For Regina Ringette the idea was simple: try and make something special out of a season that has admittedly come with a lot of disappointment in the midst of a global pandemic.
The idea played out with the first ever Skills Competition hosted on the weekend of Feb. 27-28 for all ringette players aged U10 and older competing in the Regina and Buffalo Plains ringette programs.
Darin Degenstein, Marketing Director on the Regina Ringette Association (RRA) Board, first came up with the idea for the event.
“I suppose my original idea was two fold,” explained Degenstein. “First, I thought we should try and provide a unique and memorable experience for the entire association of players like they’ve never had before. Second I wanted to try and make it a bit over the top so we could forget about what’s been a bit of a bad season this year by doing something remarkable.”
The event was held Feb. 27 and 28 on the big rink at the Cooperator’s Centre with more than 440 players registered to participate.
The event allowed all players on the team to compete in one of seven events including: Sharp Shooter, Passing Masters, Goalie Agility, Fastest Skater, Individual Agility, Team Agility Relay and Hardest Shot.
“We wanted to give the athletes an opportunity to compete in some way. While there is so much more to this sport than just competition, the players were really missing that element and we thought this was a good way to provide that, even if it was in a modified way,” said Jayda McMillan, RRA Tournament Coordinator. “This was also a really good opportunity for players to see each other at a distance.”
While the event had players from opposing teams going head to head on the ice, the best performances were timed and compared to other teams in the league to determine an overall league winner.
“We really wanted to target the younger age with the skills competition because I knew it would be something new for them,” said Degenstein. “When you get to the U14 age players get to compete in provincials and that usually always includes a skills competition.”
“Our younger teams have never had that opportunity so I thought having them compete in the skills competition would be exciting for them.”
Degenstein admits that the Regina Ringette Board purposely tried to make the event over the top. The event was scheduled for the Cooperator’s big rink which isn’t reserved for a lot of ringette action normally.
The event also included loud music to pump up the players and commentary over the rink’s sound system. As well, Access Communications graciously agreed to broadcast the entire two-day event on its AccessNow TV cable channel.
“The more I get involved with (Access) the more I realize how flexible and willing they are to work with community organizations like ringette,” said Degenstein. “They’d never broadcast a skills competition like that before and they were very willing to take it on and give it a try.
“They were happy to be there and we were very happy to have them on board.”
As well, Piper Sports Photography (PSP) was brought in to photograph the event and give players and their families an opportunity to take home a memento from the special event.
Players and their families will also be able to watch their team’s performance on television in the near future on AccessNow TV. As well, it will serve as a great marketing tool for the sport of ringette in the Regina area.
Paul Kozan, RRA Vice-President, said the event was a success with a lot of positive feedback from players, coaches and parents. But he admits that the event couldn’t have gone off without a lot of help from volunteers, especially his fellow RRA Board members.
“Virtually everyone I talked to was very grateful that the players got to have this experience,” he said. “I had several coaches and players tell me that it reminded them of the same energy and excitement that they feel from being at a tournament.”
Kozan’s role in the event was to help devise the actual skills events for the weekend, while league scheduler Karen Wiens coordinated the ice times for the entire event, Keely Butz ensured the standings were posted on the website and board members Jayda McMillan and Darla Larson coordinated the COVID protocols to make sure players and parents were safe throughout the event.
“There was a lot of focus on the off -ice execution of the event – it was very important that we got people in and out and keeping people moving and not loitering around the lobby area of the rink as that was a ‘no no,’” said Larson. “It was a very strange season for ringette I’m glad that we were able to arrange something fun like this.”
And of course, beyond the hard work of the RRA Board, countless coaches and on-ice volunteers helped make the entire weekend go smoothly.
“An event like that really takes a team effort and I think it went off without a hitch,” concluded Degenstein. “I hope maybe there’s a legacy that lives on and it’s something we can continue in future seasons, especially for our younger teams.
“I just hope we were able to make the players feel special and have a memorable ringette experience.”
In any sport without coaches you would have no league. That is why this year it is very important to recognize all RRA coaches and send a message of thanks.
At the beginning of the season we were limited to the number of coaches allowed on the ice and many stepped up to the challenge. We were lucky to add more coaches to the ice and finish the season off with a max of four per team.
Although we had challenges outside our control this season due to the pandemic, all the coaches were supportive to their athletes and very creative in how they delivered the season.
“From the start of the season we knew it was going to be a challenge but every coach has been so flexible and eager to give the athletes a season to remember,” said RRA Director of Coaching Melanie Muckelt. “I want to say thank you to each coach for going the extra mile this year and I’m excited to see them at the rink next season.”
2020-21 Regina Ringette Association Coaches
Children’s Ringette Divisions – A very special thank you to Jolene Sentes and to all the coaches and volunteer helpers on the ice this season.
Coyotes - Leah Lakeman, Nathan Humble, Chad Potter, Tyler Monteith
Havoc - Ashley Wasacase, Kirsten Lee, Mike Knoll
Krackens - Jen Hone Best, Ashely Hales, Yolanda Maat
Renegades - Amanda Mushumanski, Temple Maurer, Brian Brule
Sniperz - Kelly Tomkinson, Cara McNaughton, Warren Niekamp, Greg Kuntz
Yeti - Rodway Jung, Bre Deren
Fusion (A) - Daina Seymour, Jaycee Cale, Sherman Martinson, Carrie Newman
Attack - Scott Weaver, Shauna Sebastian, Yolanda Maat
Hydra - Greg Kuntz, Tiffany Agopsowicz, Devin Clifton, Jen Hone Best
Raptors - Graham Lauten, Caitylyn Robertson, Michelle Heintz, Quinton Stewart
Shock - Jessica Romanski, Hanna Romanski, Lorna Kathol
Vibe - Scott McBeth, Ryan Chekay, Makenna Davis
Yeti - Rick Green, Emily Chambers, Chad Parker, Brodi Skiehar
Rivals (A) - Tania Orr, Tracy Phaneuf, Kelly Tomkinson, Nikki Williamson
Crossfire - Kelly Muhr, Emily Muhr, Sydney Muhr, Todd Hunt
Frost - Brett Heerspink, Courtney Frank, Scott Parks
Gators - Craig Cullins, Jen Rainville, Amanda Mushumanski
Predators - Marshal Verhelst, Karen Meban, Richard Kuhn
Riot - Brad Wenger, Carla MacLeod, Devin Tremblay
United - Chelsie Coxford, Marc Poissant, Travis Schutz
Stingers (AA) - Donnell Schoenhofen, Aaron Seidler, Ian Welsh
Rath (A) - Christen Benson, Scott Greiner, Paul Benson, Jim Weisgarber
Jaguars - Derrick Mann, Victoria Palmer
Nitro - Devin Tremblay, Carrie Newman, Scott McBeth
Predators - Krista Wright, Teagan McMillan, Jayda McMillan
Roar - Phil Germain, Carrie Livingston, Mike Strykiwsky, Brad Wenger
Bandits (AA) - Marcel Garnier, Alysha McEachern, Alexa Butz, Tracy Phaneuf
RIPT (A) - Sheryl Bird, Kerri Herring, Tayla Cale
Elite - Lesley Stronach, Dawn Bray
Rebels - Darrell Liebrecht, Haylee Moore, Jeff Gienow, Craig Cullins
“Actively engaging women leaders across all levels of Ringette in Canada will recognize and utilize the expertise of our athletes, coaches and officials, enhance the game, and provide valuable female role models.”- Ringette Canada