Ringette returns to the ice in Greater Victoria this spring.
The Greater Victoria Ringette Association has a handful of spots left in a new spring program at the Oak Bay Recreation centre from April 10 to June 26.
“We’re super excited that Oak Bay offered us this ice and our hope moving forward would be that we continue to run a spring program,” Laura Tighe, the assocaition’s president, told Black Press Media.
The associated was rebooted in 2019, but the COVID-19 pandemic prevented them from getting ice at their usual home — the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.
“We had a great first season, we had lots of youth out who had never played before,” said Tighe “Everybody was super eager and wanting to come back and then we lost our ice unfortunately because of the arena shutting down, so it was really bad timing with us just getting up and going again.”
The GVRA still wanted to offer the sport to youth during the pandemic, so it shifted to running free gym ringette sessions.
“It was actual really successful and a lot of people who wouldn’t normally play an ice sport came out to the gym sessions,” Tighe said. “It’s probably something were going to try to do moving forward so that we can offer the sport of ringette to more people.”
She said the gym sessions could give people from more economic backgrounds an avenue into the sport.
“It is an opportunity for us to get the word out that ringette exists and also for kids to have the option to play in different formats,” she said.
The spring program for youth aged six to 18 runs from 3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. every Saturday from April 10 to June 26. The program costs $160, but the association can help people get KidSport grants for those who have funding challenges.
Participants need full ringette gear, but the association has loaner sticks. No prior ringette experience is needed to sign up, as coaches are ready to work with all skill levels.
The spring program is practices only as no games are allowed under the province’s and viaSport’s direction. The association is also following all COVID-19 safety guidelines.
Tighe said they hope to return to regular programming in the fall, but wanted to bring some local awareness back to the sport.
“We just want to make it clear that Victoria ringette still exists and we’re doing our best to pivot and offer programs throughout the pandemic in a safe way.”
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