Buffalo RiverWorks recently announced it would become home to the Queen City Roller Girls, an amateur Women's Flat Track Roller Derby Association league next season.
The Queen City Roller Girls will compete on a 98-foot-by-66-foot derby track that will be built to accommodate some of the nation's best female athletes. The indoor track is a part of Buffalo RiverWorks eight-acre entertainment and event center that will officially open next fall on the shore of the Buffalo River. The derby track will be the first of its kind in the nation. Derby players provided input into its custom design.
Jason Isla, chairman of the board for QCRG, said thousands of fans attend bouts currently played in the north towns in a jam-packed skating facility. "We frequently have games attended to capacity. Moving the team to the Buffalo RiverWorks location will allow us to expand our fanbase and expose more people to this rapidly growing sport. Our fans love the hard-hitting excitement and athleticism that is today's roller derby."
Such a venue is unique within the fast-growing sport of flat track roller derby.
"The Women's Flat Track Derby Association is excited to see this first-in-kind partnership between one of our members and a sports and entertainment complex of this caliber," said Juliana Gonzales, executive director of the WFTDA. "A venue on the Buffalo waterfront, built from the ground up with flat track roller derby in mind, illustrates the growing demand and popularity in this sport."
Along with the new derby track, Buffalo RiverWorks' 60,000 square-foot indoor venue will include several bars and restaurants, as well as an onsite brewery located inside a former grain silo. Outdoors, plans include a beach beer garden, volleyball courts, and 750 feet of waterfront docks for recreational boaters.
"This is a going to be a premier venue to watch amateur sports at their best," said Doug Swift, partner in the development of Buffalo RiverWorks. "The Queen City Roller Girls will bring something new to the City of Buffalo.
"This isn't your mother's roller derby," Swift said. "People can expect to see some of the best female athletes in Western New York compete. And fans will (watch) it in a venue that offers a great overall experience - entertainment, food and locally brewed beer. We are confident that this will become another major regional attraction for our burgeoning waterfront development."
Founded in 2006, the Queen City Roller Girls are Western New York's premier women's flat track roller derby league. The skater-owned and operated league consists of four home teams and a travel team representing the Buffalo area in the WFTDA.
Since its inception, the mission of Queen City Roller Girls has always been to provide opportunities for athleticism, camaraderie and self-expression. Founded and supported entirely through the efforts of non-paid skaters, officials, and volunteers, QCRG has grown to more than 150 members and continues to grow throughout the Buffalo-Niagara Region. Visit http://www.qcrg.net/ to find out more about your local derby girls.
RiverWorks is an adaptive reuse project of the former GLF grain milling operation that closed its doors decades ago. Along with the indoor event center where the QCRG will play, the project includes two seasonal ice rinks. One rink will be dedicated to amateur hockey leagues and open skating opportunities. The second rink will be dedicated to Buffalo's first curling facility in many years. In the summer, the rinks will be converted for multipurpose event space and amateur athletic facilities.
The QCRG will be able to practice in the warmer months outside. The facility will have the potential of hosting roller derby tournaments on three different tracks.