The season is in full swing and we continue to think things. As usual, we’re going to put these thoughts down and share them with you. Mark your calendars, thoughts will be posted on the second Wednesday of every month. Chances are you are thinking things too, so don’t hesitate to share your thoughts with us on Twitter (www.twitter.com/nrllnr) or fire us off an email at NRLchatter@nationalringetteleague.ca
1. I think the new rules this year are making a difference, but already teams are adjusting. In the first week of the season, games averaged 21:34 in penalty minutes. Week two – it went up to 24:26, but by week three the penalty rate started to go down again back to about 21:00 per game. The new rules and the new emphasis on physical play have made a difference, but these are the best players in the country and they are catching on quickly.
2. I think there is some evidence of a changing of the guard at the top of the scoring stats. For the month of October, the leading scorer was Morgan Jones of the Manitoba Jets, followed by Andrea Ferguson of the Prairie Fire. In fact, of the top ten scorers from last season, only Stephanie Seguin and Julie Primard (both of Montreal) were in the top ten for the month of October.
3. I think we learned a lot about our NRL teams through the 19 Teams in 19 Days series that just finished up last week. If you missed any, the profiles can all be found in the archives on our site: http://www.nationalringetteleague.ca/league–news–s10952/t–archives–en
4. I think that it is rare to have an expansion team start a season 3-0. Having two expansion teams start 3-0 in the same season is actually kind of crazy. But, both the Atlantic Attack and the LMRL Thunder swept their opening weekends to go 3-0. The only team that we can find that really came close were the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer who went 2-0-1 in the first three games of their first season.
5. I think Julie Primard, Julie Blanchette and Jennifer Wakefield all passed a milestone at the beginning of October. They all made it a full year between games in which they failed to get at least one point. For a full year now, if any of these three suit up for your team, you are guaranteed at least one point.
6. There was some concern going into this season in Calgary as the RATH had to deal with some pretty impressive off-season losses to their roster. But the RATH now have three players in the top ten in rookie scoring (Amelia Hradsky, Emily Webb and Christianne Varty). It looks like it is a matter of reload, not rebuild in Calgary.
7. In the east, Lac St Louis Adrenaline and the Atlantic Attack are both off to very good starts, giving them some breathing room to make the playoffs this season. One of the secrets to their success may very well be that they are simply staying out of the penalty box. Both teams are below 10 penalty minutes per game and are among the east leaders in that category. Ringette is easier to play with five skaters on the ice instead of four (or worse yet, three).
8. I think there are a lot of sister acts in our league. So many in fact, that we will be running a periodic (meaning, when we remember to do it) standings of the top scoring sister combinations. The rules for this race? Any amount of sisters count – if your parents foolishly had one son to go with the two daughters – not our fault. Points only. If your parents failed to talk your sister out of being a goalie – also not our fault. So, with the stuff that is not our fault cleared up:
Gaudet-Wakefield (Jackie and Jenn) – 35 points
Seguin (Karine, Stephanie, Annie-Pier) – 30 points
Ferguson (Andrea, Ainsley) – 29 points
Pepper (Jessica, Genevieve) – 28 points
Love (Kyrie, Jenna) – 25 points
Lugg (Carrie, Katie) – 18 points
9. I think that Jayme Simzer of the Ottawa Ice had a very good ringette day on November 5. On the ice, she notched eight points in two wins over the Atlantic Attack. Off the ice, she was featured, along with teammate Carrie Lugg in this feature in the Ottawa Sun. A day to remember!
10. I think these are my non-NRL thoughts for this month:
a. I think that November 15th is a new big day on the ringette calendar. On that day, we will be conducting a draw to determine how many teams from each province will be at the Tim Hortons Canadian Ringette Championships (each province gets at least two, if they enter that many teams). Twenty teams will be competing at the CRC in both the U16 and U19 divisions. More teams, more players, more competition, more ringette…more fun!
b. I think (I know) it warms my heart to see the anti–Nickelback backlash being mounted in Detroit. The Canadian rockers (who are terrible) have been booked for halftime at a Detroit Lions game, and the NFL fans (with taste) are opposing their appearance with all they have.
c. I think that Movember will be the death of our Executive Director, David Patterson. Log on to the Movember website and make a contribution to help defeat cancer. The fact that it will make Dave look foolish for a month is a nice bonus!