By Charlie Pinkerton
At the Provincial AA Ringette Championships held this month in Ottawa, there will be 14 local teams competing for Ontario crowns across 5 divisions.
Three of the teams are hoping to double-up on medals won from Gloucester-Cumberland Ringette Association tournaments this year, after reaching the finals of the club’s earlier tournament in February.
The City of Ottawa’s Under-19 team won gold at that tournament just a few weeks ago, overcoming Ringuette Laurentides, a team from Blainville, Quebec, in the tournament final. They tied Laurentides in the tournament’s round robin play, and had struggled against them up until that point doing the season.
Laura Wilbur had four goals and three assists for City of Ottawa in that tournament.
“It was a big deal to beat (Laurentides). It showed our improvement throughout the season… Winning the Gloucester tournament was a confidence booster,” she said, adding that it was the highlight of the team’s season so far.
Wilbur said her team’s goal at provincials is to place in the top 3 and advance to the National Championships, a stage she’s played on once before.
“It was a cool experience, I’d love to go to another nationals,” Wilbur added.
To get there, she said her team, which ranks 2nd in the province, needs to avoid playing down to their opponents, as well as to properly manage their energy during what could be an eight-game tournament.
“We have to make sure we play to that extra level,” Wilbur said… “And we have to make sure we have get good warm ups and cool downs.”
Gloucester Cumberland’s U-14 team won silver at home at the club’s February tournament. In the tournament final, they lost 4-3 to a team representing New Brunswick. Dave Mainwood, the team’s head coach, said he’s partly thankful that his team dropped the final.
“It’s good to lose. It brought us down to earth and made us realize that we’re not invincible,” Mainwood said.
Jules Wilson of Gloucester Cumberland reflected on a critical lesson-learned by her team in that loss.
“I find that we should go into every game concentrated and we weren’t before the New Brunswick game,” Wilson said.
The loss was only the team’s second of the year. Both came in tournament finals. They were undefeated in regular season play on the year.
“We’ve got a great group of kids who don’t like to lose and they’ve proven that all year,” Mainwood added.
Mainwood and Wilson both agreed that the team’s goal at provincials is to advance beyond it to the Eastern Canadian Ringette Championships.
“We know we should get there, but the players have go to bring it,” Mainwood said.
“(Mainwood) knows when to be tough on us. The team listens, and we’re all very focused and determined to go to easterns,” Wilson added.
Nepean Ringette’s Under-16 team also placed 2nd in the Gloucester Cumberland tournament earlier this year.
More than 40 area teams took part in the West Ottawa Ringette Tournament in February, where 8 local squads won tournament titles, including West Ottawa teams in Under-9, U-10, and two separate U-12 divisions, City of Ottawa’s U-14 A team, and Gloucester Cumberland’s teams in the U-14 B division and the U-16 C division.
Ottawa teams also travel to the Provincial A Championships, hosted by the Kitchener Ringette Association from Mar. 15-18.