Ottawa Ice: meet the rookies!

Sarah-Lynne Begin and Paige Johnston may be new to the Ottawa Ice and the National Ringette League, but their passion and ringette talent have been shining since their very first days donning the purple and teal. Both are currently students at the University of Ottawa, and they know all about balancing ringette, education and everything in between. They are goal setters who are learning a lot and making an impact! Here, we find out a little bit more about their transition to the NRL and what they think might be the key to success.

What does it mean to you to play in the National Ringette League?
Paige: Playing in the NRL is a fantastic opportunity that I’ve been working towards for years. I’m so grateful to be playing with and against the best players in the country. I learn something new about the sport every game and I appreciate it that much more. Being on Ottawa has been amazing so far and the girls are all very nice!

Sarah-Lynne: Playing in the NRL means to me that I have pushed myself to achieve one of my goals by being able to compete against the top talented players in Canada. This means I am able to challenge myself when playing against them to improve and become a better player myself.

How do you get ready for a game? What inspires you to be at your best?
Paige: I like to listen to music before big games to pump me up. I try not to overthink the game and stay positive because after all it’s only a game and mistakes can happen. My parents inspire me to be at my best because I know that they want to see me succeed but if I don’t they are still positive and support me no matter what. They want me to have fun and that’s what life’s about!

Sarah-Lynne: I get ready for a game a long time beforehand. When I wake up I start thinking about the game, who we are playing and what I have to do to beat them. Before the game, I need to make sure I get a good warm-up in and be mentally focused. This helps me to be able to play at my best. What inspires me to be at my best would have to be achieving my goals. This makes me work hard when I’m frustrated or not focused because I remember that I want to improve and to succeed in my ringette career.

What’s the biggest adjustment you’ve had to make in your play so far?
Paige: My biggest adjustment has been my aggressiveness. The NRL is much more physical and the players are more aggressive than they were in Belle AA. So I’ve tried to step up my physical game and play the body.

Sarah-Lynne: The biggest adjustment would be playing with different teammates who have been playing at this level and speed for a long time.

What would you say to a younger player who aspires to play at this level?
Paige: I would say keep playing the highest level you can and train when possible. It’s fun to set goals and it’s rewarding once you achieve them. If you don’t achieve them at first, stay positive and try again!

Sarah-Lynne: I would tell a younger player that as long as they work hard over the years, they will be able to achieve their goal of playing in the NRL. As well, that they can never give up and they can achieve anything.

What has been your favourite moment or event since the beginning of the season?
Paige: My favourite moment this season was my first time experiencing a shootout (thank you Sarah G for reenacting each goal) and also getting my first penalty (for body contact!!).

Sarah-Lynne: My favourite moment since the beginning the season would have to be the first game of the season, because starting off the season strong and getting the feel of the level and speed of the game.