Ringette is a Canadian game that was first introduced in 1963 in North Bay, Ontario. Developed originally for girls, ringette is a fast-paced team sport on ice in which players use a straight stick to pass, carry, and shoot a rubber ring to score goals.
For ten years, play centered in Ontario and Quebec, however the sport quickly spread across Canada and is now played in all ten provinces and the Northwest Territories.
In fact, the sport has become one of Canada's favorite activities for females, with over 50,000 participants, including players, coaches, officials and volunteers across Canada. A remarkable growth rate for such a young sport.
More than 7,000 certified ringette coaches are registered in the National Coaching Certification Program and 1,724 registered referees trained under Ringette Canada's National Officiating Program. In addition, there are thousands of volunteers who administer clubs, leagues and tournaments across Canada.
The growth has continued internationally with the formation of associations in the U.S.A., Finland, Sweden, Russia and France. In addition, Ringette Canada has been instrumental in demonstrating the game in the Netherlands, Switzerland and West Germany, along with New Zealand, Australia and Japan.
There are various skill levels of play across the nation; beginning with Bunnies, (a learn to skate program) and then formal teams in categories of C, B, A, AA, and in some cases even Regional AAA Teams. Many communities offer all four levels, and in keeping with the philosophy of a place for every skill level, some leagues break down the first skill level into three levels of Recreational, C1 and C2 and B level into two, B1 and B2. This makes a place for every player of every age and skill level. Other communities that are smaller, without the benefits of neighboring communities to play in a league, will only have some of these breakdowns.
Across the country many tournaments are held throughout the season, with Regional and/or League Championships being the highlight for the B and C teams, while Provincials are the finale for the A and AA teams. Some Provinces have Provincial Championships at the B level too. Each year Provinces select teams at the Junior, Belle, and Open AA divisions to play in the Canadian Championships.
There are World Championships in ringette, with Canada picking a National Team to represent our country at those Championships every three years. Across Canada, Ringette is played in all the provinces and the North West Territories.
The emergence of ringette at the university level in Canada is a relatively new development. However, with the continuing rapid growth in the number of university teams across Canada the future for ringette looks bright.
· U9 (formerly Bunny), 8 years and under
· U10 (formerly Novice), 9 years and under
· U12 (formerly Petite), 11 years and under
· U14 (formerly Tween), 13 years and under
· U16 (formerly Junior), 15 years and under
· U19 (formerly Belle), 18 years and under
· 18+ (formerly Open), 19 years and over
· Masters, 30 years and over