Strong program continues to build in Summerside
Ringette, which has become a popular winter-time sport across the province, is really starting to catch on locally.
Although ringette has been played on P.E.I. for almost 30 years, it is only in the last seven or so years that we have seen the sport expand to this end of the province. Formed in 1985, the P.E.I. Ringette Association consists of associations in Souris, Montague, Charlottetown and Summerside, with over 600 girls playing Island-wide.
Close to 400 of those girls are in the Charlottetown association, which makes it by far the largest on P.E.I. Thirty-nine girls are playing in Summerside, which is almost double the number of last year’s 20.
Nineteen new players show great growth, and that is mainly due to the come-try ringette program. Those free introductory programs were held this fall at Slemon Park, Kensington, Borden-Carlton, Bedeque and Summerside.
The sport was invented in Ontario 50 years ago by the Northern Ontario Recreation Directors Association, and has grown to where there are over 50,000 participants across Canada. It is now played in Finland, Sweden, United States, Czech Republic and Russia.
Ringette is a bit like hockey – the same equipment is used and the object of the game is to shoot the ring in the opposing team's net.
It differs from hockey in it forces more passing and skating.
Players must pass over the blue-line to another player, and two-line passes are not permitted.
No players are allowed in the goal crease except the goalie, and only three players are permitted inside the free-play line, which is the solid line that extends rink-wide at the top of the faceoff circles in each end.
The intent is to keep the ring moving, and the goalie must put the ring back in play within five seconds or the other team gets possession.
That is a brief summary of how the game is played.
A common comment from parents, fans and players is how fast the game is, and that stands to reason with the rules intended to keep the game moving.
Locally, the Summerside association is in the very capable hands of president Francois Caron, who tells me that things are going really well. The under-12 and 14 teams play in the Island league, with the under-14 team recently getting their first-ever win while the under-12 squad already has three wins and a couple of ties to their credit.
Last year, the under-12 team did not get their first point until game No. 16.
The association plans another come-try-ringette session at the conclusion of this season, so those interested may want to keep that in mind. If you wish to come take a look, games are played at Credit Union Place on Mondays and Tuesdays at 7 p.m., and on Saturdays at 1:30 and 3 p.m.
. . . After a 49-goal season last year, former P.E.I. Rocket and Summerside Western Capital Josh Currie of Charlottetown is finding things a little tougher with the East Coast Hockey League's Gwinnett Gladiators. In 19 games, Currie has three goals and five assists.
. . . Travis Fullerton, who played with Moncton in the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) and in the Atlantic University Sport Men’s Hockey Conference at UNB, plays in the same league with the Las Vegas Wranglers. Fullerton has a 3.65 goals-against average in nine games played.
. . . Former Summerside Western Capital and UPEI Panther Mike MacIsaac is a member of the Brampton Beast of the Central Hockey League. The Beast is an affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning. In 17 games with the Beast, MacIsaac has four goals and five assists, but does lead the Beast in penalty minutes with 54. He was a fan favourite while with the Caps, and in my opinion is at least in the top-five most talented Capitals of all time. He obviously is playing with that same tenacity that he displayed with the Caps.
Have a great week!
Joe MacIntyre is a Summerside resident. His column appears every Saturday. Comments and suggestions can be sent to email@example.com.