The Waterloo Wildfire kicks off its 11th season in the National Ringette League this coming Saturday at 7pm in Richmond Hill vs the Lightning at Ed Sackfield Arena.
Waterloo will be presenting a new-look squad in hopes of returning to the NRL Championship Tournament next March 29 – April 4 in Wood Buffalo, AB after a strong season-end performance in Regina this past April.
Team Canada centre, Emily Bakker, came over to the Wildfire in a summer trade with Richmond Hill. The Mitchell, ON native has played in 105 games over the past 4 seasons in the NRL (with Cambridge and Richmond Hill) amassing 318 points, including 156 goals. She will centre a line with two other Mitchell Ringette graduates, Wildfire twin sophomore forwards, Josie and Robin Scott. Josie was last year’s NRL rookie of the year.
The Wildfire will also have 3 rookies, acquired in the July entry draft, to complete the new look. Forwards Tori Duncan and Taryn Collins will play beside veteran centre Bryanna Kelly (7th season). Both graduates of the Waterloo U19AA team, Duncan was the first overall draft pick in this year’s draft. Goalie Madison Desrochers, an Ottawa native attending the University of Guelph, will share duties with Hailey Moore back for her 3rd season with the Wildfire.
Head coach, David Duncan, will head up the Wildfire bench staff in his first full season behind the bench, having taken over the team in early January last season. Asked about the upcoming season, Duncan replied "The players and coaching staff are anxious to start the season. The strong returning core of players and strategic new additions (via the draft and trade) combine for excitement throughout the team about the upcoming season."
Veterans, Tara Gross (forward, 11th season), Lindsey Vivian (forward, 10th season) will play with sophomore centre Breanne Hutchings. The defense will be anchored by Waterloo native Shelagh Rouse (8th season) and Heather Statham (4th Season). Other defence pairings are Kristin Bortolon (6th season) with sophomore Josslyn Denstedt and sophomores Danielle Duncan and Jennie Wilson.
Commenting on the Wildfire’s 7th place ranking in the NRL’s first monthly Elite 8 rankings last week, GM Shelly Woodley stated "To last season’s year-end team performance we’ve added fuel to the fire".
The team also features 4 players from Mitchell (Vivian, Bakker, Robin & Josie Scott) and 2 pairs of sisters (the Scott twins) and (Danielle and Tori Duncan).
Waterloo’s home opener is Sat November 1, 6:30pm at RIM Optimist in Waterloo against the Lac Saint-Louis Adrenaline, following a neutral site home game in Oshawa earlier in the day vs Le Royal de Bourassa.