Skater Profile - Katie Sheedy

Katie Sheedy is an illustrator and roller derby skater based in Renfrew. She’s the coach of the 2024 Ottawa Valley Rapids and a member of Team Ontario. Katie is also responsible for our Ripley t-shirt design and lots of our marketing materials!

An illustration by Katie of herself playing on Team Ontario

Everyone at OVRD is eternally grateful for you taking up the mantle and coaching the Rapids (the WFTDA travel team). You’re also a player on the Rapids and Team Ontario. What’s your experience of being a player/coach like?

Katie: I would be lying if I said it was easy. To balance the needs of every skater on the team as a coach, along with your own needs as a skater, is a big undertaking and I take that responsibility very seriously. But I do not do it alone - I am a part of a wonderful and supportive group of people who are passionate about competitive derby. We have such an amazing community in Ottawa and I am meeting more and more incredible people in the wider region through Team Ontario. My leaguemates inspire me to work as hard as I can for them.

Do you have specific goals for yourself and the Rapids this year?

I am so excited for the Rapids this year. We have such a lovely group of talented folks both on the track and on our bench. We have worked really hard to create a positive team culture and I am excited to build on that this year.

I have quite a few personal goals for myself this year. I find it really useful to be intentional about goal-setting and tracking my progress. Two of my more fun goals for the year are to be able to jump 360° on roller skates and to jump the apex. I am currently working on achieving those movements consistently off-skates and building my muscle memory. That part is going really well so far and I’m excited to try on skates soon.

How’s the experience of playing with Team Ontario been different than playing with a typical travel team?

Team Ontario has been a very unique experience. As a team, it faces logistical and practical hurdles that a team does not typically need to deal with - Ontario is a HUGE province and we all travel quite far to skate together.

That being said, it has been incredibly satisfying to be challenged at this level as an athlete. I have had the opportunity to play the highest level roller derby of my career. I have met so many incredible folks who match my very intense passion for this sport. I have also been reunited with so many past teammates - lots of pals who skated in Ottawa and have since moved away and joined other leagues. Reconnecting with them all has been amazing.

The knowledge transfer and resource sharing between leagues has also been a wonderful element that I was not anticipating. I have been so lucky to get the opportunity to learn so much.

Besides roller derby you also work in illustration, and you post a sketch every day on your Instagram. A lot of the drawings are derby-related. Do you find sketching about derby cathartic or like a journal of all your experiences?

I started the daily drawing project in 2016 and I have completed an illustration every day since then. Because I very quickly ran out of things to draw, I often rely on my hobbies and day-to-day routines for inspiration. I spend a lot of time playing and organizing roller derby, so it features heavily in my work. What can I say…I just really, really, really love roller skating.

How did you get started roller skating?

I joined Ottawa Roller Derby’s Crash Course in Fall 2012 and have been playing roller derby consistently ever since. I had never roller skated before. Derby was my first ever sport. I pretty much tried it once, fell in love and never looked back.

How would you describe your skating style?

For roller derby, I would describe myself as solid (as in, I’m hard to knock over). Even when I was starting and could barely skate, I was always hard to knock over. I don’t know how on earth I ended up with this as a natural skill…but lucky for me, it works for roller derby.

What’s your skate setup like?

Derby skates: I wear an Antik AR2 boot, with an ancient set of Rival plates. My go-to wheels are a bald set of Radar Villains.

Park skates: Custom mounted (by me!) Vans on an old junk set of plates with CIB sliders and Crazy Big Block toe stops with Radar Energy 57 wheels.

Trail skates: Moxi Lolly with stock plate and Radar Energy 57 wheels.

What’s your favorite roller derby memory or experience?

This is probably recency bias talking, but my final games last season. I was playing with Team Ontario at a tournament hosted by Montreal Roller Derby. I got the opportunity to see so many friends have personal bests in their derby careers that weekend. There is nothing that fills my heart more than seeing my pals succeed in their goals. There were also so many friends in the crowd for our games there to support us. It was really special.

What advice do you have for people who are curious about roller derby?

Do it! We are really nice and fun and wanna help you learn to skate in a safe and fun environment. Roller derby is for EVERY body. If you want to meet rad folks and join a weird and wonderful community, derby is the place for you.

Any parting thoughts?

Roller skating is the most fun thing on planet earth. Buy your roller skates from Rideau Rollers.