Ringette Life - “She Shoots, She Scores!", News (Markham-Stouffville Ringette)

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Ringette Life - “She Shoots, She Scores!"
Submitted By Tom Vlahakis on Mon 09 24, 18
It’s 6:00 am on a crisp Sunday morning in early February. There is no sign of human or animal life on this cold wintry day. The sun is barely contemplating its rising. The moon is hanging on for one last sliver. Silence abounds. There is peace in the city.

All of a sudden, the sound of plastic wheels crashing onto the pavement violently breaks the silence. This wheeled contraption is being navigated through snow banks and along an icy path by a barely awake 9 year old girl on her way to the local rink. There’s a spring in her step that is rarely evident from Monday to Friday, but when it’s the weekend, and the final destination is not a classroom, but a fresh sheet of ice, all is well.

The wheeled contraption is known as a hockey bag, but on this early Sunday morning, and forever in the eyes of this 9 year old girl, her bag is a Ringette bag. And that bag is carrying more than her protective equipment; it’s carrying the passion of a girl with a purpose. This girl, and ten of her similarly driven teammates, their caffeine deprived parents and their devoted volunteer coaches are all part of the Ringette family.

Ringette Overview:

Ringette was invented in 1963 by Sam Jacks, a recreation director and sports enthusiast from North Bay, Ontario, when he saw the need for a winter team sport for girls. Since the early 1960s, the sport has continued to grow and currently boasts nearly 30,000 registered players on nearly 2000 teams, with over 8000 coaches and over 1500 officials. While it is primarily a female sport, there are currently over 700 males playing Ringette across the country and is played internationally in Finland, Sweden, USA, France, Slovakia, Russia, the Czech Republic, and Abu Dhabi.

Ringette and hockey are both played on the same ice surface with minor differences.

  • Ringette is played with 5 players and a goalie on the ice at one time and is a game that encourages teamwork and sportsmanship.
  • The object of the game is to score more goals than the opposition by shooting a blue rubber ring into the opposition’s net.
  • The ring is controlled by players using a straight stick (no blade) and the ring is speared or stabbed to gain possession.
  • Players cannot carry the ring across the blue lines on the ice; they must pass it to a teammate.
  • Only three players from each team, plus the defending goalie, are allowed in the end zones at the same time, which keeps the play open, puts a premium on sharp offensive moves, and requires defending players to skate close to their opponents.
  • Although the game is intense, and can be physical, intentional body contact is NOT ALLOWED.

Markham Regional Ringette Association:

Markham Regional Ringette Association (MRRA), founded in 1983, is a parent-volunteer run, non-profit association that has been providing opportunities for children to learn to skate and play Ringette in Markham/Stouffville for over 34 years. Former members of the Bears have gone on to represent Provincial teams at the A, double A, and triple A levels and on Team Ontario. We currently have a number of second generation Ringette players in Markham whose mothers also played Ringette as kids.  Both Gillian Apps, three time Olympic Gold Medalist in Woman’s Hockey and Steven Stamkos got their start with the Markham Bears.  Sidney Crosby also played ringette as a child.

Markham Bear alumni Britt Kleine made us all proud as she played for Team USA’s National Team. Her quote below speaks volumes about how Ringette has affected her life.

“Ringette was more than just an activity or pastime for me. When I was younger I was severely bullied in elementary and high school. Ringette not only provided me with an alternate social setting and a different group of peers to befriend year after year,but it instilled in me values that I am certain I would have had difficulty learning if it were not for Ringette. I learned what it meant to work as a team, I learned how to problem solve and think on my toes, and most importantly I learned the value that each individual player brought to the team. Every girl in that change room brought something unique to the team that helped make us who we were.  I learned that you win as a team, but you also lose as a team. It was with these lessons that I learned how to be a leader. With over 10 seasons as team-captain and over 20 years of playing experience, I cannot imagine my life without ringette.”  - Britt Kleine (October 2013)

Ringette is the fastest growing non-contact game on ice. It promotes a lifelong interest in fitness and health. Through Ringette, participants develop physical and teamwork skills while the healthy competition assists with emotional and social maturity. We focus on teaching FUNdamentals through a structured, but always FUN, skills development program. Win or lose, your kids will thrive both on and off the ice.

"We signed my niece up to play ringette as a fun and less stressful way for her to learn how to skate.  It’s now 4 years later and what she has gotten out of it is much more than skating skills. She loves the game and has learned how to socialise and become a member of a team, and those skills are invaluable."
Barb – Team Manager (May 2017)

MRRA Information Brochure

The Markham Bears practice out of Milliken Mills Arena and offer two programs.  The Bear Cubs program for children aged 4 – 11 focuses on learning/improving skating skills & developing Ringette skills. The program is 2 hours per week and runs from October to March. We offer an equipment lending program to assist players and families transition to our sport, with very little up front cost.
Our Regional / Provincial teams for ages 8 and up are geared towards experienced skaters, former hockey players & graduates of our Bear Cubs program. Full protective Ringette equipment is required and some travelling for games is expected. Registration fee includes weekly power skating sessions, weeknight practice with a weekend game and runs from as early as September to March.