The Sweethearts Ringette Tournament is back in Kelowna after a two-year hiatus, with 72 teams and over 1,000 players ready to play some ringette.
“I think that this year the buzz around the rink has been bigger than ever because this is our first year back since 2020. With the tournament shutdown, everybody is so excited to be back again that our numbers are just as big as they have been for the years previous to COVID. The excitement in the rink and across Kelowna has been out of this world. We are thrilled,” explained Kelowna Ringette Association president Tessa Russell.
The U-14 Kelowna Vipers girls team entered the semi-final Saturday night hoping to find a win and gain some experience ahead of provincials.
“We haven’t had a tournament since December, and I think it really helps us get that feel of playing new teams that we might have to play at provincials, and it just really helps us get ready into that really competitive mindset again when we have provincials in a month or so," added Rielle of the Kelowna Vipers U14 team.
As the Kelowna Ringette Association continues to watch the sport grow right here in the Okanagan, they tell Castanet the Sweethearts fundraiser is crucial to keeping the organization alive, which featured a 50/50 draw and some gift basket options for auction.
“Absolutely important because those vital funds go into helping do things like create scholarships for our post secondary athletes, and also for development of our athletes like power skating. We put a lot back into the sport itself and it helps to keep our organization afloat … “I think we want to hit a goal of $10,000. That would be fantastic.”
The 2023 Sweethearts Ringette Tournament wraps up on Sunday with several finals being played throughout the day. You can catch the action live at CNC Kelowna.