Welcome to Detroit Roller Derby: An Interview with DRD League President Kelly Genei

Some of our fans may have heard rumblings of changes happening with the Detroit Derby Girls. There are, in fact, some pretty big changes that are happening now, with even more in the works. I got a chance to sit down and talk with the league president, Kelly Genei, to get the scoop about what's going on with the teams.

We hear there are some exciting new changes in store for the Detroit Derby Girls in the 2016-2017 season. There's a new name and a new mission?

Kelly: We are becoming Detroit Roller Derby, a non-profit company as of November, 2016. We were originally Detroit Roller Derby 12 years ago and are excited that our new name can represent all roller derby in Detroit: Men's, Women's, and Juniors. 

"The mission of Detroit Roller Derby is to be the premier roller derby league in Michigan, offering a fun, exciting, well organized and meaningful sporting experience for fans and league participants, while supporting, educating and developing league participants for national and international competition in the sport of roller derby."

What will changing to a non-profit help the league accomplish?

Kelly: Becoming a non-profit will first and foremost be better for our sponsors. There is more opportunity for non-profit athletic clubs financially and for partnering with other organizations in our community. 

Why the addition of Detroit Men's Roller Derby league? 

Kelly: Our association with them is natural because many of their skaters volunteer/referee already for our organization. It's better for the growth of our sport and the members of both organizations to get together and utilize both of our resources. 

When can we expect a Junior league to start forming?

Kelly: We are hoping to have a solid plan in place by January, 2017, so expect to hear more then! If you are interested or have questions, email jrs@detroitrollerderby.com. 

What happened to the 5 home teams?

Kelly: Our sport is changing and we needed to adapt. With fewer skaters in our league we felt it was important to reduce the number of teams so that we can continue the quality of skating that our fans expect. 

Since you downsized to 4 teams, are there various teams for different skills and commitment levels?

Kelly: Yes, we are encouraging the growth of our Recreational league where skaters can gain experience and learn along with the rest of the league at their own pace and with a lighter commitment requirement. We have also adjusted our All Star team structure since both teams (All Stars and MCDL) have become so competitive and are successful globally and nationally, we made some changes to give them the support they need to continue to be successful. We've combined the A and B teams into a single All Star team of the 30 best skaters in Detroit and have added a C team for skaters to play competitively in Michigan. In addition, we've maintained our Wreckers team which is a fun pick-up team for all skaters of any level within the league. 

Will there still be opportunities for those interested in roller derby to learn about the sport? 

Kelly: If you are interested in skating, start with attending our Derby U session on December 7th at 7:30pm at Canfield Arena. It's an off-skates informational seminar where you learn about the sport and what it takes to be a member of our organization. 

How can you stay connected with Detroit Roller Derby?

Check back to our facebook for updates on the season schedule and other events. Also, you can follow us on twitter, instagram, and snapchat!