Gotham Girls Roller Derby of New York, New York, U.S. (#1, WFTDA #3) emerged victorious from the 2017 International WFTDA D1 Playoffs in Malmö, Sweden after defeating Denver Roller Derby of Denver, Colorado, U.S. (#2, WFTDA #5) on Sunday, 176–85, taking first place in the tournament.
Gotham added two new jammers to their rotation with transfers Giles, from Victorian Roller Derby League, and Space Invader, from Boston Roller Derby. In turn, Denver proved to be a force to be reckoned with as transfers Scald Eagle and Brawn Swanson, who won two championships with the Rose City Rollers, competed in Playoffs with their new team for the first time.
Both teams had earned a trip to the 2017 International WFTDA Championships Philadelphia the previous day. “We’re really going to focus on tightening up the things that were challenging for us this weekend, continue to develop our newer skaters, like myself, and just really locking it down,” said Gotham jammer Space Invader, looking ahead to Champs.
Gotham and Denver will be joined in Philadelphia by the London Rollergirls of London, England (Seed #3, WFTDA #7), and the Crime City Rollers of Malmö, Sweden (Seed #4, WFTDA #12), who punched their ticket to Champs on Friday. London and Crime City placed third and fourth, respectively, after a physical and fast-paced semifinal game Sunday that ended in a 51-point win for London, 149-98.
The tournament was marked by feverish, fast-paced games, and the participating teams emerged with their seedings intact. One of the most intense games of the tournament saw the London Rollergirls almost drop their 11-year win streak against European teams in their matchup against the Rainy City Roller Derby of Oldham, England (#6, WFTDA #17). The game was marked by lead changes and grinding struggles but Rainy City ultimately fell to London by a mere five points, 124-119.
The Crime City Rollers fought hard for their ticket to Champs, beating long-time opponents Helsinki Roller Derby of Helsinki, Finland (#5, WFTDA #15), 215–170, on Friday in a game that showed great camaraderie between the two Nordic teams. Crime City fell to the dominant and resolute Gotham Girls the next day, 237–65.
The tournament MVP went to ShortStop of Gotham Girls Roller Derby. ShortStop showed outstanding agility, intelligence, and sportsmanship on the track, earning lead jammer status in 79 percent of her jams throughout the tournament and putting up a total of 210 points, with only four penalties across three games.
This was the first WFTDA Playoffs tournament to take place outside of North America, hosted by the Crime City Rollers. The crowd’s enthusiasm in attending an event of this caliber in Europe was evident, cheering on both teams and officials throughout the tournament weekend.
“It’s been fantastic, this is my favorite tournament ever skated,” Gotham jammer Space Invader said. “It’s been incredible to see such a representation of worldwide roller derby, and I feel really lucky that we got placed in Malmö.”
Congratulations to all of the participating teams, and thanks to all the officials, announcers, photographers, and other volunteers who made the weekend in Malmö such a success! Special thanks go out to tournament hosts Crime City Rollers for welcoming the WFTDA community to Malmö.
Final Results – Malmö Playoffs
First Place – Gotham Girls Roller Derby (Seed #1, WFTDA #3)
Second Place – Denver Roller Derby (Seed #2, WFTDA #5)
Third Place – London Rollergirls (Seed #3, WFTDA #7)
Fourth Place – Crime City Rollers (Seed #4, WFTDA #12)