All those matches, all those playoffs, all that ice time and, in the end, it all comes down to seven games. Fortunately, the Woolwich Storm U12 ringette team enjoyed a strong showing at the 2013 provincial ringette championships, taking home silver at the Sault St. Marie event that ran April 3 to 6.
“They prepared for this all season,” said assistant coach Nancy Jacobi. “At this level, they need to be dedicated.”
The girls began the championships on a Thursday, and were tied for third place by the end of the round robin games on Saturday. That tie was broken in the 10-minute mini-games on Saturday evening with just 14 seconds left, taking them to the semi-finals.
After beating Elora-Fergus, Woolwich took on undefeated Oshawa in the finals, bringing the game to a narrow 4-3 loss. The team’s performance was good for silver, and they were also recognized for Best Sportsmanship and Best Costume at the Thursday opening ceremonies (they hit the floor dressed as clown cars).
“Congratulations to an amazing group of girls, who used the skills taught throughout the season, pulled together as a team, and never gave up,” said head coach Dawna Martin.
In particular, Jacobi singled out first-year goalie Rachel Bettke for praise.
“It was our goalie’s first year playing in net, so she not only played in net for the first time, but also played on a provincial team. What an amazing difference between the beginning of the season and the end.”
Success at the championship level requires plenty of hard work, said Jacobi. “They have to make every single practice. We had dry land training once a week, plus sometimes two ice time practices and a game, and it’s a must that they attend all training. It even gets into eating healthy, getting enough sleep – it’s a bit of a lifestyle change, in a good way.”
But they always take time to have fun, she added. “We do a fun bowling event and team parties, and we get together at Christmas. At tournaments, we always have potluck meals, and the whole team – parents and kids – would eat together. That’s a good bonding experience, and the more they bond as friends, the better they play on the ice.”
All in all, the team’s efforts represented the sport’s true team spirit, said Jacobi.
“It’s an amazing team sport. Hockey is a team sport as well, but with ringette, because you have to pass all the time over the blue line, it’s more of a team effort. No one person can carry the game, and just take the ring down the ice, get it across both blue lines, and get it in that net.”