With more than thirty teams competing over the course of three days at the double pad Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex last weekend, the Sudbury Ringette Tournament offered a little something for everyone.
Including those whose ultra-competitive playing days are behind them, it would seem.
Nestled quietly among the six divisional championships being contested was the 18+ Open grouping, a collection of six teams whose players ranged in age from eighteen to more than fifty.
Understandably, this can create a somewhat different feel than the youngsters who both preceded and followed them on the ice. "Everybody gets more open-minded," noted long-time ringette aficionado Renée Delarosbil, representing the Valley East Ringette Association.
"Instead of just making that pass to the person who is open right in front of you, we take that extra second and look up. The plays are just that much more incredible, because we space it out a lot more and find open ice."
Though Delarosbil and her teammates managed to knock off the Timmins Tornadoes 8-5 in their preliminary round game, the rematch in the final provided a different outcome entirely, as the northern ladies doubled Valley East 8-4.
"I think they were sleeping yesterday," laughed Delarosbil, now 23 years of age. "They woke up today. All of their girls have played "A" before, so I knew they were going to give us a good run for our money."
The challenge for the locals was compounded by a short bench, which stands to reason given the age bracket that is involved. "It's definitely a lot harder, especially being short-handed," acknowledged Delarosbil.
"But it's fun. You're always on the ice, you're always going. We just have way too much fun with this." Interestingly enough, six different ringette associations were represented in the winners' circle, as the hardware was distributed across Northern Ontario.
Locally, the Walden Red Devils claimed the U19 - Belle Division with an 7-6 win over the Timmins U16 Tornadoes. Taylor Vienneau and Lily Hayden scored three goals apiece for the winners, with Emily Punkari adding a solo tally.
Alexie Trudel kept things close for Timmins, scoring five times, joined on the scoresheet by teammate Anyka Breton. The Valley East U14 Tweens were also involved in a dramatic final, edging Timmins, as well, by a final score of 8-7.
The Sault Ste Marie Ice Hawks took home the U10 Novice - Red banner thanks to a 7-0 win over Iroquois Falls, while the U12 Petite crew from the paper-mill town east of Timmins earned bragging rights with a 6-4 win over Sudbury.
The Iroquois Falls Petites advanced to the final thanks to a 1-0 win over West Ferris, with Sophie Boucher scoring the game-winning goal in the semi-final encounter.
The U10 Novice - White crown was garnered by West Ferris, who outscored Timmins 8-6 in a wide open affair on Sunday afternoon. Regular season play locally resumes this week, with games being hosted by the Sudbury Ringette Association, Valley East Ringette Association and Walden Ringette Association at venues across Greater Sudbury.