Player Profile: Van Melising

My derby name is Van Melising and my number, 28, comes from my love of hockey and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Growing up, Tie Domi was always my favourite player. I admired the way he would stand up to anyone, regardless of their size, and that he was never the best player, but had a lot of hustle and heart.  I therefore wear Tie Domi’s number 28.

I am currently playing for the Beauty School Dropouts, Dollinquents, and the Dolly Rogers. I am in my second year of derby and completed my Fresh Meat course in December, 2014. I decided to join derby after feeling like my usual sports weren’t providing me with enough of a challenge. When I joined, I had actually never seen a derby game, but thought I had a general idea of what it was all about.  I was wrong. I remember putting the quad skates on for the first time and thinking, “With my hockey background this should be easy.” I spent longer on my butt those first few Fresh Meat classes than my feet.  All the coaches were really encouraging though, and eventually I caught on.

This leads into why I love the sport. Even though derby is a competitive sport, all the coaches and players, regardless of team, respect each other. There is not the cattiness that occurs in other sports and everyone is very encouraging. I also love the challenge of derby. There are so many new things I learn each and every practice.

My favourite derby moment happened during practice, when everything just clicked for me. I had spent many scrimmages seemingly turning in circles and not understanding what was going on. Then one practice, while scrimmaging, I all of a sudden knew what I was doing. My teammates had assured me that one day it was going to click for me and I would understand the game, but until this point I was skeptical. It was a great feeling!

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(Photo credit: Joe Mac)

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