Here’s a little known fact about roller derby that, unless you’re directly involved within the sport, maybe you’ve never heard of this before: the entire league is run by volunteers. Woah.

Everyone is a volunteer. It’s true. The league is so tightly run and organised that it seems people do this as their job. Nope.  A lot of the people in the Thunder Bay Roller Derby League (TBRDL) have these wonderful day-time jobs and then everything derby related happens outside of work. Or, when the boss isn’t looking . . . which gets a little more complicated for the self-employed folk.

Referees, Non-Skating Officials (NSOs), coaches, any member of any organisational board and committee, and even those people you see selling merch, tickets, or helping with set-up/tear-downs at bouts—all volunteers. And those are just the people that are visible.

There’s so much behind the scenes stuff that happens in order for derby to run as smoothly as it does.  This work is crucial for the league. If it didn’t happen, there would be no derby—the horror!

Consider this: there is an operations committee, a finance committee, trainers, public and media relations, an interleague liaison, insurance co-ordinators, marketing, sales, merchandise design and distribution, sponsorship, freshmeat recruitment and training . . . Much like the beat, the list of volunteers goes on.

Pretty intricate, right? Many of the derby players and referees are volunteers. Heck, we love the sport so we do our darndest to make it happen. But because of how awesome the support is for the derby, we always get recruited volunteers from the super lovely general public—kind of like a person like you. You’re a person like you—you could volunteer!

Being a volunteer with the roller derby league is the most badass thing around.  Want to join? Are you over 18 years old? Just send off a friendly little email to Jenny Chaos at

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