Two main aspects highlight the prospects of the Waterloo Wildfire’s upcoming 12th season in the National Ringette League – major changes in personnel and 20 games to be played outside of Waterloo.
Not playing from last year’s team for various reasons – school, work careers, injuries, retirements – are Lindsey Vivian, Tara Gross, Emily Bakker, Heather Statham, Hailey Moore and Tori Duncan (on Injury Reserve as she recovers from a recent college rugby injury). New to the team are forwards, Sammy McIntosh (6th season in NRL), Jill Schouppe and Lana van Frankfoort, defense, Carley Heimbecker, and goalie, Emily Ferguson, as well as assistant coach, Glenn Ferguson. They will join returning centres, Bryanna Kelly (8th season) and Breanne Hutchings (3rd season) forwards, Josie Scott, Robin Scott (both 3rd year) and Taryn Collins (2nd year), defense, Shelagh Rouse (9th season), Danielle Duncan (3rd season), Kristin Bortolon (7th season) and Jennie Wilson (3rd season) and goalie, Maddy Desrochers (2nd season); head coach, David Duncan, and GM, Shelly Woodley (both in their 3rd seasons) as well as assistant coach, Mitch Desrochers (2nd season) are also returning to the team.
Scheduling quirks – 2 requests from Ontario Western Region towns for neutral site games as well as league requests to accommodate distant travelling teams and/or “confrontation” type weekends – will result in the Wildfire playing only 8 of their 14 “home games” on their home ice in Waterloo with the other 6 becoming “road games” in various locations around SW Ontario including Oshawa, Richmond Hill, Cambridge, Forest and Mitchell. Four of the 20 “road games” will be played in BC in January.
Asked for his thoughts on the upcoming season, head Coach Duncan replied, “I am excited about the season ahead. We will have one of the youngest teams in the league but, with a strong core of experienced players coupled with a very capable group of 1st, 2nd and 3rd year players, we expect to compete well in every game. In addition, player chemistry is already evident which will, no doubt, provide a positive and productive environment for the players.”
The Wildfire begins its season on the road in the Montreal area October 17 and 18 with 3 games: vs Lac St Louis Adrenaline, Rive Sud Revolution and Le Royal de Bourassa. Waterloo’s first home game is slated for Saturday Oct 24, 6:30pm at RIM Optimist in Waterloo vs the defending NRL champions, Cambridge Turbos.