July 2014 Featured League: Harbor City Roller Dames

July 1, 2014


This month's featured league might be comfortable in the cold, but they're preparing a warm welcome this August as they host the WFTDA D2 Playoffs in beautiful Duluth, MN. Learn more about our July 2014 Featured League, the Harbor City Roller Dames.

July 2014 WFTDA Featured League: Harbor City Roller Dames

Photo by Wes Bailey

What city are you based in?
Harbor City Roller Dames is based in the "Twin Ports" of Duluth, Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin.

How does your season run?
Our official home season typically runs from October to June and includes 5 home dates. We tend to take a short two week holiday break in December and another in July. Other than that, we are practicing and bouting year-round!

How many skaters/teams do you have?
HCRD is currently split into two teams. There is the WFTDA chartered Nautikills and our non-chartered "B Team" the Shipwreckers. We retain a league membership of approximately 30 individuals.

How is your league structured (home teams, travel team, management)?
Our two teams travel in addition to playing at our home venue. HCRD is owned and operated entirely by our dedicated skaters. Our league is open to all women ages 19 and up. Any person (18+) is welcome to join our fantastic referee and non-skating official staff. We have a member-elected five member Board of Directors who oversee our essential business functions. We also have many other member-elected "committee heads" who oversee such things as fundraising, bout production, interleague coordination, etc.

How many days a week do you practice? How are your practices divided/organized among your teams/skaters?
League practices are held every Wednesday from 5:45pm-7:15pm and Sunday morning from 11:00am until 12:30pm, split practices for the chartered and non-chartered teams are Thursday from 5:45pm-8:45pm. We also host a “new skater” practice from 10:00am-11:00am on Sunday mornings where everyone is welcome to come and skate and help teach new recruits. Currently, our practices are run and organized by our Captains. Both teams have two Captains who share the training and rostering responsibilities for their respective teams. When we have a bench coach, they also share in these responsibilities.

What are your biggest training challenges?
HCRD has experienced a lack of training space and availability. We are always on the lookout for additional practice space and time. We also have not historically had a consistent Bench Coach, which presents interesting challenges in bouting situations.

July 2014 WFTDA Featured League: Harbor City Roller Dames

Photo by Preflash Gordon

What kind of training/bouting facilities do you have?
We practice in Superior, WI at the World of Wheels Skating Center. We are very fortunate to have a strong relationship with the rink's owner and he has been very supportive of the league. We bout in Duluth, MN at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC). The DECC is a beautiful venue and we are pleased that we made the leap to skate at this facility so many seasons ago.

Who are some “behind the scenes” skaters/members who really help your league run?
All of our NSO's and volunteers are essential to HCRD's continued operation. They often do not get the recognition they deserve. We would also be remiss if we did not give a shout out to all of our Board Members and Committee Heads. So much hard work is done on a volunteer basis to help keep our league functioning. We are very fortunate to have many dedicated folks working on the less glamorous aspects of running a WFTDA league.

Who are some of your star skaters on the track, and why?
HCRD has seen an unprecedented turnover in our active skating membership this past year. We are lucky to have retained some of our long standing veterans and also to have acquired some new and promising talent. We are excited to see what Season 6 has in store for HCRD! We could not be this successful without the dedication of every single member who laces up her skates.

What are the individual challenges of your location?
Duluth and Superior are both "college towns" and as such, have a significant transient population. Our league quite frequently experiences people leaving the league to move on to larger cities for career opportunities. Duluth Mayor, Don Ness (and HCRD super fan) has spearheaded a major effort in the last few years to help retain college graduates from our local universities. Our hope is that, if more adults are enticed into staying in the area, our league will be able to better retain skaters, referees, and NSOs.

Which WFTDA leagues are closest to you?
The closest WFTDA leagues are the North Star Roller Girls in Minneapolis, MN and Minnesota RollerGirls in Saint Paul, MN. We are very fortunate to be so close in proximity to two competitive leagues. We have learned a lot and have been supported in many ways by both of these leagues throughout the years.

Who is your biggest rival? And have you had any outstanding, memorable moments when you've played them?
We have had a friendly rivalry with the Fargo-Moorhead Derby Girls for many years. Some of HCRD's fondest memories stem from the first couple of times we met FMDG on the track. The first encounter was at the Fargo Civic Center in 2010. HCRD was fairly inexperienced at the time, and let's just say that FMDG handed our ladies a significant loss and butt whoopin'. However, six weeks later when FMDG came to visit HCRD in front of a sold out crowd at the DECC, it was a much different story. HCRD took our first loss in stride and employed a lot of what we learned from that first bout. HCRD ended up only losing to FMDG by three points that second bout. Since that time, HCRD has looked to FMDG as a strong and classy competitor and they are one of our favorite teams to play, no matter the outcome.

July 2014 WFTDA Featured League: Harbor City Roller Dames

Photo by Preflash Gordon

You graduated the WFTDA Apprentice Program to become a full member league just over a year ago, in June of 2013, and now you're hosting a Playoff Tournament. What helped motivate your league to take on such an ambitious task?
HCRD has always taken pride in our work ethic and also our fabulous bouting venue. We made the decision a few years back that we would work to become a competitive WFTDA league and have made strides since then to be noticed by the WFTDA community. What better way to make connections then to host a Playoff Tournament?! The efforts were spearheaded by one of our league leaders, Violent Baudelaire. Her initiative pushed the league to submit an application. We are very excited to be hosting a D2 tournament and to introduce our venue and beautiful city to the WFTDA community.

When people hear Duluth, MN they think COLD! For fans and skaters looking to visit Harbor City for the D2 Playoffs in August, what are some of the great seasonal attractions your hometown has to look forward to?
Duluth is one of the most beautiful outdoor cities in the nation. In fact, Duluth was just voted best outdoors town by Outside magazine! The DECC, where the D2 tournament will take place, is located in Canal Park on the shores of Lake Superior. There are many outdoor areas to explore such as Brighton Beach, Bayfront Festival Park, Hartley Nature Center, Spirit Mountain Adventure Park, Lester Park, the Lake Superior Zoo and more! There is even a Duluth Glides Segway Tour for those interested in rolling through Duluth's finest attractions. For those who want to take their skates out for a spin, both the Duluth Lakewalk and Willard Munger State Trail are fabulous for an outdoor skate adventure. Also near Canal Park you will find the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center, Great Lakes Aquarium, and the S.S. William A. Irvin Ore Boat Museum.

Congrats on your recent feature in the Sports section of the Duluth New Tribute! How has your league worked to gain recognition as a sports organization in your community? What has the response been with the announcement of the WFTDA Division 2 tournament coming to town August 15th - 17th?
HCRD has made a conscious effort to promote roller derby as a sport and not just entertainment. While we appreciate all coverage of our events we remain committed to increasing visibility in the sports sections of our local media. We frequently submit our bout scores to the sports factions of local media. We are sure to make note in every interview and interaction with fans that we are a hard working and dedicated group of individuals who take our sport seriously. That being said, we are definitely not above having a great time while competing! We have had a lot of interest and positive feedback about our hosting the WFTDA D2 Playoffs. Many people seem quite impressed that we are taking on the responsibility. Even more are taken aback by the sheer number of people we will be bringing into Duluth for the tournament. We believe it has bolstered our legitimacy in our local business community and via the media outlets. It has created a lot of chatter about roller derby in our fair city!

July 2014 WFTDA Featured League: Harbor City Roller Dames

Photo by Wes Bailey

How does your league give back to the community?
As a league we work to give back to our community by making monetary donations and taking part in events that benefit local charitable non-profit organizations. HCRD has given thousands of dollars and hundreds of volunteer hours back to the community. We have worked to benefit organizations such as Animal Allies, Program for Aid to Victims of Sexual Assault (PAVSA), The Emily Program, Safe Haven Shelter, Habitat for Humanity, Special Olympics, Damiano Center Kids Cafe, Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse (CASDA), First Witness Child Abuse Resource Center, and the Lakes and Pines Girls Scouts Outreach to Girls at Risk Program.

Who are some of your favorite sponsors?
Some of our largest sponsors are: Pizza Luce` Duluth, 94x Pure Rock (Red Rock Radio), Bent Paddle Brewing, Whole Food Coop, and Grizzly's.

Do you have a special message for your fans?
Thank you so much for your support and dedication these past 5 seasons. We could not have made it this far without you! We really do have some of the raddest fans.

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 wftda.com 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! Or nominate your favorite league and tell us why they should be featured on wftda.com! Please contact webmaster@wftda.com.

Real. Strong. Athletic. Revolutionary.