Ringette Alberta holds provincial camp at Genesis Place
By: Lucas Punkari
| Posted: Thursday, Apr 10, 2014 11:43 am
Both arenas at Genesis Place Recreation Centre were buzzing with ringette players from all over the province on April 4 to 6, as Ringette Alberta hosted its second annual RAB Challenge.
The development camp, which is for girls born in the years of 1999, 2000, and 2001, featured 190 athletes who took part in practices and games on the ice, along with dryland training sessions and classes about nutrition and mental health.
“Last year we had the camp mainly for those under the ages of 14, but this year we had it more structured when it came to those that were taking part, so that we can better align it with the Alberta Winter Games format,” Ringette Alberta’s Athlete Development Coordinator Kristen McWaters said.
“By having everything done in a short timeframe, it gets the girls used to what it’s like to be playing with different girls and have different coaches than they are used to,” she added. “If the players here are lucky enough to go to an event like the Alberta Winter Games in the future, they already have that experience of being in an environment like that.”
Having been held in Cochrane last year, the event was moved to Airdrie this year, with the twin-rinks at Genesis Place being a major benefit for Ringette Alberta.
“We’ve pretty much had the rinks to ourselves for the entire weekend, and that worked out nicely for us,” McWaters said.
“It’s right off of the highway and all of our hotel facilities are close by, so this has been the best place for us to have the event.”
“Having everything in one area is the only way that you can really do it,” Calgary based Coach Mike Good said. “The facility here is fantastic and it’s a lot easier to have everything under one roof instead of driving around town trying to go from place to place.”
For the players, such as Sherwood Park native Kaitlyn Smibert, the weekend proved to be a fun experience, even if things happened pretty quickly.
“There were times that I felt like I was really busy, but I was having a blast the entire time,” Smibert said. “I was able to meet a lot of new people, including girls that I would only know from playing against them at tournaments.”
“I think coming here is something that will help me in the future, especially when it comes to my mental health,” she added.
“Those sessions that we had about that were very interesting to me and I think I learned a lot from it.”
Although the location for next year’s RAB Challenge will not be determined until later in the summer, McWaters said that Ringette Alberta will more than likely consider bringing the event back to Airdrie at some point in the future.
“With all of the great feedback that we have had from players, coaches, and parents who were here this weekend, it’s something that we will keep in mind for sure,” she said.
“Whether that happens in 2015 or a few years down the line though, that remains to be seen.”