By Medicine Hat News on February 20, 2020.
When the Alberta Winter Games ended Monday in Airdrie, athletes on most teams went their separate ways.
Not the Zone 1 ringette team, however. Not only did they get on the ice one last time Wednesday in Medicine Hat, they helped out a local charity and skated circles around some cops too.
The Sunny South side beat the Medicine Hat Police Association 6-3 at the Moose Recreation Centre, also raising $163 and some food for the Medicine Hat and District Food Bank.
“They’re a lot stronger than us,” said Ashlyn Seale, who had a goal for the Zone 1 team in the fun exhibition matchup. “It’s fun, I like doing it.”
It was the fourth annual game between a local ringette side and the MHPA, a lighthearted affair showcasing some good skating but also the odd bit of confusion from the older team that’s more used to hockey rules.
“Our members are always really engaged with doing public things, things that celebrate youth sport,” said Sgt. Rod Thompson. “This particular group of girls have been rock stars in the province ever since I can remember. It’s a good way to showcase the sport.
“With the girls wanting to embarrass police, it was a great opportunity.”
Thompson knows more than most of his teammates, having coached his daughter’s ringette team the past four years. But rules like needing to pass the puck across each blue line and staying out of the goalie’s crease were commonly broken.
Players from both teams sported ear-to-ear grins for most of the two 24-minute periods, though competitive spirit certainly took over at times. The police team skated hard, got some great saves from their goaltender and started to figure things out by the end.
“Otherwise I think it would’ve been about 15-3,” said Thompson. “The girls were great sports, they were having great fun.”
A pair of South goals in the second period made it 4-1, the highlight being Marley Rose’s brilliant penalty shot effort.
“They knew where to position themselves to get the ring (by the end),” said Seale of the police team.
At the Winter Games the Zone 1 team finished fourth in the eight-team tournament, losing the bronze medal game 5-2 to Zone 2. They went 2-1 in the round robin including wins over Zone 4 (7-1) and Zone 6 (5-4) and an 8-2 loss to the eventual gold medalists from Calgary. They lost Sunday’s semifinal 5-1 against Zone 5, which went on to claim silver.
“We had some fantastic games, we’re playing against a lot of AA programs,” said Zone 1 head coach Trevor Hall who also coaches the University of Lethbridge. “I’m really proud of the girls and the way they executed the gameplan up there.”
With 14 players on the roster from either Medicine Hat or Cypress County, Hall said he’d love to coach them again at the next level.
“University ringette is a half-step down from the National Ringette League, and all of these players would have a legitimate shot at making (a university team),” he said. “And it’s a lifelong sport, there’s all kinds of opportunities to play as adults, no different than men’s hockey.”
Seale, 16, still has a couple years to decide on that but the centre is certainly glad she got a second opportunity to compete in the Games. In 2018 her team didn’t reach the medal round and finished sixth, so this year was a big step up.
“It was really fun to spend the whole weekend with that group of girls,” she said. “As the weekend went on we got a lot better.”