Favourite local non-professional sports league

Photo by Shawn Coates

1. Winnipeg Roller Derby League 

2. Dodgeball Winnipeg 

3. Manitoba Organization of Disc Sports / Adult Safe Hockey League (tie)


The Winnipeg Roller Derby League (WRDL) has been rolling since 2008 and, in its seventh year, Uniter readers have spoken, declaring it the favourite non-professional sports league. 

“It is a huge honour to be recognized because we work really hard to represent Winnipeg in the derby community,” Victoria Coombs, one of the founders of WRDL and an All-Stars player, says. 

“Personally, it’s a big victory just to be in the sports category! We are not just a hobby or spectacle anymore. We are a real sport.” 

It’s as real as any sport with its strategic, fast paced, full contact plays. 

WRDL has three home teams: The Corporation, Valkyries’ Wrath and the Backseat Betties. 

There are also two travel teams: the All-Stars and the Bombshell Brawlers. 

In 2011, the league expanded to include skaters age 10 to 17. 

“Having the kids involved has put a fire under our asses,” Coombs says. “These kids are amazing skaters and they are going to be better skaters than the All-Stars before they are even old enough to join the league. It’s really fun to watch them grow.” 

If you want to be a ref for the game, you’ll be in with the Zebra Herd. If you’re new and looking to join a team, you’ll learn the ropes through the Fresh Meat Training Program. 

Coombs says derby is also a great spectator sport and people seem to love watching. She warns audience members not to have the ’80s expectations of the sport being staged and faked most of the time. 

“We are neither of those things. It’s athletic, strategic and really fun to watch,” Coombs says. “Plus, beer.”

Published in Volume 70, Number 13 of The Uniter (December 3, 2015)

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