A Northern ringette team, the Northern Lights, have won the U16 AA Provincial Championships in Houston and earned themselves the title of B.C.’s best.
They are now set to represent the province at nationals as Team BC.
This is a significant achievement because it is the first time a northern ringette team has earned the right to represent the province on the national stage.
The Northern Lights is a regional team made up from players from Prince George, Quesnel, Houston and Terrace. Aimee Qualizza is the only player on the team representing Terrace.
The provincials were a double knockout format between three teams, The Northern Lights, the Lower Mainland Thunder, and The Thompson-Okanagan Ringette League (TORL).
In game one the Lights took on TORL. The game was back and forth with the north controlling most of the game with strong goaltending. The final result was a 10-6 win for the Lights.
After a few hours of rest the team was back on the ice again, this time playing the Lower Mainland Thunder. The game was full of ups and downs, and the Thunder ended up on with the win in the end 7-6.
With one loss against them, the team knew it had to win every game or face going home.
The Lights and the Thunder faced off again, as the only two teams left in the tournament after a loss against the Thunder knocked out TORL.
The north came out strong, setting a confident pace, and showing strong defense resulting in a 8-3 victory.
The gold medal match would be the third and final game between the Lights and the Thunder.
The Thunder took an early lead to the game, and by half time the score was 4-2, with the north trailing. However, the Lights recovered and a 5-5 end result sent the teams into overtime.
That all ended just past the six-minute mark when the Northern Lights got one in the net and took the tournament with a 6-5 overtime victory.
“I felt extremely proud to make history for the north and to feel the energy that the team put forth till the end was great, they never gave up,” said Melinda Moorhouse, manager for the team.
“The hugs, shock and tears that went with the win is such a great moment for everyone that was there. Great effort girls, you made us proud.” she added.
Qualizza has been involved in ringette for 10 years, and is very pleased with her teams provincial win.
“The overall experience was crazy,” she said. “The last game we were all on our toes.”
Qualizza also said she is very excited to head to nationals.
“We are Team Canada if we win,” she said.
The team will be heading to Cambridge, Ontario March 25 to April 3 to compete in the Canadian National Ringette Championships.