By Zachary Cormier
It’s going to be a very busy weekend around the rinks in Lacombe.
The 2016 Ringette Alberta AA Provincial Championships are set to kick off in the city this week, with the top teams in the province competing for the chance to represent Alberta on the national stage.
“It’s really a neat thing for us,” said Shawn Wagar, the media contact for the Central Alberta Sting AA Ringette Club, who are hosting the tournament this year and are representing Lacombe.
“You get lots of parents and grandparents and friends coming out to watch the various games and for us to have it in Central Alberta is pretty cool.”
More than 20 teams across all three divisions of AA ringette in Alberta will be in the city to take part in the tournament, which runs from Friday through Sunday this week, with the opening ceremonies taking place on Thursday evening.
“It’s a very prestigious tournament. If you win the tournament at the 16 or the 19 level, you represent Alberta and become Team Alberta for Nationals and if you win it at the 14 level you become Team Alberta to go on to Westerns, so there’s some incentive there too,” said Wagar, who coached the CA Sting U14AA team to a Provincial Championship in St. Albert last season.
The majority of the games this weekend will take place at the Barnett Arenas in Lacombe, with a few scattered matchups at the Dawe Centre in Red Deer.
“The games start off early Friday morning and go all the way until Sunday and Sunday’s the championship round, so our playoffs will be in the morning and then the gold medal games will go later in the day,” Wagar said.
All three Central Alberta Sting teams are going into the tournament in a good position to compete.
“Our U19s are having a great New Year, here. They’re coming in ranked very high,” said Wagar, adding the team won a pair of back to back tournaments in January, including the prestigious Calgary Golden Ring.
The U16 Sting, he said, are coming off two very successful weekends playing in Vancouver and Regina, where they played Team Saskatchewan.
“They ended up winning four of five in Vancouver and then two of three in Saskatchewan,” Wagar said, adding the U14 team also made the trip out to Vancouver where they swept their series.
“We’re all coming in on a fairly good high.”
In addition to the great ringette, tournament attendees on Saturday afternoon will have the opportunity to meet six members of Canada’s National Ringette team and have their picture taken with the World Championship Trophy, which Canada won in December.
“They’re going to do some autographs and some things like that.”
All three Central Alberta Sting teams are in action on Friday, with the U19s starting at 8:15 a.m., the U14s at 12:15 p.m. and the U16s at 1:45 p.m. All of those games take place at the Barnett Arenas.