Ringette demands a combination of speed, clever plays and exceptional skating skills, something the Fraser Valley U19 ringette team has displayed all season. At least until the last half of the gold medal game.
The girls came second in the sixth annual Michelle Vandale Memorial Spirit of Winter ringette tournament held in Langley last weekend, losing their final game 7-4 to Prince George. But their spirits were not deterred.
Skating away with silver medals around their necks, the girls of the FVRA U19 had huge smiles on their faces.
“They were excited. They feel they could have done better, but all-in-all they played very well all weekend,” coach Christina Brown said.
“They are all very proud of themselves.”
After dominating the last half of their games in the first rounds of the tournament, the team started off strong in the final game against Prince George. They established themselves four goals ahead in the first half of the game, leaving Prince George scoreless. But by the second half of the game things started to get shaky.
“I think they got really excited because they were ahead by four goals and they fell apart. They started playing individually rather than as a team,” Brown said.
Prince George took advantage of this break in the team and managed to score seven goals against Fraser Valley to claim the tournament victory.
Though they had impeccable passing throughout the game, it just wasn’t enough.
“This is rare for the team. They normally play together really well, but they let themselves get too excited,” Brown said, adding that their team has always placed first, second or third in the tournament since the girls were little kids.
Previous games in the tournament prove this.
In the semi-final game against Burnaby in particular, Fraser Valley managed to take control of the last half of the game. Amber Gudmun of Fraser Valley stunningly scored two goals in the last two minutes of the game, forcing overtime. Gudmun then scored the winning goal only one minute into overtime.
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After the final game, medals were handed out and the special Michelle Vandale Memorial Spirit of Winter Scholarship was presented.
The scholarship was created to honour the passing of Michelle Vandale who was an intrigral member of the Fraser Valley Ringette Association.
Last year’s winner Alexandra Day presented the $1,000 scholarship to Grade 12 student Miranda Harris.
Along with achieveing high grades in school, Harris also volunteers, plays ringette and is training to be a coach.
“Not to sure how this young lady does it all, but the people who know her say that not only does she do it all, she does it extremely well and always with a great attitude, a strong work ethic and a solid commitment,” Jeaneen Briner, Fraser Valley Ringette Association president, wrote to The Times.
Last year’s Michelle Vandale scholarship winner, Alexandra Day (right), presents the award to Grade 12 student Miranda Harris.
Last weekend (Dec. 10-11), the Lower Mainland Thunder national ringette team played three games against the Calgary Rath at the George Preston Recreation Centre. The LMRL won two out of the three games.