COVID-19 steals provincial title from U19 Edge Ringette team

Edge were 32-1-2 heading into the Provincial Championships

Players (not in order) : 1 - Sarah Hatto,3 - Taryn Miller, 4 - Faye Heindel, 5 - Rachel Billett, 6 - Jada MacDonnell, 7 - Kayla Majerech, 8 - Erika Litwin, 9 - Hayleigh Malcolm, 10 - Aspen Dorn, 11 - Megan Engel, 12 - Holland Wagensveld, 14 - Danielle Blackburn, 15 - Eden Cade. (Photo submitted)

Players (not in order) : 1 - Sarah Hatto,3 - Taryn Miller, 4 - Faye Heindel, 5 - Rachel Billett, 6 - Jada MacDonnell, 7 - Kayla Majerech, 8 - Erika Litwin, 9 - Hayleigh Malcolm, 10 - Aspen Dorn, 11 - Megan Engel, 12 - Holland Wagensveld, 14 - Danielle Blackburn, 15 - Eden Cade. (Photo submitted)

The Lacombe U19 Edge B Ringette team were on the verge of a provincial crown before their season was tragically cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lacombe took home the title in all three of their tournaments, long with finishing first in their league and going undefeated against all of the south division teams.

“The coaches where pretty confident we would have won Provincials. To say the least , the girls where devastated with Provincials been cancelled,” Coach Larry Litwin said.

Lacombe Ringette player Rachel Billett made the switch from Red Deer at the beginning of the year and was welcomed right away

“It was a great season because all of us were so friendly to each other and everyone clicked,” she said.

Finishing the year 32-1-2 was not the expected outcome at the beginning of the season when it appeared Lacombe was short numbers, according to Ringette player Eden Cade.

“We started off with not a lot of participants — we had a really small team. It was really hard to get everyone together, but we bonded fast as a team and we grew and worked on everyone’s skillset which made us a good team,” she said.

Lacombe player Erika Litwin addedf, “We bonded as a team so well and we had a good season, going undefeated. It was disapointed to end because we were doing so well.”

Billett, Cade, and Erika said the news of Provincials being cancelled was tough to hear.

“I heard about it first through my Red Deer friends and we didn’t think it was true. We then started to get the emails and it broke us all. We were so excited to participate and then it couldn’t happen,” Billett said.

”We had amazing chance at winning Provincials and then it completely shut down,” Cade added. “I was reffing in Red Deer at a U12 game and I was on the ice when they shut down everything. The tournament had only been going for two games.”

Erika added, “I was sitting in physics class and I saw our team group chat and everyone said ‘Provincials is cancelled’. I had to go to the bathroom and I started crying.”

Despite the immense disappointment, the team is looking back fondly on their year that saw plenty of wins.

“Looking back, it is one of the best years of ringette I have ever played and it was amazing to be welcomed and then finish so well,” Billett said.

“We had a good season all-around and the bond started in the first practice,” Cade said. “We knew it would be a great team if we stuck together and we managed to do that all season. It was great to finish the season so strong.”

Billett is attending university next year and unsure if she will return for her final eligible year, while Cade and Erika expect to play again next season.

Erika said, “It will be tough on numbers again but we have all played together, so it will depend on how we come together.”

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