CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Brittney MacCormac knows Islanders will be in for a treat when the Credit Union Canadian Ringette Championships takes place in Prince Edward Island in April.
The 19-year-old Charlottetown native attended the past two championships in Leduc, Alta., and Winnipeg as a member of the P.E.I. Wave.
“The competition is very talented,” she said. “You get to see the highest level there is – the best of the best. It’s really eye-opening. . . The talent, the skill, the finesse that they have is really impressive.”
The competition is taking place April 7-13 at four Island rinks with Charlottetown and Summerside co-hosting the event.
MacCormac’s involvement with ringette came innocently enough as one of her good friends, Jayne Whitehead, was playing the sport when they were about six-years-old.
“She would be going to practices and stuff and I just wanted to tag along and started playing the sport with all my friends,” she said.
“When I first got involved I really didn't know how to skate, what the game was about or anything.”
She took power skating and power rings to grow and get better at the sport. She played for the Charlottetown Thunder house league team and got involved with the provincial program.
“I caught on quick and I learned to love it.”
MacCormac will be representing Prince Edward Island at the Canada Games next month in Red Deer, Alta. She is the lone member of the squad who is too old to play in the under-19 division of the Canadian Ringette Championship.
“But I will be here cheering my team on in every game,” she smiled.
The Credit Unions of P.E.I. was recently announced as the title sponsor for the event. The dollar value was not disclosed at the event.
“The Credit Union . . . understands what it means to Island athletes to be able to participate in an event like this,” said commercial account manager Steve Sentner. “We just wanted to be able to give those athletes the ability to do that.”
He has two daughters involved with the sport at the under-12 and under-16 age levels.
“I was introduced to the sport about probably 10 years ago and knew nothing about it,” he said, noting he became a coach and “fell in love with it from that day on.”
While each team wants to do its best at the tournament, the event provides an opportunity for athletes to get to spend some time with other players they play against at different tournaments in the Maritimes.
“You finally get to meet and interact with them off the ice,” MacCormac said. “It’s a really friendly environment.”
The tournament has doubled in size since it was last hosted in Charlottetown in 2009. After that event Ringette P.E.I. saw its number of participants also double and it expanded to include more clubs.
“The last time it came here, the numbers blew up over the next three or four years and we’re hoping for the same thing again this time,” said Michael James, who is co-chairing the tournament with Francois Caron.
Ringette P.E.I. president Breanne MacInnis said it is a co-operative effort by the five clubs to host the event. While they compete on the ice, they work well together to host such events.
“It’s a point of pride,” she said.
Organizers are still working on the final details but noted there will be a call for volunteers. Many hands will be needed to do tasks like work the game clock, fill out game sheets and take tickets.
“It won’t be just the ringette community that we’ll be calling on to help with this, we’ll need the whole broad P.E.I. community,” Caron said.
Canadian Ringette Championships
What – A national competition where champions will be crowned at three levels (under-16, under-19 and the National Ringette League). It will include 45 teams playing 180 games at six ice surfaces at four Island facilities.
When – April 7-13.
Where – MacLauchlan Arena, Pownal Sports Centre, APM Centre and Credit Union Place.
Who – There is a team from each Maritime province at the under-16 and under-19 competition with the Island squads being known as the P.E.I. Wave. Each Island squad has about 35 players. There are 16 more teams from centrally and western Canada at the under-16 competition and 15 in the under-19 event. Eight National Ringette League teams have to qualify for the national championship.
Need to know – Tickets will go on sale later this month.
Staying connected – Visit www.crc2019.ca or follow @CRC_CCR on Twitter and Instagram and at CanadianRingetteChampionships on Facebook.
Ringette P.E.I. president Breanne MacInnis said: “The level of athleticism that these young women will display is quite phenomenal.”