Vernon goalminder Luc Gilbert deflects a shot by Kelowna Huskies' Jorah Schwemler during U9 ringette action at Priest Valley Arena Sunday.

Vernon goalminder Luc Gilbert deflects a shot by Kelowna Huskies' Jorah Schwemler during U9 ringette action at Priest Valley Arena Sunday.

New ringette players wanted

You use a lightweight, straight, hollow stick to control a blue rubber ring while skating on ice at a high speed.

You use a lightweight, straight, hollow stick to control a blue rubber ring while skating on ice at a high speed.

The game is called ringette and it’s been around since the winter of 1963 when Sam Jacks of North Bay Parks and Recreation developed the activity for females.

The first game was played in the northern Ontario town of Espanola and ringette is now played in half a dozen other countries around the world.

Vernon’s Paige Powls is a 22-year-old university student who still needs a constant ringette fix.

“I love the game,” she said. “It’s fast and it’s competitive. The whole atmosphere is exciting. It’s all good.”

Powls is publicity director for the Vernon Ringette Association, where she spent 10 years as a player. She will coach the U12 Petite team this season and play Masters in Kelowna.

A free session for beginners goes Saturday from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Priest Valley Arena with longtime coach Dawn Ponich leading things along with some older female players.

The association will get a few newbies registering following the free trial, but they sign up most new players thanks to Ponich’s visits to elementary schools.

“We try to do one (free training hour) in the spring and one in the fall,” said Powls, who also played some soccer and volleyball as a teen. “Dawn goes into the schools all year round and promotes the game in phys-ed classes. The kids play a gym version and we get lots of new kids who have never heard of ringette.”

Conditioning camps for returning players go all weekend with games starting the weekend after Thanksgiving. Bunnies will learn the basic skills in November and December and play games starting in January.

Vernon has made a bid to host provincials for A, B and C levels in Tween, Junior, Belle and possibily Open divisions this season. They last held the B.C. playdowns five years ago.

Powls said kids can take up the game as early as four years old and play forever. The association had 150 players last year, down a little from previous seasons.

“We’re always looking for more coaches. We have three clinics throughout the year and there is one entry-level for new coaches. We reimburse them for the clinic fee.”

Visit: www.vernonringette.com to register or call Powls at 250-558-7209 for further information.