It is that time of the year… the air is crisp, everyone is full of anticipation and looking forward to getting back onto the ice. The sound of skate blades cutting through ice resonates around the rink as the players rush into the offensive zone. The centre passes to the forward, who pivots left, cutting around the defender, and shoots, aiming for the top left corner of the net. The goalie slides across the crease and pops up her hand, but she can’t catch the ring before it catches the net.
Ring? Not puck? Yes, ringette is growing in popularity in the Valley and across the country. It is a wonderful alternative or addition to hockey. Open to boys and girls, it offers ice skating and team building skills without body contact.
According to the organizers of this year’s Come Try Ringette event, “Ringette has some very distinct differences to other ice sports. In fact, while it looks a bit like hockey, it more closely resembles lacrosse or basketball in terms of its offensive and defensive play. Ringette uses a rubber ring and sticks with specially designed tips. The objective is to score on the opponent by shooting the ring into their net.”
Also, “Unlike hockey, the ring must be passed across the blue lines. This encourages passing and team play, enhancing the flow of the game and making it very fast. The game is kept fast moving and wide open as only three players from each team may enter the offensive or defensive zone at a time. There is lots of room to move which creates many scoring chances.”
Helen Oliphant, Comox Valley Ringette Association president and player with the Cougars Masters’ team and organizer of this year’s Come Try Ringette event is excited by the growth of the sport and hoping for a big turnout to this free skate.
“All you need,” she explained, “are some warm clothes, your skates, a helmet, a pair of mitts or gloves and enthusiasm! Sticks will be provided and there are a limited number of helmets available for those who do not have their own.” Parents and guardians must be in attendance and will be provided plenty of information about ringette and the Comox Valley Youth Program.
Oliphant also mentioned the association’s efforts to keep costs down for parents. “We will have a gear swap before and after the ice time so that parents can outfit their kids without the expense of all new gear.”
Boys and girls aged five to 12 years old who would like to try this fun and exciting ice sport are invited to come out to the Comox Valley Sports Centre Arena #2 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 15.
To register for this free event visit www.cometryringette.com or the association’s website for more details.
The Comox Valley’s Youth Ringette Program runs from mid September to mid March. Under the direction of Ringette Canada certified coaches, participants have weekly ice times on Tuesdays from 3:45 to 4:45 p.m. In addition to skill development, youth participants will have the opportunity to host and/or travel to play real games against other teams throughout the season. Registration is ongoing and it is never too late to join in the fun!
For more information on Ringette in the valley please visit comoxvalleyringette.com.
– Comox Valley Ringette