Atikokan and Sault Ringette Come Together for the Love of the Game

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by Amy Peltonen

This past weekend was a special one for athletes from the Atikokan Ringette Association. Twelve players and their families travelled well over 800 km one way to play ringette. Players joined the U10 and Intermediate house league teams for a day of exhibition games with the Sault Ringette Club.

“This was a terrific experience for our kids; for 9 of the 12 who made the trip, this was their first out-of-town experience with ringette (or any sport, for that matter),” says Atikokan Ringette president, Michael McKinnon.

“The Sault coaches and players were just wonderful – our kids felt fully included, and you could tell they were entirely immersed in the competition on the ice, where they more than held their own.”

Atikokan’s ringette club faces a unique challenge in having little opportunity to play games with other associations. “We have 38 playing ringette in Atikokan, with ten in U14, eleven in U10, and seventeen in U8 and learn to skate.”

“Despite the frustration of seeing the other programs in the North West fold, by adopting an ethic of ‘have fun, include everyone, and try your hardest,’ we have been able to make the sport an attractive option for kids and parents here.”

Their dedication and passion for the sport was really evident. Sault Ringette Club president, Bruce Graham, shares Atikokan’s spirit of the sport. “The one special trait that keeps me glued to the sport of ringette is the emphasis on friendships within the ringette family.”

“The Atikokan association drove 18 hours this weekend to play in our house league. It was a special event because teams were blended together and the players developed friendships that will last a life time.”

Both associations hope that this was the inaugural event for an annual Friendship Games.