By Sam Cortes, Communications Coordinator

There’s nothing like competing in an arena filled with cheering Team Toba fans! The ringette team is hoping to take to the ice in P.E.I with that energy, just like they did in 2019 in Red Deer. 

Find out what skill sets the coaches will be looking for in the final roster, and what exciting pre-Canada Winter Games events are coming up!


The Tournament

The Canada Games ringette competition consists of two pools, with round robin play within each pool. Then, a crossover game followed by playoffs. 

Part of what makes competing at this event so different from others, is the energy. 

In Red Deer, the ringette team had a large, spirited fanbase that came out to watch. Team Toba Ringette Head Coach Lynn Girardin is hoping for the same in P.E.I.

It was crazy. We actually stood in line [for] probably two hours before the one game. That was the game between Manitoba and Alberta. The lobby was packed, the arena was packed,” said Lynn. “It was an atmosphere. It was wonderful. I’m hoping for the same for these games.”  



To get ready both mentally and physically for a tournament like that, ringette athletes will be on the ice three times a week with two practices and one game. 

Closer to the games, that ratio will switch to one practice a week and two games per week.

“We have a variety of sports-related talks lined up for the athletes,” said Lynn. “Anywhere from mental skills training, to nutrition, to rest and recovery. That’s just to name a few.”

The team will also travel to three out-of-province, pre-CWG events to compete against other provinces. Those will be in New Brunswick, BC, and Quebec.

The fourth, will be held right here in Manitoba at the Seven Oaks Sportsplex in Winnipeg.

“Manitoba will host a Pre-2023 Challenge Cup over Thanksgiving 2022 weekend,” said Lainie Wintrup, Executive Director of Ringette Manitoba. “The top nine teams from across the country preparing for P.E.I. will be in Manitoba for the tournament.”


Team Toba Skill Sets

We asked Lynn what kinds of characteristics and skills they will be looking for in the final roster.

Hard-working, committed, willingness to do whatever it takes to achieve their goals,” said Lynn. 

Having a positive attitude and being able to adapt to new systems and playing styles is also important, she added.

“As we’re assembling a team of high level athletes, some of their roles may change, and being able to adapt to that is a huge asset. The evaluation matrix that we have put together encompasses a variety of technical, tactical, and non-performance-based skills, such as skating ability, game sense, and leadership skills. We’re not only looking for on–ice ability, but off-ice as well.”



Advice To Ringette Players

Both Lynn and Lainie have experience attending previous Canada Games, and have some words of wisdom for today’s athletes on their journeys to P.E.I..

Give it your all and do whatever it takes. Knowing that you put everything you have into this opportunity is all you can ask for. No matter the outcome, you can walk away with your head held high, and have the ability to say ‘I left it all out there.’ And enjoying every minute of the experience,” said Lynn.

Lainie advises to stay focused on your own preparation path.

“Work to control the variables that you can control,” said Lainie. 

If you have a moment where you didn’t perform to what you expected…

“Debrief it and move on,” said Lainie. “But don’t get caught up in the stress.”


New Opportunities 

Lynn went to the Canada Games as a parent during the 2019 games, and as an athlete throughout her playing career.

“I have had the opportunity as an athlete myself to play at higher level competitions. Sport has brought me so many wonderful memories that I cherish to this today, and being able to provide this to these athletes is a privilege,” said Lynn.

Lainie went to games in 2007 as Assistant Coach with Female Hockey, too. She said the energy of the entire event and the level of performance culture is something to experience.

“It just really allows you to push your boundaries a little bit more and elevate your own personal boundaries and limitations. It really enforces you to push past your potentially unperceived or perceived limitations. That energy really pushes you ahead… if you bring it in in a positive way,” said Lainie.

With lots of opportunities to encounter others outside of ringette, there’s also a chance to take home more than a medal.

“It’s really a great opportunity if you allow it to share best practices with others, take the opportunity to meet with other coaches, or other officials, or whatever your capacity is, and you might glean some information out of their experiences and their challenges and barriers,” said Lainie. “It’s a really high-performance-encased place to get more tools for your own personal toolbox.”

Lynn said it can be not until years later that you realize how great this opportunity is and what it actually means to you. 

To all the athletes participating in the games, take it all in. Enjoy every moment,” said Lynn. “So good luck to all the athletes, coaches, and organizers. Go Toba Go!”


Stay In-The-Know

Follow Ringette Manitoba on Facebook and Twitter, or visit their website to learn more about the 2023 Canada Winter Games.