COVID-19: Saskatoon ringette parents happy to be back at rink with their kids

Saskatoon parents are excited to see their kids able to hit the ice in ringette again and see friends. Brady Ratzlaff / Global News

With COVID-19 safety precautions in place, Saskatoon parents are happy to see their kids participating in sports like ringette.

Lori Flamand, director children’s ringette with the Saskatoon Ringette Association said a lot of their players have been vaccinated and younger children are still in the process of receiving both doses of the vaccine.

“I think that parents have that option and have that choice. Being able to play ringette and have the choice to wear a mask or not on the ice,” Flamand said.

She added that players put their masks on once they get off the ice and into the dressing room.

“I think there’s ways that we can approach this in a safe way, and if there wasn’t, then we wouldn’t do it,” Flamand added.

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Flamand works with some of the youngest players. The return of tournaments is especially exciting for those who haven’t experienced it before the pandemic, she said.

“They don’t know what ringette is all about, as far as a tournament feels and the excitement,” she said.

“My biggest thing was I wanted them to be able to come to this rink, watch some of the older kids play so that they could be inspired to want to stay in ringette,” Flamand added.

Flamand said her 9-year-old daughter is starting to gain a passion for the sport and it’s exciting for the family to have games back, which they didn’t have last year.

“That’s a big part of development, right? When these young athletes are learning about a sport, they need to have those games to understand ‘do I like this or not?’”

Saskatoon Ringette Association tournament director Nicole Pearson has twin girls who play ringette.

She said the tournaments this year have gone successfully.

“Everything we’ve been hearing thus far for the weekend has been positive. Lots of players, lot of parents — everybody showed up, everybody was looking to play and stay on the ice” Pearson said.

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Pearson added her daughters have been looking forward to the tournament and are happy to be able to play.

“They didn’t get isolated, they didn’t have to go and not make it to something that they’ve (haven’t been to) for the whole season,” Pearson said.

“They look forward to these events, getting out with their friends. We look forward to it as parents, seeing our kids on the ice, burning off some of that energy, using that athletic development that they’ve been working towards.”

Pearson said there were some activities that were put on hold last year due to rising COVID-19 cases. She said the kids “weren’t … ecstatic” when they found out about cancellations.

“Being back to a schedule where you’re looking forward to things, you have things blocked off on your calendar, you’re busy — it feels like you’re back to regular life,” Pearson said.

She added that she notices her kids smiling more and said their mental health is better with the return of extracurricular activities.

“We look forward to being around our friends and our family again and having that, you know, camaraderie being built back up.”

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