An out-of-town team competing in the Michelle Vandale Memorial Spirit of Winter Ringette Tournament had items stolen during a team warm-up.
By the time they finished up their game at the tournament that ran Thursday, Nov. 28 to Sunday, Dec. 1 the opposing team had passed the hat and raised more than $300 for the visitors.
That’s the kind of spirit that is a hallmark of the tournament named after local coach and sportsmanship advocate Michelle Vandale.
“We’re known for being a sportsmanship and competition tournament,” explained Nicole Borges, the tournament director.
She said on the ice, the competition is fierce, but the tournament also demands a high level of sporting behaviour from players and coaches.
That’s why the tournament attracted its biggest number of teams ever.
“Typically we’ve attracted around 60 [teams],” Borges said.
This year the roster featured 98 teams, requiring the use of four local arenas over several days.
The players ranged in age from four to 18. The teams included fun and community teams as well as highly competitive squads, such as those in the U16 to U19 divisions, that hope to take results from the tournament to fuel their push for higher level competitions, including the nationals in April.
“Our furthest team was actually from Ontario,” she said.
There were also quite a few Alberta teams as well as squads from around B.C.
In addition to offering competition and sportsmanship, the event tries to bring in fun elements such as a pin swap, and one team goes home with the Spirit Awards given to teams in the U12 and younger divisions.
Some individuals were also going home with some welcome prizes. To honour Vandale, the Bettles family started a memorial scholarship. This year’s recipients were Hailey Hrvatin, of the Vancouver Ringette Association, and Kira Hodge, with the Calgary Ringette Association.
After Bill Bettles passed away, the Fraser Valley Ringette Association, which hosts the Michelle Vandale Memorial, created a scholarship in Bill’s name to honour volunteerism. Amy Duplantis, with the Lower Mainland Ringette Association, and Alia Etchinson-Bone, of the Bowview Ringette Association, were named as this year’s recipients of the Bill Bettles Memorial Volunteerism Scholarship.
“We’re the only tournament that I’m aware of that actually gives out scholarships, and we’ve been growing that,” Borges said.
Competitive division winners
Gold: PCRMRA Flames (Poco/Maple Ridge)
Silver: Fraser Valley Fusion
Bronze: Prince George Red Rockets
Gold: TORL Zone 6 South (Thompson Okanagan League)
Silver: LMRL Zone 2 H2O (Lower Mainland)
Bronze: NORTH Zone 8 Northern Lights (Northern BC)
Gold: GVRA: Venom ( Greater Vernon)
Silver: Bowview Heywood Havoc (Bowview, Alberta)
Bronze: Bowview Cruz (Bowview, Alberta)
Gold: GVRA Renegades ( Greater Vernon)
Silver: PGRA (Prince George)
Bronze: KRA Kaos (Kelowna)
Gold: KRA Heat
Silver: Bowview Elite
Bronze: Alberta Blue Yeoman
Gold: St. Albert, Mission (Alberta)
Silver: Calgary Blue Tilford
Bronze: Calgary White Dunn
Gold: Calgary Peak
Silver: St.Albert, Mission
Bronze: Calgary, Tenacity
Gold: Calgary, Strike, Armstrong
Silver: Calgary, Blade, Shinkewski
Bronze: St. Albert, Mission