A nearly perfect season will end with the Lethbridge Blur wondering what could have been.
The U-14 ringette team dropped just a single league game all season on route to the playoffs, but on Friday Ringette Alberta announced that all sanctioned events — including the U14 provincials, which Lethbridge was slated to host — had been cancelled due to COVID-19 precautions.
The decision abruptly ending the Blur’s outstanding season.
But in a sport that rarely sees much of the spotlight, the cancelled chance to capture gold isn’t the biggest disappointment for the team.
According to Ringette Canada, registration numbers for the sport hit an all-time high in 2018, with more than 31,000 athletes playing nationwide.
And the growth hasn’t just been girls.
Blur goaltender Graham Lloyd is one of more than 700 males playing ringette in Canada.
“Yeah a lot of people would say it’s more of a girl’s sport, but really it’s not,” said Lloyd, “it’s just more female dominated.”
The lone male on the Blur back-stopped the Blur to first place, as well as a bronze medal at the Regina Queen City Classic in February.
“Our record is 23-3, and that’s including tournaments and everything, but the team has really come together,” said Lloyd.
Those around the Blur believe the strength of the group as a whole is what made them nearly unstoppable.
“I think our bond is very special,” said Blur player Rebecca Taylor, “most of us have grown up together.”
And the coaching staff is sad to see the season end this way, but impressed overall.
“What we’re really happy with is how much the team has improved this season,” said Jonathan Taylor, one of the Blur’s coaches. “We’ve seen really great growth in terms of their team play and also individual skills, so it’s been a really successful season across the board.”