This Sunday night at Skate City West, the Kansas City Roller Warriors are finally back to a regular schedule in what they’re calling their Mini Home Team Season.
And as D’Nouncer Duane put it on draft night, “It is the dawn of a new era.” Because, my fellow derby fans and enthusiasts, you are witnessing just that.
If you haven’t heard the news, the Kansas City Roller Warriors are making history by not only redrafting all the teams but also creating new house teams altogether.
You read that right. Our hometown teams, the Dreadnought Dorothys, the Victory Vixens, the Black Eye Susans, and the Knockouts have seen their last games. That could be the biggest news in the history of the league, apart from when the teams were first formed to begin with. As you’ve probably guessed, we’re not sure how to feel about it, but first, let’s take a look at what’s ahead.
The 2023 Season
When the pandemic hit, the first things to shut down were sports and recreation leagues. No one knew what to expect; some even speculated we’d be back in action in only a few weeks. That… isn’t quite what happened, and in the meantime, a lot of people put a lot of thought into what’s important and what they wanted to do moving forward.
As you may remember, the 2019-20 season promised big things—chief among them more than a half-dozen returning veterans from years past that old school fans like myself could only dream of seeing on the flat track again.
But the pandemic changed a lot of things. Some players who may have been on the fence about continuing to skate perhaps saw an opportunity for a clean break. Others decided to mix it up a little more and joined Fountain City Roller Derby since that league began playing quite a bit earlier than KCRW did. Any way you cut it, the Roller Warriors found themselves with far fewer available players than before the world ended, which explains not only the delay in restarting house team competition but also the decision to rebrand with three new house teams.
Our new Kansas City Roller Warriors house teams are named after well-known Kansas City locales, and they are the Strawberry Hellions, the 18th & Vines, and the Midtown Misfits.
We couldn’t be more thrilled with the thought and creative design that went into these new teams, their names, and their mascots. Big picture, the whole thing frankly couldn’t be more perfect. When Dead Girl Derby changed its name to Fountain City Roller Derby at the end of the 2014 season, they did so to better tie the league to its beloved hometown. It was a brilliant move.
And although saying goodbye to the four house teams we’ve loved and cheered on for more than a decade isn’t easy, we’re equally excited about how these new house team names will reflect where they’re from and represent Kansas City at least as well as their predecessors did.
Some Final Thoughts
The Glitter Mafia will live on in our hearts. “Black Eye or Die” will forever be a trackside battle cry in Kansas City. The Vixens made us love the red, white, and blue in a way we never thought possible. The Dorothys’ six-year championship streak may never be duplicated.
The memories we’ve shared with this league since we discovered it in late 2009 are practically endless. We watched in awe every season as the Dreadnought Dorothys steamrolled team after team, taking home trophy after trophy, seemingly impervious to the skill and tenacity of the teams with whom they shared the track.
We celebrated with the Victory Vixens in 2012 as they became the first non-Dorothys Rink of Fire champions in league history.
We held our breath as the Black Eye Susans captured their first Rink of Fire title the following year in one hell of a nailbiter that featured the very first overtime jam we’d ever seen.
And the Knockouts completed the set as they won their first Rink of Fire championship the year after that, something that would’ve been practically unthinkable just a few short seasons earlier.
We mourned alongside our Roller Warrior friends in 2016 at the untimely passing of the legendary Coach Ice, who (among many other things) helped lead our All Star team to the national title in 2007.
We cheered again for the red, white, and blue in 2015 and 2016 as the Vixens became the first team since the Dorothys to win back-to-back championships.
In 2017, the 3-3 Susans defeated the 6-0 Dorothys in one of the most shocking upsets in Rink of Fire history up to that point.
Not to be outdone, the 2019 Vixens topped even that as they entered the Rink of Fire with a dismal 2-4 record and soundly defeated the 6-0 Knockouts in an outcome no one could have seen coming, no matter what they tell you.
For all the years, all the cheers, all the tears, and everything else we shared with these four house teams: Thank you.
Thank you for the endless talent, dedication, patience, and commitment it took to keep this incredible labor of love afloat all these years, and thank you, as always, for the opportunity you’ve afforded us to join you in promoting and enjoying the Greatest Sport in the World… in the greatest city in the world for it.
We will miss the Ruby Reds, the stars and stripes, the Ladies in Teal, and the Black & Yellow, certainly—but we also look forward to a future in which a new generation of Roller Warriors action takes the track and makes new memories for a new generation of roller derby fans… right alongside the old ones.
Onward and upward, Roller Warriors. We can’t wait to see what you’ve got for us next.