WINNIPEG – The goal for every young ringette player in the province has just gotten bigger.
Three years after leaving Manitoba, the National Ringette League is back. It’s as close to a professional level of the sport as possible. Corporate sponsors helped make the league’s return a reality. The new team is known as the Manitoba Intact.
“It’s huge for girls coming into ringette,” said Intact goalie Amy Clarkson. “They can see where ringette can take you.”
With a cost of about $6,000 per player, the old club went broke in 2013.
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“It didn’t run out of players,” said Intact head coach Rob Walker. “There were strong enough players to keep it going but the finances really cramped into it.”
Players were forced to either quit the sport or skate in other cities.
“Being able to play in front of our families is fantastic,” said Intact captain Talia Gallant.
“When I would travel out to Edmonton, my parents weren’t coming to watch me every game.”
The Intact will play 24 regular season games this winter including 14 in Winnipeg. The team’s roster is made up of 17 women between the ages of 19 and 29. Nearly every player gives back to the sport by refereeing or coaching on the side.
“When you know your coach plays a high level, you want to be like them,” said Intact forward Kristyn Wotherspoon. “You want to strive to be like them.”
And hopefully, just like those on the Intact, leave a lifelong impact.