Ringette players in Manitoba fear their sport is dying

Callie Lane
Story by Callie Lane • CBC Kids News • Published 2019-01-28 08:44

Turns out fewer kids in Manitoba are playing, but the numbers are up in the Maritimes

The idea of girls playing hockey may seem perfectly normal nowadays.

But fifty years ago, that wasn’t the case.

Girls were excluded from the game. 

So a man from northern Ontario named Sam Jacks invented an alternative, called ringette, so girls could play a winter sport.

Players from Team Ontario and Team British Columbia battle it out
during ringette action at the 2011 Canada Winter Games in Halifax. (Mike Dembeck/The Canadian Press)

Ringette is similar to hockey, except players use a long stick and a ring, rather than a blade and a puck.

It’s open to both girls and boys.

The sport grew in popularity up until the 1990s, when hockey slowly started taking over.

Two female hockey players celebrate on the ice

Over the years, more girls have chosen to play hockey over ringette, in large part because of the success of Team Canada at the Olympics. In 2018, the Canadian women’s team won silver in South Korea. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

In Winnipeg, some players and coaches worry that more girls will choose hockey.

“I feel like ringette isn’t as popular as hockey and it’s kind of dying,” Laura McKay told CBC Kids News.

Laura McKay plays ringette in Winnipeg. (CBC)

It’s true, registration for ringette has declined in Manitoba over the past several years.

But in other parts of the country, ringette has not lost its lustre.

Last year, ringette registration reached an all-time high, according to Ringette Canada.

Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are the two provinces that saw the biggest increase in players.

Alexis Spicer of Winnipeg started playing ringette because her mom and cousins used to play. (CBC)

Alexis Spicer is bucking the trend.

She used to play hockey but prefers ringette.

“I’d like to stay in the sport because I know it better,” she told CBC Kids News.

CBC Kids News contributor Callie Lane spoke to players and coaches in Winnipeg about the popularity of the game. Check out the video above.

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About the Contributor

Callie Lane
Callie Lane
CBC Kids News Contributor
Callie Lane lives in Winnipeg, Man. where she stays active in several sports. Callie keeps herself busy playing volleyball and hockey in the cold winter months. In the summer she enjoys the outdoors and playing softball. On her downtime the 13-year-old is involved with local film, print and tv commercials. This energetic teenager has a knack for being creative. Callie is excited to be part of the CBC Kids News team. She believes providing local news stories to her community is key to staying informed.
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