Dubbed "Vengeance in the Valley," the first sanctioned roller derby event ever hosted in Whistler was a sold-out affair, packing the Whistler Conference Centre on Monday night. Nobody went home disappointed with the home team, the Black Diamond Betties, besting their corridor rivals, the Sea to Sky Sirens, after an exciting rally in the closing minute of the bout.
The night had everything — loud music, facepaint, fishnets, hard hits, devastating crashes and a come-from-behind victory.
The Sirens were up 99 to 53 after the first 20-minute period and seemed to have the game in hand, but the Black Diamond Betties — who worked since 8 a.m. to set up the floor and prepare for the event — rallied, and pulled within 23 points with a few minutes remaining. With 1:20 left on the clock, the Betties scored twice more, setting up a power jam where the opposing jammer — the member of the team that can score points — went to the penalty box.
Whistler jammer Princess Slaya (real name Lori O'Hare) kept breaking through the Sirens blockers until the timer ran out and then added a few more points for good measure to put the Betties up 157 to 149. They outscored Squamish 104 to 50 in the second half after focusing more on staying out of the penalty box.
It was the Betties' first win since the Whistler Roller Girls and their competition team was created.
O'Hare, who was named MVP after the game, could barely stand when it was over.
"I am exhausted, I had no wheels left at the end and I had to keep pushing because I knew the score was getting close," she said. "It was super exciting, and when you're in the jammer position with a star on your head you know you're the target, the other team is trying to take you out — but when you have your whole bench cheering for you and your teammates trying to make holes for you to get past the blockers you just have to put your head down and keep going."
Because of the setup, the teams had no idea what the score was at any given time. "We had to wait for the magic moment it was all over, which made it hard because you were constantly looking up at the screen and the coach to see what was happening," she said. "I had no idea what the score was. My legs were done and I could barely move, but I just had to keep going."
The Betties brought in the floor from Victoria for the bout, but their next home competition in June at Meadow Park Arena will be a much easier set-up. The ice will be out for maintenance and the Betties have permission to host an event on the concrete floor.