Glory on the Ice: Spruce Grove Sweetheart Tournament
SMS Equipment has been a proud supporter of this event since 2014. The request was originally brought to our attention by Rob Shackleton, a Product Support Sales Representative at the company’s Edmonton branch. Rob’s daughter, Emillie plays ringette on SVG-U10-S23, and he is an Assistant Coach for the team. Rob wasn’t the only ringette parent on staff either; Eric Van Wouw, Product Support Sales Representative has two daughters in ringette, Nyla and Rowyn, both on SGV-U12C-1, and like Rob an Assistant Coach for the team.
The Game of Ringette
Maybe it’s the long winters, maybe it’s our naturally athletic people, but for whatever reason Canada has long been a hotbed of sports creation. Lacrosse, basketball, and ice hockey were all originated by Canadians. The innovative spirit is still alive and well: one recent sport innovation is ringette, a variation on hockey created in Ontario in the 1960s. Played on ice, the game combines the speed of ice hockey with the strategy of basketball. Players use straight sticks to push a rubber pneumatic ring across the ice, aiming to score goals on the opposing team’s net. Unlike hockey, the sport discourages physical contact between players.
One appealing feature of ringette for many families, apart from its lack of hard physical contact, is its focus on team play. Under the basic rules of the sport, players may not skate from one end of the ice to the other with the ring, but must pass before crossing blue lines. This pushes the six players on a team (goaltender, centre, two forwards, and two defense) to work together to score, and rewards training, strategy, cooperative play.
Ringette in Alberta
From Canada the sport has spread out across the world to the United States, France, Sweden, and Finland. Ringette arrived in Alberta in 1974, and the province is now home to the Ringette Sweetheart Tournament. Held in Spruce Grove, the event brings together teams from across Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan to compete for glory on the ice.
The most recent tournament took place from February 12-15, with over 60 teams and over 1000 athletes competing in all age levels from 10 to 20. The tournament is keen on developing both athletic skill and good sportsmanship, and encourages coaches and parents to instill a spirit of fair play in all participants.
SMS Equipment believes strongly in promoting fitness, sportsmanship, and fun in the communities where its employees make their homes. With that in mind, the company has been pleased to support the 2016 Sweetheart Tournament with cash sponsorships for the last several years.