The World Club Championship (WCC) has been a long time coming to our sport, and today, November 5, 2008, it finally arrived in earnest. After one day of competition, we have learned a lot about our sport and about this event. Here is a look at what we know now, that we did not know yesterday.
The Cambridge Turbos cannot be intimidated
Head coach Glen Gaudet is a bulldog. He leads his team like one, and they simply do not back down from any challenge at any time. The Turbos have faced two very tough opponents today, and maybe the biggest challenge they faced was the intimidation factor of facing two very good teams that they had not seen before. In defeating both Espoo and Luvia, the Turbos have taken a stranglehold on the standings and the least familiar part of their schedule out of the way. It would have been easy for Gaudet and the Turbos to look at today and think that a 1-1 split would be a great accomplishment, but they set out for a 2-0 day and that is exactly what they got.
Elina Raesola was no fluke
Elina Raesola seemed to come out of nowhere to win the MVP honours at the 2007 World Ringette Championship last November. Even after that dominating performance in Ottawa, you could wonder if she caught lightning in a bottle for one week or if she was the real deal. You should immediately eradicate any doubts you may have had about Raesola. She is a scoring machine in a Luvia jersey, just like she was in a Finland jersey at worlds. Canadian teams have had to deal with Raesola when playing for Team Canada and the WCC is just adding to our pain!
Ringette people love ringette
No matter where you are, no matter who is playing, the passion of the ringette community shines through. Here in Sault Ste Marie we have a host committee, led by Joe ¨D’Angelo and Debbie Jo Linklater, which has gone well above and beyond any call of duty. We have Evelyn and Gloria Gaudet, the unsung heroes of Canadian ringette (and grandmother and mother respectively of Jenn Wakefield and Jackie Gaudet) in the stands, pacing nervously as they have done for hundreds of other games, but with just a little more focus, a little more intensity. We have the Calgary RATH shaking off a long trip and quasi jet lag to get here, struggling in their morning game, but getting it back together to come out on top against Richmond Hill in the afternoon. The passion is everywhere and it is getting very contagious here in Sault Ste Marie.
Winter has been delayed!
Would you believe we are in Sault Ste Marie in November and its 15 degrees and sunny? It’s not weather any of us expected when we packed our winter coats for the trip and we certainly didn’t think going outside to warm up from the chilly rink would be an option. All around it has been great weather, great hosts, great Italian food, great city, great ringette and a great venue.
We are onto something here
This of course is the inaugural World Club Championship. The teams, the host committee and everyone in the NRL have done a great job in getting this event off the ground and not only launching it, but also making it thrive. As with any new event or competition, there is some doubt as to whether or not we have done the right thing. Anyone who just witnessed the Cambridge Turbos come out on top against Luvia (5-2) knows that this event and this competition really are something special. The level of play is the kind of thing we thought we would only see every three years at the World Ringette Championship, and now we get it one more time, but with each team in its own colours, with the added benefit of being familiar with their teammates. The games are incredible and will likely only get better with a four-team logjam tied at 1-1 after the first day.