The Power of a RollerGirl

Manila Ice extols a relatively new winter pastime: roller derby, the most contact of contact sports.
Manila Ice makes a move against the Old Capitol City team from Iowa.

Saint Paul’s Manila Ice blocks for the Minnesota RollerGirls All Stars team—she competitively charges into other women on roller skates. (The team ranks ninth in the world.) Inspired by the movie Whip It to start skating in 2012, Manila has touted roller derby All Stars status since 2015.

Q: What keeps you going?

A: This is the most fun I’ve ever had doing sports. I did softball and tennis in high school. Tennis is very non-contact [laughs]. And I wish there were more contact-sports opportunities for young girls. Because we’re always told to be careful. I like that [RollerGirls] get to understand what our strength is; you get to crash into people and actually see the power that you have.

Q: We know Vanilla Ice, but why Manila, the capital of the Philippines?

A: My dad is from the Philippines, and being mixed-race in Minnesota is part of who I am. I admit I got the pun from watching the boxer Manny Pacquiao—it was already a moniker for his signature punch combo, so it’s meant to channel his boxing power, too.

Q: Favorite technique?

A: I love when blockers perfectly time offensive blocks, when the other team least expects it.

Watch Manila Ice play for both the All Stars and the Rockits at Roy Wilkins Auditorium. Buy tickets, check event dates and times at the website here.