What is ringette?

The Basics

Canadian Sports Hall of Fame inductee Sam Jacks created the foundation of Ringette in 1963 in North Bay. The very first Ringette game was held in Espanola and was organized by Red McCarthy. Since then the game has spread worldwide. Ringette has evolved into a fast paced, exciting sport that combines speed and strategy. Now, Ontario Ringette boasts a membership of over 75 local associations with more than 13,000 participants. Over 50 tournaments are held throughout the season.

The game itself is played on most standard rinks. Teams include five skaters and a goalie on the ice for each team at a time. And of course the object of the game is to score on the other team’s goal!

The Ringette philosophy is to provide “a mass participation team sport which encourages the physical, mental, social and moral development of individual participants within the highest standards of safety, sportsmanship, personal excellence, and enjoyment.” And the rules and regulations have been adopted to suit these needs. Ring hogging is prevented by rules that restrict any one player from carrying the ring the full length of the ice. The ring must be passed over the blue line to another player, which makes ringette a team oriented sport.


How To Play The Game

Ringette can be played on most standard ice rink so long as it has a free pass line in both zones. Five skaters and a goalie are on the ice for each team, unless of course there are penalties being served. The object is to score goals on the net of your opponent. How you do that, however, is where Ringette becomes unique. A straight stick, similar to the shaft of a hockey stick with no blade and a tip on the end, is used to pass an 8? hollow rubber ring between team mates.

Play is started by a Free Pass. The ring is placed on the dot in the centre ice circle closest to the own team’s goal. On the referee’s whistle, the player “taking the free pass” has five seconds to pass the ring out of the circle to a team mate… and the game is on! Any stoppages in play will result in a free pass to re-start the game. Some defensive free passes are replaced by a “goaltender ring,” where the goalie has five seconds to throw the ring to a teammate.

Rules restrict any one player from carrying the ring the full length of the ice (no ring hogs). The ring must be passed over each blue line to another player which means more players can be involved in setting up goals.

Free play lines define restricted areas in the deep offensive and defensive zones. Teams are allowed no more than 3 skaters at a time in these areas, so over-crowding is minimal. Exceptions to this rule are only when two or more penalties are being served by one team, or if the goalie has been pulled for an extra attacker.

Ringette is such a fast paced game because at more competitive levels, a 30 second shot clock is utilized to maintain the flow of the game. The ring must hit the goalie or be shot on net within 30 seconds or it becomes the other team’s possession.

There is no intentional contact allowed in Ringette, with all the rules geared towards safety. When contact does occur, however, penalties are assessed. The most common are slashing, tripping, and interference and are usually unintentional as players focus on checking the ring from an opponent’s stick or skating to get a loose ring first. Most penalties are 2 minutes, but a 4 minute Major is assessed for actions that are deemed intentional or particularly rough.


Ringette In Ontario

Ontario Ringette boasts a membership of over 75 Local Associations with over 9,500 players registered. 2,600 coaches, 600 referees and countless volunteers are also active in Ringette.

Seven Provincial Committees oversee many programs offered to our members, from National Coaching and Officiating Certification Clinics, to Regional Championships and Sanctioned Tournament play. The Regions are there to help the members administer local programs too.

Levels of play include AA, A, B, C, recreation and house league divisions. Over 50 tournaments are held throughout the season, with Regional Championships being the highlight for B and C level teams, while Provincials are the finale for the A level teams that qualify. Provincial Champions in the U16 and U19 AA divisions earn a berth at the Canadian Ringette Championships, and U14 AA champions represent Ontario at Eastern Championships. Ontario teams have won many National Titles.

Age Divisions

  • U6
  • U7
  • U8
  • U9
  • U10
  • U12
  • U14
  • U16
  • U19
  • 18+
  • 30+

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