It’s fresh meat season again for Fort Saskatchewan’s Heartland Roller Derby Association.
The local club is opening its roster to new players this month, taking in anyone wanting to give the sport a try.
Heartland president Nancy Roberts said fresh recruits will get three months of training designed to get them steady on wheels and ready for competition.
"We teach them how to skate, how to put on your equipment. And we put them through what we call qualifiers.”
All new players have to pass standardized skills tests before they’re allowed to hit the rink for games. The Heartland team practices twice a week, with new players learning how to navigate the full-contact sport safely.
"We teach you how to fall. We teach you how to take a hit and not get injured,” Roberts said.
Some new recruits get up to speed more quickly than others – according to Roberts, that’s perfectly fine.

“You just continue on, come to practices, and we work on those skills during the normal practice with them,” she said. “Everybody goes at their own rate. We're there to support each other and have fun.”
Roberts started the local roller derby association after moving to Fort Saskatchewan and finding herself looking for some company.
“Now I have so many close friends from the team,” she said.
The sport also makes for some great exercise – one of the skills calls for finishing 25 laps of the rink in five minutes.
"It's something where it doesn't feel like a workout,” Roberts added. “Because you just enjoy it so much."
The club will be hosting information sessions for potential players on Sept. 23 and 24.

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