Aspengrove students Sam Zanbilowics

Ringette action fills rink

Aspengrove School brought students to Cliff McNabb Arena last Tuesday for a ringette jamboree.

Ringette filled the rink during phys-ed class last week.

Aspengrove School brought students to Cliff McNabb Arena last Tuesday for a ringette jamboree.

Students were grouped by skill level and played two games at a time on the ice surface, and also received instruction by high-calibre Island players including Haley Hill, formerly of the U.S. national team.

Ringette hasn’t been played regularly in Nanaimo in recent years, though Aspengrove teacher Claude Therrien continues to teach it because he likes the teamwork inherent in the sport.

There are rules about passing and he adds some other rules for his students, allowing a free pass to beginner skaters. With no goalies, it makes for a high-scoring game. Therrien said the children who play hockey or figure skate can take a leadership role in ringette, and he said others who don’t get on the ice as often embrace the opportunity.

“This is the second year we’re doing this, and the kids, as soon as we said that we’re doing the ringette unit and we have the jamboree again, they all cheered and they were really excited,” Therrien said.

Hill said youngsters can take to the game and enjoy it right away.

“You have to make so many passes; you can’t really skate from one end to the other, so there’s not one star player. It takes the whole team to score a goal,” she said. “And there’s no contact, so the physical part of it is not so limiting.”

Hill used to play at Cliff McNabb and is now part of the Comox Valley Ringette Association. She said there is some talk of trying to revive the sport in Nanaimo, perhaps with an hour a week to start.

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