Four ringette players from Woolwich and Wellesley are on their way to represent Ontario at nationals next month, after beating out a long-time rival at a provincial tournament.
Maddie MacLean is from St. Jacobs and plays forward for the Waterloo Wildfire ringette team. She says the national competition in London on Apr. 3 is only the beginning.
“It is really exciting. We worked really hard towards this, but it definitely isn’t over yet. We are still going to have to work as hard as we can going into nationals,” she said.
Before getting to London, however, the Wildfire, which also includes Tara, Amy and Jessie Burke from Wellesley, had to face their rival team, the Guelph Predators. A task the girls looked forward to at the provincial tournament the weekend of Mar. 11.
“It was a good game. Throughout the season we play teams from all around the province, and all year, we have had this rivalry against Guelph. Actually, we have had a rivalry with them for like the last 10 years,” said Tara Burke. “They usually win provincials every year. This year, it was our year. We knew that we wanted to win and we knew that this was the year that we could win. All year, we have been back and forth and then the final game, they scored the first goal and we were freaking out. From there, we stepped our game up a bit. We won 6-2. We were happy that we didn’t just win, but that we won by a lot.”
After taking on the Predators, and coming out victorious, preparations have begun for their six-day tournament against the best teams in the country.
“We have a few practices and we will be looking at fitness. We also have a few fundraisers that we are going to be doing,” said MacLean.
The fundraiser took place on Mar. 26. The girls will be selling mint smoothie bars for $2 each to raise money for their trip.
As for those practices, Burke says there are a few adjustments to make before they head to London.
“We are just practicing on our regular ice time, but this time, we are wearing our new uniforms just to get used to the colour. We aren’t used to wearing red and passing to red,” she said.
Once the team arrives in London to play their games, MacLean says she is going to be looking at other players, and enjoying her time away from home.
“It is going to be cool to see how teams from different provinces play, but I am just excited to be spending the whole week with my team, playing my favourite sport,” she said. “It is going to be really exciting.”
For both girls, their upcoming showing at the national competition is something they wouldn’t have been able to do without the support of their friends and families.
“All of our friends have social networking on Twitter and Facebook and congratulating us. All of our grandparents, our aunts and uncles have called us to congratulate us,” said Burke.
MacLean says her family are looking forward to the competition as much as the players on the ice.
“I wouldn’t be able to do it without my family. They are all just as excited as I am,” she said.
The tournament starts on Apr. 3, and runs until the next weekend.
To follow along with the Waterloo Wildfire playing as Team Ontario, visit www.crc2016.ca.