Ringette is 50 years old

Ringette player moves the ring down the ice during a game. Public domain

Ringette player moves the ring down the ice during a game.
Public domain

Adapted from The Vancouver Courier
and information from Ringette Canada

Level 2

Ringette is a Canadian game on ice.
It is one of Canada’s favorite sports
for girls and women.
Young men are playing ringette now, too.
There are over 50,000 people
working with ringette across Canada.
Some of these are coaches and volunteers.
This year ringette is 50 years old.

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Sam Jacks
A man called Sam Jacks invented ringette.
Jacks came to Canada from Scotland in 1920.
He became a sports director in North Bay, Ontario.
There were many outdoor skating rinks
in the small town. The boys were active.
But girls did not play hockey.
Jacks wanted girls to play a game on ice, too.
So, he invented a skating game for girls.

Ringette is born
At first, the girls cut off the ends
of old hockey sticks.
And they used a hollow rubber ring
instead of a hockey puck.
Slowly Jacks made rules.
He called the game “ringette”.
In 1963 in Ontario, girls played the first ringette game.
Now players use a straight stick with a special tip.
They pass and shoot the ring to score points or goals.

A safe team sport
Ringette is a very fast game.
A player must pass the ring across a blue line
to move it down the ice.
This teaches teamwork.
Ringette is a non-contact sport.
No one can tackle another player.
A player wears pads, gloves and a helmet.
All players learn about safety on the ice.

Ringette equipment for a Player Photo courtesy of B.C. Ringette

Ringette equipment for a Player
Photo courtesy of B.C. Ringette

Who can play?
There are teams for children 8 years and under.
These children learn how to skate.
There are teams for people up to 30 years and older.
Ringette is played across Canada
from the Northwest Territories to Prince Edward Island.
In B.C. there are 19 ringette groups with 2,000 players.
People play ringette in the U.S., in Finland,
Sweden and France, too.

Learning to skate
It is easy to learn to skate in ringette.
You can keep your head up
while moving the ring down the ice.
This allows you to look ahead at the ice.
Wayne Leslie of B.C. Ringette says
his daughter was skating within two months.
Some young ringette players skate faster
than young hockey players.

Come Try Ringette
Each ringette group has a free
“Come Try Ringette” program.
Young people can try the game.
Parents can watch and get information.
The children use free equipment like helmets,
skates and gloves for this.

Young ringette players during a game. Photo by chrismarks1, Flickr

Young ringette players during a game
Photo by chrismarks1, Flickr

Benefits of sports
Girls and young women in North America
are dropping out of sports at twice the rate of boys.
This is a sad fact. Sports teach many things.
Young people learn confidence.
They learn to work together.
These skills can help them become
leaders later in their communities.
Exercise also prevents heart disease and cancer.
Parents can encourage children
to make exercise a part of their lives.
Sports are a good way to get an education, too.
Many universities have sports scholarships.

Hundreds of Grade 4 girls take off for the annual elementary school cross-country race at Trout Lake in Vancouver. Photograph by Dan Toulgoet, Vancouver Courier

Hundreds of Grade 4 girls take off for the annual elementary school cross-country race at Trout Lake in Vancouver.
Photograph by Dan Toulgoet, The Vancouver Courier

University sports programs
Teams at universities and colleges get excellent coaching.
The players meet new friends and have fun, too.
They stay fit and healthy while they study.
The University of B.C. and Simon Fraser University
have many sports programs for students.
Other post-secondary institutions have many exciting programs, too.

Thumbs Up, showing the blue ring used in the game of ringette Photo courtesy of BC Ringette

Thumbs Up, showing the blue ring used in the game of ringette
Photo courtesy of BC Ringette

See the slideshow of outstanding Canadian female athletes.

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2 thoughts on “Ringette is 50 years old

  1. Just finished reading this article and it is inaccurate and incomplete. Why was Red McCarthy not mentioned in this story? He is the inventor and founder of Ringette, wrote the first set of rules, set up the first game in Espanola, made the first ring for the game etc.

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