Showing promise

The Prince Albert Roller Derby League Outlaws practise at the Margo Fournier Centre on Thursday. They play their home opener against Kindersley at the St. Louis Arena on Saturday at 7 p.m. (Josef Jacobson/Daily Herald)

PA roller derby Outlaws prepare for season opener against Kindersley this weekend

The past few years have been hard for the Prince Albert Roller Derby League’s only team, the PA Outlaws.

The team was attracting and training new members, but at the same time athletes were moving away from the city or becoming sidelined due to pregnancy.

“We call that the nine-month injury,” said Outlaws co-captain Sandy Elsaesser, who goes by the roller derby alias Vexatious Valkyrie.

Elsaesser said she’s seeing that era of struggle come to an end, as growing interest and awareness of the sport is resulting in more permanent membership.

“We’ve had a couple of girls move to Prince Albert and be in contact with us (say), ‘A friend of mine told me this was a great place to meet people,’ so they come looking for something to get them out of the house, some exercise — it’s fantastic exercise — and a way to meet people,” she said.

That’s how Elsaesser first got involved with the team. She joined the Outlaws three months into their inaugural 2010 season when a friend on the team invited her to practice. She said there are still three original members on the team, as well as three others who joined within the year.

“I would say about half of us are what we would consider ‘seniors’ who have more than a couple years experience and then the rest of them are what we call the rookies or ‘fresh meat,’” Elsaesser said.

“Fresh meat are the ones that are just training, learning their skills. Rookies are ones that are benchmarked, which means they’ve passed their skills test, but they don’t have much experience yet in a game.”

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