Local ringette players win bronze at Alberta Winter Games
What a once in a lifetime experience, to be able to walk out with a group of about 3,000 or more young athletes from across the province of Alberta, representing each corner of the province at the Alberta Winter Games. Four young ringette players from Strathmore just returned from the games, Cayley Boschee, McKenna Blades, Camille Gauvin and Grace Olson. The players were members of the Zone 2 ringette team, which won the bronze medal at the games.
Boschee, a student at Strathmore High said that she found out about the games about two years ago. At the time she didn't make the team.
“I tried out again this year and making the team was just a huge success for me and being able to go there, with all of the girls that were on my team and be able to meet a bunch of new people, was just a great experience,” she said.
Her most memorable moment of the multi-sport event was competing in the bronze medal match with the Zone 2 team.
In the future Boschee hopes to remain competitive with her ringette career and to someday make the national team and compete for Team Canada.
McKenna Blades, 16 , is a Grade 11 student at Strathmore High School and plays the position of goalie.
“I really wanted to go.,” she said of the Alberta Winter Games. “It's my second time going and it's just a really good experience. It's a fun time with all of your friends honestly and it's just a really good time for a competitive sport,” she said. Two years ago, the games were held in Medicine Hat.
“It was different the second time,” Blades said. “It's neat to see how each city makes the opening ceremonies different. They really make it their own. It was awesome. In Medicine Hat It was in a big stadium, there was a DJ, and lots of music. This time in Fort McMurray it was really cold. We went outside in the opening ceremonies,” she said.
Although it was freezing it was still an amazing experience, said Blades.
“There was music, there was a torch this time that they got lit, and dog sleds. All of the zones just came in. It's just a really cool thing to experience,” she said.
Blades has been playing ringette for several years.
“I think one of my goals is I'd like to go play university ringette and then eventually if I could play for Team Canada, which would be the ultimate goal at the end,” she said.
Grace Olson also had the luck to be chosen twice for the Alberta Winter Games, once in Medicine Hat and the most recent games in Wood Buffalo. Olson said she enjoyed the facilities at the games in Fort McMurray.
About the experience of attending the large multi-sport event, she said, “I like meeting the different people that play on our team and just the experience of playing together.”
“You only get six ice times before you go, so it makes it hard to setup play. It's just fun to go and experience it,” she said. One memorable moment during the games for Olson was the bronze medal game.
“The bronze medal game was pretty exciting just because you won a medal,” she said.
In the future she hopes to continue her ringette career, but she lamented that there isn't much for ringette after high school.
“It would be cool if I could find a university team to play on,” she said. Olson has been playing ringette for about 13 years.
“I like being part of a team, and working together is good compared to being in an individual sport. I like being part of a group,” she said.
Camille Gauvin, and student at Crowther Memorial Junior High, was also a member of the bronze medal winning team.
Gauvin has been playing ringette for about 11 year years, she enjoys playing with a team, and gaining new friends. This year was her first time attending the Alberta Winter Games.
“It was really fun and exciting. I didn't know what to expect,” she said.
“The opening ceremonies were really fun and cool,” she said. Gauvin was inspired by listening to a Canadian Olympic athlete speak during the ceremonies.
“The bronze medal game was probably the best game, it was really exciting,” she said.
She hopes to continue playing ringette when she reaches high school, but she is unsure about whether she will pursue ringette while in post-secondary. “If I can I definitely will,” she said.
In terms of playing ringette, Gauvin is enjoys improving her skating skills, and the physical aspect of the game, which allows her to remain in good physical condition.
In terms of the winter games, Gauvin said, “It's a once in a lifetime experience. It's just so fun and there are so many people that you get to meet.”
The 2018 Alberta Winter Games were held in Wood Buffalo from February 16 to 19.
In terms of ringette, Zone 2 won the bronze medal after a final against the Zone 3 team. The gold medal final was between Zone 6 and Zone 5 with Zone 6 coming out on top with gold.
Ringette was held at the Anzac Recreation Centre. Participants are 13 to 16 years old.
The bronze medal game was held on Sunday February 18.
The winter games featured eight different zones and over 3,000 athletes participating in 22 sporting events. The games help to promote developing athletes, and serve as preparation for some to move on to the Canada Games.