A decade of National Ringette League play for Lugg & McBride

It’s easy to understand why veterans Katie Lugg & Jenna McBride play such important roles on the Ottawa Ice NRL squad. With a wealth of experience, knowledge and passion for the game, they are true leaders on and off the ice. Both can be proud of impressive ringette careers, having played at an elite level their entire lives and representing our country as members of Team Canada at multiple World Championships. They truly are legends of the game.

Believe it or not, these two “mama Ferals” (as they are referred to by their teammates) have been playing together for 18 years! What makes the 2013-2014 season especially unique for this duo is the fact that it will be their tenth year of play in the National Ringette League. That’s right, Jenna & Katie have truly been around since day one! We took a few minutes after practice this week to ask them a few questions regarding their journeys, as well as their take on how the league has evolved since its inception.

Being part of the NRL obviously means a lot to both of you…
Jenna: The goal is always to promote our sport and get as many people to come watch the game; it’s really fun to be a part of it all. I truly hope more and more people come out and experience our great sport.

Katie: It means competing at the highest level with teammates I’ve been playing with my entire life and playing against teams from across the country, a lot of which I have friends on.

You two are role models for a lot of young ringette players and even some of your own teammates. What does this mean to you?
Katie: I don’t know about being a role model for some of my own teammates (laughs), even though Jenna and I are the oldest players on the roster. Here’s what’s so great about this sport – like me for example, I grew up idolizing so many players who were that generation ahead of me, and at the end of their careers I got the opportunity to play with them. It’s nice that some of the girls that I’ve coached, that my sister has coached, that Jenna has coached – we see them coming up through the system and they’re getting the opportunity to play with us now too. That’s one of the best things about ringette – everybody gives back, and everybody works together.

Jenna: Being the oldest players on the team, that always comes with certain expectations but it’s also fun to see the new younger players joining our team. I try to encourage and inspire them to be the future of ringette… So when we’re old and gone (giggles), they’ll keep making the game faster and better.

What sacrifices do you make to be elite level athletes? What do you do in your free time aside from ringette?
Jenna: Well I coach ringette, I ref ringette, I really don’t do anything but ringette. It consumes my whole life (more giggles). To be an elite athlete, in any sport, it takes commitment, sacrifices from your family, your friends. It means that when everyone else is going out on Friday night, you’re sleeping or in the gym or ready to go have a good training session the next morning.

Katie: I’m pretty active, I like to workout and keep fit, and I’ve been involved pretty heavily with competitive soccer. I definitely take some time away from ringette and do other sports. Other than that I just spend time with family, friends, get together with them to watch a hockey or a football game, and I try to get out of town on weekends we don’t have ringette.

How do you think the league has evolved since its inception?
Katie: There have definitely been a lot of changes; there’s been a lot of growth in the league since I’ve started. At my age, there were only four U19AA teams in Ontario for example, and now there’s more than twelve. Also, there’s been so much growth in this city in particular; we have three NRL teams within the greater Ottawa region and five Belle teams that we can draft players from now. Another great development in the league is that we get to play coast to coast, and that’s a great opportunity for ringette to be exposed.

Jenna: The league has fluctuated a lot over the years, but the quality of ringette that we play in every one of our games has increased by such a large amount. It’s really fun to be part of the NRL and play at such a high level.

Written by: Emilie Laviolette, Ottawa Ice