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Okanagan’s 30th annual ringette tournament underway

Click to play video: 'Okanagan’s biggest ringette tournament back for 30th anniversary'
Okanagan’s biggest ringette tournament back for 30th anniversary
Okanagan’s biggest ringette tournament back for 30th anniversary – Feb 7, 2020

The Central Okanagan is hosting the 30th annual Sweetheart Ringette Tournament, starting on Friday.

Around 1,000 athletes will be competing across four arenas, from West Kelowna to Lake Country.

Male and female athletes are competing together in the tournament and multiple age groups are being showcased.

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The youngest athletes are four years old, with every age group being represented, all the way up to the open division.

The open division features athletes aged 20 and up.

The tournament took months of preparations, with over 250 volunteers, 288 bench staff and 50 officials participating. 

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“We’ve been in the planning stages since last April,” said Tracie Koebel, a tournament organizer. “Especially since it’s our 30th year, we wanted to make sure it went off without a hitch.”

The teams have come from all over Western Canada to compete.

“We have over 73 teams that have travelled from the Lower Mainland, Northern B.C. and Alberta,” said Koebel.

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Players and coaches said this is a tournament they have circled on the calendar.

“It’s fun to play teams from out of town, different types of teams from outside the Okanagan,” said Danica Westman, a local Okanagan ringette athlete.

“This is a super fun tournament, great for local teams,” said Kelley Taylor, a coach of a local ringette team in the tournament. “To represent the Okanagan and to play here in Kelowna, it’s great.”

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The tournament will also feature two National Ringette Association games, in celebration of the 30th anniversary.

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“Those are the elite ringette players from B.C. and Alberta,” said Koebel. “We have the Lower Mainland Thunder playing the Edmonton Black Gold Rush.

The national ringette games will be played on Saturday. One will be at the Capital News Centre at 10:30 a.m. and the other at 5 p.m. at Rutland Arena.

Admission is free for both games.

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