Ten Things I Think I Think – January 2013

Rivalry – noun – competition for the same objective or for superiority in the same field.

Ringette is a game and with that comes a whole host of rivalries. In this month’s Ten Things we take a look at some of the rivalries within the league. Obviously alot of rivalries come down to statistics, so we would like to mention that unless otherwise indicated, the stats we reference here are based on what is in our database, so not reflective of our first few seasons (which are not captured electronically).

1 – I think that the East versus West rivalry is one of the most obvious in our league today. In the early years, Eastern teams would only go head to head with their Western rivals at the year end event (CRCs or NRL Championship). But this season we have the privilege of seeing some crossover action in the regular season. 
A quick look at the East versus West stats:
Since the NRL Championship replaced the CRC Open division in 2008, the medal count is:
East – two Gold, four Silver, two Bronze, Total = eight
West – three Gold, one Silver, three Bronze, Total = seven
During crossover games so far during the 2012-13 season, here’s who has won as of January 30th:
East – three wins
West – 11 wins

So the East has a higher total medal count at the NRL Championship, but the West has more gold medals and currently holds more wins this season in the East versus West showdown. Anything can happen, and it all comes down to who can bring it all together in the end.

2 – I think that a little bit of sibling rivalry probably fuels an athlete’s inner fire at times. The Gaudet/Wakefield duo have found themselves on opposite teams for the past couple of years with Jackie in Cambridge and Jenn out of the west coast. We know they produced big numbers when they were teammates (giving each other a hand in the points tally). But what’s the production level when they find themselves on opposite sides of the country? 
Here are their regular season stats when on opposite teams (2009, 2011, 2012)
Jenn – games played: 63, goals: 97, points: 189 (average points per game: 3)
Jackie – games played: 76, goals: 159, points: 297 (average points per game: 3.91) 
So together or apart, they are still at the top of their game. But fingers crossed, we may get to see them reunited once again as part of our 2013 National Team.

3 – I think that like in most sports leagues, we have our own Battle of Alberta. The NHL has the Flames and the Oilers, the CFL has the Stampeders and the Eskimos, we have the RATH and the WAM!. (For the record, our team names are way cooler!). In head to head play (since 2009) the WAM! have scored 103 goals and pulled out 11 wins. The RATH on the other hand have scored 112 goals and came out on top 15 times. Total wins and goals, the RATH take it. But in Championship play (since the merge of the CRC and the NRL Championship) the WAM! have two Championship titles and one bronze, while the RATH have two bronze. So when it counts, and the big games are on the line the WAM! have ‘the Edge’ over RATH.

4 – I think that our nation’s capital is also the home to an ongoing rivalry. Ottawa versus Gloucester, enough said. Although the stats will appear to be one-side for the Ice, the rivalry is one that goes beyond the NRL. As neighbour associations in the National Capital region, these teams face-off on a weekly basis at all levels – so by the time they get to the NRL, the athletes are fully aware of what is at stake: bragging rights. Since we have kept stats on the NRL website, the teams have gone head to head 24 times, they have tied once and the Devils managed to pick up three wins along the way. The Ice have dominated this rivalry with 20 wins and finding the back of the net 124 times. But looking at the stats and scores in the past couple of seasons, the gap seems to be closing a bit. The Devils have gained some ground and are contenders to steal a few more points as the season progresses. Surely the surprising 5-3 upset they delivered to the Cambridge Turbos this past weekend shows that anything can happen. Word on the street is that the last time Gloucester beat Cambridge was in October 2007.

5 – I think that driving along highway 401, heading west just past Toronto you will stumble upon another one of the League’s top rivals: Waterloo and Cambridge. Similar to our nation’s capital rivals, the stats show it to be very one-sided. With 26 games played, the Turbos have fired 171 goals past their 401 rivals to pick up 23 wins. The Wildfire have replied with 79 goals and securing three wins along the way.

6 – I think that when rivals unite, the outcome can be golden! Just ask Team Canada East. With seven full time NRL roster players on their squad (in addition to a few affiliates) there was no shortage of NRL rivalries in the mix. Jessie Callander (Turbos), Jennifer Gabel (Devils), Poulin-Bélanger (Mission), Alexandra Lacharité (Le Royal), Jasmine LeBlanc (Devils), Martine Caissie (Attack) and Megan Gibson (Lightning) had to come together with their Conference rivals and pull out the big wins. Considering the prize that was at the end of the journey and the Maple Leaf they had on the front of their chest, I figure it was pretty easy to forget they were rivals and come together for the Gold.

7 – I think that one of the least obvious rivals in the NRL could be Montreal and Richmond Hill. But for those of us who were at the NRL Championship last year and who may have heard of their first head to head match up this season, the rivalry is pretty obvious. In their round robin match up at the 2012 championship, teams combined for 50 minutes in penalties. Throw in the fact that this included a couple of majors and a few unsportsmanlike penalties and you’ve got yourself an intense rivalry. Teams had the summer and fall to cool down from this circus-like game before they squared off once again in early November. This time they combined for 32 minutes and the game ended in a shootout. Is this an improvement? Yes. But it is clear that staying disciplined on the ice and out of the box (as Agnes Jacks used to say) could be the difference between a win and a loss at this stage in the game.

8 – I think that it’s lonely at the top. Just ask the BC Thunder. As defending NRL Champions, I am pretty sure every team in the League has them on their rival list. They hold the title until early April, and until then everybody is out to beat ‘the best’. The field is wide open and the title for the 2012-13 season is up for grabs. Who will have a ‘lonely season’ next year?

9 – I think that I have one non-rivalry thought to share this month. Hats off to all of the NRL athletes who competed at the U19 World Ringette Championship in London and then turned around a day of two later to take part in regular season NRL games. Most people would probably have taken a break and recovered for a couple days (or weeks), but the high performance athletes that you are pushed you to continue to compete for yet another weekend. I admire you all.

10 – I think these are my non-NRL thoughts:

1. I think that I cannot even put into word how great it was to see ‘Canada wins Gold!’ for the first time in ten years. Hats off to all of those who made this happen behind the scenes. Congrats and thank you to the athletes and coaches for bringing the title back to Canada.

2. I think that Samantha Belle and Junior Jacks are just plain cool! Having our Come Try Ringette characters come to life as part of the 50th anniversary celebration (www.ringette50.ca) is exciting. Keep your eyes open for your chance to snap up a photo with our new ringette mascots and did you happen to check out their bios to see who their favourite NRL players are?

3. I think, well actually I know that the U19 World Championship webcast were a hit! Over the course of the event, 9300 viewers tuned in. Now I think it is safe to say that in most cases groups of people gathered to watch the games. On the final day 2386 viewers tuned in on what was the most viewed day of the event. Thank you all for tuning in! A shout out to our commentator Lindsay Deveaux who was ‘the voice’ of the event and her helpers Terri Nosal, Sheri Markle and David Singh.

4. I think it was great to see Canada’s national newspaper, the Globe and Mail cover our sport twice in eight days (December 26 and January 3). It doesn’t happen often that our sport enjoys such high profile coverage, so a big shoutout and thank you to the Globe!