Roller derby arrives in Penticton

If you love hockey, there’s a good chance you will feel the same about roller derby.

Roller derby could become a hit in Penticton after it makes its debut at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre on March 12.

Roller derby could become a hit in Penticton after it makes its debut at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre on March 12.

If you love hockey, there’s a good chance you will feel the same about roller derby.

At least that’s what Ainsley Mosienko believes.

Mosienko, also known as Robin Banks on the competitive track, is the chief executive officer of the Rock N’ Roller Derby featuring the Reign Valley Vixens (Abbotsford) and the Kootenay Cannibelles (Nelson) that will take place at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre on March 12. With 900 tickets available, Mosienko believes the event will be an easy sell in the Peach City.

“It’s fast paced with contact,” said Mosienko, who is an all-star with the Peach Tarts in Kelowna and the granddaughter of Bill Mosienko, who scored three goals for the Chicago Black Hawks in 21 seconds. “Girls really get into it.”

Presented by the S.S. Rodeo, the objective is to promote the sport in the community and attract more players.

The S.S. Rodeo, which is based in Penticton, has a bank track, which will be put in the South Okanagan Events Centre and is the first one in Canada. Mosienko said what is interesting about the track is it can be taken apart and placed in different locations. There will be another game in Penticton on April 23.

Justy Bee, who becomes Maude LoBrowski on the track, is excited about the event.

“It’s the first time my family will get to see me play,” said Bee, who came up with her derby name as she loves the movie the Big Lebowski. “I hope it will be a hit. Games sell out all the time.”

Because the sport has been able to attract audiences in other cities, Bee sees no reason the same results won’t happen in Penticton.

“We just want to spread the sport,” said Bee, who will play with the Vixens and will be joined by local Adrienne Hartviksen. “It will be amazing games. The blockers are going to have to work hard to stop the jammers.”

Mosienko said that good games are decided by five to 10 points. How it works is there are two jammers and it’s their responsibility to score points by busting through the blockers. Jammers are quick and agile. Once they pass through the group a second time they can start scoring points. There are two 30-minute periods. Jammers wear helmets with a star and that responsibility can be passed on to another player.

Bee, who has been playing the sport for over a year, likes being part of the atmosphere and that it’s an aggressive sport. She also enjoys the camaraderie that comes with it. She is intrigued by the physical aspect as she has been involved with martial arts and has a black belt in taekwondo.

“I fell in love with it,” said Bee, adding that hockey players make good roller derby players.

Bee added that for spectators unfamiliar with the sport, brochures will be given at the game. Tickets are $15 and kids five and under are free. They are available at the SOEC box office, the Wine Country and Visitor Centre, by phone at 1-877-SOEC-TIX (763-2849) or at www.valleyfirsttix.com.