Ringette instructor Andre Houle teaches children the proper way to fall during the first session Oct. 25. Right: A ringette player gets some help with her skating.
by Stephen Dafoe
Less than seven months after Morinville residents Andre and Lisa Houle held their first Come Try Ringette Event at the Ray McDonald Sports Center, the sport is now officially underway on weekends. Ringette began Oct. 25 and will run on Saturdays until mid-March from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
Ringette was invented in Ontario in 1963 and is played throughout the country today. 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 generally consist of 16 to 18 players and the fledgling sport already has 20 children registered to play, 19 of whom came out to the opening day at the arena.
“We are super thrilled and amazed and thankful for the support from the community,” Andre Houle said of he and his wife’s gratitude for the initial success. “When we started we were hoping for just 10 to 13 to get this started. Right now being at 20 is awesome. We have room for more as we are close to having both an Under 6 team as well as an Under 9 team. This way when we do start to play games we will have a more evenly matched team.”
Houle said the present group would be split into two so children just learning feel encouraged and included. “We want to help them learn to skate as well as the game of ringette,” he said, adding they want to be inclusive for all – but nurture and support varying abilities. “We will continue to support all skill levels as best we can, building confidence as we go. We want to make sure the kids have a fun year first and foremost. We want to build friendships within the community outside of school.”
As skills develop towards game play, the program will include some in-house games, but the Morinville team is working towards playing some games against Westlock, St. Albert, and possibly Spruce Grove. “Other Communities are excited and supportive of us starting up,” Houle said. “We will most likely start playing some games after the New Year.”
Between now and then ringette will take place each Saturday from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. The players will take a break on the Saturday between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Costs are $225 for the season and those interested in having their children join can register through the Town website, in person at Community Services in the Morinville Community Cultural Centre, or during ringette ice time on Saturdays. Houle said there would also be a half season rate of $150 for those starting in January.
For more information contact Andre Houle at 780-887-6847 or firstname.lastname@example.org.