Ringette celebrates landmark 50th anniversary with epic 50-hour game

Having provided generations of young girls with the opportunity to compete at the rink before women’s hockey was part of the cultural norm; ringette celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013. While ringette celebrations were held throughout Canada with charitable events and/or All-Star Games, one celebration earned headliner status, 50-hour game in Bow River, Alberta.

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The Indus Recreation Centre served as the backdrop for one of the most historic events in the history of the sport. Organized by the Bow View and Indus Ringette Associations, the 50-hour contest involved players from various parts of the province, including Airdrie, Calgary, Cochrane and Okotoks, to name a few. Accomodating players of all ages, a total of 263 individuals participated in the game.

While the event was meant to celebrate the anniversary of ringette, it also generated attention through social and television media. With free admission to the public and a legion of volunteers donating their time, Global Television brought a film crew to the event. Logistically, challenges included rescheduling league games and ensuring that draws and raffles, which helped to finance the event, were organized. Graeme Allison was the chair of the event committee and prouldy stated to the Calgary Herald that ringette is truly a Canadian game.

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Invented by Sam Jacks in North Bay, Ontario, ringette was originally developed with girls in mind. The first-ever game was contested in Espanola, Ontarion as girls used a hockey stick with no blade while attempting to put a rubber ring past a goaltender in order to score a goal. Future Canadian National Women’s Hockey players such as Judy Diduck and Cherie Piper would compete in the sport in their younger years. Of note, Diduck is actually enshrined in the Ringette Hall of Fame.

After the passing of Jacks several years ago, his widow Agnes continued to have a presence in the sport. Up unitl her passing in 2005, she would attend numerous provincial championships along with the national championships held every April. Appropriately, the world championship trophy is named after Jacks with Finland as defending champions.

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