Excellence is seldom easy. It goes without saying that the more you practice, the better you get. The harder you push yourself, the stronger you become. For Calgary RATH captain, Christianne Varty, the opportunities to challenge herself and improve her game have been many, and the results undoubtedly show. Having played in the Canada Winter Games once, for Team Canada West in 2009, and the Senior National Team in 2013 and 2015, the 5-year NRL veteran has racked up quite the career at 23 years old. Unquestionably the greatest moment of it all being winning the 2013 NRL Championship as a part of the Calgary RATH. About that experience in particular, she says “It was Calgary’s first NRL Championship and there were a lot of challenges that season, so when Amelia Hradsky scored the winning goal in overtime I was so excited and so proud of the team.”
Christianne has been playing ringette for 15 years, and plans to keep playing for many years still. When not playing ringette, she is a full time student at the University of Calgary, finishing up her undergraduate degree in psychology with plans to head to graduate school in the fall. She shares that what little free time exists between school and ringette is probably going to be spent outdoors, skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer.
When asked what it is like to be a veteran on the RATH roster, she replied that she is extremely proud to play for the RATH and be a part of high performance ringette in Calgary. “We have been working to build our programs – coaching, sponsorship, community involvement, and performance – over the past few years and it’s exciting to see that coming together and making us a really strong franchise.” As for the league as a whole, she’s seen changes in how games are organized and played. “When I joined the NRL you started to see the West league catch up in terms of goals scored, previous to that the West tended to have much lower scoring games. We also didn’t used to cross into the East to play, which limited your chance to best prepare for the CRCs, in my opinion.”
In addition to captaining the RATH, Christianne also competed for Canada at the World Ringette Championships this year. Speaking about the experience, she said that it was physically and mentally demanding to play on Team Canada and in the NRL. “In the fall we flew to Ottawa for a Team Canada training camp and then back to Montreal 5 days later for a 4-game series with RATH.” Now, with CRCs on the way, she shares “my focus is on the RATH and I am excited to see what this season has in store for us. The RATH players are unbelievably supportive of myself and my other Team Canada teammates and it pushes me to work hard for them.”
Needless to say, Christianne Varty’s impact on and off the ice is a powerful one. The “C” stitched on her jersey a testament to motivating words at half-time and honest, genuine advice to teammates. Not to mention that she’s a defender to be reckoned with, playing the position with tenacity. “I love playing defense. The position is about anticipating what an opponent wants to do and forcing them to do what you want instead. It demands very consistent execution and forces you to be absolutely accountable for what you do, because if you’re not, then those mistakes can mean goals against.”
The Calgary RATH are incredibly proud of Christianne, for all she has accomplished and all she will no doubt accomplish in the future. She and the team are set to play their last home-game series against BC Thunder on February 20th and 21st.