The transition from U19AA to the NRL is a tough one; the NRL is faster, more intense, and more competitive. Every game matters, and in the words of Rachel Grant, a rookie on Calgary RATH this year, “the importance of every game leads to the most intense 4 periods I have ever played… The speed is at a totally new level.”
Rachel Grant, a defender for the RATH, has been playing ringette for 13 years. At 19 years old she feels lucky to have spent the majority of her life playing the game she loves. To her, playing in the NRL means that she is able to compete at the highest level of ringette in Canada. After playing the sport for over a decade, all the hard work and sacrifice throughout the years has paid off to get her where she is now.
Despite that hard work and dedication to the sport, Rachel doesn’t spend all of her time at the rink. “When I am not playing ringette, I am at the University of Calgary,” she says, “working towards completing my kinesiology degree.” Once she’s accomplished that, her goal is to attend physiotherapy school in the future. Between skating and studying, she manages to find free time to ski, usually over Christmas, or to wake board at the lake in the summer.
Having played ringette at a competitive level for a few years before the NRL, Rachel has learned to keep things simple when it comes to her pre-game warm-up. “I try to avoid any specific routines so that I don’t get unfocused if my routines don’t go as planned,” she explains. Instead of having a strict warm-up, Rachel prefers to spend a few minutes relaxing, using visualization to get herself ready. As for the post-game, her favourite snack is a protein drink or some banana bread to refuel for her next competition.
The NRL isn’t the only “big league” that Rachel has competed in either. “My proudest moment of ringette was being selected for the U19 Canada West team that competed at the 2012 Junior World Ringette Championships,” she shares. “I was 17 years old at the time and being selected as part of such a high caliber team was an incredible moment.”
Although a new player on RATH’s roster, Rachel is far from a rookie to the sport. Having medaled at the CRCs three times and been chosen to play on both provincial and national teams, she is a fierce competitor and driven athlete. The NRL has certainly gained a motivated player, and RATH is especially excited to have her join them this season.