New Program Delivers Gym Ringette to the NWT

After a nearly 20-year hiatus, ringette is returning to the Northwest Territories. Participants living in eight northern communities will once again have the opportunity to discover the sport thanks to a new Ringette Canada initiative funded by the Government of Canada.

In partnership with Dehcho Physical Literacy, the program will offer year-round opportunities through Gym Ringette programs in schools and community centres, with the eventual hope of running on-ice programming. Gym Ringette is the most accessible version of the sport, particularly with pandemic restrictions limiting access to after-school and community programming. 

The goal is to increase the number of ringette players in the Northwest Territories, with special emphasis on boosting participation by Indigenous girls and women. Participants will benefit from increased physical activity and improved overall health.

“We’re thrilled to be working collaboratively with Ringette Canada to bring a quality sport program to the North,” said Thorsten Gohl, on behalf of Dehcho Physical Literacy. “We are always looking to increase opportunities to participate in different forms of sport and physical activity in our communities, both for the physical and mental benefits of an active lifestyle.”

Leading the program on site for Ringette Canada is Laurence St-Denis from Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac, Quebec. She has an impressive ringette resume, including multiple national championships, a Canada Games gold medal, and experience with two teams in the National Ringette League. Through a combination of virtual and in-person sessions, she will lead the hands-on sessions for participants in addition to training local coaches, teachers, and community volunteers who will continue the program. 

“Ringette Canada has been working on bringing ringette back to the North for a number of years so we’re excited to finally get this project underway to provide the opportunity for more participants to access our sport, ” said Erin van Gulik, Ringette Canada’s Sport Development Coordinator who has lead this project. 

“We are grateful for the dedication of our community partners as we have worked closely together to continually redesign the program to adapt to the realities of COVID-19,” added van Gulik.  

“The Government of Canada is proud to support such an important project for Indigenous youth in the NWT. The transformative power of sport plays an important role in creating stronger and healthier Indigenous communities. It builds self-esteem and leadership skills while allowing children and youth to grow and thrive—physically, emotionally and mentally. Congratulations to Ringette Canada and Dehcho Physical Literacy for their commitment towards Indigenous youth,” said The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canada Heritage.

Ringette Canada confirmed that the program will respect all community and provincial COVID-19 guidelines, including two weeks of quarantine as soon as St-Denis arrives in Fort Providence.

For more information on Gym Ringette, visit the Ringette Canada website.

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