• Stephanie O’Hanley

Ringuette 4-cités: Fast-paced fun, strategy and teamwork


PHOTO COURTESY JULIE FONTAINE

Océane Pilon takes aim in a sport that, unlike hockey, involves the participation of all players and can be played throughout all age groups.

No question ringette (spelled “ringuette” in French) is popular in Vaudreuil-Soulanges.

When it started over 30 years ago, local association Ringuette 4-cités originally included players from four cities — Vaudreuil, Dorion, Pincourt and Île-Perrot. “But now it’s pretty much the area,” said Julie Fontaine, a board member who handles public relations and special events for Ringuette 4-cités. The association sees girls from places like Rigaud, St-Clet and Hudson, “so it’s really outside of Montreal. We have everybody around Vaudreuil, so Vaudreuil-Soulanges,” Fontaine said.

Fontaine, whose parents started ringette in Vaudreuil, says there were 40 or 50 players when she started 37 years ago. “We’re always growing. It’s never 50 people but it’s always, 10, 12, 15 extra people each year.”

Now the Ringuette 4-cités has about 200 players. At press time nearly every category, which Fontaine said are similar to what you see in hockey, was full, but there was still room at the novice level for girls three, four, five and six years old.

Each age category is about two years and “we pretty much have every category with A, B, or C...so they’re not playing with A if they’re a C,” said Fontaine, whose own daughter plays ringette, while Fontaine both coaches and plays.

“It’s a good atmosphere, you go in tournaments,” she said. “It’s a good sport.

“What’s fun about ringette is it’s a girl-only sport,” said Fontaine. “Some start at three and just have fun until you’re good to play. I’m 44 and I’m still playing.”

Ringette is a fast sport on ice that involves a lot of passes and strategy. Unlike hockey, it’s a sport where you “can’t be the best player on the team,” Fontaine said

“You have to be a team player,” she said. “You cannot have like hockey, a superstar” that goes from one goal to the other. “You always have to be playing together because if you don’t pass, too bad, you’re not going anywhere.”

Players use straight sticks to move a rubber ring across the ice and they have to pass at each blue line.

“As soon as your team has the ring, you have 30 seconds to shoot,” Fontaine said.

According to Ringette Canada, the 30-second shot clock was introduced in 2000 to make games “even faster.” The rules dictate that if a team doesn’t take a shot on the net within 30 seconds, a buzzer sounds and the ring goes to the opposing team.

Ringuette 4-cités seeks volunteers for an annual tournament it’s hosting from December 8 to 11 at the Vaudreuil arena.

“We need people at the door, people at registration, people selling at the clothing table,” Fontaine said. “We need people for all the weekend. We also need paramedics.”

If you can help, or for more information, visit ringuette4cites.com.

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