The beginning of every new sports season brings with it a great deal of promise and excitement. That goes double for the Kansas City Roller Warriors, who have blazed a trail of flat track roller derby glory in Kansas City that reaches all the way back to 2005.
Friends and fans alike are understandably excited when a new season begins, but I have news for all the derby fans in Kansas City: the 2019-20 season could be unlike anything you’ve seen before.
Between the exciting new recruits, the returning veterans from last season, and the superstars of yesteryear re-joining the league — some of them after years of retirement from the sport — we could be in for the most insane season in KCRW history, if we’re not careful.
Last Saturday night, KCRW kicked off the brand new season, one they decided to begin in November, which has only happened one other time in league history. The crowd in attendance was given a mere taste of the season to come, and those who missed out will have their chance to make up for that mistake when the Roller Warriors take the track again on December 14.
For now, let’s take a look at what awaits us in the coming months.
Way back when I was just a wee fan cheering my little flat track heart out from the crash zone at Municipal Auditorium, one of the most exciting pieces of news I could have gotten was that a favorite retired skater was back in the fray.
Returning fans were treated to that very news Saturday night as a whole handful of superstars, several of whom haven’t competed on the track for quite some time, carved out yet another place for themselves in league history and made their season debut for a new generation of roller derby fanatics in the crowd.
Superstars returning to the flat track for the 2019-20 season include:
- Annie Maul: Certainly one of the most prominent players in the long and storied history of the league, Ms. Maul was sponsored by Riedell Skates back in the day and was the pride of the Victory Vixens for years on end. Last weekend, she kicked off the 2019-20 season as a Black Eye Susan.
- Bruz Her: Long known as a defensive wall unto herself for the dreaded Dreadnought Dorothys in their late-2000s heyday, she took her talents to the Knockouts and Victory Vixens in later seasons before taking a well-earned retirement in 2016. She’s back with the Vixens this season, and we couldn’t be more excited.
- Eclipse: Accurately billed for years as a “defensive powerhouse” for the powerful Dreadnought Dorothys and the All-Star travel team, this legendary blocker retired after the 2011 season and subsequently coached off and on for house teams in the years since. Such is our regard for the mighty Eclipse that we’ve believed since her retirement that her number, 0, should have been retired along with her. She re-joins KCRW for 2019-20 as a Knockout.
- Jess Decker: One of the brightest faces on the track in recent memory, Jess Decker was a longtime Knockout before gracefully exiting the track to pursue other endeavors. She returns to KCRW after only a couple of years off, this time drafted to the Black Eye Susans.
- Lucha Lethal: The former Dreadnought Dorothys mainstay quietly retired from the league around 2013, then played a couple of seasons for then-Dead Girl Derby. She returns to the Dorothys for the 2019-20 season.
- Shirley Gonnahitya: This beloved former Victory Vixen took some time off from the league, but not from our hearts. Die-hard Shirley fans got their wish Saturday night as Ms. Gonnahitya was re-introduced to the flat track, this time wearing Knockouts teal.
- Tuff Noogies: The longtime Black Eye Susan finally hung up her skates in 2015 after a distinguished career as a Roller Warrior, and we frankly never thought we’d see her on the track again. We couldn’t be happier to have been wrong. Noogies was drafted to the Dreadnought Dorothys for this season, and we’re thrilled to see her out there.
And by “rookies,” we of course mean “first-time Roller Warriors,” since you’ll quickly realize most of these new phenoms have clearly been on skates for quite some time.
For our money, the most exciting newcomer to the league this season would have to be Alley Cat, who among other things, scored herself a 20-point jam Saturday night and netted the team MVP distinction even as her Dorothys fell to the Knockouts by more than 60 points. As of press time, we know very little about this incredible new recruit, who again will almost certainly turn out to be “new” in name only, given the level of experience her tenacity and skill seemed to betray last weekend.
“Might bust some walls later, idk.”
The Dorothys also gave an honorable mention to newcomer Diva Destruction, who shows some amazing promise in her own right, and about whom you’ll certainly hear more as the season goes on.
Another rookie Roller Warrior we’re extremely excited about is Hellvetica, a “legacy” skater whose mother, Murphy’s Law, was a perennial Plan B powerhouse who retired with distinction after the 2012 season.
But don’t kid yourself, this isn’t your mother’s roller derby; young jammer Hellvetica seems anxious to make a name for herself in this league, and if her performance Saturday night is any indication, she clearly has everything she needs to do just that.
Not that the Knockouts lack anything a championship-caliber team would need to make another Rink of Fire run, but Hellvetica will certainly add another dimension of jamming firepower to an already fearsome squad, so you can expect great things from her and the Glitter Mafia in 2019-20.
Of course, these aren’t the only new additions to the Kansas City Roller Warriors this season — see also No Class Lass, V-2 Bomber, and Quik Trip, just to name a few.
All things considered, we don’t think it’s a stretch to say these Roller Warriors have some amazing, amazing things in store for the new season, and we hope you’ll join us trackside for each and every bout as the competition heats up.
Who’s your favorite newcomer? What old school veteran are you most excited about returning to the track? Leave a comment below or sound off on our Facebook page and let us know what you think!
Keep an eye on KC Derby Digest for updates and information on the new season. The Kansas City Roller Warriors‘ next bout is on December 14!