Ten Things I Think I Think – pre-season edition

The days are getting shorter, the rinks are getting cooler and the conditioning camps have started. It must be time to start up the Ten Things machine once again. The summer has been chilly in the west and the east, and really hot in the middle, which has nothing at all to do with the NRL.

I can only assume that you all have spent most of the summer wondering what the Ten Things would say next, so here we go…

1. I think that last year we were super excited about the fact that Tia Toko was drafted. Not because she is good (although she is), but because her name is indisputably cool. This year, the coolest draftee name has to go to Carolane Krutzfeldt Duplessis, picked by Rive Sud in the 1st round of the Montreal area draft. I mean, how cool is that name?

2. I think that the Montreal area draft had some big moves. Rive Sud picked up Le Royal de Bourassa’s (formerly BLL) all time leading scorer, Jessica Pepper and a 1st round pick in 2012 in exchange for Marie Eve Demers. Pepper will give Rive Sud some much needed scoring punch and Demers will bring veteran leadership to Bourassa. Ironically, at the draft table, Bourassa then selected Pepper’s younger sister Genevieve with their first selection.

3. I think that Lac St Louis is looking to load up for a playoff run in the coming year. The team has made some real progress over the past couple of years and has developed a real scoring threat in the form of Courtney Keeble and Joey Krygier. This could be the year that LSL makes the transition from building to competing.

4. I think that expansion is a good thing! For the NRL, this means two new teams this year. The Atlantic Attack, based out of the southeast region of New Brunswick will compete in the eastern conference. In the West, BC is back as the Lower Mainland Ringette League Thunder will join the league this season. Both teams are led by strong management teams and have a good base of players in their areas. With this expansion the league becomes, for the first time, truly a coast-to-coast loop. A great accomplishment for our sport!

5. I think that if you like ringette, you will see a lot of it in the coming years. In 2012, the World Under 19 Ringette Championships will be in London, Ontario and in 2013 North Bay will host the World Ringette Championships. Now, from coast to coast you can watch great NRL ringette at home, and you can also take in incredible international ringette over the next couple of years. It is a very good time to be a ringette fan in Canada.

6. I think that the World Ringette Championship is only getting closer and I also think that fact is not at all lost on Team Canada’s recently named head coach Glen Gaudet. Gaudet, who has an incredible 86-4-3 record with the Cambridge Turbos over the past three years takes over a team that was close in 2010 and will be completely focused on getting past the Finns in 2013.

7. I think that since we last had a Ten Things, Beth Hurren of the Richmond Hill Lightning was named the MVP of the 2010-2011 season. Anyone who knows Beth, or even has seen her play, knows that she is a driven athlete who started out good and got better over time. Congratulations Beth.

8. I think Jenn Hartley scored the nicest empty net goal I have ever seen in the NRL Championship game. Racing for a loose ring and the shifting back to the front of the net, Hartley simply made it happen, and sealed the victory and the national championship for her Edmonton WAM!.

9. I think the Cambridge Turbos and the Richmond Hill Lightning will have an exciting Christmas break. The Turbos and the Lightning will be heading over to Turku, Finland for the 2nd World Club Championship. Joined by three teams from the Finnish Elite League, the Turbos and Lightning will have their hands full.

10. I think that these are my non-NRL thoughts for the season:

a. Graduation year for Glee will be huge. The show could become truly epic or could completely jump the shark this year. I have no idea.

b. No matter how things ended up for Team Canada at the Women’s World Cup, Christine Sinclair’s goal against Germany was a jaw-dropper. The whole thing, played in front of 50,000+ also goes to show just how much demand is really out there for great women’s sports. We need more of this!

c. We often wonder how we can get more media coverage for ringette. One thing we probably don’t do enough of is recognize when it does happen.  Among others, Bill Doucet of the Cambridge Times and Tim Baines of the Ottawa Sun have covered ringette in-depth and consistently for a long time now and deserve a hat tip. Thanks Bill and Tim!