Ringette is making its debut in Hope next weekend.
About 75 participants from around the province will hit the ice for the Ladies Masters Tournament. Teams are coming from Comox, Richmond, Burnaby, New West, Surrey-White Rock, and Port Coquitlam-Ridge Meadows.
“We wanted to host a destination tournament so that the participants could leave behind their duties and responsibilities and just enjoy a fun, social, weekend,” said tournament coordinator Samantha Morrison. “Hope has a great ice arena, affordable accommodations, and supportive tourism services. There is a real community feel and we have been welcomed by the recreation staff and local businesses.”
Ringette is a fast-paced team sport similar to lacrosse and basketball that was invented in 1963 in North Bay, Ontario by Sam Jacks. Players use a straight stick to pass, carry, and shoot a rubber ring to score goals. Teams consist of seven to 18 players: a goalie and five skaters, two defense, two forwards, and a centre. There is no offside rule but teams must pass over both blue lines to move up the ice. Each end zone is restricted to three skaters per team.
Ringette has become a popular sport for women in this country, with over 50,000 participants, including players, coaches, officials and volunteers across Canada.
“Being part of a team motivates women to exercise and learn new skills in a supportive and fun environment,” said Morrison. “Women often devote their social time to childrearing and when their kids hit a certain age they find that they have time for themselves again. Ringette welcomes women of all ages and abilities. Many women start playing in their 40s.”
The Ladies Masters Tournament kicks off on April 11 at Hope Arena. Boys and girls age six and over can try ringette for free from 6:30-7:30 p.m., and ladies aged 25-60+ from 6:45-7:45 p.m. The Eagles Club is also hosting a private banquet for tournament participants with dinner and dancing on the Saturday.
“There will be lots of team spirit and camaraderie and effort – if you are lucky perhaps you will even see some skilled play,” said Morrison. “The jambouree style tournament is focused on relationship building and personal bests. There are no finals. The motto for the weekend is ‘if you are not having fun – you are doing it wrong.’”