The Newmarket and District Ringette Association is holding a Come Try Ringette event Sept. 17 to introduce new players to the sport.
Boys and girls ages four and older are welcome to attend the event at the Magna Centre in Newmarket that begins at 2:15 p.m.
“Ringette is great for everyone,” said association president Alyssia Byers. “Many hockey players play ringette as well because it is much faster, and a great way to perfect their skating.”
While there are similarities between ringette and hockey, Byers said they’re very different sports.
“Ringette is not ‘just like hockey,’ it is much more team-oriented in that you have to pass the ring over each blue line, so you really have to work as a team,” she said. “There is also a shot clock, much like basketball, so there is a lot of strategy involved.
Like hockey, ringette has five players plus a goalie from each team on the ice at the same time, and the aim is to get an object into the opposing team's net using a stick.
Ringette moves faster and requires more team effort as a single player cannot carry the ring across the blue line and must pass it. The stick is straight with no curve and there's a ring instead of a puck.
The ring-and-stick combination requires less stick handling, so there's more focus on skating skills, which has attracted a lot of active hockey players to the sport as an opportunity to improve their skating, Byers said.
Ringette has typically been a female-dominated sport, but it is open to males and they are welcome to attend the upcoming event.
Byers said the motto of the sport is "fun and friendships happen on and off the ice,” which is why it’s such a social sport.
“The ringette community is very tight-knit, many players come back year after year,” she said.
With many having never played the sport before, the Come Try Ringette event will offer multiple programs to help young athletes familiarize themselves with the game.
“We have a learn to skate, a learn to play program, and an equipment lending program for first year players,” said Byers. “Why not come on out, meet the coaches, get some swag, and try out.”
Participants need to bring skates, a helmet, and mittens or gloves but sticks will be provided. You are asked to arrive by 1:45 p.m. for registration so you are ready to hit the ice by 2:15 p.m. To register, go here and search for the Newmarket event.
Byers said anyone with questions about the event or the sport can contact her at [email protected].