The Terrace U14 Ringette team have won gold in BC Provincials 2019 that took place in Prince George from March 8 – 10.
They were crowned champions after defeating Prince George 5-2 in their final game.
“It was exciting for the kids, the parents, for everyone,” says coach Raeanne Vandenbroek. “We went to that gold medal game against Prince George, who was the host and also our rival all year.”
This was the first time Terrace had competed in the provincial championships in the past several years and Vandenbroek says they didn’t know what to expect going in.
They came into the tournament second in their league and remained undefeated for all their games.
“When we went to provincials, I just saw this team in a way I haven’t seen before. They came together and played well, instead of individually as they have in the past.”
Vandenbroek says this season has been a change compared to their previous years as the U14 Ringette team hit the ice with two tournament wins, which was a surprise to everybody.
“This wasn’t typical. Over the last few years, Terrace has really struggled with ringette just with numbers and commitment issues so when we started off the year with winning these tournaments, it was very new to us,” she says. “It seemed almost unachievable for them to win but they’re on top of the world now.”
She says before, it was hard to get the players to work together because it was a mixed gender team ages 12 to 14 and they all came from different schools, which sometimes involved “typical teenage drama”.
There were also a few “star players” on the team that often took the lead during the games, which kept some of the others from playing at their full potential.
“I realized these kids need some disciplined coaching so I followed the coaching manual from Ringette Canada and we just practiced play after play,” Vandenbroek says. “I felt it was important to them to realize that it was actually a team game, instead of just these individual players. [I want them to] take that away into their lives — that everybody plays a part.”
Although they managed to come in first place at provincials, Vandenbroek says there were some negative comments from the opposing team that almost took a toll on the Terrace players.
“We had actually heard some comments from the Prince George players and coach that this was going to be a cakewalk for them, so the kids got it into their head. We just told them to just play their own game, that they all got here with no losses.”
With that pep talk and a more positive mindset, the team was able to get over their nerves and realize that they weren’t going to let Prince George get away with their “attitude”.
“We’re super happy to be back and that we get to show off our medals and trophy,” says Vandenbroek. “Its been very exciting to bring back ringette awareness to Terrace.”