March 11, 2008 – With regular season play finished up, the National Ringette League has confirmed the teams that will now go on to compete in the inaugural NRL championship tournament being held in St. Albert, Alberta starting on April 1st. The NRL has also announced its final Elite Eight rankings, as well as February’s Three Stars.
Cambridge Turbos, Gloucester Devils, Montreal Mission, and Richmond Hill Lightning will represent the Eastern Conference at the NRL championship tournament. Both Cambridge and Montreal received a bye to the tournament after finishing first in their respective divisions, while Richmond Hill and Gloucester secured their spot during the Eastern Conference playoff series. Richmond Hill one a best-of-five series over Rive-Sud Revolution, while Gloucester beat Cyclones de Quebec in the same format.
Edmonton WAM!, Calgary RATH, Edmonton Edge, Manitoba Jets and BC Reign will represent the Western Conference after those five teams topped the standings in the west. An Atlantic team will round out the tournament, for a total of ten teams.
Tarin Scobie from Edmonton WAM! picks up February’s First Star after leading her team to six straight wins in February with 11 goals and six assists. Scobie’s teammate Keely Brown gets the Second Star nod for her instrumental performance in WAM!’s conquest for first place in the west. Brown was the first star in a thrilling 2-1 victory over Calgary RATH and she followed that up with a career high 40 saves in a 6-4 victory over city rival Edmonton Edge. Another goalie rounds out February’s picks, with Richmond Hill Lightning’s Lindsay McGill picking up the Third Star. McGill started in all five games during the playoff series and was instrumental in getting the Lightning a berth at this year’s NRL championship tournament.
There hasn’t been much movement in the final Elite Eight rankings. The top three teams continue to hold onto their spots, with Cambridge Turbos remaining in first, Edmonton WAM! in second and Montreal Mission in third. Calgary RATH moves up one spot to fourth after posting a 4-1 record in February and splitting their two final games of the season against Edmonton WAM!. Richmond Hill Lightning went 3-2 in February and drops one spot to fifth, while Gloucester Devils and Cyclones de Quebec both held their rankings at sixth and seventh respectively. Rounding out the rankings are previously unranked BC Reign. The Reign put in a solid performance during the last weekend of regular season play, which included downing Prairie Fire 6-4 in the determining game for the last spot at the NRL championship tournament.
“With regular season play finished up, excitement is now building for our inaugural championship tournament at the end of the month,” said George McKenzie, NRL chairman. “Competition has been strong across the league and while there are some clear leaders emerging, it will definitely be interesting to see how teams stack up against each other in this new end of season format.”
National Ringette League Elite Eight as of March 11, 2008:
Rank – (Ranking last month) – Team name – Conference
1 – (1) – Cambridge Turbos – Eastern
2 – (2) – Edmonton WAM! – Western
3 – (3) – Montréal Mission – Eastern
4 – (5) – Calgary RATH – Western
5 – (4) – Richmond Hill Lightning – Eastern
6 – (6) – Gloucester Devils – Eastern
7 – (7) – Cyclones de Quebec – Eastern
8 – (–) – BC Reign – Western