The 2016 Rink of Fire Preview

This Saturday night at Memorial Hall, the Kansas City Roller Warriors take the track in their final bout of the 2016 season — the house championship we all know and love as the Rink of Fire.

The night begins with the annual grudge match, which this year features the Knockouts and the Dreadnought Dorothys, followed by the championship bout between the Victory Vixens and the Black Eye Susans. Both the Vixens and the Susans have taken home the trophy before — the Vixens in 2012 and 2015, and the Susans in 2013 — so whoever wins will be bringing home a repeat title. No first-time champions this year.

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Normally, this is the time of year when we sit down, run the numbers, and project a winner in the Rink of Fire. But this year, there’s a problem.

As phenomenal as the 2016 season has been, it really defies analysis altogether. The unusually high incidence of players missing games — and the players from other teams that graciously subbed as a result — skews the numbers so badly that they can’t really be counted on to project anything. We spoke with a few high-profile players within the league yesterday, and they all said the same things: you can’t count on the numbers, and the championship will probably come down to whichever team has the fewest penalties.

Frankly, I was tempted to forge ahead as usual anyway. After all, regardless of all the subbing and swapping that’s gone on this season, the numbers all still count — wins and losses, penalties, points scored — they all go down in the books, same as they always have. So it was really tempting to just call it a wash, since all the teams used substitute players this year and none of it can be quantified anyway.

We went ahead and ran the numbers, but we’re going to let you, the refined Kansas City roller derby fans, decide for yourselves who will come out on top this weekend.

Here are the numbers as they stand.

The Victory Vixens boast a record of 5-1, the best in KCRW for 2016. They’ve outscored their opponents 1098-998 this season, a point differential of +100.

The Black Eye Susans have a 4-2 record and have outscored their opponents 1201-888, a point differential of +313. That puts them in first place for points scored, points allowed, and the point differential.

The Dreadnought Dorothys are 3-3 on the year and have been slightly outscored 1101-1103. That’s a point differential of -2.

The Knockouts have struggled this year with a win/loss record of 0-6. They’ve been outscored 871-1282, and that’s a differential of -411.

Looking at these numbers for what they’re worth, the case for the Victory Vixens really lies in their superior 5-1 record. The Susans have them beat in nearly every other category.

These two teams are 1-1 against each other this season, but the scores were pretty lopsided: the Susans beat the Vixens by 75 points in Game 1, and then in Game 4, the Vixens only beat the Susans by 10. The head-to-head numbers for these two teams put the Susans squarely on top with a combined score of 360-295; that’s a differential of +65 in favor of the BES.


Were these stats reflective of a consistent roster across the board this season, the BES would be the clear-cut choice for the Rink of Fire in 2016. Their point differential is too overwhelming to see it any other way.

But as we said, that’s really not what happened. There’s simply no way to quantify the impact of the player substitutions we’ve seen this year, and there have been a ton of them. Under these circumstances, we cannot project a winner in good conscience and expect it to mean anything.

That doesn’t mean it won’t be any fun — we can pretty much guarantee fun. We just can’t tell you who’s going to win.

But maybe you can. Who do you think will bring home the trophy for 2016? Who are you rooting for? Leave a comment below, or on our Facebook post, and let your team know you’re behind them!

Doors open at Memorial Hall at 5:00 tomorrow. There will be $1 draft beers from 5-6 p.m., or while supplies last.

It’s also Armed Services/Police Officer/Firefighter/EMT Apprecation Night. Show your work ID at the door and get your ticket for the pre-sale price.

The first 200 dads in the door get a free KCRW koozie.

The halftime show will be the Emerald City Upper Level Gymnastics Team.

And of course, they’ll have a 50/50 raffle, this month benefitting Team Rubicon – Region 7.

We will see you tomorrow night at the Rink of Fire!

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