Speed, skill and dedication are few of the requirements it takes to be a great ringette player. Maddie MacLean of St. Jacobs exhibits all of those plus more which has landed her a spot on the Canadian Junior National Team that will represent the country at the world championships at the end of November.
“It’s a pretty big accomplishment just because when you’re younger, you look up to this position and this team and you see all the girls who have played on it before and you think ‘wow now I’m playing,’” said MacLean of making the national team.
Leading up to the championships, MacLean is looking forward to getting to know her new teammates and playing alongside each other on the ice.
“I’m getting to play with these amazing athletes, literally the best in the country,” she exclaimed. One of her favourite things about the sport is the feeling of being a part of a community, where she has met lifelong friends from all across Canada.
Dedication is one piece of the puzzle when it comes to being a good ringette player, says MacLean, but it also takes great athleticism and mental stability to be able to represent a whole country. Throughout the season ringette players take part in fitness testing and also mental training that helps the players be in a state where they can focus on the team and be a good athlete in a way that their head is fully in the game – “it’s not just all physical. It definitely takes a lot to compete at this level.”
Making the team has been a long process but worthwhile, where many of the players are scouted throughout the Canada Winter Games and even years prior during various tournaments. Recruiters start looking at players during their earlier years and keep notes on how they play during provincials and even nationals, according to MacLean.
Since the age of five, MacLean has taken interest in the sport when she first saw her cousin and a friend play ringette, and ever since she’s been involved herself. Now 15 years of dedication have paid off to land her a spot on the junior national team.
“It’s pretty cool to look back and see all the work I’ve put in and now I’m here and it’s definitely exciting,” she added.
While she’s not on the ice, the 20-year-old is at the University of Waterloo in the health studies program. Balancing between school and ringette isn’t always easy for the athlete, but after years of experience getting the timing right now comes a little easier.
“You kind of have to get used to the idea that you’re always going to have to be doing something; whether it’s training, or doing homework, or going to bed because you know you need to get up early the next day to do those things,” she said.
Along with making the team, comes the responsibility of each player paying their fees to be able to attend the championships. MacLean and her family have started selling hats and t-shirts to raise funds for her trip. A big part of the process is ensuring each athlete has the funds to participate in the event.
The 2019 World Ringette Championships will be held in Burnaby, BC from November 25 to December 1. To follow along with the games during the championship or for more information on the team click here.