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Half a Century for the Birthplace of Ringette

Originally Posted February 26, 2021 in Le Voyageur
By Eric Boutilier, Le Voyageur
Finland vs Canada at the 2013 World Ringette Championships in North Bay

The West Ferris Ringette Association celebrates its 50th anniversary.

The organization, whose mission is to develop young players at the elite and recreational levels, is willing to resume its activities and take the opportunity to recognize all those who have contributed to the development of sport at the local level.
The association calls itself the birthplace of ringette. It was founded just a few years after the sport was founded by former North Bay Parks and Recreation Director Sam Jacks.
For just over 50 years, thousands of local girls have put on their skates and played ringette games on the city’s ice rinks. Some of them have even represented West Ferris at regional, provincial and national competitions.
The celebrations are postponed pending a return to normal. Leaders hope to be able to host formations for a regional tournament to mark the 50th anniversary.
“COVID has really disrupted our plans as we have planned to have a celebration with all of our athletes. We will have a late 50th celebration, only when it is safe to do so,” said West Ferris Ringette Association Competitive Team Coordinator Kelli Van Buskirk.
The West Ferris Ringette Association has played an important role in promoting physical activity and developing healthy habits for girls in the North Bay area.
Ringette was created at a time when there was no such thing as a winter team sport for them. Aspiring players – for the most part – were not allowed to play hockey in boys’ leagues.
Half a century later, some 300 players from Nipissing take part in the activities of the West Ferris association on an annual basis. In Canada, ringette has over 33,000 players. The sport is also played in several countries.
“The world of ringette remembers the Jacks family and their ambassadors, Sam and Agnes. The legacy is that the sport has been able to last for 50 years despite economic downturns and the emergence of other sports,” says Ms. Van Buskirk.
“Three years ago, a team from North Bay competed in the Eastern Canadian Championship. In 2013, Memorial Gardens hosted the World Ringette Championship,” recalls the former president.
“Ringette is a community and a family. I believe it is our heritage as a group.”

Closing of House League Season

Posted February 26, 2021
Dear friends and members,
With a heavy heart I am writing to share the news that our house league season has been brought to an end.
As you will know, on Friday the Province announced that the Stay-at-Home order has been extended for North Bay until March 8th. Following that the City of North Bay posted that they will be removing the ice from Pete Palangio and Memorial Gardens arenas, and will be getting in touch with all the rink users next week with more details about contract cancellation. And so we have no choice but to end our house league season.
Over the next week, the WFRA will calculate the prorated amount of registration fees for each player and we will offer a credit toward next season or a refund at request. Please be assured that we will get this information to you as soon as possible, but it’s a new challenge and it may take several days.
Thank you to all who responded to the survey we put out last week about options for continuing or extending the season. The high response rate made clear to us how much our membership values the sport, and while there were a few who felt it was time to close the season (and we respect that) the very large majority indicated that they were eager to continue.
To that end, we will continue to look at options to offer spring ice. This will, of course, depend on the provincial and municipal regulations as well as the availability of ice. But we will be looking at all options, and will be in touch to share with you what we’ve found, as we plan our way forward.
And before I close, a special note about the rep program: Ringette Ontario has previously announced that there will be no rep-team tryouts until September, and we are expecting more news on that in May.
Thank you for your enduring commitment to the sport of ringette. There are better days ahead.
Stay safe,
Erin Johns
Interim President, WFRA

National Ringette School – Starting July 10th in North Bay – Express your interest!

Posted February 15, 2021
The National Ringette School is finalizing their camp schedule for the summer of 2021 and have pencilled in a camp for North Bay! If there is a strong enough expression of interest, they will confirm the camp and camp dates (subject to COVID-10 restrictions, of course). Please click HERE for details.
Details of the National Ringette School program are available HERE and a description of the camp is copied in below, but here are the details for the (potential) North Bay camp:

  • Five day program, with a start date of Saturday, July 10 2021.
  • Daily program is from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM
  • Price: $455.00 Taxes not included, an installment payment plan is available (goalies are usually half price)
  • Required age: 6 – 17 on the day of the activity

At this point, the National Ringette School is gauging interest in a North Bay camp. Please add yourself to the “Wait List” to be added to the NRS mailing list. This will serve both as an expression of your interest in registering your player in a North Bay camp, and will also add you to the distribution list for notice of the camp’s confirmation (or alternatively, of other camp options if the numbers don’t support a camp being held in North Bay).
Please click HERE to express interest in the NRS hosting a camp in North Bay in July 2021.

National Ringette School (Ontario)

Ringette Camps Across Canada – We offer summer camps for various ages and abilities. Come learn from some of the best ringette players in the country.
Our 2021 Plan:
How the summer of 2021 will look is unknown. We are truly hopeful that we will be permitted to run camps this summer. We believe that there are many families and children that are longing to be back on the ice and back with their friends. This being said, the National Ringette School will be following all municipal, provincial and federal government regulations at each location. Therefore, we will be providing further instructions on procedures for attending camps once we are closer to those camp dates, as there will likely be some differences in how camps operate based on their location.
Our 2021 groups will be smaller than in the past. Previous years our groups were capped at 30 skaters and 4 goalies. This summer we will have a maximum of 25 athletes (23 players and 2 goalies) and up to 5 staff per group. These smaller groups will allow us to maintain a 30 person cohort, as this number was used in many locations as part of the previous restrictions. If the restrictions allow for larger cohorts then we will approach those on the waitlist.
Additionally, at our 5 day camps, we are increasing the amount of ice times (at most locations) to 15 ice times per group. Each group will receive 3 ice times a day. In general the ice times will incorporate the following:

  • First ice time will be high intensity and team centered:
    • Skating,
    • Ring touches,
    • Competitive drills, and
    • Game sense;
  • Second ice time will focus on more individual skills:
    • Shooting and passing accuracy and power,
    • Ring handling,
    • Skating agility and edgework;
  • Third ice time will be a split ice focused on strategy for one portion and controlled scrimmaging for the other. An example of the strategies that will be covered are:
    • Defensive triangle and channeling,
    • Breakouts,
    • Finding open ice to receive a pass,
    • Defending your opponents goalie ring,
    • Offensive zone plays, and
    • Goalie ring options.

For the off ice portion of camp we will be doing team building activities, as well as mental training and strategy sessions. We are adding more activities that allow for greater space between athletes, as well as elements of cross-training. For example: yoga, soccer, juggling, etc. Stay tuned!
A Backup Plan: We are also developing a secondary plan in the event that we are permitted to run only the on ice portion of camp. We realize that this scenario would be far from ideal and that it may prevent some families from participating as they may require full day childcare. However, we believe it is prudent to have this plan in place as well. If it comes to this situation parents will be given the choice to keep their child enrolled or to withdraw.
Covid Protocols and Policies
Prior to camp…
Initial protocols for each camp location will be sent out to parents and participants two weeks prior to camp. Then a final email will be sent 2 days prior with any changes highlighted.
Our camps will follow the provincial and municipal guidelines for each location. It is imperative that parents and participants understand that they will not attend camp if they are feeling unwell. A daily Covid attestation will likely also need to be completed.
These protocols will be reviewed with parents and participants upon drop off on the first day.
During camp…
Protocols will be reviewed with each athlete and parent upon sign in on the first day. Instructors will provide reminders throughout the day as well.
However, we reserve the right to remove any athlete or family from the camp if we feel that these policies are deliberately not being followed.
If an athlete develops symptoms of Covid throughout the day, that athlete will be asked to leave the camp. If the athlete is unable to return to the camp due to illness, refunds will be dealt with on a case by case basis. Contact us at questions@nationalringetteschool.com or 403-284-5161.

Update on Return to Ringette from WFRA

Posted February 10, 2021
While we were very hopeful that we would be returning the ice this Thursday, on Monday the Provincial government announced the Stay-at-Home order has been extended, which means no ice time this week. But we are on the list – currently – for an easing of restrictions in our area next week. When that happens, the next step will be word from the City of North Bay that arenas are reopening and then we’ll be back to ringette.
Our ice director is in regular contact with the City, and as soon as we get the green light to return to play we’ll get word to you, along with any tweaks to the schedule that may be necessary.
Hang in there. Maybe watch some ringette on the WFRA YouTube channel, shoot some rings in the driveway, and stay tuned for the good news that we’re heading back to the rink.
Stay safe – we are so looking forward to seeing all our players and coaches back on the ice!

Caution and Encouragement: Covid-19 Safety Reminders

Posted November 21, 2020
As COVID-19 numbers soar in some parts of the Province, and even our neighbours in Sudbury have been moved into the “yellow zone” due to the rising number of COVID-19 infections, WFRA wants to send a message of caution and encouragement to all our members: COVID-19 Safety measures must be maintained, and the City of North Bay’s rink rules must be respected.
We’re doing pretty well. There have been few incidents of the rules being broken or bent, and we’re proud of how flexible our parents and players have been, and how we’ve all been following these new rules and protocols, but we’ve also heard of a couple of hockey teams being barred from the rink due to NOT following the rules, and, well, we don’t want to go there.
COVID-19 safety measures and restrictions remain in place, as required by the City of North Bay, public health agencies, the Province of Ontario, and Ringette Ontario. Ringette Ontario requires that you attest to being COVID-free the day you participate in any ringette activities. (more on that below)
In addition to completing the attestation form before each session, please maintain the COVID safety protocols:

  • no sharing of food, drink or water bottles
  • maintain two metres of separation whenever possible
  • wear a face mask / covering

And we must all adhere to the following “rink rules” as issued by the city of North Bay:

  • Players must arrive fully dressed; their skates, helmet and gloves are the only equipment that should be left to put on after they arrive.
  • Players will be permitted in the building no earlier than ten minutes before their ice time begins.
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times by spectators and when athletes are not on the ice.
  • Players may remove their mask prior to getting on the ice; when masks come off, helmets go on and when helmets come off masks go back on.
  • One parent/guardian per player may stay to watch the game or practice; unfortunately, siblings and other friends and family members cannot be accommodated within the COVID rules
  • The warm area at Pete Palangio is now where the players put on and remove their skates and helmets; this is no longer the viewing area
    The parent / guardian may watch the game from the benches in the rink and there will be signs to this viewing area; parents are not to stand board side.
  • The players will have 10 minutes to exit the arena after leaving the ice. There are signs to the exit to use.
  • Players are asked to not bring their large bags into the arena.

Daily Attestation Form
WFRA is now using a phone-based app for COVID attestations; you should have received an invitation from your / your child’s coach earlier this month with an invitation to use the app; if you did not receive this email, please ask your coach to resend it.
If you are not able to use the RAMP app, a link to the WFRA online Daily Attestation form is posted on the WFRA web site.
Please complete the Covid-19 Daily Attestation Form within 48 hours of the ice time using the online form, or within 24 hours using the RAMP app, but no later than three hours before the session.
Players, coaches and minor officials must all complete a COVID attestation form before each ice session; timekeepers and scorekeepers are to use the link on the WFRA web site.
Unfortunately, we cannot let any player who has not completed the daily attestation form on the ice.
Thanks in advance for your patience and flexibility as we all continue to manage through these procedures and requirements. And we’ll see you at the rink!

General Health & Safety Guidelines


  • If any participants have experienced any symptoms such as coughing, sore throat, fever, shortness of breath, they must not attend activities for 14 days.
  • If bench staff have come in contact with someone experiencing these symptoms, they are not permitted to attend for 14 days.
  • All members must adhere to all health agency & safety regulations
  • All members must adhere to facility capacity restrictions
  • All players should arrive and leave as per facility regulations
  • Wash hands/hand sanitizer frequently and follow facility regulations
  • No spitting
  • No chewing tobacco, no sharing of vapes or other tobacco products
  • No sharing of water bottles. All participants MUST have individual water bottles
  • No sharing of any ringette gear
  • No touching or hugging
  • Elimination of handshake – Wave to opposition or “air” high fives – salute Referees & say Thank you
  • Coaches, athletes and officials should keep rings, equipment and other objects required for play in a clean, separate space at their own homes.
  • Items should be clean and sanitized frequently.
  • All participants should carry wipes, hand sanitizer OR pump soap in their equipment bags
  • Coaches/Bench Staff should carry extra PPE (masks, hand sanitizer, gloves) in case someone forgets theirs
  • Participants should avoid handling equipment with their bare hands
Be safe, and we’ll see you on the ice!