In Alberta, more young men are embracing ringette as their ice sport of choice

In Alberta, more young men are embracing ringette as their ice sport of choice
Mon, Jan 21: Ringette is traditionally known as a female sport. In fact, that s who it was invented for. But as Lisa MacGregor reports, more male players are taking to the ice, embracing the game.

Ringette is typically known as a sport for women. It was even invented in the 1960s for girls to have a sport to play on the ice when they weren’t allowed to play hockey.

Now, some male athletes are dropping the puck for those ringette rings in Alberta.

Noah Clason, the goalie for the U19 Calgary Northwest NA ringette team, is one young man flipping the script behind the mask.

“I never played hockey, I only started (ringette) because my sister was on a team and they needed a goalie. It’s a lot of fun, I enjoy it,” Clason said. “My team really like it, really like having a boy goalie, [it’s] just something different.”

Clason isn’t alone either.

Evan Coolidge, a U19 netminder for Bowview Riot, got tired of chasing pucks and playing defence, so he made the switch to rings.

“I was playing hockey as a defenceman and I kind of got bored of it. I wanted to play goalie, but it was a bit too late to switch,” Coolidge said. Ringette needed goalies, so I thought I’d give this a try and fell in love with it.”

Coolidge has seen a handful of boys joining at a younger age too and the logistics are as easy as girls crossing over to hockey.

“I get changed in a flex change room and then I go into the change room (girls locker room) when everyone’s dressed and we’re ready for a team talk,” Coolidge said.

The addition of young men to ringette rosters in Calgary has been a huge help for teams, especially in the crease.

“I’m pretty comfortable with it,” said Taylor Dillenbeck, forward for Noah’s Angels ringette team. “It’s really cool to finally have a goalie full-time because it’s hard to get girls to commit to the position because it’s difficult.”

Players have some interesting thoughts on playing on a co-ed ringette team.

“A girls locker room, the vibes in there, I’d say, are a lot more positive and less competitive than guys and it’s more welcoming,” Coolidge said.

The emotional difference between both sexes works well together on the ice, according to Dillenbeck.

“I think some of the boys get more frustrated but will get over it faster and the girls, it will just play with them and get in their heads all the time,” Dillenbeck said. “I feel the same way that I feel as when there’s a girl in net. It’s the same game, we still shoot on him the same. Just because he’s a boy, doesn’t mean we play any differently around him.”

While primarily a female sport, out of the 30,000 registered players across Canada, 700 of them are male. More than 6,500 athletes play ringette in Alberta and 126 of those are male.

Coolidge was influenced to join the league after seeing other men playing the sport.

“I thought it would be a good idea because I saw other guys playing ringette and I thought that’d be kind of cool,”
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