Showcasing fastest sport on ice in Selkirk

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Hockey league delays game to showcase ringette.

I only wish this headline was true after I covered the Rings of Steel ringette tournament at the Selkirk Recreation Complex on Jan. 12.

Those who know me, know I am a big fan of the sport of ringette. I grew up around the game as my sister Leah played for many years.

Many of you may be asking why I can up with this fictional headline. The ringette games on the afternoon and early evening of Jan. 12 were running behind schedule, therefore, things needed to be sped up as there was a Selkirk Steelers game at the Rec Complex that same evening.

Now these weren’t just any ringette games, they were the bronze and gold medal games for a number of age categories. In one instant, a game had to be reduced by eight minutes and two other games were played without having the ice cleaned and flooded.

The reason was because the Selkirk Steelers and the Portage Terriers had a regular season league game at 7:30 p.m., and they obviously needed the ice to be ready on time, not only for opening puck drop, but also for their warm-up.

My column has nothing against hockey and the Selkirk Steelers as I played competitive hockey for eight years and have covered a lot of Steeler hockey games since I started at The Selkirk Journal in 2010. I know how important the Steelers are to the local community.

I enjoy the game of hockey and also support it as much as I can.

I often attribute a lot of the improvement I had with skating and playing hockey to ringette. As a youngster, I took a two year break from playing competitive hockey. During those two-years, I often practiced skating with my sister’s ringette team that my dad Milt was helping to coach. Ringette players are commonly known for just how fast they can skate. When I picked up the game of hockey after that particular break, I was often regarded as the fastest skater on my hockey team for the next six years that I played.

Yes, it’s true the Steelers hockey game had to start as scheduled according to the Manitoba Junior Hockey League since the host team could be fined if a MJHL game doesn’t start on time.

I was thinking wouldn’t it have been wonderful for the sport of ringette if the MJHL and the Steelers said it would be okay to delay the start of the hockey game by 30 minutes or so in order for a major ringette tournament in Manitoba and Selkirk’s home tournament to wrap up without having to cut a game short and in to have all games played on fresh ice. It would have been amazing for all ringette players to have received proper medal presentations at ice level instead of in the spectator area of the Selkirk Recreation Complex in order to speed up the remaining games.

Once I became aware of the need to speed things up, I started thinking this gesture would have sent an incredible message to these young girls just how much ringette means not only to those involved and connected to the sport, but to the community as well.

It would have been an incredibly humble gesture on the part of hockey to the sport of ringette that continues to seek the proper attention it deserves.

While I continued to photographing the ringette games, I kept thinking to myself how excited the tournament organizers and especially the ringette players would have been if they found out that they could complete the tournament in proper fashion. The smiles on the players faces would have truly lasted a life time knowing that hockey was willing to delay the start of a game to accommodate these young girls.

Often when those who are not familiar with the game of ringette watch a game being played, they are blown away by the high skill level and especially with the speed ringette players have on the ice.

I will continue to advocate for and promote the sport of ringette to the best of my ability.

— Brook Jones is the group
editor of
Interlake Publishing

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