By: Alayne Martell-Crocker
Web posted: 08:00:54 pm Permalink
The National Ringette League (NRL) today announced its Elite Eight rankings as of the end of December, as well as December’s Player of the Month. With all three divisions of the NRL well into their game schedules for the season, the competitive picture is beginning to emerge. The Ontario division of the NRL boasts two entries in the Elite Eight despite being the smallest of the leagues’ division. The Quebec division also contributes two teams in the rankings, with the Western division rounding out the list with four entries.
Games in November and December were difficult to gauge with many of the elite players of the league being tied up with their National Team commitments. Twenty-two players from NRL teams were part of Team Canada that competed at the 2004 World ringette championship, capturing the silver medal.
National Ringette League Elite Eight as of December 31, 2004:
Rank (Ranking last month) – Team name – Division
1 (–) – Cambridge Turbos – Ontario
2 (–) – Edmonton Edge – Western
3 (–) – Gloucester Devils – Ontario
4 (–) – Manitoba Stealth – Western
5 (–) – Lac St. Louis – Quebec
6 (–) – Edmonton WAM! – Western
7 (–) – Calgary Rath – Western
8 (–) – Montreal Mission – Quebec
The Cambridge Turbos debut atop the rankings based on an impressive 14-1 record in the competitive Ontario Division of the NRL. Cambridge has already defeated the third and fifth ranked teams this year. The team’s only loss on the season was to the eighth ranked Montreal Mission.
The second ranked Edmonton Edge, playing in the Western Division, have put together a 7-1 record to date, playing in the same division as three other ranked teams. Their schedule only gets more difficult in the coming weeks as they face teams rejuvenated by the return of National Team players, including the Edmonton WAM! and the Calgary Rath who both lost roster strength due to the World ringette championship.
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December’s Player of Month comes from the Gloucester Devils (3) with Katie Lugg, a commerce student at the University of Ottawa and youngest member of Team Canada, taking the inaugural honour. Lugg has notched an incredible 24 goals and nine assists in the first 14 games of the season.
Katie Lugg – Gloucester DevilsOther finalists for the award included Andrea Ferguson of the Manitoba Stealth (4) who has registered 10 goals and 15 total points in the first 10 games for the Stealth, and Julie Lepine of Lac St Louis (5) who kept a torrid scoring pace, getting 30 points in only 16 games to date.
Coming up in the month of January, there are several marquee match-ups involving ranked teams. In the West, the battle of Edmonton heats up as the Edge (2) meets up with the WAM! (6) on January 7th. The Ontario-Quebec crossover schedule features the Gloucester Devils (3) and the Montreal Mission (8) on January 30th as the Mission work to prove their victory over first place Cambridge earlier in the season was indeed no fluke.
“Elite ringette has arrived on the national scene,” said David Patterson, Executive Director of Ringette Canada. “With athletes like Katie Lugg, the league has a great base to work from, and outstanding young athletes to keep it growing and moving forward. Katie, Jennifer Gaudet, Julie Lepine, and Andrea Ferguson are the kinds of athletes who will propel the NRL into becoming the premiere women’s sport property in Canada.”
“Attendance is up in every NRL market and the neutral site and tournament games have been well received by fans eager to see the speed, skill and teamwork of elite ringette. Our NRL athletes are elite, accessible, and able to connect with fans. They do not shy away from being role models, and in fact embrace that role. It is because of these athletes that the NRL has such enormous potential,” added Patterson.