The Hippo


May 28, 2020








The Granite State Roller Derby opens its season May 16. Courtesy photo.

Granite State Roller Derby home opener

Where: Everett Arena, 15 Loudon Road, Concord
When: Saturday, May 16, bouts at 3, 5 and 7 p.m. 
Cost: Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door and free for kids 10 or younger
Granite State Roller Derby upcoming home bouts (Everett Arena)
June 27: Demolition Dames vs. Fighting Finches
July 25: Fighting Finches vs. Twin City Derby & Demolition Dames vs. Twin City Derby
August 15: Demolition Dames vs. Fighting Finches
60th Annual Concord Kiwanis Spring Fair
Where: Outside the Everett Arena, 15 Loudon Road, Concord
When: Thursday, May 14, through Sunday, May 17 
Time: Thursday, 5 to 10 p.m.; Friday, 5 to 11 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 11 p.m.; and Sunday, noon to 6 p.m. 
Cost: Free admission
The Kiwanis Spring Fair features a midway, games and concessions. Ride specials: purchase a wristband for unlimited rides Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.

On a roll
Roller derby home opener conicides with Kiwanis Fair

By Angie Sykeny

The women of Granite State Roller Derby return to the Everett Arena for their season home opener on Saturday, May 16.

The league will be partnering with Kiwanis of Concord, which will simultaneously be holding its 60th annual fair outside the arena. The fair will have rides for kids and adults, food, games and more, and general admission is free.

We’ve partnered with [the Kiwanis fair] for the past few years, and it’s great, because families can wander in, check out the roller derby, then go out and get some fried dough or french fries between games,” said Jen Nickulas, member of the GSRD public relations committee and player for both the Granite State All-Stars and the Fighting Finches.

The opener is a triple header with all three of the leagues’ teams. GSRD’s competitive travel team, the Granite State All-Stars, will play the Connecticut Rollergirls at 3 p.m.; GSRD’s home team, the Demolition Dames, take on Twin State Derby’s Green Grass Kickers at 5 p.m. and the GSRD’s second home team, the Fighting Finches take on Twin State Derby’s White Mountain Mayhem at 7 p.m.

It’s a great experience to see skaters of all levels, from the travel team to the two home teams,” Nickulas said. “It’s really the whole spectrum of the sport in one place.”

Granite State Roller Derby is a member-run league comprised of 26 players. A year and a half ago, they were admitted into the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, where they are currently ranked 144 out of 228 leagues.

The roller derby season runs spring through fall (primarily because the arenas are covered with ice during the winter for winter sports), but the teams train and scrimmage all year long. GSRD’s next recruitment date is July 8, and Nickulas said if there is enough interest, the league might add another team.

If you’re new to roller derby, here’s the gist: each team can have five skaters on the track. One of the five skaters is designated the “jammer” and scores points by passing members of the opposing team. The other skaters work both offensively and defensively to stop the opposing team’s jammer while also aiding their own jammer. The whole game, called a “bout,” is two 30-minute segments comprised of 2-minute-or-shorter segments called “jams.”

While roller derby is considered a contact sport, Nickulas said it has gotten an inaccurate reputation for being aggressive. She said the home opener will be as family-friendly as a hockey or rugby game.

There’s none of the slinging-of-elbows that the game has been associated with,” she said. “Elbow-throwing is illegal. The game has evolved in the past few years to have a huge emphasis on strategy and less on hard hits.”

The sport offers a unique appeal to women — it is open to those who never thought of themselves as athletes and even to those who have never skated.

You don’t get many opportunities after college or high school to try a new sport,” Nickulas said. “There aren’t many organized teams like [roller derby], where you can put skates on for the first time and work your way up to be eligible to compete. It’s really empowering.”

Another appeal is the sense of community among the players. For Faith Meixell, head of the GSRD’s public relations committee and player for the Fighting Finches, roller derby was a way to meet new people when she moved to Concord after college.

That’s my favorite thing,” she said, “getting to know women of all different ages who do different things for work, and doing a sport together that is so different from anything you do in daily life. It’s kind of a strange thing, but a cool pursuit and a great group to get to know.”

The home teams will have three more summer home bouts at the Everett Arena, and the All-Stars will have three summer away bouts. The teams will also make an appearance at the Market Days Festival in downtown Concord held on June 25, 26 and 27, where they’ll do some casual bout demos in the street and hand out flyers for their recruitment date.

Our goal for the year is to continue growing and nurturing roller derby in Concord, and to rise in rankings so we can reach division-two status and go to the playoffs,” Nickulas said.

®2020 Hippo Press. site by wedu