RINGETTE RIOT - From right, Alex Makortoff of the U14A Red Deer Riot skated past Emily Moch of the Strathmore Fire & Ice during round robin play at the 33rd annual Red Deer Friends on Ice tournament at the Kinsmen Community Arenas last year. Red Deer Express File Photo

Friends on Ice Ringette tournament returns for 34th year

Friends on Ice Tournament is returning to Central Alberta for its 34th year from Jan. 5th-7th

Red Deer Ringette’s Friends on Ice Tournament is returning to Central Alberta for its 34th year from Jan. 5th-7th.

The tournament features over 60 teams competing in 13 divisions across all different age groups.

This year, over 600 athletes will be competing at the Collicutt Centre, the Dawe Centre, the Kinsmen Arena, the Kinex Arena and the Delburne Arena.

“It is the only tournament Red Deer Ringette puts on, so it is a huge effort,” Organizer Anita Joa said.

“We get teams from all across Alberta coming to the tournament at all different levels. Next year, we have the Canada Winter Games coming to Red Deer and ringette will be featured in those games.

“Some of these girls could be in those games. There is a good chance they will be playing at that level. It is cool to come out and watch them now and then be able to support them next year as well.”

The tournament promises to deliver, with multiple ways for the community to get involved and support young athletes.

“The Kinsmen is the main rink for the tournament and we will be having raffles with big ticket items; we have 50/50 draws at each game and there will be games for the kids,” Joa said.

Joa said that ringette teaches integral tools for girls across every age group at the tournament.

“I think ringette lets the girls learn good sportsmanship and good citizenship. They are out there playing and it really is a team sport. It is amazing to watch,” she said.

She added that creating connections is key to the tournament and the development of these athletes.

“I think ringette is like a family. The parents, coaches and everyone all have good camaraderie supporting the sport and helping the girls move forward in terms of skill development. There is a strong sense of team and family,” she said.

Joa added she wanted to thank the sponsors for supporting this event.

“We can’t thank them enough, the big sponsor being Baymont Inn and Suites,” she said.

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