by Stephen Dafoe
photos by Kristine Jorgenson
Less than two years after Morinville residents Andre and Lisa Houle held their first come-try-ringette event, the sport has completed its first full and successful season in the community.
“We had absolutely no expectations going into this, and we have to say this season has been monumental,” Andre Houle said. “We’ve had so much fun introducing the sport and have been inspired and awed by the support of the families involved.”
The game was invented in Ontario in 1963 and is played throughout the country today. Ringette players carry straight hollow sticks to control a blue plastic ring that is shot into the opponent’s net. The game is similar to hockey in that respect but is more focused on passing than hockey. Teams consist of 16 to 18 players.
Being a new sport in Morinville, there was obviously a learning curve for the players. But the ringette team were not the only ones that needed to adapt on the ice.
“We had a steep learning curve in the beginning, as we were prepared for only 10 players maximum. But we are extremely happy with how everything has turned out,” Houle said, adding he hoped the roughly 20 players and their families have had an amazing experience. “We thank them for their support.”
The Houles are hoping to see some growth in year two, but are pleased with how the sport has caught on this season. Though they intended the first season to be purely a learning experience, they had two games against Westlock at the Ray McDonald Sports Center, the final game taking place Mar. 7.
“Going forth we are hoping to play a few more games and continue to have fun and develop our ringette skills,” Houle said, adding they want to continue to offer something different. “We are attempting to bring not only another option to our community but a game that all can truly enjoy. We strive to ensure our players are having fun first and foremost and foster confidence, team play, and camaraderie among our players.”
Though the season only ended Mar. 7, registration for next season is already open through the Town website. The season runs October to March. Registration is $225 per player until July 2, $245 after that date. For more information on Ringette contact Andre Houle at 780-887-6847 or email@example.com.