SUMMERSIDE – The 2018 Atlantic ringette championships provided an opportunity to grow the sport in Summerside.
The three-day event was held Friday through Sunday at Credit Union Place, and attracted over 20 teams and 300 athletes.
“We are very happy with the way things went,” reflected tournament chair Francois Caron of Summerside. “We are very fortunate to have such a wonderful host committee with lots of volunteers who really stepped up and showcased this tournament, our local ringette association and we are really lucky to have the Credit Union Place. People were just raving about the facility all weekend long.”
One of the highlights of the weekend was two National Ringette League games between the Atlantic Attack and Richmond Hill Lightning from the Toronto area.
“One of the organizers for the Attack came over after and said it was one of the best games that they’ve had in terms of the atmosphere,” said Caron. “The first game goes to a shootout, and the second one was a two-goal game.
“It was great from their perspective, and it was really wonderful for the fans to watch that calibre of ringette.”
P.E.I. Wave goaltender Sarah Bain makes a save during the under-14 gold-medal medal game at the 2018 Atlantic ringette championships in Summerside on Sunday afternoon. The Wave defeated New Brunswick’s Beausejour Hot Shots 4-1.
Jamie Jeffery of Charlottetown coached the P.E.I. Wave under-14 team to the Atlantic title. He feels ringette is on the upswing across the province.
“I have a lot of friends who travelled from Charlottetown and from West Prince,” said Jeffery. “My daughter (Sophia Jeffery) plays on the team, and they wanted to come watch her. They had never saw ringette, and I’m always talking highly about ringette and how fast of a game it is.
“There was a boys’ hockey team from West Prince that had a team builder to come watch a game (Saturday) night. It was pretty neat to see. It is alive and well on P.E.I., and it’s really come a long way the last seven or eight years. The girls work hard, and they put a lot of effort in.”
The well-supported event drew enthusiastic crowds all weekend.
“There seemed to be lots of people out watching the games,” said Caron. “I know there are lots of families travelling with the kids who are playing, but I saw lots of other Summerside residents around who maybe didn’t have someone in ringette, but were here supporting it and it was great to see.”
Caron added the most important thing is to have young people participating in activities.
“If they come and play ringette and love it that’s great, but if they are doing something else we are fine with that too,” said Caron. “Perhaps someone came and watched a game this weekend and said, ‘That looks like fun.’
“We will have some ‘Come Try Ringette’ events this spring, and a chance for people to give the game a try on the ice. Maybe if they like it enough they might sign up for next year.”