Overview of the West Ferris Ringette Association

Established in 1963 and incorporated in 1990, the WFRA has grown to a membership of 235 and today boasts 17 board members and 80 coaches, officials and volunteers.

The mandate and long-term vision of the West Ferris Ringette Association is to foster, encourage and improve organized sport within the area under its jurisdiction, with an emphasis on RINGETTE; to provide the opportunity to participate in RINGETTE; giving due consideration to the individuals’ capabilities; to exercise general supervision and direction over all RINGETTE activities with emphasis on sportsmanship and good character; and to aid and assist others outside its jurisdiction in the development of young athletes, with an emphasis on RINGETTE, as well as the implementation of the Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) program. The focus of this program is to create RINGETTE programs, which are inclusive of all people of all ages and abilities, and to create supportive and developmental training to ensure confident, healthy athletes.

The Ontario Ringette Association and its affiliates pledge their effort to promote fun, fitness and friendship in a safe play environment and are dedicated to quality performance and fair play opportunities for all ages. The West Ferris Ringette Association (WFRA) promotes player, coaching staff, parent and spectator codes of conduct.

The WFRA liaises with other sports organizations (Sport North Bay, North Bay Youth Soccer, North Bay Minor Girls’ Softball Association) in order to increase opportunities for community sport involvement and a healthier lifestyle for athletes of all ages. The WFRA facilitates/encourages new player opportunities by providing the Come Try RINGETTE for Free program, offering the lowest rates in North Bay for ice sports, and offering free equipment for the first season of league play. Our House League program offers teams for all ages with no travel required. Our competitive programs offer players of all ages the opportunity to compete against other cities, competing for regional and provincial championships. Thus, WFRA provides opportunities for players of all ages and skill levels.

Overview of Ringette

The sport of RINGETTE was developed in 1963 in North Bay, Ontario by Sam Jacks. There are currently 27,000 players on nearly 2,000 teams across Canada with over 2,400 officials and 5,000 coaches. It is now played in all ten provinces and the Northwest Territories. Internationally it is played in half a dozen countries around the world. Associations have been formed in U.S.A., Finland, Sweden, Russia and France. Ringette Canada has been instrumental in demonstrating the game in the Netherlands, Switzerland, West Germany, New Zealand, Australia and Japan. There is an international tournament offered every summer in the Czech Republic, encouraging players from Europe to get involved. RINGETTE has been designated a Heritage Sport by Sport Canada and as part of the Sport for Life movement, RINGETTE is well advanced at adapting Sport Canada’s Long Term Athlete Development model.

Ontario Ringette boasts a membership of over 55 local associations with more than 9,000 athletes. Thousands of coaches, officials, and volunteers are active in the sport of RINGETTE. Currently the levels of play are Recreational, C, B, A, AA and AAA. Over 60 tournaments are held throughout the Ontario season with regional championships being the highlight for the B and C levels, while provincial championships are the finale of the season for the A and AA levels. Each year, provincial champions in the U16, U19 and 18+ AA divisions earn a berth at the Canadian Ringette Championships. At U14 AA, the provincial champion is invited to compete at the Eastern Canadian U14 championships. Ontario has held many national titles. AAA athletes compete at the Ontario Winter Games every two years. Elite athletes from the Ontario Winter Games are invited to attend the Team Ontario try-out camp. Team Ontario then competes at the Canadian Winter Games every four years.

Initially invented as a sport for girls, RINGETTE has evolved into a fast-paced game that welcomes boys and girls. It combines speed, accuracy and strategy and encourages team play. Like hockey, RINGETTE is played at both the “house league” level and the “rep (competitive)” level. It is played on any standard hockey rink that has been modified with special RINGETTE markings.

There are a number of differences that make RINGETTE unique from hockey. Unlike hockey, the ring cannot be carried over the blue lines. This means that the ring cannot be carried the length of the ice which encourages co-operation and teamwork. Restricted areas in the deep offensive and defensive zones means teams are allowed no more than 3 skaters at a time in these areas so over-crowding is minimal. No body checking is allowed at any level. Only the goalie is allowed to enter the crease – no skaters from either team may play a ring that is lying in the crease. Upon making a save, the goalie must return the ring into the playing area, thus keeping the game moving. At the older age divisions (U14 and older), there is a 30-second shot clock that also keeps the game moving. Players carrying the ring skate faster than players using a puck, as stickhandling a ring is simpler than a puck.

The team is made up of the following positions:

Centre – this player is able to play in any zone of the playing surface except for the goalie crease.
Forward – these offensive players play in the attacking zone, the centre zone and the defending zone between the free play line and the blue line.
Defense – these defensive players play in the defending zone, the centre zone, and the attacking zone between the free play line and the blue line.
Goalkeeper – the goalie usually patrols in the crease area and may not venture beyond the offensive blue line. When the ring stops or is held in the crease area, the goalie has 5 seconds in order to pass or the throw the ring to a player; failure to do this results in the opposing team being given the ring.

The game consists of two periods of equal time. The West Ferris Ringette Association uses two 15-minute periods. The object is to score goals on the net of your opponent. A straight stick, similar to a hockey stick with no blade and made up of wood, fiberglass or aluminum, is used to pass, carry and shoot an 8” hollow rubber ring between teammates. Both ends of the stick must be free of cracks and splinters. If the surface of the stick is textured, the difference between the lands and grooves must not exceed 1mm (0.04 in.) Tape may not be added to the playing end of the stick. The width of the shaft must not be less than 27mm (1.06 in.) nor more than 35mm (1.38 in.). The width faces of the stick must form two straight parallel planes from end to end. The thickness of the shaft must not be less than 17.5mm (0.69 in.) nor more than 25mm (0.98 in.). The thickness faces of the stick must form two straight parallel planes except at the playing end, which, if tapered, must be symmetrical and formed of straight faces. If the taper is multi-faceted, the angle between faces must not be less than 150º. The taper length must not be more than 250mm (9.84 in.) from the tip. The thickness of the tip at the playing end must not be less than 12mm (0.47 in.). The tip of the playing end must be at 90º to the parallel portions of the thickness and width faces. The maximum length of the RINGETTE stick depends upon the height of the player. Measured while the player is standing on skates with the arm extended at 90º to the body, the maximum length of the stick is from the ice to the height of the underarm. Play is started by a free pass, similar to the start of a soccer game. The ring is placed in the half of the centre ice free pass circle closest to the visitors’ goalie. On the referee’s whistle, the player “taking the free pass” has five seconds to pass the ring to a teammate. Any stoppages in play will result in a free pass to re-start the game, usually in the nearest free pass circle. Some defensive free passes are replaced by a “goalkeeper ring,” again like a soccer goalie throwing in the ball.

The addition of the “shot clock” at U14 age level and up ensures that the game is fast-paced and encourages teamwork and strategy. A team has 30 seconds to get a shot on the opposing net; holding the ring for longer than 30 seconds results in the ring being awarded to the opposing team.