By: Alayne Martell-Crocker
Web posted: 07:20:26 pm Permalink
The National Ringette League (NRL) is the showcase league for ringette in Canada. Officially launched in November 2004, the league has 17 teams in three divisions across Canada – a Western Division (eight teams), an Ontario Division (four teams), and a Québec Division (five teams). In addition to vying for league championship titles, teams in the NRL are also competing for a berth at the 2005 Canadian ringette championships being held from April 11-16, 2005 in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
The objectives of the NRL are to move ringette into the mainstream of Canadian sports activity, encourage greater public awareness of ringette, create more and better competitive opportunities for athletes, and achieve positive financial results at both a league and team level.
The NRL functions as a committee under Ringette Canada, the national governing body of ringette in Canada. It has an established Board of Governors which includes: Jim Dawson as president, George McKenzie as director of the Western Division, Glen Gaudet as director of the Ontario Division, Michel Savoie as director of the Québec Division, and Keely Brown as an athlete representative.
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During the 2003-2004 season, 15 teams participated in a trial NRL league that also had three divisions (Québec, Ontario and Western). The purpose of the trial season was to get teams up and running and prepare for the 2004-2005 season.
Athletes participating in the NRL are among Canada’s elite and include 25 current members of Team Canada, who will be competing at the world ringette championship being held in Sweden this coming November. Erin Cumpstone, catcher for Team Canada’s softball team who placed fifth at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens will also be on the Saskatoon Wild roster for the upcoming season.
Teams participating the NRL this season include: Western Division – Calgary RATH, Edmonton Edge, Edmonton WAM, Manitoba Ice, Manitoba Stealth, Regina Riot, Saskatoon Wild, and BC Reign; Ontario Division – Cambridge Turbos, Gloucester Devils, Waterloo Wildfire and Richmond Hill Lightning; Québec Division – B.L.L. (Bourassa-Laval-Lanaudière), Lac St-Louis, Montréal Mission, Cyclones de Québec, and Rive-Sud.