With the concentration of highly-ranked teams in the US, leagues outside North America have had a hard time getting any traction in the rankings unless they spend the money to travel across oceans. A handful of European teams made that trek this year, and now they have passed their rankings karma onto others with their participation in the WFTDA European Tournament (WET). Ten of the top European teams as of the WFTDA June rankings, got together in Malmö, Sweden over the weekend to play three games each, and it provided some interesting insights into the Euro-derby scene.
To those who are less familiar with the European derby landscape, Bear City’s newsworthy performance throughout tournament season can help give an indication of the strength of their peers in Europe. They aren’t the only ones to make a trip to the States this year, as five other leagues boarded planes, and that trip paid off with an average 40-rank boost among them.
Master Blaster had her own WET wrap up on her Facebook page, talking about Berlin’s exhausting year, and how all their hard work was to show what Europe is made of. She says that they stand by their promise: “We ARE WFTDA. We ARE European Roller Derby. We ARE dedicated to correct worldwide rankings. We ARE proud to put our play against our fellow Euro teams and may the best team win. And they did.”
Here is a quick rundown of how the ten teams did at WET, and a little background to how they’ve gotten to this point.
As a WFTDA league for two years now, Stockholm has spent that time winning lots of games. In fact, in 2014, the only leagues they have lost to were American ones, but with impressive performances.
Their US stint was in May at Beach Brawl, taking on Tampa, Houston, and Steel City. In that trip, their closest game was a three-point loss to Houston, who was WFTDA #27 at the time but we later saw drop to #42 after playoffs. Their largest deficit was against Tampa Bay (WFTDA #29 at the time) 224-96, but that all contributed to Stockholm’s 33-rank jump to WFTDA #91 by the end of May.
The weekend before WET, they hosted the London Brawl Saints, taking an unexpected win against the B-team of the #6 league in the world, 150-133. Their momentum continued to this past weekend, where they had two triple-digit wins, and an 89-point win over Bear City, who just earned D2 3rd place at this year’s Championships. After those three wins, Flat Track Stats (FTS) puts them as the #45 WFTDA team and #3 in Europe after the London Roller Girls and their Brawl Saints.
Helsinki Roller Derby – Helsinki, Finland
June WFTDA: #97 | Current FTS WFTDA: #67 | Weekend Record: 3-0
Helsinki has had a busy season, mostly playing games for the Suomi Cup (Finnish Cup), but got the bulk of their sanctioned games in while on their trip in Pennsylvania for ECDX.
They started that trip with a big win over Long Island, followed by a 16-point victory over Brandywine, who was #49 at the time and went on to take 8th place in Duluth. At the actual invitational they lost to both Charlottesville and Blue Ridge, but kept BRRG close, losing by 67 points. They ended their week-long trip with win over Garden State, making it a 3-2 trip, and a jump from WFTDA #137 to #97.
Helsinki was the only other team at WET to sweep all three of their games, including an 81-point win over Berlin. They had a closer game against Crime City, the host league, with a win by 47 points, and took a 312-197 win over Gent Go Go. In September, they did take on Stockholm as well, losing by 154 points, which helped put them currently as the #67 WFTDA team according to FTS and the 6th FTS ranked team in Europe.
The host league, Crime City, had played a few sanctioned European games since last fall, but also had an unsanctioned 54-point loss in March to Bear City who had their sights set on playoffs.
To work on their own ranking, they also attended ECDX, playing three games leading up to the event. Ranked WFTDA #145 at the time, their only loss that trip was to Roc City (WFTDA #92) by 73 points. The rest of their games they won; their biggest a 213-point victory over then #111-ranked Assault City, and a 36-point one over Garden State, ranked #69 at the time. This all contributed to their jump to #106 by the end of June.
At WET, their only loss was to Helsinki by 47 points, swiftly followed by triple-digit wins over Tiger Bay and Gent Go Go. Prior to this past weekend, they did take on Stockholm in an unsanctioned game, only losing by five points. Their performance at WET helped put them at #70 according to FTS, and #8 in Europe.
Bear City Roller Derby – Berlin, Germany
June WFTDA: #61 | Current FTS WFTDA: #80 | Weekend Record: 1-2
We have probably run you through Bear City’s 2014 season enough times by now, but to quickly recall, they played ten games in North America, with the last one earning them a medal. Between March and October rankings, they moved up 90 spots to currently hold the WFTDA #45 place, which doesn’t include their Championship game (and bonus game against Detroit that weekend).
Of the ten teams attending WET, Bear City is the oldest WFTDA member league (March 2012) and has gone the furthest up in WFTDA rankings, but the weekend proved how skewed those rankings numbers can be. Two of their games they lost to the two leagues who played undefeated over the weekend, and their only win was by 22 points over the Rainy City Roller Girls. With such an exhausting, winning season, those losses might have been a bit disheartening, but from their recent DC feature, we know that they are just happy to let their boosted rankings rub off on the other European leagues. According to FTS, this dropped them to #80 in WFTDA but #9 in Europe.
Best blocker: Dos Santos, @tigerbaybrawler.
— 2014WET (@2014WET) November 16, 2014
Tiger Bay Brawlers – Cardiff, United Kingdom
June WFTDA: #89 | Current FTS WFTDA: #81 | Weekend Record: 1-2
Tiger Bay kicked the year off taking on London, who was #6 in the WFTDA world, while they were ranked #124. Granted, it was an unsanctioned game, but they managed to put up 30 points to London’s 500.
They had two sanctioned wins in Europe, plus one unsanctioned close loss to Auld Reekie who was WFTDA #88 at the time, before heading to ECDX in June. Leading up to the invitational, they took on DC and Suburbia, losing to both but coming within 90 and 37 points respectively to two D2 playoff teams. At ECDX they had two wins, over Providence (WFTDA #69) and Garden State (WFTDA #78), which all added to their increase in ranking from #112 to #89 by the end of June.
At WET, they lost to the hosts, Crime City, and Stockholm by triple digits, and took their one win over Copenhagen, 255-81. As only a WFTDA member league for a little over a year, they have quickly put themselves out there and gotten their rank up. Flat Track Stats puts them currently at #81 in WFTDA, and #10 in Europe.
It makes sense that the top five consist of five teams who traveled abroad, because their experience and match-ups have given them the springboard they needed this year to excel.
Rainy City Roller Girls – Manchester, United Kingdom
June WFTDA: #121 | Current FTS WFTDA #94 | Weekend Record: 2-1
Only becoming a WFTDA member league last September, Rainy City played their first sanctioned game the following month against Glasgow, ranked #100 at the time. Their next WFTDA sanctioned game wasn’t until March, with a win over Royal Windsor.
The rest of their season got kicked off at 2014: A Skate Odyssey, where they went 2-1, winning over Leeds and Nidaros. They had a couple more wins and losses, putting them at WFTDA #132 by the end of October.
At WET, they picked up trip-digit wins over Copenhagen and Oslo, losing only to Bear City, but only by 22 points. This is quiet the feat against a team who sits at WFTDA #45 as of October. This will likely give them a good advantage by the end of November, possibly helping to bump them upwards into Division 2. After the weekend they hold the #94 spot in WFTDA according to FTS, as well as #11 in Europe.
Gent Go Go Roller Girls – Gent, Belgium
June WFTDA: #148 | Current FTS WFTDA #125 Weekend Record 0-3
Gent Go Go has had a shorter year, compared to the rest, having their first sanctioned game in April against Pairs, and winning by 16 points. They played again at the end of June at Skate Odyssey, this time the lost to Pair by 44 points, but won their other two.
At WET, two teams swept the weekend, but two also lost all three, and Gent was one of those teams. They took on one of those teams who would be undefeated, Helsinki, as well Crime City, who was also doing very well. They kept Nidaros close in their third loss though, only losing 200-172. That was eough to rank Gent higher according to FTS, as they have them at #125 in WFTDA and #19 in Europe.
Nidaros Roller Derby – Trondheim, Norway
June WFTDA: #153 | Current FTS WFTDA #140 | Weekend Record: 2-1
Becoming WFTDA just last September, they played one sanctioned game in Europe, a 206-point loss to Crime City, before boarding a plane and going to their first big sanctioned tournament.
Winning two, and losing three there, they even surprised themselves in their losses (in a good way). This trip got them into rankings for the first time, and with so many D3 teams at the event, it wasn’t something that gave them a boost over the century mark like other leagues, but was still a huge experience for them. At the end of the month they went right into Skate Odyssey, going 2-2.
At WET, they went 2-1, playing hard game against Stockholm, but then beating Gent and Olso by 28 and 96 points respectively. As of October, WFTDA had them ranked #162, but now FTS has them ranked #140 in WFTDA and #21 in Europe.
Copenhagen Roller Derby – Copenhagen, Denmark
June WFTDA: #168 | Current FTS WFTDA: #171 | Weekend Record: 1-2
Copenhagen just became WFTDA in December of last year, and started picking up sanctioned games in February. Their first was a 109-point loss to Crime City before taking on three teams at Skate Odyssey. They picked up their first sanctioned win over Oslo by 55 points, and lost to Nidaros and Gent Go Go by 88 and 131 points respectively. These three games got them their first rank at WFTDA #183, and then bumping them 15 places to #168.
At WET, they beat Oslo again, this time by 21 more points than last time, and two losses to Rainy City and Tiger Bay. Flat Track Stats now has them at #171 in WFTDA and #35 in Europe.
Oslo Roller Derby – Oslo, Norway
June WFTDA: #172 | Current FTS WFTDA: #199 | Weekend Record: 0-3
Compared to last season, Olso’s record has leaned more towards losses this year, but they also just became WFTDA members last December, and upped their level of competition.
Their first sanctioned win was over the Roller Girls of the Apocalypse by 67 points. And then only a few months later they also participated in Skate Odyssey, losing all three of their games, but by slim margins. This got them on the WFTDA rankings list at #163.
WET was Oslo’s next sanctioned opportunity, and again they went 0-3, losing to Rainy City, Nidaros and Copenhagen. That resulted in a #199 rank according to Flat Track Stats, and #48 in Europe. WFTDA currently has 219 leagues ranked, so it may be an uphill battle for Oslo, but it couldn’t be a better time to get in to the scene now that higher ranked teams are spreading their wealth overseas.
These were ten of the top WFTDA ranked teams, but a few others were missing from the list. London sits at the top of all charts, has put in lots of time the past few years playing abroad, and this year played two games into Champs. As of October, WFTDA has them in the #6 spot, and is also where FTS has them seated currently. Glasgow and Auld Reekie also weren’t at this event, but sit at the top of the European scene at 3rd and 4th respectively according to FTS. They too made trips to the US this year, Auld Reekie at the Big O, and Glasgow to Spring Roll, getting them each above the century mark. Glasgow is currently #64 in FTS, and #75 in October WFTDA rankings, while Auld Reekie is #72 (current FTS) and WFTDA #60 as of October.
If people were amazed at Berlin’s run this year and confused by their losses at WET, Master Blaster also had something to say about that. “I am incredibly humbled by the teams and play we got to be a part of this last weekend. The scores in the games Berlin played we’re not a representative that we are over ranked. It is representative of how under-ranked our fellow euro teams are.” 2015 will be a good year for European derby, and with Division resets at the end of this month, many will be creeping up into D2 after this tournament, and they will be hungry for more.