Europe’s first roller derby national championship cup launches in Finland

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In 2013 Finland becomes the first European country to launch a national roller

derby cup. In this year’s pilot season of the Finnish Cup, the six biggest roller derby teams compete for the national championship title in seven matches. The regular season will follow the calendar year and the final tournament will take place towards the end of 2013.

In the US, the roots of roller derby can be traced all the way back to the 1920s. It has evolved into a fast, demanding contact sport which can be played recreationally or competitively. In Europe, the first roller derby teams were started in Great Britain and Germany in 2006. In Finland, flat track roller derby first landed in Helsinki in 2009 and since then its popularity has exploded, with 16 teams springing up all over the country. The popularity of roller derby is mostly due to the fact that it has answered the need for challenging sport and community activities aimed at adult women.

At the moment, roller derby is played in Finland by approximately 500 women aged 18 and above in 16 different roller derby teams. In addition to the players, around 40 adult men and women are involved as referees and officials. There are also more than 100 people of all ages active in other volunteer roles. The first unofficial Finnish men’s derby team was first seen on the track in December 2012.

In 2012, we saw the creation of the Roller Derby Finland association, which is the umbrella organization for Finnish roller derby. Roller Derby Finland is responsible for the Finnish Cup as well as being the organizing force behind Team Finland. The first ever world championship games were held in Toronto in December 2011. At the world championships, Team Finland performed very impressively and came fifth, immediately after the roller derby power countries of US, Canada, Australia and England.

The Finnish roller derby cup kicks off in Helsinki, at the Pasila sports hall on January 19, 2013. Six teams will be taking part in the cup’s first season: Kallio Rolling Rainbow, Helsinki Roller Derby, Dirty River Roller Grrrls (Turku), Tampere Roller Derby, Lahti Roller Derby and Kouvola Rock n Rollers.

The playoffs of the Finnish Cup will consist of seven tournaments. Each tournament will consist of two games with the exception of the opening tournament which will feature three games in order to showcase all six participating teams. The regular season games are a prelude to the final tournament. Each team will thus play five games in addition to possibly playing in the final tournament. For each win, a team will receive two points and for a loss, zero points. The four best teams of the playoffs will receive a place in the final tournament. The participating teams will take turns organizing the regular season tournaments in their home cities. In addition, the opening tournament and the finals will be played in Helsinki.

The Finnish Cup, as well as other flat track roller derby matches in Europe, will be played in accordance with the international rules of Women’s Flat-Track Derby Association. The cup’s rules, a more detailed programme and further information on scoring can be obtained from Roller Derby Finland ry.

Cup Programme:

19 January: Tournament I: Helsinki, Kallio Rolling Rainbow

Kouvola – Tampere

Helsinki – Lahti

Kallio – Turku

16 March: Tournament II: Kouvola, Kouvola Rock n Rollers

Tampere – Helsinki

Kouvola – Lahti

21 April: Tournament III: Helsinki, Helsinki Roller Derby (not open to audience)

Kallio – Kouvola

Helsinki – Turku

May: Tournament IV: Lahti, Lahti Roller Derby

Turku – Kouvola

Lahti – Tampere

15 June – Tournament V: Summer Classic (Kesäklassikko), Helsinki, Kallio Rolling Rainbow

Lahti – Turku

Kallio – Helsinki

24 August: Tournament VI: Turku, Turku Roller Derby

Lahti – Kallio

Turku – Tampere

28 September: Tournament VII: Tampere, Tampere Roller Derby

Helsinki – Kouvola

Tampere – Kallio

October – November: Final tournament: Helsinki, Helsinki Roller Derby

Winner of the playoffs – Number four of the playoffs

Number two of the playoffs – Number three of the playoffs

Bronze match

Final/gold match

Further information and pictures:

Roller Derby Finland ry.