Photo by Chung Chow
Sam Jacks was the name. Ringette the game.
Called a “dreamer and idea man,” Jacks was president of the Society of Directors of Municipal Recreation of Ontario in the early 1960s during which time he dedicated considerable time to developing youth activities. One of his goals was to introduce an on-ice game for females.
Having introduced floor hockey some 25 years earlier, in 1963 Jacks took some of the basics of that game but emphasized playmaking and skating.
Today, ringette is played around the globe with a world championship contested annually since 1990. In Canada alone, there are nearly 30,000 players on 2,000 teams. There are even 700 males playing the game that was once exclusively female.
The fast pace of the game is apparent to anyone familiar with it. And those who aren’t quickly learn why it’s considered one of the fastest team sports.
Recently, as part of a team building exercise, the Richmond Sockeyes faced off against the BC Thunder in an exhibition game. It didn’t take long for the Thunder to establish dominance. While the Sockeyes tried to adjust to the rules and rapid pace established by their opponents, the Thunder demonstrated the importance of team play that is emphasized over individual play.
Twenty-four years ago, Richmond Ringette introduced the West Coast Classic to both promote and highlight the game.
Held each January, the 2019 tournament featured teams from under-10 to masters. The BC Thunder, featuring the best female players from throughout the province, also played a series of game against the Edmonton WAM. Both teams play in the National Ringette League.