By Zachary Cormier
It’s not exactly going to be a quiet Christmas for the Bell sisters.
Dailyn and Jamie Bell of Lacombe are among the players that will head overseas to represent Canada at the 2015 Ringette World Championships in Helsinki, Finland.
“It’s exciting. We went in 2013, so it’s just a new team and a new atmosphere on the bench,” said Dailyn, the older Bell sister, during an interview before the pair headed off for Finland.
Unlike the world championships of many sports, the senior division of the World Ringette Championship only includes two teams, Canada and Finland, who battle it out in a best of three series to determine the champion.
“The competition is just leaps and bounds way more competitive. Finland is a smaller country, so they can get together a lot more frequently and ringette is a huge thing over there.”
The sisters grew up playing ringette in Lacombe and Dailyn said that they both started playing at a high level early on in their careers.
“Petite AA was the first time that we could move up to the AA level, so as soon as that became an option we both played that,” Dailyn said.
Because of the four year age gap between the two, Dailyn grew up playing for the Central Alberta Power, the AA program that came before the CA Sting.
Eventually, though, both of the Bells reached a point where they couldn’t play competitively in Lacombe anymore.
“We kind of got to a level where we couldn’t play in Lacombe anymore, so now we drive up to Edmonton as well,” Dailyn said.
Dailyn was the first of the two to make the transition up to Edmonton.
It wasn’t until 2010, when they went to the world championships as members of Team USA that the Bell sisters had a chance to play on the same team.
“It’s a competitive league as well but there’s about seven of us from Central Alberta that drive up to play, so it’s more of a Central Alberta-Edmonton team as opposed to just an Edmonton team so it’s fun that way too,” Dailyn said.
As the name implies, the National Ringette League features teams from all over the country. Players travel as far as Montreal and Gateneau to play regular season games, so Jamie and Dailyn have experienced a lot together.
That experience, Jamie said, should help them and their team against Finland.
“I think we bring a lot of speed to the forecheck. It’s nice because we can read each other on the ice well,” the younger Bell sister said.
Besides the benefits they bring to the team, both of them agreed that they’ll also be able to support each other when travelling abroad.
“It’s comforting,” Dailyn said.
“The experience just means that much more when we can do it together. It is a stressful time, so it’s nice to have each other. It just makes training easier and I’m sure it’ll be something we can look back on. I’m sure it’s something we won’t forget,” Jamie added.
It will be a tough road for Team Canada heading into this year’s event. Finland has won the past four meetings between the two teams so the team is hungry for a win.
“Last time (in 2013) was more experience. This time we’re definitely there to win,” Dailyn said.
For Jamie, winning is even more important as this will be the first time she gets to dress for the full series.
“My expectation is to win. We’ve had that from day one,” she said.
According to Dailyn, the key for Team Canada will just be to play their game.
“Finland’s style and our style is extremely different and I think with the dynamic and the depth on our bench this year and just the buy-in with the systems, I just think we have a good team-oriented team. So if we can just stick to our systems and stick to doing what we know, what we’re talented at and just playing as a team, it’s going to go our way,” she said.
This year’s world championships are actually scheduled to run alongside the IIHF World Junior Championships in Helsinki this year.
“Hopefully we can share fans,” Dailyn laughed.
According to the elder Bell sister, competing on the international stage gives a feeling that is tough to beat.
“It brings adrenaline to a whole new level for sure. It’s different. It tests your mental game and how you mentally prepare.”
The World Ringette Championships kicks off in Helsinki on Dec. 27th, with the senior championship series getting underway on New Year’s Day.