Michelle Vandale was a supporter of local ringette and the memorial tournament is named in her honour. (Langley Advance Times files)

Ringette players came to Langley tournament from as far as Ontario

The annual tournament featured fun and competitive divisions as well as scholarships

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

U14 Club

Gold: PCRMRA Flames (Poco/Maple Ridge)

Silver: Fraser Valley Fusion

Bronze: Prince George Red Rockets

U14 Zone

Gold: TORL Zone 6 South (Thompson Okanagan League)

Silver: LMRL Zone 2 H2O (Lower Mainland)

Bronze: NORTH Zone 8 Northern Lights (Northern BC)

U16 A

Gold: GVRA: Venom ( Greater Vernon)

Silver: Bowview Heywood Havoc (Bowview, Alberta)

Bronze: Bowview Cruz (Bowview, Alberta)

U16 B

Gold: GVRA Renegades ( Greater Vernon)

Silver: PGRA (Prince George)

Bronze: KRA Kaos (Kelowna)

U19 A

Gold: KRA Heat

Silver: Bowview Elite

Bronze: Alberta Blue Yeoman

U14 AA

Gold: St. Albert, Mission (Alberta)

Silver: Calgary Blue Tilford

Bronze: Calgary White Dunn

U16 AA

Gold: Calgary Peak

Silver: St.Albert, Mission

Bronze: Calgary, Tenacity

U19 AA

Gold: Calgary, Strike, Armstrong

Silver: Calgary, Blade, Shinkewski

Bronze: St. Albert, Mission

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The Michelle Vandale Memorial Spirit of Winter Ringette Tournament attracted players of all ages. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)

The Michelle Vandale Memorial Spirit of Winter Ringette Tournament attracted players of all ages. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)

The Michelle Vandale Memorial Spirit of Winter Ringette Tournament attracted players of all ages. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)

The Michelle Vandale Memorial Spirit of Winter Ringette Tournament attracted players of all ages. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)

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