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For the second time in three years, the Comox Valley Cougars masters ringette team has won the gold medal at the West Coast Classic, one of B.C.’s largest tournaments.
“This feels especially good,” says team centre Dawna Yanick, “because we are a relatively new team and have no teams to play on the Island. We are playing against teams who play and practise weekly on the mainland and our only chance to compete is in one or two tournaments each year.”
It was a clean sweep for the Cougars even with some tough teams. Their first game was one of the more mentally challenging ones as they faced many of their own “teammates.” “The masters team has grown a lot in the last two years,” commented Helen Oliphant, team player and president of the Comox Valley Ringette Association, “and we had enough interested players to send two teams to the tournament.”
The other team, the Tigers, consisted mainly of new players and they did very well considering it was the first time they had seen or participated in ringette other than what they have learned at practices here in the Comox Valley
Terry Berger, who assisted Jan Harding with coaching, noted, "It “it was a huge learning curve for these ladies and they stepped up to the plate and had an excellent tournament. They managed a goal in each of their games and left the tournament with a different appreciation for the sport.”
According to Suzanne Venuta, a dedicated Cougar (and Tiger in this tournament), “At the beginning of the first game the Tigers did not know the new players or what the lines were, but as each game progressed the team gelled more and more and by the last game flawless line changes were being made and the team felt whole, strong and confident. On-ice communication was great, passing and shots were accurate and there was a lot of laughter and smiles on and off the ice.”
After winning their first game against the Tigers, the Cougars went on to beat Richmond 8-5, Burnaby 3-2 and Port Coquitlam 4-0. Defence player Arran Kerrigan noted, “We felt strong going into the final this year. Every player on the team was involved in the play and everyone had scored or assisted on a goal at that point in the tournament.
"Our goalie, Bruce Burgess was on fire, keeping out everything that came his way! It is such a wonderful feeling when everything syncs with the team and it paid off in the final game.” The Cougars won soundly with an 8-0 victory thanks to Burgess’s second shutout of the tournament, goals from Yanick, Kerrigan, Oliphant, Haley Hill and Trudy Barr, and the incredible passing and skating from everyone on the team.
To find out more about the sport visit www.comoxvalleyringette.com.
– Comox Valley Ringette