In June 2006, the North Star Roller Girls was formed by skaters from the now-defunct league the TC Rollers. They began playing at a local roller rink.
On the day the league grew from two to four home teams, skaters rushed around the rink, grabbing people they wanted to be on their team. It was a time full of fun, confusion, optimism and opportunity. The league skaters didn’t have an instruction manual, but made it up as they went along. They were bound together by the dream that the new sport they loved would grow and be supported, and somehow the league would make it.
By 2007, the league had such a large fan base that the roller rink could no longer accommodate them all. They made the decision to move to the Minneapolis Convention Center as a bouting venue, and for practice, the Roller Hole was born.The Roller Hole served as NSRG’s practice home until 2011. It was a warehouse with just enough space for a shortened track and mattress-lined walls for safety. If a mattress started to fall, someone would have to run out to the track and put it back in place before the pack came around again. It was hot in the summer, cold in the winter, and often could smell of epoxy, but it was home.
Also in 2007, the travel team was formed. This group of All Stars, now known as the Supernovas, began traveling and competing nationally. As the sport’s popularity took off, the number of teams able to travel to compete was growing, and that first year the Supernovas played teams from around the Mid-west, such as Lincoln, Sioux Falls, Cincinnati, and Chicago.
In December 2008, early in their third season, NSRG was accepted into the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association. The WFTDA is an international organization that governs the rules and structure of modern roller derby. This gave the league the opportunity to be ranked nationally and gain entrance to regional and national tournaments. It also allo
wed them to participate in rules discussions and revisions, as well as other major issues affecting roller derby.
That next year, in September 2009, the Supernovas were invited to their first regional championship tournament, Brawl of America, which was held in St. Paul. They fought hard and earned 5th place in the North Central Region. That summer also saw the rollout of the B travel team, the Northern Lights.
It was clear by 2011 that the days of no-tryouts recruitment were long over. In order to help people train and prepare, as well as just have fun while skating non-competitively, the NSRG Satellites recreational team was born. To accommodate this growth, the league moved to a larger practice space in 2012, dubbed “The Crater”. Not only does it fit a regulation-sized track so the Supernovas can host closed bouts and scrimmages, but there are no safety mattresses needed!
As the fan base continued to grow and the league’s needs changed, NSRG decided to move bouting venues once more. The league now resides in the Lee & Rose Warner Coliseum, located on the Minnesota State Fair Grounds. The new venue enables them to provide amenities such as a beer garden, concourse, and easier bout production.
In June 2017, the league officially changed its name from North Star Roller Girls to North Star Roller Derby. League members felt the new name better represents the membership and the sport. NSRD is excited to continue its mission under this new name while continuing to promote athleticism through roller derby and empower both members and fans alike by exhibiting a positive image both on the track and in the community.
In late 2017 NSRD started the process to become a nonprofit. One of the major steps in the changeover was rewriting our bylaws and handbook. This itself was a massive task that took hundreds of hours of work from our league. We received our nonprofit determination letter in September 2018. We had several motivations driving the change to a nonprofit: tax benefits, fundraising opportunities, and charitable giving benefits being a few big ones.