Who is New Hampshire Roller Derby?
New Hampshire Roller Derby is the state’s first all-female flat track roller derby league with members from central/southern New Hampshire and central Massachusetts. NHRD is a skater-owned and operated 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which promotes women’s athleticism while giving back to the local community. The league is a member of the Eastern Region of Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) and follows the guidelines and standards set forth by this governing body.
All the athletes who compete for NHRD are female. Men are welcome to participate as referees, non-skating officials, volunteers, and spectators. The league supports the greater NH community through donations, volunteer work, and partnerships with a variety of other non-profit organizations.
In July of 2007, a group of women in southern New Hampshire discussed starting a roller derby league in the state. Women’s roller derby leagues already existed in Boston, Portland, and Providence. Originally called The Skate Free or Die! Rollergirls, the league officially incorporated as a non-profit LLC named New Hampshire Roller Derby in November of 2007.
One year later, NHRD’s first team, The Skate Free or Die All-Stars, made their competitive skating debut in a scrimmage against Providence Roller Derby of RI. The league followed up with their first bout at Manchester’s JFK Coliseum, their home venue, against Maine Roller Derby in September of 2008.
2009 was NHRD’s first full season featuring four home bouts. The All-Stars went on the road to take on teams in Albany, Montreal, Providence, New Jersey, and Delaware. The team suffered some defeats on the road but managed to shine at JFK, finishing their first season undefeated at home.
In September of 2009, the league was accepted into the WFTDA Apprentice program. This program matches prospective member leagues with an experienced mentor league to help guide them through the processes, requirements, and standards to become a full member. After 10 months of hard work, NHRD was inducted as a full WFTDA member league in June of 2010. The league played their first WFTDA sanctioned bout against Montreal Roller Derby in February of 2011.
With the popularity of modern roller derby on the rise, NHRD grew from about 35 members in late 2009 to more than 70 active skaters by late 2010. The league expanded their team structure, adding a new B-Level travel team (the Queen City Cherry Bombs) and two home teams (the Seabrook Meltdowns and the Granite Skate Troopers). In early 2011 a third home team (the Nightmares on Elm Street) was formed and in 2013 the league created a recreational team, the Millyard Misfits.
Earning membership in the WFTDA was a major accomplishment for the league. NHRD became a Class A WFTDA league early in 2013. The league met yet another milestone when the Skate Free or Die All-Stars qualified for and received an invitation to their first WFTDA Division I Playoff Tournament in Richmond, VA in September 2013.
NHRD continues to grow and thrive, recruiting new skaters, refs and volunteers. They push themselves to become better skaters, better athletes, and better people through derby.