By Lethbridge Herald on October 7, 2020.
The Lethbridge Ringette Association is ready to strike.
In an announcement at Henderson Arena on Saturday, the LRA unveiled its apt new name.
With the 2020-21 season around the corner, the LRA announced all their age groups will play under the name of Rattlers.
Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainty it brings, games will begin Oct. 15 and the LRA will do so under the umbrella of one consistent name.
“I think we have always had a goal to grow the sport of ringette in southern Alberta,” said LRA president PJ Lynch after the unveiling Saturday afternoon as players tried on their new blue Rattlers toques.
“I think this allows us to have a little bit more visibility as a brand and the city that will help with that. I think it gives kids who are four years old and starting out up to the U19s a chance to feel a part of it. The little kids get to look up and recognize that they are the same name as the older kids and I think that’s pretty special.”
Lynch said the LRA board members put together a committee to look into potential names that had not just a significance to Lethbridge, but to ringette locally.
“There is a U19 team that has been the Rattlers for a number of years and had tremendous success with (head coach Sue Stevenson) and her helpers as well putting together a name for Lethbridge and ringette representing our city well.”
The LRA’s Active Start group is U6 and U7. They also have four and five-year-olds in the learn to skate mode.
“We have a power skating coach, Nancy Higo, who works with all of our kids and that is included with our active start registration,” said Lynch. “We work all the way up to the U19 team and we have open teams as well.”
Like every sport, ringette heads into the winter with the ongoing affects of the pandemic and potential month-to-month changes.
Lynch said the Rattlers are working in conjunction with Medicine Hat and the Sunny South League as well as the Chinook League in Calgary and the Big Country League for the U10s.
“The way they’re doing it this year is three sessions where you are in a cohort of 50 (players and coaches) for two weeks to play two to four games,” said Lynch, adding the teams have been practising for the past month. “You then take a two-week break and you move to two other teams and you cohort with them for two weeks. You take another two-week break and the third session is in December. It’ll be an opportunity to play some games, which is a lot more than we thought a couple months ago. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that time still allows it.”
For now, the players can get back on the ice.
“They all had their seasons cut short in March last year,” said Lynch. “It’s getting them back, active and getting out and you can see the smiles on their faces.”
Lynch said the LRA will likely meet at the end of November or early-December to reassess the situation going into January.
“It’ll also give us a chance to look at what health guidelines and protocols they’re calling for at that time. Ultimately, everybody’s safety is our first priority and making sure we’re doing that for the kids and the parents as well.”
Right now, the LRA is at just over 150 registrations and though the numbers have dipped a bit due to COVID, Lynch noted the drop-off hasn’t been that bad.
“We were constantly growing at a really good pace up until this particular year,” he said. “But when we look at the overall numbers as a whole we’re probably only down about six to eight per cent, which I think is a pretty big win at the end of the day when we’re looking at the overall limitations.
“We’re trying to follow Alberta Health guidelines and Ringette Alberta’s guidelines. It has been a busy time to keep up with all of that and trying to do our best for the planning. It’s our board that has put in all the time and effort and we can’t thank them enough. They’re the reason we’re even able to do this right now.”
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