A spokesperson for Steinbach Ringette Association says the sport continues to grow in the southeast.
Courtney Priest says last year there were three ringette teams based out of Steinbach. This year, they have grown to five.
"It is wonderful to see the growth in the sport," she says.
According to Priest, they have five girls on their U14 team who are brand new to the sport and doing wonderfully.
The Association is hosting its 35th annual Steinbach Ringette Tournament this week. It takes place from January 25th to 28th at the TG Smith Arena. Priest says the tournament will feature U10, U12 and U14 divisions. There will also be some R4U sprinkled into the four-day event. Priest says R4U players are the first timers.
"The little ones skating on the ice is just adorable," she says. "It is a great time to see that action start so young."
Priest says it is exciting to see the sport growing locally. She credits players like Kaylee Davies for making this happen. Davies from La Broquerie, plays goalie for Team Canada and has been helping develop the goalies within the Steinbach Ringette Association. Priest says they also have coaches that play high-calibre ringette.
"It's wonderful for the girls to have those inspirations to look up to when their coaches are actually in it," adds Priest. "It's just great for the girls to go out and see that this is something that can continue for a lifetime."
Priest says growing the sport today paves the way for a brighter future. She is optimistic that one day the Steinbach Ringette Association might be able to have a U16 and a U19 team.
The Steinbach Ringette Association draws players from throughout the southeast. Priest says they have skaters from Mitchell, Blumenort, La Broquerie, Grunthal and the surrounding area.
As mentioned, the 35th annual Steinbach Ringette Tournament happens this week from Thursday through Sunday. Priest says an event like this would not be possible without their team of volunteers, parents and coaches who help out.
"We have now players that participated in this tournament in the 90s and they are back as coaches," says Priest.
She notes they have a great family event planned with other attractions such as a silent auction, 50/50 draw, Loonie stick and canteen.
With files from Dave Anthony