Last November, the Men’s Roller Derby Association announced a new structure for their post season tournaments which has expanded to include two regional playoffs. Like WFTDA, this year is also the first time a MRDA tournament will be held outside the United States, and in fact, none of the three men’s tournaments are in the states this season. The new format has 20 teams participating and the first five teams will compete this weekend in Toulouse, France for two spots at Championships.
The MRDA held its first ever Championships in 2010 with only four teams participating in a one-day event in Hagerstown, Maryland. The New York Shock Exchange took first place over Pioneer Valley and the hosts Harm City took third. At the time the organization was known as the Men’s Derby Coalition and was only made up of eight teams. Since then, the men’s Championship event has expanded to two days and first eight teams, and then the last two years ten teams were invited.
With continued growth comes expansion, and last year member leagues voted on the current format which expanded Championships to three days and twelves teams and also includes the two regional qualifying tournaments. The European qualifier “Harvest of Champions” is this weekend, July 29th and 30th, in France hosted by Roller Derby Toulouse. #12 Tyne & Fear Roller Derby, #15 Toulouse Quad Guards, #16 Manchester Roller Derby, #17 Lincolnshire Rolling Thunder, and the #20 Panam Squad will partake in two days of round robin games. Each team will play each other and the top two finishers will move on to Championships in October.
The North American qualifying playoff tournament takes place in Richmond, BC, Canada August 12th and 13th. Hosted by the Vancouver Murder, the “Salish Sea Slam” will have the #11 Philly Hooligans #18 Denver Ground Control, #19 Montréal Mont Royals, #22 Race City Rebels, #23 Austin Anarchy, #25 Minnesota Men’s Roller Derby, and #28 Dakota Men’s Roller Derby fighting for the remaining two spots at Champs. The seven teams will play out a double-elimination style bracket with the top seeded Hooligans receiving a bye.
October 13th through the 15th will be the Championship weekend for MRDA, hosted by the South Wales Silures in Cwmbran, South Wales. Eight teams already have an invite to “Cymru Clash” since the top teams received a bye directly to Champs, and they will be joined by the four teams who advance from Playoffs. #1 St. Louis GateKeepers, #2 Bridgetown Menace, #4 Southern Discomfort, #5 San Diego Aftershocks, #6 New York Shock Exchange #7 Puget Sound Outcast Derby, #8 Vancouver Murder, and #9 Magic City Misfits are those eight teams, with the #3 Texas Outlaws declining their invite this year.
A handful of other teams took themselves out of tournaments as well, #10 Mass Maelstrom, #13 Victoria Men’s Roller Derby, #14 Thunderquads Roller Derby, #21 Tampa Bay, #24 Oklahoma Men’s Roller Derby, #26 Carolina Wreckingballs, and #27 Toronto Men’s Roller Derby. Victoria (Australia) and the Thunderquads (Buenos Aires, Argentina) made their debut in the rankings this year but also traveled extensively to do so. Also absent from Champs this season, and any competitive play overall, is Your Mom Men’s Roller Derby, the former three-time Champions.
In 2014, Southern Discomfort became the first team outside the United States to qualify for Championships, and then last year the Vancouver Murder joined post season play as well. The new format allows more teams to participate but with member leagues popping up on multiple continents will soon be outgrown. It does give a chance to those outside the same top teams we’ve seen every year to play competitively.
“Harvest of Champions” Schedule
G1 10am CEST/4am EDT: #3 seed Manchester vs #5 seed Panam Squad 251-61
G2 12pm CEST/6am EDT: #2 seed Toulouse vs #4 seed Lincolnshire 221-97
G3 2pm CEST/8am EDDT: #1 seed #3 seed Manchester vs Tyne & Fear 250-167
G4 4pm CEST/10am EDT: #2 seed Toulouse vs #5 seed Panam Squad 249-63
G5 6pm CEST/12pm EDT: #4 seed Lincolnshire vs #1 seed Tyne & Fear 218-131
G6 10am CEST/4am EDT: #4 seed Lincolnshire vs #5 seed Panam Squad 264-91
G7 12pm CEST/6am EDT: #2 seed Toulouse vs #3 seed Manchester 162-151
G8 2pm CEST/8am EDT: #1 seed Tyne & Fear vs #5 seed Panam Squad 240-72
G9 4pm CEST/10am EDT: #3 seed Manchester vs #4 seed Lincolnshire 152-126
G10 6pm CEST/12pm EDT: #2 seed Toulouse vs #1 seed Tyne & Fear 196-109
Roller Derby Toulouse and Manchester Roller Derby advance to MRDA Champs.