After a popular Port Orchard skating rink closed earlier this year, local roller derby teams were forced to find a new place to practice and host bouts.
They didn’t have to go to far — just across Sinclair Inlet.
Haeley Nunley of Northwest Derby Company said her group moved to Skateland in Bremerton.
Sk8town in Port Orchard closed Feb. 8, after tenants of the Bethel Recreation Center building were given eviction notices from a bank that took ownership in December.
Nunley said when Northwest Derby Company discovered that it needed to find a new practice facility, its executive leadership team and team captains began working on finding and negotiating a new space to practice and bout.
“Our league is entirely run by volunteers, so we all pitched in to scour the county for open warehouses and other venues,” Nunley said.
“Our league relies on donations and sponsorship from local businesses and we take our obligation of financial stewardship of their generosity very seriously, so we wanted to find the space that was right for our budget and our skaters.”
Skateland was the best option for the organization in terms of budget, size of space, and available times, Nunley noted.
“With Skateland, we have stayed connected to the skating community and are so grateful for their support of our league,” she said. “Of course, we’ve had to adjust to the larger size and different surface of the floor, but this hasn’t been any different from skating at away bouts on wooden floor.”
She said Northwest Derby Company’s practice times are later, but they are able to spread out practices over a four-day period. They could only practice three days a week at Sk8Town.
“We are hoping with the expanded practice time our league will be better equipped to compete as soon as we begin playing for international rankings,” Nunley said.
She said Northwest Derby Company was recently accepted as a league into the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA). WFTDA is an international governing body of women’s flat track roller derby.
“We will be eligible to compete for those rankings in about six months,” Nunley said. “We are a small, but competitive league and hope to grow over the next year. Our full-member status will allow us to compete for international rankings.”
Northwest Derby Company is a non-profit corporation. The founders met for the first time on Dec 8, 2011, and the first bout was February 2012.
Nunley said Northwest Derby Company welcomes newcomers and those interested in roller derby. Skaters range in age from 19 to 45.
“We are Kitsap County’s only women’s adult roller derby league and are committed to supporting our community, both in our international roller derby community and our local Kitsap community,” she said. “We welcome women and men from all walks of life and pride ourselves on running an organization based on democracy, accountability, and respect.”
Northwest Derby Company has a new head coach who goes by the moniker, “Knock Her Socks.”
Nunley said the bouts are family friendly, but do include a beer garden.
“We hope that Kitsap County will join us to support our service members,” she said. “We are honored to call Skateland our new home and so grateful for Skateland’s support.”
Skateland is located at 1740 NE Fuson Road.
For more information about Northwest Derby Company and its bout schedule, go to www.northwestderbycompany.com or its Facebook page.