Ringette players from Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan gathered in Regina from January 4 – 6 to participate in the 30th Jim Benning Ringette Tournament.

With a total of 42 teams competing, there were around 600 athletes of different ages on the ice at the Co-operators Centre. Some teams came as far as Fort McMurray, Alt.

“It’s good to face teams that aren’t in our normal pool, so other provinces and cities,” said Georgia Brickwood, a player on the Fort McMurray Fusion.

The sport, while not always highlighted, is consistently popular in the city.

“We have around 650 players in our league,” said Jayda McMillan, president of Regina Ringette.

While it looks similar to hockey, those involved say the only similarities between the two sports are the ice, the gear and the penalties.

“The rules are probably more similar to basketball or lacrosse than they are to hockey,” said McMillan.

Although males and females take part in the tournament, Jim Benning, one of the tournament’s founders, said the event was started to give young girls a chance to get on the ice.

“The boys always had hockey tournaments. They enjoyed them and it was good that way,” said Benning. “We thought the girls would like something similar.”

It started with only eight teams. This year, there are 42.

Benning said the tournament gives players and coaches a chance to learn from each other, which keeps the sport competitive.

With kids as young as five picking up the game in the city, Regina Ringette hopes to see the tradition of the Jim Benning Ringette Tournament alive for years to come.

Based on a report by Stefanie Davis.