The Richmond Hill NRL team values the importance of giving back and promoting the sport that has given to them over many years. Many of us would not be where we are in the sport of Ringette today if it weren’t for the guidance and support of others. Dedication to the sport goes far beyond our own team practices and games. Playing Ringette at the NRL level requires much time and dedication and this season many of the Bolts have been dedicating their additional time to teams in their local communities. Inspiring the passion of the game and providing meaningful feedback for their athletes is only a fraction of why the Bolts do what they do.
This month, Players Lindsea Barbosa, Karen McWilliams, Chantal Gauthier and manager Emily Tilemans have had the privilege of being on the ice with the Whitby U12 Provincial team. Speaking with the players on and off the ice really reinforces why we are there. One player said ‘I really liked the instruction from the NRL girls as they gave different advice such as how to avoid penalties and demonstrated the triangle. It was a more vivid image. I really look up to them as they have succeeded in the sport.’ Another player told us ‘I loved having the Richmond Hill NRL girls come and run our practices. They gave us so many tips, tricks, and strategies. They are able to see our perspective on the ice and help us improve our game. I hope to one day play in the NRL.’ This experience is not only rewarding for the Bolts and the athletes, the appreciation from the parents is also very evident. A parent of the players said ‘Thank you to the Richmond Hill NRL players who came to my daughter’s Ringette practices, their leadership is an inspiration to our girls. It is important for these girls to have female role models who play Ringette at a high level to look up to.’ The Head Coach of the Whitby U12 Provincial team commented also, ‘Having Emily, Chantal, Lindsea and Karen from the NRL Lightening to our U12 practice will be one of the highlights of our season. Our players look up to the young ladies as mentors and will aspire to be like them as they continue their ringette career. Learning from a player who is in the trenches is just as valuable as any coach can teach them.’ It was such a pleasure for our players to have the opportunity to work with the Whitby Coaches, players and parents. We look forward to more opportunities to do so in the future.
Many of our players are involved in various organizations around Ontario this season. Assistant Captain, Kristin Johnston has been helping with the Central AAA Ringette team this season. She enjoys coaching because she feels good giving back to the sport that has given her so much. ‘Ringette relies almost entirely on volunteers so knowing all the positive experiences I have had with the sport I think it’s important to help create that for the next generation. I also really like coaching because it allows me to share my knowledge and experience with younger athletes who share the same passion.’ Veteran Carling Munro volunteers with the U16 AA team in Richmond Hill and this is her second season with the team. We also have Lindsea Barbosa who has worked with the Whitby U12, Whitby U16, running SORC camps for a U14 & 16 Ajax/Pickering team, and helps coach the U16 A’s Ajax/Pickering. ‘I volunteer with teams because I think it’s important to give back to a sport that has given so much to me. I also want to be able to share my knowledge and passion for the game to inspire young players. By doing so, I believe this helps promote not only the sport, but the drive to want to compete at the NRL level.’