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Only boy on Regina ringette team welcomed as goalie

Ringette Association of Saskatchewan says there are less than 20 male athletes that play the sport in the province. Chris Kayter / Supplied

While ringette players are predominately female in Saskatchewan, some say gender doesn’t matter on the ice.

Goalie Lucas Kayter is the only boy on the Regina Shock this 2021-22 season in the city’s U12 division.

“My cousin needed a goalie for their ringette team so I decided I’ll try it out for the first game and I actually liked it,” Kayter said.

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The 11-year-old netminder characterized the initial experience as unusual.

“Yeah, very,” Kayter said.

“I can’t poke check and … I have to throw the ring when I get it and I only have five seconds.”

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Lucas’ father Chris said they’ve been welcomed into by the ringette community.

“Sometimes the hockey community can be very cliquey whereas our first ringette game that we went to everybody said ‘hi; hello; welcome.’ The coaching staff has been phenomenal. The parents have been absolutely great,” Chris said.

He said Lucas was shy as well, but the hesitation on both sides has disappeared.

“We recently went to a tournament and it was like nothing. It was very good to see,” Chris said.

“It’s definitely rare. We went to a tournament, there were six teams there and he was the only boy there, which was OK … It’s OK for boys to play ringette, it’s OK for girls to play hockey. It doesn’t matter anymore.”

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This season, Ringette Association of Saskatchewan (RAS) executive director Ruchelle Himmelspeck said there are 1,394 players in the province’s four leagues and 19 are male.

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“(Ringette) is predominantly female in Saskatchewan,” Himmelspeck said, but added that boys are more than welcome.

“We don’t have an environment essentially that says female-only/male-only … ringette is coed for the most part.”

“Ringette was invented in 1963 by Sam Jacks. He invented it essentially because women weren’t allowed to play hockey … if females now can play hockey, why should males not be able to play ringette?”

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“We welcome all genders currently to our sport. Lucas feeling comfortable to be a part of a female-dominated sport just shows how inclusive I think our sport is for everybody,” Himmelspeck said.

“Fundamentally, females probably believe in the value of the current female-centric environment for the girls and women in our sport. It is the foundation of our sport.

“So I believe they probably feel like preserving that environment and remaining focused on girls and women, but that doesn’t mean that they feel that males don’t belong.”

While Lucas still prefers hockey, he encourages other male athletes to give ringette a try.

“If they’re looking for getting better and positioning-wise, yeah, try it out. It is a pretty good sport,” Lucas said.

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