Central Alberta U14AA Sting wins bronze

It was a season that most wished wouldn’t end, as the Central Alberta U14AA Sting racked up wins and championships.

The Sting wrapped up their season last week after attending the 2015 Western Canadian Ringette Championships in Calgary. The competition was tough, but the Sting left the championships with a bronze medal to add to their other accomplishments of the season.

“They were great from the start,” said Head Coach Shawn Wagar of his ringette team. “It really was one of those seasons you just didn’t want to end.”

The Western Canadian Ringette Championships are held annually and the top teams from Alberta, B.C., Saskatchewan and Manitoba compete against each other in the U14AA, U16A, U19A and 18 plus A levels.

The winners of the provincial championships in each province earn the right to attend, with a fifth team in each division representing the host association.

This year’s championships were held from March 25th to 28th, and due to the Sting’s previous triumph, earning the U14AA provincial championship, they appeared at the tournament as Team Alberta.

“We had four weeks to re-brand all of our gear,” explained Wagar. As Team Alberta, the Sting had to change all of their team gear from uniforms, playing pants, jackets and hats from the Sting black and gold to the Team Alberta colours.

The girls prepared well and proudly wearing their Team Alberta jerseys, faced-off against 12 teams from all over Western Canada. It all began on Wednesday with a U14 skills competition. The Sting won playing in a five-player relay competition.

Their first game on Thursday was bright and early where Team Alberta hammered the Saskatoon Saints 7-4. The girls continued to show their dominance in game two taking down the Edmonton Elite 4-1.

On Friday, Team Alberta suffered their first loss of the tournament to the Calgary Crossfire, but they earned their way back after a close overtime game against the Calgary 212, winning 4-3.

On Saturday morning in the semi-final, through the guidance of the round robin, Team Alberta was matched up against the first ranked Team Manitoba.

“We lost the game in the final 30 seconds of the game,” said Wagar. “It was a bit of a heartbreaker.”

Team Alberta then faced Team Saskatchewan in a battle for the bronze position in the final game of the tournament. The game again went into overtime with Team Alberta sighting a true victory with a 3-2 win. Team Manitoba eventually took gold with Team British Columbia earning silver and Team Alberta accepting the well-deserved bronze.

Some of the Sting’s own even made the 2015 Western Canadian Ringette Championship All-Stars for U14AA, including Jamie Lolar in defense and McKenna Smally as goaltender.

It truly was a magical season with The Sting also winning gold at the Esso Golden Ring Tournament, the world’s largest Ringette tournament, on Jan. 18th, said the coach. The girls also earned the provincial title, winning gold at the U14AA provincial championships at the end of February.

They totaled 40 wins, 14 losses and three ties in the season.

The Sting’s roster is made up of girls from Lacombe, Clive and Red Deer. All home ice games were played in Penhold with practices held in Clive.

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