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Derby fever reaches epidemic levels, spills over into youth

first_imgWith so many girls interested from day one, the challenge was finding enough skates for everyone. While some girls brought their own, a number of girls shared their skates to make sure everyone got a chance to roll. Just this week Jamens found out that the group will be receiving a grant from the Nelson and District Credit Union to help buy more pairs of skates so every interested girl can try out the sport before laying out cash for their own gear.  If your first thought is of bodies flying around the concrete oval and children being tackled into the cold, hard arena floor, junior derby may surprise you. The potential danger of the sport was one of the main concerns parents expressed prior to starting up the junior league. As Jamens’ explained, however, junior girls derby has a few key differences from the adult women’s league. “Our primary focus is safety and then fun.”  One significant rule change for the junior league is that it’s a non-contact sport. Rather than checking or bumping the other skaters the team must stop the opposing jammer using positional blocking. As the girls get more comfortable with the sport and start to move up, there are three standard skill levels that each girl has to pass before they are able to move up to light contact.  “The game is still very similar to the women’s game in that you use positional blocking rather than hitting, so it can mean more thinking and simply getting in front of another skater to change their position without actually hitting or pushing them,” added Jamens.  The goal is to use the summer to get the girls up to speed, practiced and conditioned for the sport. By the end of the summer it’s hoped that the first mini jams or scrimmages can start happening between the league’s three teams in Rossland, Slocan City and Salmo. Taking after the Damage Patch Kids (who put on a junior show during half time at the recent Nelson event) the junior girls will look to piggy back off the proven popular senior women’s league with some half time performances.  Not just a sport, junior derby has already been having positive effects on girls’ lives as seen by teachers, parents and friends in Slocan City.  “It’s so much fun and the sense of team and camaraderie is really quite amazing,” concluded Jamens. “The coach of the Slocan team has had parents and families and teachers come to her and say, ‘I just can’t believe the change in this girl. She’s got confidence that carries over into her schoolwork and into her social life’. It’s been a very positive thing in a lot of these girls lives.”  Junior Derby will be holding another open session for any girls interested in giving it a try this Sunday at 5:00 in Salmo. Junior derby will then continue on in Rossland, Sunday evenings at 5:00pm. Roller Derby fever continues its epidemic-like spread through area women and now, for the first time in the Rossland area, it has spread to young girls. Yes, following in the path set by Gnarlie’s Angels and the West Kootenay Roller Derby League (which has quickly exploded into Canada’s largest Roller Derby league) the kids are now lacing up their skates as well.  On Sunday, emissaries from Slocan City’s junior team, the Damage Patch Kids, came to town to help our aspiring junior derbyers get the hang of it. Derby fever is highly contagious and is apparently caught simply by seeing or participating in the flat track, circular excitement the sport offers. Rossland’s Darlene Jamens, better known as Slameron Diaz, caught the bug immediately after taking in the Gnarlie’s first bout last September. Padding up and putting on the skates shortly thereafter, her two young girls were immediately enamored as well. And why not? It’s an energetic sport that also involves dressing up, changing your name and fully taking on a feisty alter ego. Sounds perfect for Rossland girls. “I went to the first Gnarlie’s Angels bout and then decided I actually had to do that,” recalled Jamens, “I’ve been doing that since last fall and I have two girls who saw how excited I was about it and wanted to do it too so I was like “Okay. I guess we have to have a junior team.”  The combination of athleticism, a girls-only sport and a chance to meet new friends and have fun made 15 young denizens of the Mountain Kingdom came out to the first junior practice at the Rossland Arena this past Sunday evening. The contingent inclided Jamens’ own five and nine year old daughters.  Starting from scratch, coach Jamens was assisted by the Damage Patch Kids in teaching the basics of old school roller skating. By the end of the first practice, the results spoke for themselves as Rossland’s naturally athletic and recreation minded population shone in the concrete circle.  “It was a two hour session and from the beginning to the end the improvement was really dramatic. It was really exciting. There are so many athletic girls in town. I love Rossland for that. We’re working on basic skating techniques to build their basic skills up first,” explained Jamens’ “ We’re learning safe falling so kids know how to fall safely using their protective gear. Their getting comfortable on their skates. It was amazing the improvement the girls made.”  last_img read more

Nelson’s Isaac MacLeod stuck in a time warp — forced to play NHL waiting game

first_imgHe then played two seasons in Penticton in the BC Hockey League before getting a scholarship with Boston College.During his senior season at Boston College, MacLeod served as an assistant captain while playing all 40 games for the Eagles.He tallied 11 assists with four of the points coming 20 Hockey East contests, finished with a plus-8 rating and set Patrick Brown up with the game-winning goal to help Boston College clinch its fifth-consecutive Beanpot title.Off the ice, MacLeod won the William J. Flynn Coaches Award captured the Academic Excellence Award as the senior with the highest grade point average.“My four years at BC (Boston College) was an amazing experience for me,” MacLeod explained.“I grew and learned so much in many different aspects of life from hockey to academics and everything in between. BC and the people I met there have had a tremendous impact on me and have helped shape who I will become moving forward.”“It’s weird to think that I’ve graduated and won’t be back there in the fall wearing the Maroon and Gold again,” he added.“It was an experience I’ll always treasure and am very proud to call myself an Eagle.”After spending some time in Nelson, the youngest of Deborah and Allan MacLeod’s three children trekked to the Alberta Capitol to work on a golf-course, train, try to gain some weight, and, for the most part, work on the golf game.MacLeod has been also able to train with the Correale cousins, Nic, Dan and (former Nelson Leaf) Gus, the latter two relations who attend NCAA schools.And, of course, wait after seeing the depth the Sharks have on defence for the upcoming future.“I’ve talked to my agent a couple times and he basically just tells me it’s a process,” said MacLeod, part of the Nelson Leafs KIJHL title winning squad in 2009.“He’s in contact with teams at different levels trying to find a spot where I’m wanted and will be able to succeed. I just have to be focused on working out hard and gaining weight.”Despite the wait, MacLeod is confident his credentials will have the former Nelson Leaf rearguard manning the blueline somewhere in 2014-15.“I’m confident I’ll have somewhere to play next year, I’m not sure where it’ll be or what league but I’ll be playing (somewhere) even if it’s on Tuesday nights in Nelson,” MacLeod says jokingly.“Best case scenario would be attending an NHL camp but I just want to be in a situation that I have a chance to improve and am given an opportunity to perform and play.” Like many college or university graduates Isaac Macleod has been busy scanning the employment pages looking for a place to hang his hat.Having recently graduated from Boston College with business degree from the Carroll School of Management with a concentration in Economics, the Nelson native is hungry to gain meaningful employment.However, Macleod has been pigeonholed into a strange category when it comes to finding a new job and can’t even speak to prospective employers until mid-August when the Nelson native becomes a free agent.Oh, I guess we forgot to explain that along with his Carroll School of Managementbusiness degree, MacLeod is a graduate of the Boston College Eagles Men’s Hockey team and should be a lock to be playing hockey somewhere next season.“It’s definitely been a process moving forward,” Macleod, the 136th overall selection — fifth round — of the San Jose Sharks in the 2010 NHL draft.“I have to be patient and basically just do what I can to prepare for next season wherever that may be.”MacLeod’s wait is all because of a rule in the NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement that states an NHL club retains the rights of the player for exclusive negotiation through August 15 following the graduation of his college class provided he remains a college student through at least the start of his senior season.Meaning while Boston College teammate Thatcher Demko was attending the Canucks prospects camp in Vancouver earlier this summer after being drafted in the second-round of the 2014 NHL draft at No. 36, MacLeod is on the outside looking in as he trains vigorously in Edmonton with his cousins.“It’s extremely hard not knowing where I’ll be playing or what league or anything but I’ve just been training and working and trying to prepare for wherever I do end up next year,” the 6’5”, 212 pound mobile rearguard explained from Edmonton.“Hopefully someone will give me an opportunity so I can keep playing the game.”“I was very happy for Demmer to get drafted, especially to an organization like the Canucks,” added MacLeod, finishing his college career with two goals for 27 points in 142 games and a NCAA Championship in 2012.“(I have to admit) I was a bit bummed out about not going to any development camps but that’s the way she goes. It’s a great experience going to camps like that because there are so many coaches and players that can help teach you things to improve your game.”MacLeod played minor hockey in Nelson before joining the Nelson Leafs of the KIJHL.last_img read more