Char­lot­te­town Ringette wel­comes 89 teams and more than 1,100 ath­letes to its an­nual tour­na­ment

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS - BY CHARLES REID

Char­lot­te­town Ringette’s 12th an­nual tour­na­ment be­gan Thurs­day. It has at­tracted 89 teams and more than 1,100 ath­letes to the Char­lot­te­town area.

Not just hockey play­ers go top shelf, roof daddy a wris­ter or deke a d-man for goals. Ringette has its share, too.

All those and more sweet moves are on dis­play at Char­lot­te­town Ringette’s an­nual tour­na­ment. It be­gan yes­ter­day and con­tin­ues through Sun­day in Char­lot­te­town, Corn­wall and Pow­nal.

This year’s ver­sion, the 12th, has at­tracted 89 teams and more than 1,100 ath­letes from P.E.I. and New Brunswick and needs six ices sur­faces to cram in all 153 games in five age divi­sions.

Leah MacLeod, a 10-year-old, Grade 5 stu­dent at West Roy­alty El­e­men­tary School, laces up her skates to­day.

Her Char­lot­te­town Or­ange Speed tan­gles with Dieppe Im­pact Three, at 11 a.m., at Cody Banks Arena in an un­der-12 divi­sion clash.

MacLeod is a five-year vet­eran of the sport and has a good idea of what her squad faces in try­ing to win the divi­sion.

“It’s 50-50. There are a lot of good teams, but we’re good, too. (Our job) is to com­mu­ni­cate and get goals,” the for­ward said Thurs­day at the CARI Com­plex. “We know the plays.”

Orig­i­nally de­signed as a win­ter team sport for girls, ringette has grown na­tion­wide into an al­ter­na­tive to hockey for both girls and boys.

Pro­grams are well-es­tab­lished in Souris, Mon­tague, Char­lot­te­town, Sum­mer­side and Rus­tico with 660 play­ers on 49 teams. Char­lot­te­town boasts more than 400 play­ers.

And Ken­dra O’Brien from Souris and Ash­ley Hollis from Strat­ford, both de­fence­men, play for the Na­tional Ringette League’s At­lantic At­tack based out of New Brunswick.

Play­ing na­tion­ally is some­thing else to shoot for, but eight-year-old Kate­lyn Sut­cliffe isn’t look­ing past her games, yet.

She’s a for­ward on the un­der10 Char­lot­te­town Or­ange Ex­plo­sion and be­gan her divi­sion ti­tle hunt Thurs­day. For Sut­cliffe, the game is fun when scor­ing or oth­er­wise, but she’s also aware of the chal­lenges on the ice.

“I look for­ward to try­ing to score and get­ting the ring to pass to my team­mates,” said the Grade 3 stu­dent at West Kent El­e­men­tary School. “There are a lot of good teams, but we are pretty good.”

If you have never seem ringette be­fore, it’s like and not like hockey.

It’s fast-paced, good skat­ing is a must, but play­ers use a straight stick in­stead of a bladed stick to pass, carry and shoot a rubber ring, not a rubber puck, to score goals.

And Mike James, tour­ney chair­man and pres­i­dent of Char­lot­te­town Ringette, said the game dif­fers in other ways, too.

“It has the speed of hockey, but on the tech­ni­cal side and po­si­tional side it’s sim­i­lar to bas­ket­ball,” he said. “It’s very con­tin­u­ous. It has as many whis­tles (stop­ping play) as other sports, but play isn’t stopped as long. Just five or six sec­onds be­fore the game picks up again.”

The cham­pi­onship games are Sun­day at CARI. There is no ad­mis­sion charge for the event.

Ringette P.E.I. hosts the East­ern Cana­dian ringette cham­pi­onships April 14 to 17 at CARI. Teams from On­tario, New Brunswick, Que­bec, Nova Sco­tia, and P.E.I. com­pete in un­der14 AA, un­der-16 A, un­der-19A and 18-Plus A divi­sions.

Up­dates and re­sults at www.char­lot­te­town­ringette.co m and on Twit­ter at #CRT2016.

Leah MacLeod, left, and Kate­lyn Sut­cliffe will play in Char­lot­te­town Ringette’s an­nual tour­na­ment, which be­gan Thurs­day and con­tin­ues through Sun­day. MacLeod plays for the un­der-12 Char­lot­te­town Or­ange Speed while Sut­cliffe skates for the un­der-10 Char­lot­te­town Or­ange Ex­plo­sion.

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