In today’s specialized world it is becoming more and more difficult for athletes to maintain a high level of performance in more than one sport. To excel at the highest level requires year-round training in that sport, as well as exceptional athletic ability. Ringette players continue to defy this trend – Elise Desjardins and Katie Lugg of the National Ringette League Gloucester Devils and Ottawa Ice are prime examples of this.
Elise started ringette at the age of five and has been a AA player with the Gloucester Devils for her entire ringette career. She has been to three National Championships and has made first team all-star. She was also a AAA player at the Ontario Winter Games. The same holds true for Katie Lugg of the Ottawa Ice … the difference being that Katie started her ringette career with Ottawa at the ripe old age of six! Katie has played in five National championships, as well as competing at the Ontario and Canada Winter Games (winning Gold in both) and has been a two time National Team member.
As well as being valuable members of their respective National Ringette League teams, Elise and Katie also co-captained the third ranked University of Ottawa Gee-Gees varsity soccer team this past year. The University of Ottawa women’s soccer program is one of the most successful varsity programs in the country attracting elite players from all over Canada. So it is no small feat to make this team, let alone be the captains. Together, the two combine to make up the left side for the varsity team, with Elise playing left midfielder and Katie playing left defender.
The sport of ringette has taught Elise and Katie many things, but perhaps the most important is the ability to play your best when the pressure is greatest. For example, in this year’s OUA (Ontario) Soccer Championships, Elise scored the game winning goal against a powerful Brock team to send her Gee-Gees to an unprecedented fourth consecutive CIS (National) appearance. As with ringette, it is extremely difficult to make it to the National Championships let alone four years in a row! The CIS Championships are held annually for the top eight teams in the country – 45 universities compete for those precious spots – with Ontario sending the top two teams out of a pool of 17.
Over the past three seasons, both Elise and Katie have been named Ontario University Athletic all-stars and Katie has also achieved second team All Canadian honors. They both attribute part of their success to the skills and experiences they have learned from playing ringette, including leadership, mental strength, confidence, and commitment.
It’s not unusual to find “dual sport” athletes like Elise and Katie in ringette. Many of their teammates also excel at two sports – including varsity and national level ultimate frisbee, varsity and elite soccer (the Gloucester Devils also have several Gee-Gee soccer alumni), basketball, etc.
Elise Desjardins and Katie Lugg are but two examples that exemplify why the sport of ringette and its athletes are unique.