By Belleville Bombshells 

Maybe you’re old enough to remember watching women’s roller derby on TV – fearsome and ferocious females making it look like they were going to rip each other’s arms and legs off on those banked tracks.  Kind of like wrestling – you knew it was pretty much fake, but it was still  entertaining. 

Today, things are different.  Roller derby is still a full-contact sport, played primarily by women in leagues all around the world. Back in “the day,”  the “bouts” were often scripted, and focused more on theatrics than athleticism. Roller derby is now played on a flat track, and while the scripted bouts have been ditched, you still get the legacy of showmanship with playful pseudonyms and boisterous uniforms. 

Belleville Roller Derby and The Belleville Bombshells have been skating in the Quinte region since 2013. Some players have been with the team since its formation, and now they help train our newer members. It’s a community of strong women pouring their hearts and souls into a physically and mentally demanding sport. We are a not-for-profit organization, governed by an elected board of active skaters who keep us on track and accountable to the team. On June 1st, the Bombshells hosted the home opener for their sixth season, defeating the Bytown Blackhearts from Ottawa. If you missed it, be sure to catch our other home game for the 2019 season – August 24th at the Dunc McDonald Arena in Trenton. 

The Bombshells hold practices twice a week.  Skaters also participate in committees, which look after scheduling, marketing and securing sponsors. You can also find us in the community at events like parades and fundraisers. We’re like a family -.  players, refs, officials and fans. Anyone who has ever felt like the outsider can find a home here. 

Those interested in joining the Bombshells must attend an orientation session and complete approximately 12 weeks of training. You’re also tested for skills and knowledge to be cleared for contact to help ensure everyone’s safety. If skating’s not your thing, there are other ways you can get involved. We need volunteers (non-skating officials or NSOs) to run the timeclock, keep score, and track penalties. ALL the details about games, info sessions, community events, you name it – are on our social media sites. Find us at “Belleville Roller Derby” on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, or reach out to us at or message us on Facebook. 

How the game is played

In roller derby, the games are called bouts, and each bout is made up of two 30- minute periods. The game is played in jams – periods of up to two minutes- in which the jammer is trying to score as many points as possible. 

Each bout includes 5 players from each team: three blockers, a jammer, and a pivot. 

The jammer is identified by a star on her helmet. A jammer’s job is to get through the blockers and around the track as many times as possible during the jam. One point is earned for each blocker (or pivot) passed on each lap. 

The blockers are trying to stop the opposing jammer, while simultaneously helping the jammer through the pack. 

A pivot, identified by a stripe worn on the helmet, acts as a blocker unless they are passed the star from the jammer, in which case the pivot becomes the jammer and the jammer becomes a blocker for the rest of the jam.

Photo by Danny Sheppard Photography