(Kate Babineau has played ringette for the U19AA West Ottawa Wild since the team was formed in 2021. Kate has been named to play for Team Ontario-Ringette in the 2023 Canada Winter Games from February 18 to March 5, 2023 being held in PEI. Photos: submitted)
Kate Babineau has been playing ringette since age four where she learned the game with the West Ottawa Ringette Association. At that time, her mother had offered Kate the choice between hockey or ringette to learn how to skate and get a feel for the ice. Following her mother’s years of playing ringette, Kate was quick to choose ringette and immediately became obsessed. This is her thirteenth year playing the fastest sport on ice. Kate calls Kanata her hometown, where she is a grade 12 student at A.Y. Jackson Secondary School.
Kate doesn’t only play competitive ringette. She plays competitive soccer for the West Ottawa Soccer Club, as well as both volleyball and soccer for her school teams. She also finds the time to work as a banquet server at Aquatopia in Carp where she can choose her work schedule to accommodate her busy sports calendar and travel to play ringette. Not only that, Kate finds the time to volunteer. She shares her enthusiasm and experience with the West Ottawa U12A recreational ringette team when they practice for their weekly games. She also is present on-ice for the ‘Let’s Try Ringette’ events for those wanting to see what the game is all about. Kate shares, “I spend whatever free time is left with my best friends and family”.
Ringette takes up a significant part of Kate’s life, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. “The sport has been a part of my life for so long that it is the biggest part of my life – my social life, my active life, and even family vacations have centered around the sport! It keeps me active, healthy, surrounded by friends, and makes me want to do more and more!”
Enthusiastically, Kate relates her ringette journey to being named to play for Team Ontario. “I first started playing ringette when I was 4 years old and played for West Ottawa Ringette Association. 13 years later and I continue to play for WORA on the U19AA team. In October 2021 I joined the AAA ringette camp to compete in the Ontario Winter Games. From that, I was one of approximately 70 girls invited to try out for Team Ontario in April 2022. It was a lot of travel, dedication, and hard work and I was selected to the Team Ontario Roster in late May 2022. Since then, I have continued to travel all around Canada to compete in challenge cups and training camps, all leading up to the 2023 Canada Winter Games in PEI”.
We at Stittsville Central brought you the story when the West Ottawa Wild U19AA level team was formed and played their first game on October 30, 2021 against Nepean Ravens at the CARDELRec Complex-Goulbourn. In that game, Kate scored two exciting goals for the Wild.
Kate also shares some advice to future players, coaches, parents and the ringette community “I would encourage all kids just learning to skate – to try ringette. It is such a great team sport – that you will not only learn to skate, but you’ll make the best friends you’ll ever have. And remember – ringette is THE FASTEST sport on ice!”.
“It is such a small sport compared to hockey – which means the players I’ve played with since I started at age 4 – I STILL play with. The families and friendships make it extra special. Everyone at the Association knows each other, the parents know each other, and we have grown together over the years…I am very thankful to WORA, my coaches, and teammates over the years for their continuing support, teaching and friendship,” highlights Kate.
The opportunity to play for Team Ontario will escalate Kate’s leadership aptitude and hone her skills – it is a dream that has come to life. “I am mostly excited to play with this amazing group of girls. All of them contribute major parts to this team that make us a unit and being able to play with girls that are older than you teaches you so much and make you not only a better player, but a better leader. Team Ontario has been a forever dream of mine and being able to go to the Canada Winter Games to represent my province and WORA to compete with other talented teams is unreal. Being on Team Ontario so far has been life changing for me to develop as a player and a person. This is something that I will carry on for the rest of my life and will be forever grateful for.“
Of her life overall, Kate tells us, “Busy! Competitive sports, school, social life and family are a lot! But I wouldn’t have it any other way”.
Make sure you catch a game of Ringette – the fastest sport on ice – and cheer loud and often for Team Ontario and Kate. You can support Kate, coach Sheri Markle and Team Ontario through donations to their GoFundMe campaign to make their journey to the Canada Winter Games a success.
The Canada Winter Games will bring together 3,600 athletes, managers and coaches, across 20 different sports, for the largest multi-sport event in the country. Follow the Team Ontario Ringette team at https://www.2023canadagames.ca/sports/ringette.
The National Games first held in 1967 as part of Canada’s Centenary celebrations is the highest level of multi-sport competition in Canada. Ringette was introduced as an official sport to the Canada Winter Games in 1991 and as it happens in PEI. Alternating between summer and winter, they are held every two years. They are also the only national games that combine able-bodied, para and Special Olympic athletes in one competition.
Visit the WORA website to find out more about this non-contact sport. Ringette was first played in 1963 in Espanola, Ontario and has been designated a Heritage sport by Sport Canada.
Come out and cheer on the West Ottawa Wild U19AA team – you won’t be disappointed!