Ringette hon­ours for Welles­ley’s Tara Burke

Hall of Fame in­duc­tion rec­og­nizes her con­tri­bu­tion to Team Canada’s 2017 win at the Worlds

The Woolwich Observer - - SPORTS - VERON­ICA REINER

HER YEARS OF HARD work have paid off, as Welles­ley’s Tara Burke’s ath­letic abil­ity is now rec­og­nized at an in­ter­na­tional level.

Burke was in­ducted into Ringette Canada Hall of Fame for her suc­cess in the 2017 ju­nior na­tional team, along­side team­mate Syd­ney Nosal of St. Cle­ments.

Nosal also ex­pressed her ex­cite­ment with re­ceiv­ing the hon­our.

“It was such an in­cred­i­ble ex­pe­ri­ence be­ing able to rep­re­sent my coun­try a long side some of the top fe­male ath­letes in the world,” said Nosal. “Win­ning the gold medal in our home coun­try with thou­sands of friends and fam­i­lies to cheer us on is an in­de­scrib­able feel­ing. To then be in­ducted into the ringette hall of fame was an hon­our that we all are so proud of.”

Burke said the hon­our came as a com­plete sur­prise to her.

“This came in the mail with a let­ter say­ing ‘con­grat­u­la­tions!’ from Ringette Canada,” said Burke. “And I thought ‘oh, what are they say­ing con­grat­u­la­tions for?’ And it said they put us in the Hall of Fame.”

Around this time last year, Burke and her 21 team­mates of the ju­nior squad emerged vic­to­ri­ous from a game against Fin­land, se­cur­ing the gold medal at the 2017 World Ringette Cham­pi­onship.

Among the mo­ments that stood out to her, Burke said the jump from a small-town arena to the big-city Para­mount Fine Food Cen­tre sports com­plex in Mis­sis­sauga, for­merly known as the Her­shey’s Cen­tre, was ex­hil­a­rat­ing.

“Typ­i­cally when we play ringette, we play in these lit­tle are­nas, so it’s not huge. So when I stepped onto the ice, they had fog ma­chines, lights, and ev­ery­thing, and it was insane,” said Burke. “I was

sit­ting there for O Canada, and it was like, ‘how am I sup­posed to play in front of all these peo­ple?’”

De­spite the ini­tial ner­vous­ness, Burke went on to crush it in the tour­na­ment. Head coach Lor­rie Horne was im­pressed with the young player both off and on the ice.

“She’s that type of young woman that I’d like my kids to be,” said Horne. “She’s level-headed, she does her work, she is so very well-spo­ken, she cre­ates a great sense of rap­port with all those that she in­ter­acts with. She, just like the rest of the ath­letes in the group, is a top-shelf kid.”

Her pas­sion for ringette goes back over a decade. Be­gin­ning when she was just seven years old, Burke played for the Kitch­ener Wild­cats, then the AA Water­loo Wild­fire, fol­lowed by the Na­tional Ringette League, where she was scouted for Team Canada.

“I worked so much since I was in Grade 5 all the way up un­til now. It was ba­si­cally hard work through­out my en­tire life and never giv­ing up,” said Burke. “Ob­vi­ously if I got cut from a team I’d go back and try out again next year. I’d keep work­ing on ice and off-ice. Keep work­ing un­til you ac­tu­ally make it.”

Be­fore get­ting scouted for Team Canada, Burke prac­ticed ringette for about an hour a day. Once she was in­tro­duced to the big leagues, the re­quire­ments be­came stricter – in­clud­ing work­out rou­tines and on-ice plans.

Horne noted the ma­tu­rity of the team as a whole and high­lighted the im­por­tance of en­sur­ing ev­ery team mem­ber is on the same page.

“I spend a lot of time teach­ing them what it is to gain phys­i­cal ad­van­tage and have a pres­ence on the ice and set the pace,” said Horne. “Sim­ple is best and less is more some­times – when you’re look­ing at a short-term com­pe­ti­tion en­vi­ron­ment, every­body needs to be on the same page. So the ex­e­cu­tion of the ba­sic sys­tem play con­sis­tently – that’s what re­ally sep­a­rates the good from the great.”

Burke is still play­ing on a ringette tour­na­ment team out of Elora/Fer­gus but is shift­ing her fo­cus to her Univer­sity of Water­loo health stud­ies pro­gram. She plans to con­tinue play­ing in the fu­ture and hopes to be­come a speech­language pathol­o­gist when she fin­ishes her stud­ies.

[VERON­ICA REINER / THE OB­SERVER]

Welles­ley’s Tara Burke was pleas­antly sur­prised to dis­cover that she had been in­ducted into the Ringette Canada Hall of Fame.

[SUB­MIT­TED]

Tara Burke and her 21 team­mates of the ju­nior squad man­aged to de­feat the Fin­nish team 9-6, which earned them the gold medal of the 2017 World Ringette Cham­pi­onship. The team was in­ducted into the Ringette Canada Hall of Fame for their per­for­mance on the in­ter­na­tional stage.

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