Gotham Girls Roller Derby

Gotham Girls Roller Derby (GGRD) is a flat track roller derby league based in New York City, New York. Founded in late 2003,[1][2] Gotham is the first flat track roller derby league in the metropolitan New York area and a founding member league of the sport's governing body, the Women's Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA).[3] GGRD is one of the preeminent leagues in roller derby, having won five WFTDA Championships.[4] Today, the league is composed of four New York City-based teams, three travel teams, a competitive developmental team, a non competitive recreational program and a juniors program for youth.

Gotham Girls Roller Derby
Metro areaNew York City
CountryUnited States
TeamsGotham Girls All-Stars (A team)
Brooklyn Bombshells
Manhattan Mayhem
Queens of Pain
Bronx Gridlock
Wall Street Traitors (travel)
Grand Central Terminators (travel)
Diamond District (travel)
Gotham Girls Junior Derby (youth)
Track type(s)Flat
Venuevaries; most frequently at John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Org. type501(c)(3) NPO

League structure

Home Teams

GGRD consists of four home teams that represent four of the city's boroughs that do not reflect the residences of the skaters. These team play interleague games against each other, culminating in the annual championship game. Each team is supported by a "Jeerleader" squad and consists of 16 skaters who were drafted from a pool.

  • The Brooklyn Bombshells (founded 2004)
  • The Manhattan Mayhem (founded 2004)
  • The Queens of Pain (founded 2005)
  • The Bronx Gridlock (founded 2006)

Travel Teams

The league consists of travel teams that play against other leagues.

  • The Gotham Girls All-Stars - The all star travel team competes against other leagues' A teams in the Women's Flat Track Derby Association. Members are selected via a tryout process, and many also play for home teams.
  • The Wall Street Traitors - An "all-borough" travel team which competes as Gotham's B Team against other leagues, composed of skaters from the home teams. Like the All-Stars, the team is selected through a tryout process.
  • The Grand Central Terminators - An additional travel team debuted in June 2012, for exhibition games with other leagues, composed of skaters from all four home teams and the Diamond District who are neither on the All-Stars nor on the Traitors.
  • The Diamond District - A team comprising rookie skaters and veterans who are not members of the home teams. The District operates as both a developmental team, with skaters who may or may not enter the draft, and as a team with veteran skaters that plays other leagues.

Junior Derby

  • Gotham Girls Junior Derby - an educational program set up in 2012 to train junior roller derby skaters age 8-17. The juniors skaters compete against other leagues and play in exhibition bouts.[5]


To join Gotham Girls, skaters must complete tryouts that occur annually in October before they become the league's newest inducted skaters. Skaters tryout over a weekend then advance to tryout period lasting several weeks before they become official league members.

League History

Early Years

Karin "Chassis Crass" Bruce and David “Lefty” Leibowitz met through an online ad in 2003 and together formed Gotham Girls Roller Derby (GGRD),[6] initially recruiting skaters and holding “open skate” sessions. In 2004, GGRD hosted their first exhibition bout, the "Beat Down in the Boogie Down,"[7] at The Skate Key, where a crowd of 600 watched the Brooklyn Bombshells defeat the Manhattan Mayhem[8] in overtime.

In 2005, GGRD launched its first full season at The Skate Key, with a roster of 20-25 skaters. After two games between Manhattan and Brooklyn, the league introduced the Queens of Pain, who became the first GGRD Season Champions.

In 2006, the league introduced its fourth home team, the Bronx Gridlock. In 2007, The Skate Key closed and the league secured a practice space called the Crash Pad. The league began holding season bouts at City College of New York and Hunter College. That same year, the Brooklyn Bombshells defeated the Long Island Roller Rebels All-Stars, and the Manhattan Mayhem defeated all-stars from the New Jersey Dirty Dames in a double-header. In 2008, Gotham added more interleague play and held eight bouts at Hunter College. The Wall Street Traitors played teams from Philly, Connecticut, and New England, while the Brooklyn Bombshells and Manhattan Mayhem won against Montreal and Providence, respectively.


Since 2010, the league has practiced out of a second Crash Pad location in Bushwick. In recent years, GGRD home teams play against each other at John Jay College and Abe Stark Arena. The league consists of roughly 150 skaters and officials.

WFTDA Competition

The Gotham Girls All-Stars lost their first inter-league bout in September 2005, against the Dairyland Dolls of Mad Rollin' Dolls of Madison, Wisconsin, 82-72.[2] In February 2006, the All-Stars competed at the first WFTDA-sanctioned roller derby tournament, the Dust Devil, in Tucson, Arizona where they finished in 10th place.[9]

The All-Stars are five-time Women's Flat Track Derby Association champions, winning the Hydra trophy from 2011 through 2014. From the introduction of the WFTDA Division system in 2013 through March 2017, Gotham was continuously the top-ranked league in the organization until Victorian Roller Derby League took over top spot.[10]

In 2018, Gotham received a bye directly to WFTDA Championships, by placing within the top four teams overall, as the third seed, in the June 30 rankings.[11] At Championships in New Orleans, Gotham won the bronze medal with a 164-151 victory against Denver Roller Derby.[12]


Season Final ranking[13] Playoffs Championship
2006 12 WFTDA[14] 10[15]
2007 5 WFTDA[16] 1 E[17][18] R1[19]
2008 1 E[20] 1 E[21] 1[22]
2009 1 E[23] 2 E[24] QF[25]
2010 1 E[26] 1 E[27][28] 3[29][30]
2011 1 E[31] 1 E[32] 1[33]
2012 1 E[34] 1 E[35][36] 1[37]
2013 1 WFTDA[38] 1 D1[39] 1 D1[40]
2014 1 WFTDA[41] 1 D1[42] 1 D1[43]
2015 1 WFTDA[44] 1 D1[45] 2 D1[46]
2016 1 WFTDA[47] 1 D1[48] 2 D1[49]
2017 3 WFTDA[50] 1 D1[51] 3 D1[52]
2018 3 WFTDA[53] bye[11] 3[12]
  • bye = received bye directly to WFTDA Championships

In the Media

Gotham Girls Roller Derby has been featured in major publications and outlets, including the New York Times, ESPN, the Wendy Williams Show, The Huffington Post, the Wall Street Journal and Refinery29.

In the 2010s, home bouts were telecast on NYC life, the flagship station of NYC Media Group, the official TV, radio and online network of the City of New York.[54][55]

In October 2011, Gotham skater Suzy Hotrod was featured photographed without clothing in ESPN Magazine's annual "The Body Issue," [56] representing roller derby alongside athletes from many other mainstream American sports.

League champions and Major Awards

League Champions are determined in an end-of-season playoff bout and additional award winners are determined by poll of league members. The C.A.N.T.S.L.E.E.P. award is the "Crass Award for Never-Tiring Support for the League with Endless Enthusiasm and Positivity," named for league founder Chassis Crass, and awarded to one league member each year.

The current champions of the 2019 Gotham Girls Roller Derby home team season are the Bronx Gridlock.

Retired Numbers

In May 2009, the league retired the uniform number of league founder Chassis Crass. Her framed Brooklyn Bombshell retired uniform hangs at Manitoba's, 99 Avenue B in Manhattan. In December 2016 at Gotham's end-of-year awards night, Bonnie Thunders' jersey was retired by the league.[57]


  1. Dwyer, Jim (2007-11-17). "About New York: When Their Alter Egos Come Out To Play". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-12-17.
  2. Getlen, Larry (15 September 2005). "GIRLS GONE WHEEL'D – BRUISING IT UP WITH THE BABES OF ROLLER DERBY". New York Post. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  3. "Gotham Girls Roller Derby – WFTDA". WFTDA. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  4. "WFTDA 2014 Championship". Women's Flat Track Derby Association. Retrieved 2014-12-13. Gotham Girls Roller Derby defeated Rose City Rollers to become the 2014 WFTDA Champions for the fourth year in a row, and fifth time over all.
  5. "About GGJD — Gotham Girls Roller Derby". Gotham Girls Roller Derby. Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  6. Nelson, Steffie (15 May 2005). "Tough Girls Roll in the Bronx". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  7. "WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 10 ARTISTS OF TOMORROW FESTIVAL Just in time for the ... | Manhattan, New York, NY | News". Retrieved 4 December 2016.
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  10. "Victoria Takes Top Spot in WFTDA Rankings – WFTDA". WFTDA. 6 April 2017. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
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  12. "2018 Championships New Orleans Game 12: Gotham vs. Denver – WFTDA". WFTDA. 11 November 2018. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
  13. "Current Rankings", WFTDA
  14. "12/8/2006 WFTDA National Rankings", WFTDA [version of 23 February 2007]
  15. "2006 Tournaments". WFTDA. Archived from the original on 23 February 2007. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  16. "Current WFTDA Rankings", Derby News Network, October 2007
  17. Marshall, Justice Feelgood (21 August 2007). "Heartland Havoc: Day Three | Derby News Network". Derby News Network. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  18. "Heartland Havoc Archived 2012-05-16 at the Wayback Machine", Ohio Rollergirls
  19. Whittaker, Richard (1 October 2007). "Kansas, the Wheeled Giant Killers and More on the Texas Shootout". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  20. "Rankings – WFTDA". WFTDA. Archived from the original on 2 February 2009. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
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  22. Wachter, Paul (2009-01-29). "You Just Can't Keep The Girls From Jamming". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-01-31.
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  35. Sugarbush Showdown 2012 East Region Playoffs
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  42. "D1 Playoffs Sacramento, CA". WFTDA. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  43. "WFTDA Championships Nashville, TN". WFTDA. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
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Preceded by
Kansas City Roller Warriors
WFTDA Championship winners
Succeeded by
Oly Rollers
Preceded by
Rocky Mountain Rollergirls
WFTDA Championship winners
Succeeded by
Rose City Rollers
Preceded by
New tournament
WFTDA Eastern Regional Tournament winners
2007 and 2008
Succeeded by
Philly Rollergirls
Preceded by
Philly Rollergirls
WFTDA Eastern Regional Tournament winners
Succeeded by
Tournaments restructured
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