The sport of ringette was celebrated in full force last weekend (Jan. 4-6) with players, their coaches and families taking over West Fraser Centre and Rink 2 in Quesnel to engage with the sport they love.
Twenty-one teams and just under 300 athletes braved difficult-to-traverse B.C. highways from as far away as Terrace and the Shuswap to make it to the annual Gold Pan tournament.
Players ranged in age from eight years old to their mid-20s and by all accounts, everyone had a blast.
Tournament co-ordinator Debbie Telford says one of the biggest hits was the luncheon served on Saturday.
“It was $5 a person and was a nice cheap meal for out-of-town families who might not want to stray far from the rink.
Organizers were also complimented on their basket tables, raffles and the goodie bags which the kids got to take home.
“We received a lot of positive feedback on the time and energy we put into the tournament,” Telford says.
Jerseys and sweatshirts of various teams could be seen sported around the two arenas. Many athletes used their down time to bond with their teammates or reconnect with players from opposing squads.
“My daughter has played since she was six or seven years old she has developed many friendships and bonds over the years,” Telford says.
“She enjoys the sport and getting out there and working hard, but what [the players] really like is the dressing room and going to tournaments where they get to sleep in hotel rooms and spend the weekend with their teammates.”
Head coach of the Quesnel Lightning’s 18+ team, Jackie Richert, agrees with Telford.
“It’s such a great team sport,” she says of ringette. “It’s never just one person out on the ice taking over. It takes a lot of team work in order for the game to be played right.
“Good team dynamics are vital.”