SUMMERSIDE – It’s a big weekend of ringette in the City of Summerside.
A total of 22 teams, more than 330 athletes, 80-plus coaches and managers, as well as a 14 person officiating crew, will flock to Credit Union Place for the Atlantic ringette championships from Feb. 16 to 18.
Tournament chairman Francois Caron, who is also president of Summerside Ringette, says this is a “top of the league” event.
“There are girls who play on Team Canada that will play this weekend, so it will be fascinating to watch,” said Caron.
Plans are being finalized for a meet-and-greet event with some members of Canada’s world-champion national junior team in the lobby of Credit Union Place on Saturday at 5 p.m.
National Ringette League
Another highlight will be two National Ringette League games featuring the Atlantic Attack taking on the Richmond Hill Lightning from the Toronto area on Saturday. Game times at Eastlink Arena are 1 and 6:45 p.m.
“If you can only get out and watch two games, come see these,” said Caron.
There’s a $5 admission fee per game for the NRL, but ringette players wearing team jerseys will get in for free.
There is free admission to all the games in the Atlantic ringette championships.
The P.E.I. Wave will compete in the Under-16 Division of the Atlantic ringette championships in Summerside this weekend. The team’s three captains are, from left: Autumn Chandler, Carley Matheson and Jessica Murphy.
Play in the Atlantic championships, which features three different divisions and strong P.E.I. representation, begins on Friday at 11:30 a.m. The championship games will be played on Sunday afternoon.
“We have five P.E.I. teams playing in this event, and there are 17 other teams coming from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick,” explained Caron. “The city will be full, and I know that most of the hotels are all booked up.”
The popularity of ringette in Summerside is on the rise.
“I have seen our Summerside ringette program double over the past four years,” said Caron. “We had 30 players registered when we first started, and this year we are up to 63.”
Although Caron will be doing double duty this weekend, both organizing and coaching the P.E.I. Wave under-16 team, he will have a simple message for his players.
“I tell my team to focus on the simple things, the fundamentals,” said Caron while stressing the importance of passing the ring in the right place, focus on picking up the ring and generating good offensive chances.
“Although this group of kids doesn’t need any motivation,” continued Caron. “It’s really about fine-tuning the little things so we can be successful.”
The next step for the P.E.I. under-16 and under-19 teams is the nationals in Winnipeg in April.
P.E.I.’s two under-14 teams – Edge and Wave – will use this weekend as preparation for the Eastern Canadian championships in Nova Scotia, also in April.
A look at Atlantic ringette championships:
Under-19/Open (open refers to players aged 19 and over).
Under-14 – Nine: Two from P.E.I., three from N.S., four from N.B.
Under-16 – Seven: One from P.E.I., three from N.S., three from N.B.
Under-19/Open – Six: Two from P.E.I., three from N.S., one from N.B.
Overall, a total of 54 games will be played from Friday to Sunday, including two National Ringette League games at Eastlink Arena on Saturday. All of those games will be played at Credit Union Place, except for three at The Plex in Slemon Park on Sunday.