Ringette in Dieppe, a brief history

By: Paul Pineau, as told to Ringette Canada


“You want to know the history from the beginning? Okay. In 1989, we were living in Gatineau, Quebec. My daughter Tina, she was very young and started playing ringette there. 


We moved that year, I’m originally from [Dieppe] so we moved back. In the spring of ‘89, there was no ringette at the time in the Dieppe area, but there was in Riverview which is on the English side of town. Tina registered there, but being born in Ottawa and living in Gatineau, she didn’t speak a word of English. But she wanted to play, so we registered her with Riverview Ringette. I got involved a little bit, and the next thing I know I’m coaching a team. I didn’t have much experience with coaching, but we finished the year there. I thought, I like ringette, my daughter likes ringette, but I’m doing all this work in Riverview when I could be doing it at home in Dieppe. 


In the summer of 1990, I had five or six girls who were interested in playing in Dieppe, so I went to the City of Dieppe and told them I’d like to start a ringette association. And they said, ‘Ringette, what’s that?’ you know, so they said ‘Okay, no problem, but you’ll have to register with the Dieppe Minor Hockey Association.’ And I said no, not really, I don’t want to be in hockey. Ringette is a sport all it’s own, like any other, and are you really going to discriminate against a female sport? 


To make a long story short, I talked to someone in the City, Pauline Cormier, and she really liked the idea of ringette. She told me if I could get it going, we’ll see what we could do, get me a couple of hours of ice time. 


So I went to the primary school in Dieppe, with the arena right beside it. I went in to talk to the principal, and said I had a proposition for them. ‘You bring the whole school to the arena, and my 5-6 girls will go on the ice and play against the teachers, and we’ll introduce ringette.’ And that was how it all started. 


Within weeks the number went from 6 to 18 or 20 players. The City of Dieppe said well, it seems like you got it going, here’s your ice time. 


And it flourished from there. We played with the coloured sticks! It was great for Riverview, Fredericton, Miramichi, to have another team. I was busy with the coaching, the management, the representing, the whole nine yards.


The next year the Canada Winter Games were in PEI, I think it was 1991. I rented a van and we took the girls, and said we’re going to go watch some games in PEI. That was incredible, to see how the game was really played nationwide and gave us a big boost. I connected with two guys from Riverview, and we started the Riverview-Dieppe tournament to bring that kind of atmosphere around every year. 


We went from one team in 1990, to two in 1991. I knew we had a long way to go, skills and experience wise, so we started hosted ringette camps, because I wanted a team to make it to Nationals. I said maybe, in 25 years we’ll have a great team here, but it wouldn’t just be Dieppe. 


So I expanded out from there, helped out a group from Memracook, Shediac, Cocagne, Rogersville. All these places to start ringette teams, and then they built it from there. I started to get my coaching levels, aiming for Nationals. Which I did make it to, many times, along with three Canada Games.


From the beginning, ringette in New Brunswick has been growing together. After a few years, we knew we needed to grow outwards, and see what else was out there, so we started going to tournaments in places like Montreal. We brought that experience back home and made our teams better. 


After the 2003 Canada Games, I was burnt out and took some steps back. But other parents and people stepped up to get involved, and pushed it further to grow ringette in Dieppe. It’s been many years since I retired, but it’s still a part of our lives. The social part never goes away. 


My goal for years was to go to Nationals. How does it feel that Nationals is coming to me? It’s just wonderful, that it’s coming here. I’ll be there to celebrate at opening ceremonies with everyone. Despite challenges over the years, for girls around here it’s still popular, they still love it, and having CRC in Dieppe is just going to boost the profile of ringette around here more. We’re going to see a lot of great teams and players for years to come. 


To those people I say keep working, keep your dream alive, and it will keep on growing.”

Territory acknowledgement

While we are a proud Canadian organization, we acknowledge that our head office is located on traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishnaabeg People, and is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. Ringette Canada extends our respect to all First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples for their valuable contributions to this land. We are committed to moving forward in the spirit of reconciliation and collaboration.

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