The NRL Wildfire held their year end celebration on Saturday at the home of co-captain Lindsey Vivian in Mitchell.
The 7th Wildfire season had ended unexpectedly early this year after losing a heart-breaking best of 3 playoff series in Quebec City (both games were 3-2 losses) in early March following a seventh place finish in the 12-team NRL Eastern Conference schedule. A series win would have meant a short trip down the road to Cambridge for the NRL Championships.
Co-captain, Bryanna Kelly led the Wildfire awards parade with two, MVP and Top Centre/Forward. The Top Goalie was Amanda Voisin while Cathy VanOosterhout took away the Top Defence Award. The Rookie of the Year award went to Brianna Thompson and fellow rookie Heather Statham won the Most Improved Player award.
Certificates of service were presented to each team member, the longest service coinciding with the team’s history of seven years. 2 players, Shelly Kraemer and Tara Gross, and team GM, Gerry Kraemer, all were recognized for their 7 years of service to the Wildfire.
Head Coach, Doug Miners, in a short speech to team members and friends and relatives of the Wildfire, called his first season at the Wildfire helm "a learning experience" and promised to be "a little tougher on everyone next season". He also suggested to the players that they come to tryouts in late August "in top shape" if they want to win a spot on the 2011-12 Wildfire following the pickup of several rookies in the NRL Southern Ontario Division entry draft coming up in July.
The final highlight of the day was a presentation by the three co-captains, Vivian, Kelly and Amanda Somerville to retiring forward, Shelly Kraemer who, in addition to her 7 years with the Wildfire, has played on Waterloo Ringette teams from Bunnies (in 1985) to the NRL. An emotional Kraemer said "I will really miss playing with you guys but I hope to be out to see you next year".