Brian Crandell and Rudy Zellman want to make sure there’s ringette for all ages of women in Prince George.
The two are heavily involved with the Prince George Ringette Association (PGRA) and are pushing for the creation of an open division in the city.
Currently, the ringette association has teams in the bunnies division (for seven and under) to the belle division (for 18 and under) and a masters division for players over 30.
“It’s important to have this division so these girls can continue in a sport they’ve done for so many years. I know a lot of them don’t want to leave the sport,” Crandell said.
At the moment there aren’t enough women to make up an open division team, though some practice with the masters teams and play against the belles.
Crandell hopes next year’s Western Canadian Ringette Championships, hosted by the PGRA, will spur more interest in the open division.
Crandell is on the B.C. Ringette Association board of directors and he recently made a case for including the open division at the Westerns.
The B.C. association will take the suggestion to the national board in June. From there, Crandell says, it’ll be a matter of polling the provincial ringette associations to see if there’s enough interest in sending open division teams to the Western Canadian Championships that already host tween, junior and belle teams.
Crandell calls Zellman the instigator in forming a Prince George open division team. Zellman would coach the team if it ever got off the ground.
Building an open division is important, Zellman says, because it fills the void between the belle and masters division.
Prince George has a lot of talented ringette players, he says. They go to university and college here and are raising young families.
Ringette offers a great way to exercise and socialize that’s important for both groups, Zellman says.
He admits the division is challenged to produce enough players for a full team. He figures roughly 13 players are needed to ensure they always have enough for a game and says six open-age players (19 to 29) practice with the masters teams already.
Another challenge, he says, is finding other teams to play against.
“It’s no fun practising for weeks on end without games,” Zellman says.
That’s why he’s excited about the possibility of having an open division at the Westerns.
With a chance at representing B.C. at a regional tournament like Westerns, Zellman thinks more women will be drawn back to the sport of ringette and an open division.