A cool winter sport in West Vancouver
Hockey isn’t the only exciting, high-speed game played on ice.
Although it’s a lesser known sport, those who play ringette will tell you it’s every bit as fast and fun to play as Canada’s other winter pastime.
Before his oldest daughter Joelle, 18, signed up for ringette 11 years ago, Michael Stadnyk didn’t know much about the sport.
Immediately, his daughter was hooked. “She loved it.”
And so did he. Since then, it’s become a family passion. Michael’s wife Christine is now the president of North West Vancouver Ringette Association and he’s the vice president. Their youngest daughter Shelby, 12, also plays.
“I like passing and shooting and skating and scoring,” she says.
“It’s a fun sport. You get to play with your friends and have fun on the ice.”
Adds Michael: “When they join, they play a long time.”
Players can start playing at five years old and keep playing as adults in the masters division.
Like hockey, the sport is played five a side and the goal is to score into the opponent’s net, but that’s where the similarity ends.
Instead of a puck there is rubber ring and players use sticks with unique tips to move the ring during the two-period games which last 15-20 minutes. Tactically, the non-contact game more resembles lacrosse or basketball as it has different zones — offensive and defensive — and only three players from each team may be in the zone at a time. And because the ring must be passed over both blue lines, more players get involved in the flow of the game.
NWVRA clubs play games on the weekend, facing competition from across Metro Vancouver. There’s also an opportunity to play on provincial and national squads.
For those interested in learning more about the sport, NWVRA hosts free Come Try Ringette evenings.
And when new players try it out, they usually come back, says Michael.
The next introductory session takes place Oct. 13 at the West Vancouver Arena from 5 to 6 p.m.
For more information, visit nwvra.ca.