BY ZACHARY CORMIER
It has been quite the start to the season for Lacombe’s local ringette teams.
So far this season teams from Lacombe have been to three tournaments and have come home from every single one of them with gold medals in hand.
With the Lacombe Ringette Association’s annual Icebreaker Tournament set to hit the ice this weekend, the City’s local ringette teams are looking to try to continue their winning ways on home ice.
“We’re off to a really strong start, actually. We have about 90 players registered this year and so far all of the tournaments we’ve attended, we’ve brought home gold medals,” said Karol Warner, the media liaison for the Lacombe Ringette Association.
The Lacombe U10-3 team started the season off for Lacombe ringette, taking the gold medal at the St. Albert Turkey Ring tournament over the Thanksgiving long weekend. A week later, Lacombe’s U12 and U14 teams followed suit as they both claimed gold in Beaumont.
Warner said it’s looking like all of Lacombe’s ringette teams are going to be fairly competitive this season.
“Especially our U14, U16, U19 teams are very competitive this year. And with the U14 and U12s both winning gold medals in tournaments, we’re hoping to do well, expecting to do well.”
The Icebreaker tournament, which kicks off on Friday, will see some of the best teams from every age category converge on Lacombe’s new Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex for a fun weekend of ringette.
“It’s a little bit more difficult than other years. Just because of the construction of the Lacombe arena this year. So we’ve had to use the Clive arena for a third ice surface just because of the number of teams that are coming. We have teams all the way from U6, so four and five-year-olds, all the way up to Open, which would be ladies’ ringette,” Warner said, adding that Lacombe Ringette has teams coming from out of province including Saskatchewan, as well as teams from southern and northern Alberta.
It’s going to be a very busy weekend in and around Lacombe’s arenas and Warner said there’s bound to be some great ringette on display.
“We’re hoping to have lots of traffic from the community and from the teams that are coming through. The Lacombe Curling area, we’ve got that location set up with our raffle prize tables and 50/50 draws,” she said.
While it’s still early in the season and many teams will be using the tournament as warm up, Warner said most of the teams should be getting pretty close to being in mid-season form as provincial play downs get underway in February.
“We have a couple of teams who have done a tournament so far, for some of our teams this will be our first one kind of warming into the season and then most of the teams also have another tournament planned, an away tournament for Christmas,” she said.
There will also be the opportunity to see some great local talent on display.
For example, the U14 and U19 teams have lost just one game in league play so far this season while the U16 team is undefeated in league play.
“They’re hoping to turn it into a gold medal or a medal of some sort this weekend,” Warner said, adding this will be the U19 team’s first tournament of the year, so it will be interesting to see how they do.
“What’s interesting about our U19 team is that they have a short roster, they’ve had a lot of injuries this year, so they’re pulling up some affiliates from the younger ages and yet they’re still remaining competitive at their level.”
She said having that kind of depth is a good thing for the association.
“It’s been pretty exciting. Some strong coaching, lots of volunteerism in the community here in Lacombe, which keeps our association strong.”
The Lacombe Ringette Association’s Icebreaker tournament kicks of on Friday afternoon with games running until Sunday at the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex and Clive Arena.