Game of Ringette, News (Richmond Hill Ringette)

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Game of Ringette
Submitted By Steve Zanon on Sunday, June 30, 2013
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 accross 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, officals 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, 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.

Ringette is played with five skaters and one goaltender on a sheet of ice and the objective is to put the ring into the opposing net.  But ringette has its own unique characteristics which make it known as the “fastest team game on ice”.  Here are some of the more important aspects of the game:

  • A straight stick is used to pass, shoot, and control an eight inch rubber ring.
  • Play is started by a “Free Pass”, similar to a start of a soccer game.  The player with the ring has five seconds to pass or shoot the ring out of their half of the free pass circle.
  • Any stoppage of play will result in a Free Pass to begin play again.  Most defensive Free Passes are replaced by a Goaltender Ring.  In this instance, the goaltender has five seconds to place the ring in play, usually by throwing the ring to a teammate.
  • The ring must be passed over each blue line.  This results in very quick transitions and in more players being involved with the play and in setting up goals.  The closest concept to an off-side is a direct pass across two blue lines.  This is not permitted and will result in a free pass for the other team.  The centre red line has no relevance in the game and can be ignored.
  • “Free Play” lines that run across the top of the defensive/offensive circles define a restricted zone in the defensive/offensive areas.  No more than three skaters from each team can enter the zone. The defensive players, usually the two defensemen and the centre, create a zone type defence, called the “triangle”.  The offensive players try to penetrate the triangle in order to get a good close shot on goal.
  • If the ring lands in or on the goal crease the only player who can touch it is the goalie.  No skaters, including their sticks, are allowed to enter the crease area at any time.
  • 30 second shot clocks are introduced at the U12 level.  The team with possession of the ring have 30 seconds to get a shot on goal.  Similar to basketball, the shot clock is reset after a shot on goal or following a change in possession.

Here is a video that describes the sport a bit more:

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