With their sights set on a return to the National Ringette League Championships next April in Saskatoon the Waterloo Wildfire started their 2009-10 tryouts this past weekend at RIM Park in Waterloo, their new home base for the coming season.
Under the watchful eyes of a reorganised coaching staff, many of the veterans of last spring’s NRL Championships in Charlottetown as well as the rookies picked up in the July NRL entry draft will be strutting their stuff each weekend for the rest of the month.
Newly appointed head coach, Robin Mahy, directed the first skate. Appointed in June as the head coach of Team Ontario for the 2011 Canada Winter Games, Mahy, who was a Waterloo assistant coach the past two seasons, has taken over the Wildfire helm from Derek Burger, who moves into a new role as director of player development for the team. Returning to the team as an assistant coach is Bonnie Kelly who will be joined by the new member of the bench staff, Jodi Walsh of Dorchester who has coached at both the AA and AAA level in Ontario’s Western Region. Gerry Kraemer, who has been with the team since it’s inaugural season in the NRL in 2004, returns as the Wildfire general manager and media rep.
Heading up the Wildfire rookies are first and second round picks, Sara Armstrong of St. Clements and Kerith Gordon, who hails from Nova Scotia. Armstrong played all her ringette until the end of her Junior days in Waterloo while Gordon is attending the nearby University of Guelph.
The Wildfire play in the four-team Southern Ontario Division of the NRL’s 12-team Eastern Conference. Cambridge, Richmond Hill and Whitby round out the division. There are six teams in the league’s Western Conference.
GM Kraemer sees it this way, "It will be a tough task to make it to Saskatoon  — the whole division is stronger than it was last year, so we’ll have our work cut out for us".