Phase 1 of the Manitoba Winter games was held from March 2 to 5 in the cities of Morden and Winkler and the R.M. of Stanley.
The Manitoba Ringette Association was proud to have been a part of the event. The ringette portion featured teams from seven different regions of the province competing against each other in a round-robin tournament that led to playoffs and medal rounds.
The regions represented were Winnipeg East (aka Winnipeg Blue), Winnipeg West (aka Winnipeg Gold), Eastman, Interlake, Westman, Norman and the host community, Central. Each team was made up girls from many different teams, some of whom had never played together and some of whom played against each other in regular league play.
The round-robin portion was divided into two pools. One pool featured the two Winnipeg teams, Interlake, and Eastman with the other featuring Westman, Norman and Central. All the teams from the first pool went on to the playoff rounds, while only the first place team of the second pool went on.
Competition in both pools was very tight with more than one game ending in overtime.
After defeating Eastman, Interlake went on to face Winnipeg Gold in the final, from which Winnipeg Gold came away with a 10-4 win. Winnipeg Gold, who had a bye into the gold medal game, had an incredible game while Interlake showed how difficult it is to take the long way around to get into that game.
Probably the most amazing part of the whole tournament, though, happened after the final game.
The final buzzer had gone, the winner was determined but there was a delay between the end of the game and the medal ceremony which meant that all three medal-winning teams were waiting anxiously on the ice for a very awkward 15-20 minutes.
Parents had taken pictures, coaches had shaken hand, players had hugged but still there were no medals.
This is when the most amazing thing happened...
The Winnipeg Gold players sat down in a circle on the ice and started a singing game that all girls of this age are familiar with.
They then invited the two other teams over and pretty soon all three teams were sitting in a large circle holding hands and singing and laughing together!
It was such a beautiful sight to see these girls who had competed so hard against each other sitting together as friends and ringette players.
There have been many stories of late about the ugly side of kids sports but this amazing story reminds us all — parents, players, and coaches — that there is another side to sport and if we look for them we will see these types of things happening all around us.
Suzanne Dyck is a community correspondent for River East.