2010 to change that!

Who are some of your favorite sponsors?
Its hard to pick favorites, since we are so blessed for every sponsor we have (and we have many). Some have been with us from the very beginning of Brewcity Bruisers and some are new, but they all provide us such appreciated support which has kept us growing.

What are your biggest training challenges?
We have our own practice space, which offers unlimited practice scheduling. However, it only allows us the space of a track and a few feet until the nearest wall. So, we’ve had to be creative in accommodating to large attended practices. However, it has also forced us to be clean, smart hitters and not just plow our opponents out. Practice space sometimes leaks and causes us to scramble for a Plan B, but we manage to either move practices outdoors (weather permitting) or off-skates conditioning.

Who are the best "behind the scenes" skaters who make your league run?
There really are too many to mention. We’re very proud of our “league first” attitude in running the Brewcity Bruisers, and every member works hard for our league.

Who are some of your stars on the track, and why?
Like the question before, it’s hard to single out one or two individuals on each team because everyone is focused on making the league better. We know that competitive games make for happy fans, so everyone really pushes at practice and in games to make each other better and to give their all on the track. Our team captains really push that message and we are on board with it as a league.

What kind of training/bouting facilities do you have?
Our training space is described above in the practice schedule question, but our bouting facilities range from local skating rinks where we host a few no-fan, low production sanctioned bouts, to a Sports Complex where the majority of our action takes place, to, most recently, the U.S. Cellular Arena where we will debut with our 2010 Season Championship bout! Our goal is to beat the current attendance records and hit 6,000 fans at that bout!

Brewcity is in the process of hosting "The Midwest Brewhaha," a WFTDA-recognized tournament May 22-23, 2010. How may times have you hosted this tournament?
This will be the first year hosting this event, and it has been an extreme learning experience. We have some good models to follow with East Coast Derby Extravaganza and the recent Wild West Showdown. We’ve gotten a lot of support from those leagues who have hosted, but it has been a real eye opener discovering how much more work it takes to put this kind of event on than a standard bout. League members are coming out of the woodwork to help out though! We hope to make this tournament an annual event and we were excited to be able to field teams from all over the US and Canada. We were also very excited to be able to give local non-WFTDA or Apprentice leagues an opportunity to participate in an event of this level and hope to be able to continue to do that in the future!

Any words of advice to other leagues who are interested in hosting a tournament in the future?
Definitely make sure that your league understands the additional time commitment, and have a solid team to manage the project.

Right now Brewcity is ranked #5 with WFTDA in the North Central Region - What a huge difference from almost a year ago being ranked #12 in Q1 of 2009. What do you contribute your success to?
We started the season last year by determining what we wanted to accomplish. Using individual and team goals to give us benchmarks helped us to stay focused. One of our biggest goals was to get to Regionals. We knew that our performance in the 2nd Quarter of 2009 needed to be strong in order to get where we wanted to be and our season schedule was built to get us the challenging games that we needed. We increased our practice schedule, focused on our strengths and worked to minimize our weaknesses. The team really stepped up and pushed each other through, and, in the end, we were able to come together stronger and tighter than we had been before.

Brewcity has a "Bout Shuttle Service" where fans can pay $25 for one person or $40 for two, that includes one bout ticket, two beers, half a pizza, and a free shuttle to and from the bout. Has this been popular with your fans? Any advice for other leagues looking to develop something like this?
Yes, this has been very popular. Our sponsor, Horny Goat Brewery, set the whole thing up. We donate 10 comp tickets and they provide the rest. The first bout they had eight people take advantage, but this last bout they had 80 people! They ran six shuttle vans to the bout! It worked out very well for us and for our sponsor. The key is in being flexible with how you work with your sponsors and to think outside the box about what you can do for them, and what they can do for your league.

Do you have a special message to your fans?
Beer! Beer! Beer!

Is there any other information that you would like to share with Upcoming plans for 2010, tournaments, road trips, etc?
Our Championship will wrap up our home season on May 8th, and we’ll be steaming full speed a head into our Interleague season with games against Burning River and Tampa for our All-Stars, and games against CoMo Derby Dames and the Chicago Red Hots (a challenge team made up mostly of a Windy City Rollers home team) for our Battlestars. After that, we’ll be heading to Cincinnati for a 2 for 1 weekend against the Cincinnati Black Sheep and the Ohio Rollergirls the next day. The rest of our interleague schedule includes North Star, Detroit, Steel City, Houston, and hopefully the North Central Regional Tournament, which will be hosted by us in September!

You can find more info about the Brewhaha (tickets, hotel and general information) on our website, and click the Brewhaha skate logo!

Would your league like to be the WFTDA Featured League of the month? Have you had an extraordinarily successful season that you'd like to share with the fans? If you are a full WFTDA member league and have the authorization to speak on behalf of your league, we'd love to hear from you! Please contact

Real. Strong. Athletic. Revolutionary.