Vancouver Island ringette league needs more players
'Our teams right now have to travel to the Lower Mainland to play games'
Ringette enthusiasts in Comox, B.C., hope their love for the game will catch on and persuade more people on Vancouver Island to play.
Right now, there are four ringette teams in the Comox Valley region, largely due to the sport's promotion through the Comox Valley Ringette Association.
Victoria and Nanaimo used to have their own ringette associations, but they were disbanded years ago because of low participation.
"We're really hoping we can catch the ear of other ringette players and get some associations going in other cities on the island," said Arran Arthur, a board member of the Comox Valley ringette association.
"It would make a huge difference. Our teams right now have to travel to the Lower Mainland to play games, which gets quite pricey.
Another problem, said Arthur, is that the lack of competition on the island means Lower Mainland teams often have the upper hand in matches against the Comox teams because they get more practice.
Arthur says the sport — which was created in 1963 — declined in popularity after the introduction of women's hockey in the Olympics in 1998.
In recent years, however, she says the popularity of the sport has begun to revive.
Ringette is a sport similar to hockey that is typically played on ice.
Two teams of six face off in an attempt to score on each other by using a straight stick to propel a blue ring into the opposing team's net. Teams are comprised of one centre, two forwards, two defenders, and a goaltender.
Unlike hockey, the sport does not involve the use of intentional body contact.
Historically, the sport has been popular among women, but now more men are joining, says Arthur.
"The feedback that I'm hearing from our male players ... It's a different kind of vibe than hockey," said Arthur. "A little bit more laid back off ice, and more of a focus on team play."
With files from On the Island
- An earlier version of this story said ringette was created in 1968. In fact, it was 1963.Jun 04, 2020 1:24 PM PT