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Ringette is cool - even in the heat of mid-July
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All signs, in recent years, pointed to a rejuvenation of the sport of ringette in Sudbury.

The recent week-long camp hosted by the National Ringette School (NRS) at the Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex only further cemented that opinion.

Running day long camps with a variety of age brackets, NRS managed to draw a very solid collection of interest on a local level, as expected, but also garnered registrations from across northern Ontario - and even much further away.

"My uncle lives here and a lot of my family live really close to Sudbury," noted 15 year old Adisson Marson, a resident of Fredericton (yes, as in New Brunswick) and a member of her provincial team out in the Maritimes.

"We were staying here for a while so I decided to do the camp."

Where one might see the lack of familiarity with any other camp goers as being a major drawback, Marson found a comfort from a frequently lived experience. "With ringette, we're always playing on a different team so you get to meet all kinds of people from different areas," she noted.

"I was on the provincial team last year so met lots of people from all around the province."

Known for her speed - Marson captured the fastest skater skills competition when her team participated at the Eastern Championships - the friendly teenager had to find a new way to play to her strength when her coach realized that he was stuck with an excess of defenders, the position that Marson had always played.

"My coach wanted my speed on offense," she noted. "As a defense, you use your speed when you are maybe a little behind on a play, to help you race back and get into position. At forward, I used it to stick check more and take possession of the ring."

And while she is in no way an introvert, she admitted to feeling a little trepidation as the week began.

"It was kind of scary to come in and not know anyone," acknowledged Marson. "But after the first ice time, once I got talking to all of them and started to get to know them, it was fine."

"It also helped that I was from way out of town, because they were kind of curious."

Roughly half of Marson's age, Keira Provincial felt no such trepidation. And even if she had, one can surmise that the chatty local player could have quite easily talked herself through any early nervousness.

Provincial is also somewhat the mirror image of Marson, having started as a forward but making the move to defense in more recent times.

"My coach says that I am better at defense and I get to do more work protecting the net," said the member of the Greater Sudbury Ringette Association. "You have to make a triangle. We have to protect the goalie because we don't want them to get a goal."

And lest one believe that presenting this second to last wall of defense might involve some sort of passive entrenchment in their own zone, rest assured that Provincial and her kind are not the least bit inclined to enjoy docility.

"We can check them," she blurted out emphatically. "You go under their stick, bump their stick up and then slide in and get the ring. Then I skate and pass over the blue line. After you pass, you can go over the blue line and keep skating, and maybe get the pass over the other blue line."

"If you do, you go in and try and get a shot and get out, as soon as you can after you get the shot."

Still, while Provincial clearly has a very good grasp of ringette, perhaps in part due to watching older sister Jenna perform as a member of the Sudbury U14 AA North Stars last winter, there remains plenty of value in attending a camp such as this.

"It was a lot of fun - and we're learning new strategies, like where to go when it's goalie ring and they have to throw it out," said Provincial. "I am here with my friends AND I made a whole bunch of new friends."

Friends, indeed, all brought together by a common love of ringette.