A relatively new and seemingly unknown team at the university, the UW Ringette team assembled its third ever roster this fall. Although COVID means the season hasn’t gone exactly as planned, with the return to in-person classes, they’ve been able to get back on the ice. Recently, I sat down with the team’s player executive president Zoe Moore to ask her about the team and her experience playing University Ringette.
Could you please first briefly introduce yourself?
I’m Zoe Moore, I’m a 4th year UW student. This will be my third year [on the ringette team].
How long have you been playing ringette and how did you start?
I’ve been playing ringette for eighteen years, since I was three years old. My mom played ringette, actually, growing up in North Bay when it was first developed. Then my older sister played, so then it was just kind of our family sport. A lot of families have hockey, we had ringette. So that’s how I got into it and I never really left.
Why did you want to play University Ringette?
My first year of university, I played [for Waterloo’s minor ringette association] U19AA for [coach Shelagh Rouse] in 2018. After that, me and [three other team members who attend UW] didn’t really want to play Open (adult level teams) because there’s no guarantee that you’ll find a team that practices every week, but we also didn’t really want to play [in the] NRL (National Ringette League) because it’s a really big commitment. So then we were like, “I think we want to make a university team,” because my roommate at the time also played ringette…and we knew there were some other ringette players scattered around the university. So we knew we could get [a team] together, it was just a matter of going through the process. We knew we wanted to continue playing ringette, but all the other options didn’t seem to really fit what we wanted.
Another thing we liked while we were making the team was that we have power now, we’re not just players. We’re part of the executive, we kind of get to make decisions. We got to have a little autonomy over what we were doing, which was nice.
Was it harder at first to find players, or to figure out how the team would actually operate?
I would say we had a core number of players at the start, like seven, so we were like, “We can build around this, but we can’t exactly play with this,” so I would definitely say it was harder to get players. Once we mentioned this team to Shelagh, we knew we had her on board right from the start. So then we rapidly emailed every ringette player we knew at UW and we were like, “Come play for us!” I think we had 12 people at [the University Challenge Cup] that year.
What does a typical season look like for the team?
We usually start in September, and we usually just practice for a month, get to know each other, do some team bonding activities. Then sometime in October or November we go to a tournament, which is our qualifying tournament [for the University Challenge Cup]. In our first year, we played in the Oshawa tournament in October, so we just go and play, [looking to] see how we do.
At the end of December, we go to the University Challenge Cup (UCCs). Every university team goes [to this competition], so it’s a really unique tournament. Every team has to go to a qualifying tournament, and then you get ranked in either Pool A or Pool B. It’s usually at least five games, and it’s really fun. After our first year, we just stopped after UCCs, and ended there, but other teams continued practices and went to Provincials, which is what we’re doing this term. We might do that in the future once UCCs is back up and running, but it’s up to what the team wants to do and what everyone’s commitment levels are.
What’s the biggest difference you’ve noticed between playing University Ringette and playing on a “regular” Regional or Provincial team?
The players are more knowledgeable when you’re at our age. We’ve played forever, we all know what we’re doing, it’s just making sure that we’re actually doing it. It’s nice when we’re at practice and the coaches say something, and then someone else jumps in. I find that’s a big difference because before, the coach-player dynamic is more like the coach knows everything, the player knows nothing, so just do what the coach tells you to do. Now it’s more like a collaboration where the coaches know that the players are knowledgeable and are letting them feed into things.
Is there anything that you think playing ringette has taught you?
So many things. Obviously teamwork. Ringette’s such a big teamwork sport, you need to use your teammates to go up and down the ice and score goals, and all these different things. I would also say seeing things from other people’s views. You can’t have a ringette team without conflict, so kind of taking a step back and thinking, “Why are they upset with me? I did what I thought was best,” and then looking at it from their point of view. So definitely seeing things from other people’s shoes, and again, teamwork.
Also, definitely work ethic. Even at the university level, I need to play my day so in-depth to be able to go to practice, finish all my work, all that stuff. So also time management, work ethic, making sure I get everything done.
What’s your favourite part about playing on a university team?
Definitely just meeting other people within the university. There’s people on the team that are four years younger than me, three years younger than me, and I would’ve never met [them], hung out with [them], done anything with [them], had I not joined this team. I find it funny too because I’m also an orientation leader, and it’s really strange because in orientation it’s a very big thing to be like, “I’m a leader, you’re a first year student, I need to pass my wisdom down onto you,” kind of thing. But then I go to practice, and it’s the same age difference, but I think, “You are entirely my equal and entirely my peer. I don’t need to teach you anything, we just need to work together.” So it’s really funny that I think they’re different things when they’re exactly the same.
Do you have a favourite memory from your time on the team?
I’ll actually say the Oshawa tournament. I got really sick before UCCs and didn’t get to play at all. It was still really fun, but I’d just sit in the stands and watch. So I’d say the Oshawa tournament because I enjoy getting to play and not just watch. Especially because Oshawa was our first showing as a team…it was really fun to just go to a tournament as a team and play together, and show that we’re there to compete.
What are the team’s plans for the rest of the season?
We have about a month until we go to Provincials, where we’ll play all the other University teams, and hopefully compete and win some games, and have some fun.
Now that we’re finally back on the ice again, what are you most looking forward to?
Just playing! I haven’t played ringette in two years, [which is why] I’m so excited to just go out on the ice.
The ringette team will play against all the other Ontario University teams at the provincial championships from March 3rd-6th right here in Waterloo.