Woolwich & Wellesley Township's Local Community Newspaper | Elmira, Ontario, Canada
Help
Follow

A little more local for your inbox.

Seven days. One newsletter. Local reporting about people and places you
won't find anywhere else. Stay caught up with The Observer This Week.

Enter your email to subscribe. Unsubscribe anytime. We may send you promotional messages.
Please read our privacy policy.

Ringette struggling to make the grade in Woolwich

With hockey players taking to rinks across the country this winter, there is one winter sport that doesn’t get much recognition, or even participants: ringette.

Here in Woolwich Township, the Storm don’t have enough interested players to put a team on the ice. Canada has the largest ringette-playing population in the world, but the numbers just aren’t translating to teams in the area.

Marilyn Buehler is the co-president, along with Amy McDougall, of the Woolwich Minor Ringette league,  and says the sport just doesn’t have the same kind of exposure as its more popular counterpart, hockey.

“Hockey is an Olympic sport and ringette is not. If you could watch it on television, it would help,” she said. “I know people have been watching ringette feeds over the Internet, but it is just about publicizing it more, especially at the older playing level so younger kids can see what it is all about.”

McDougall expressed her frustration at not having enough interested players to put a single team in game rotation.

“We were really disappointed this year when we realized that we wouldn’t be able to make any teams,” she said. “For a team, you have to have a minimum of seven players and a goalie to ice a team. This year, we didn’t have enough players in any age group to do that.”

In previous years, to ice a team, the executive has pooled together different age groups, but there still weren’t enough skaters this time around.

There is plenty to brag about when it comes to ringette. Buehler says the area has crafted a lot of high-quality talent, but now that talent has moved on to bigger things.

“Woolwich has put out a lot of quality players that have moved on to a higher caliber of play other than the regional level,” she said. “That took a lot of players away from the sport here and it was hard to make teams with the girls left in Woolwich. Basically, we need to start from the bottom up, again.”

Because there are no lucrative contracts to be had in professional ringette, or much international exposure, McDougall says those who do play, play because they want to be there.

“For those that play, and have been around the sport, they are passionate,” she said, touting the benefits of joining the local ringette club. “There have been good friendships made as well. The girls play from the time they are seven or eight years old, all the way up to the highest age group. It is really nice to see all of that. We create a community.”

Buehler added that the sport doesn’t have the same rules as hockey, and focuses on different skills.

“It is mostly about the skating. The players don’t stop moving,” she said. “It is a lot of team play. You have to pass the ring and involve everyone on the ice.”

That community is shrinking drastically, and the club now has to start from the bottom to rebuild the sport’s following in Woolwich. Both women have children who play ringette, but now have to travel to Kitchener-Waterloo to get on the ice.

“The year or two before our kids started, they were considering closing down because they only had one team left,” said McDougall. “Then, a bunch of younger players came along and built it back up, but now it is back at  the beginning.”

For more information on the local ringette club, or to express interest in joining next winter’s team, visit their website at www.woolwichringette.com.

A little more local for your inbox.

Seven days. One newsletter. Local reporting about people and places you
won't find anywhere else. Stay caught up with The Observer This Week.

Enter your email to subscribe. Unsubscribe anytime. We may send you promotional messages.
Please read our privacy policy.

Total
0
Shares



Related Posts
Read the full story

Wildcats have a reason to celebrate

Two Woolwich Minor Hockey teams are celebrating successful seasons. Both the U11 A and U13A teams took home…
Total
0
Share