Team Sweden are no strangers to playing as a national side, having competed in the 2011 Blood & Thunder Roller Derby World Cup and also taking part in many preparation games for the 2014 World Cup.
Swede Hurt and the team’s media team very kindly took time out of their busy training schedule to tell us how they are feeling about their upcoming World Cup appearance.
1. Team Sweden is filled with skaters from many different teams. How did you organise the team selection process since your skaters come from all over the country?
In our team we have skaters from seven different leagues, both Swedish, English and American. During try outs there were even more leagues represented.
Everyone that was interested in trying out were asked to fill in an application, and out of the nearly 70 girls that applied we invited about 40 girls to the try-outs. The actual try-out was held in Gothenburg and people who didn’t have the opportunity to be there were asked to send video footage of themselves.
2. How often are you able to meet up, and what do you focus on to make the best use of your training time together?
We practice together approximately every other month. During the spring we’ve had a couple of bouts and scrimmages against other teams as well. For example we played against Team USA, Team England, LRG Brawl Saints and Team Finland. When we practice together we aim to become more cohesive, and we really have been trying to mix up skaters from different leagues. Even though a lot of us know each other from before, we might not know how to play with each other. So that’s one of the most important things we do: get to know our teammates on the track. We discuss different strategies and try what works for our team.
3. Several of the other European national teams are participating in tournaments before the World Cup to get in some extra practice ahead of the World Cup. What does Team Sweden have planned?
As said earlier, we have a few bouts under our belt at this point. We have cut our training group down to the actual 19 people who will skate at the World Cup. We still have some training ahead of us, and maybe even a bout or scrimmage. We have a very skilled and fit team, and we are confident that all the time we have spent on trying to get to know each other will pay off in Dallas.
4. As a team which did participate in the 2011 World Cup, you already have experience of playing in a tournament. This must test your team mentally, as well as physically – how will you ensure that Team Sweden stays motivated throughout?
We have a lot of experienced players that have played tournaments before and will support each other the best we can. Our bench management and physiotherapist will also be a huge help to our mental game in Dallas. We anticipate that Dallas is going to be very different from Toronto, but we really learned that we need access to good food and sleep to be successful. But also time for the team to chill and to have a game plan. We are going to Dallas to play kick-ass roller derby!
5. Given the expense of getting to Dallas for the World Cup, how are you raising funds and gaining sponsorship?
We have reached out both locally and globally for sponsors and we are really happy to have Cheeseballs, Radar Wheels, Quad Skateshop, SISU mouthguards and hopefully some other sponsors with us. We also have had a fundraiser; we are selling merch online (please buy some!); and we have a ‘go fund me’ for people who feel compelled to donate money to us.
6. And just for fun, does your team have a mascot? If you don’t, what would type of mascot would symbolise your national team?
In the deepest forests of Sweden hides a great big animal that will horn all the competition away… Just you wait!