Rings will roar at this tournament in Prince George next month
Did you know that ringette is the fastest sport on ice?
The intensity and quickness of the game will be put on full display in Prince George in March as the city gets set to host the 2019 B.C. Ringette Championships for girls in Divisions ‘A’ and ‘B’.
Committee Chair and past Prince George Ringette President Brenda Atkinsonsays the sport is fast because it’s about making the right moves.
“I like to think of it as basketball on ice,” Atkinson explains to PrinceGeorgeMatters. “There’s a shot clock; they have 30 seconds once they’ve gained possession to get a shot on net. There’s also what’s called a ‘ringette zone’ and each team is only allowed three players in that zone. So it’s a quick passing game and you have to think on your feet, which is one of the unique aspects of the game.”
The set-up is the same as hockey where you have three forwards, two defencemen, and a goaltender in play, with the objective of out-scoring your opponent.
However, unlike Canada’s national pastime, ringette is a non-contact sport, something Atkinson goes on to say is why the game is more mentally challenging.
“To be skating at the fast speeds they’re moving, and making all those quick passes to each other, they also have to avoid everyone on the ice. That provides a great mentality to ringette in that there’s a lot going on around you.”
Prince George is one of four northern-based competitive ringette clubs; the other regional associations are located in Quesnel, Houston, and Terrace.
Going into the 2015 Canada Winter Games, the local club saw about 155 players registered to play.
Since then, Atkinson delightfully reported that the numbers have increased, averaging now at close to 180.
“We typically have a lot of younger kids involved, both boys and girls, and as they grow older, they get into other sports and activities. That being said, [2018-19] is the first year that we’ve had two teams in our under-14 division and, while we don’t have an under-19 team this year, we had enough that we also created two 18-plus teams.”
Ringette appears to be slowly increasing in Prince George popularity.
Over the Remembrance Day 2018 weekend, the association held its first ever all boys ringette game, which included two full teams with players under 10 years old.
Atkinson hopes the provincials next month will gain more attraction, even with programs already in place with local schools as well.
“We have approached [School District 57] to see if they wanted to go on a field trip and do something completely different,” she says. “We now have three classes come on over to the Kin Centre each Friday, and we have classes from Heather Park Elementary walk over and watch games at the Elksentre too. It’s our hope that these visits will boost our numbers and bring in more kids for the next year.”
The Prince George tournament will range from under 14 years old to players age 18 and older, with teams pouring in from leagues in the north, the Lower Mainland, the Thompson-Okanagan region, and Vancouver Island.
This totals almost 40 teams, 600 athletes, and nearly 150 coaches.