© Dave Mathieson - Amherst Daily News
Eight-year-old Chloe Hunter (left), 10-year-old Erin Carr and Nine-year-old Jaya Pardy are finding fun and success playing ringette for the Memramcook Dynamite. They won medals at the 34th annual Tournament of Lakes in Dartmouth last weekend.
AMHERST - Ringette has never managed to find a strong foothold in Cumberland County but the sport flourishes in New Brunswick.
"There's about 100 girls registered for ringette in Memramcook," said Dana Carr.
Carr's 10-year-old daughter, Erin, plays with the Memramcook Dynamite under-12 girls team in the Ringette New Brunswick League. She recently returned home to Amherst from the 34th annual Tournament of Lakes in Dartmouth with a gold medal around her neck.
Sixteen teams competed in Erin's under-12 division, and Memramcook won all six of their games, skating away with the tournament banner.
Two other girls from Amherst, 9-year-old Jaya Pardy and 8-year-old Chloe Hunter, play in Memramcook with the under-10 girls. They competed in a 15-team, round-robin at the same Dartmouth tournament and won all three of their games.
Each girl won an MVP of the game award at the tournament.
All three girls started ringette three years ago in Oxford.
"They had a program in Oxford that had about a dozen kids from age 5 to 15, so there was no team or games," said Tammy Pardy, Jaya's mom. "Everybody worked on the basic skills but, without the numbers, it was hard to get the interest."
As a result, ringette is no longer offered Oxford and the girls moved on to play in Memramcook.
This is their second year playing with the Dyanmite and they've had lots of success.
Asked why Ringette is successful in Memramcook, Dana says, "It's the coaching."
"Ringette's been in New Brunswick for quite some time and there's a huge commitment from parents and coaches," she added. "There's five coaches on Erin's team and there's a lot of fathers who help out with coaching as well."
Jaya's father Larry said the entire community is very supportive of ringette.
"We had a bottle drive for ringette in Memramcook and people had their bottles out by the door and people were giving money if they didn't have bottles."
All three girls said they've made lots of friend and have lots of fun.
One potential problem is the fact that most of their teammates speak French, while they speak English.
"They are very accommodating," said Dana. "They instruct in French but will then instruct in English if it's required."
Both Jaya and Chloe are in French immersion at Spring Street academy, but Erin attends Cumberland North Academy, which doesn't have French immersion.
"Erin's not in French immersion but she's learned some French (in Memramcook)," said Dana.
Both Jaya and Chloe said their French skills have improved since joining the team.
They have team chants and songs.
"We sing French songs and English songs," said Chloe.
It's likely too late to register for this year, but the under-10 team and under-12 teams do need more players.
"There's two lines on Erin's team, so they appreciate girls coming in from different areas," said Dana.
The girls practice two times a week in Memramcook, and usually play one game on Saturday or Sunday against other New Brunswick teams.
More information can be found at www.ringette-nb.com/schedule-scores