The Gloucester Devils season is underway, winning 2 and losing 2. In their last game against the Lac St. Louis Adrenaline, they were challenged by outstanding goaltending served up by Sophie Gagnon, who faced 36 shots in the last 26 minutes, allowing only one Devil goal – on a power play, with two Adrenaline players in the penalty box.
Devils next game is a home game versus cross town rivals Gatineau Fusion at the Roger Senecal Arena in Ottawa, on Saturday, October 18th at 12 noon.
This year’s Devils squad differs from last season in that about one-third of the players have been replaced. NRL Devils have either moved to other towns for work, or find themselves in life situations that prevent a full commitment to the rigors of the NRL.
However, Head Coach Paul Youldon is pleased with this year’s draft which saw the Devils bring in Brianna Thompson, Jenna van Koppen and Alison O’Brien. Brianna played for the NRL Richmond Hill Lightning last season, scoring 29 points in 26 games. Brianna brings a maturity and many years of high level ringette experience to the Devils that help new players to the NRL. Jenna and Alison played Belle AA (U-19) last season for the Nepean Ravens who competed at the U19 World Ringette Championships in North Bay. Both Jenna and Alison bring a wealth of talent, energy and commitment to the Devils which will help the Devils defence.
Player turnover brings challenges and opportunity. New players help returning players to think about their role and their perspective on the game. Players learn not only from coaches, but also from team mates and by self-reflecting on their own competitive experience against NRL competition.
To deal with the “new” 2014-2015 Devils squad, the team held a training camp tryout at the Bell Sensplex in Ottawa which included ice practices to establish foundation tactics, class room coach and player discussion forums to get acquainted and to set group and season expectations. This was complemented by a team fitness workout “Greco Style”, a social with the right selection of food and beverage, and an exhibition game against last year’s NRL champs, the Ottawa Ice.
The Devils three draft choice will complement returning forwards Jen Gabel, Kaitlyn Youldon, Allie Biewald, Kelsey Youldon, Stephane Rheaume, Lauren McGonigal, and Abby Lewis. Veteran defenders include: Jessica Mainwood, Mélanie Vaillant, and Amanda Gour. The Devils are delighted to have Jasmine LeBlanc returning as their principal goaltender, who had a busy summer leading ringette goalie camps across Canada.
In concert with its home ringette association, Gloucester Cumberland (GCRA), the NRL Devils will continue their outreach program this season and engage with younger GCRA by leading ice sessions and holding interactive forums, helping the next generation of “little Devils.”