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A young girl playing Ringette

Ringette is a team sport played on a ice surface. Played primarily by females, Ringette requires the use of straight sticks to control a rubber ring; with the objective of the game being to score goals by shooting the ring into the opponent's net. It was introduced by Sam Jacks in North Bay, Ontario in 1963. It is played in countries such as Canada, Sweden, the United States and Finland.




Only six players on each team are permitted on the ice at one time, usually one centre, two forwards, two defenders, and a goaltender. However, a team plays "short-handed" (is "down" one or two players) when a player gets a penalty and must sit for a defined interval in the penalty box.

Players are permitted to substitute at any time during the game.

A team may "pull" the goalie off the ice and substitute an extra attacker. If the goalie is pulled and the play returns to that team's defensive end, one skater may become an acting goalkeeper (AGK). Once she enters the crease, she is bound by the same rules as a regular goalkeeper.

Blue lines

Players are not permitted to carry the ring over the blue line; they can advance the ring over the line only by passing it to another player. A player must not touch the ring on both sides of the blue line.

Players must not pass the ring over both blue lines at once. This violation is not declared if the defense next plays the ring. The goalie may throw the ring past the blue line but the team of the goalie must wait 5 seconds until they can touch the ring.

Free Play Line

The line at the top of the defensive circles is called the Ringette line. only 3 players from each team are allowed between the ringette line and the boards, plus the defending goaltender. if one team has 2 penalties (only 3 players plus a goalie) then that team is allowed only 2 skaters in the defensive zone (ringette line - boards) and 3 skaters in the offensive zone (ringette line - boards) Between the the two blue lines is called the neutral zone.


The crease is a zone in front of the goal mouth defined by lines on the ice. Goaltenders are the only players permitted in the crease. If another player goes into the crease while carrying the or not carrying ring, or touches the ring within five seconds of passing through the crease, possession of the ring is given to the other team.

When the ring stops in the crease, it is called a "goalie ring". The goaltender then has five seconds to throw or use the stick to pass the ring out to another player. The goalie can pass the ring beyond the blue line using the stick, but if she passes it beyond the blue line by hand, her team must wait five seconds before touching the ring. If the goalie does not pass it within five seconds, the ring is awarded to the other team for a free pass from one of the offensive face-off circles. The goalie may use the stick to touch the ring outside the crease, and can also pass through the crease, but may not pull it into the crease. This results in a whistle with a loss of possession and possibly a penalty.

Shot Clock

The team in possession of the ring has 30 seconds to shoot, or it gives up possession to the other team. The shot clock is reset when possession of the ring changes teams, when the ring stops in the goaltender's crease, or when the ring bounces off the inside of the goal posts. The shot clock is only applied in competitive levels, starting at the petite level (10 to 11).


Penalties in ringette have the same concept as in hockey, with the notable exception that body contact is not allowed. Penalties are of the following classes:

  • Minor penalties, such as boarding, charging, cross checking, elbowing, holding, illegal substitution, hooking, high-sticking, tripping, body contact, slashing, interference, delay of game, and unsportsmanlike conduct. The offending player must sit in the penalty box for two minutes, and her team plays short-handed. The penalty ends if the opposing team scores a goal. (If the defense is serving two penalties, the oldest penalty ends.)
  • A major penalty is assessed for serious offenses, generally involving intent to injure, such as slashing, body contact, and boarding. Major penalties are four minutes in length and do not end upon the scoring of a goal.
  • Misconduct and Match penalties may also be called. They result in a player's ejection from the game. The penalized team does not play short-handed on account of this penalty.

If the team not in control of the ring commits a penalty, play is not stopped until the penalized team gains control. This is called a delayed penalty. A minor penalty is nullified if a goal is scored during the delay, unless penalties of equal class were called on both teams.

A team can work off at most two penalties at a time. If a team commits a third penalty, the penalized player sits in the penalty box, but her interval does not start until the first of the other penalties expires (and so forth if there are more penalties). A team plays with a minimum of three skaters on the ice, regardless of the number of penalties. If freeing a player from the penalty box would give the team more players on the ice than it is entitled to (such as when the team is down to three attackers, but there are two other players in the penalty box), she will not be freed until a whistle stops play. During the stoppage, the team must remove one player from the ice to return to its proper strength.

A team with two penalties can have only two players (instead of the usual three) in its defensive zone. All three players may enter the offensive zone.


Required equipment for ringette is:

  • ringette stick (or goal stick for goaltenders)
  • hockey skates (or goalie skates for goaltenders)
  • shin pads (or goalie pads)
  • protective girdle or hockey shorts
  • over pants protection
  • gloves
  • elbow pads
  • jersey
  • helmet with ringette facemask (must meet specific regulations)
  • neck guard
  • shoulder pads - shoulder pads are mandatory up to the Junior level (14-15) then the players can decide wether they wish to wear them or not
  • ringette pants or hockey socks

The ringette facemask is much like a hockey one except the bars are situated so that the end of a ringette stick cannot enter the mask. (triangles not squares)

Ringette sticks have tapered ends, with plastic or metal tips specially designed with grooves to increase the lift and velocity of the wrist shot. A ringette stick is also reinforced to withstand the bodyweight of a player - a ring carrier leans heavily on her stick to prevent opposing players from removing the ring.

Differences from hockey

Ringette is related to ice hockey in equipment and playing surface, but differs in rules and approach to the game. In hockey, puck handling requires agility and concentration. In ringette, the challenge is in catching or "stabbing" the ring. To catch a ring, a player must stab through the hole in the ring with her stick, usually while the player is on the move. Once stabbed, the ring is easier to control than a puck is, but ringette's blue-line rules force more passing. This makes ringette a game centered around skating and passing. As a result, players learn teamwork; a team cannot depend on one or two dominant players. The lack of puck-handling in Ringette allows players to focus on improving their skating, which enhances the tempo of the game.

Levels of play

There are several levels of play in Ringette, categorized by age. Divisions were recently renamed as U* divisions under the new Long Term Development Plan (LTDP) rolled out nationally by Ringette Canada for the 2009-10 ringette season:

U9 under 9 years (previously called 'Bunnie' division, a beginner's program for young children, boys are also able to attend
U10 primarily 9 years (previously called the 'Novice' division, but younger age players i.e 7 or 8 years old with well developed skating skills can move directly into U10 division
U12 10 & 11 year old players (previously referred to as 'Petite' division)
U14 12 & 13 year old players (previously referred to as 'Tween' division)
U16 14 & 15 year old players (previously referred to as 'Junior' division)
U19 16 to 18 year old players (previously referred to as 'Belle' division)
18+ 18 years and older players (also referred to as 'Open' or adult division)

boys are able to attend any division but once in the older age they most start changing in different room. For each division you play 2 years except open and bunnies.

It should be noted that since the 2000/01 season, in Canadian National Championships, three groups of levels were combined to form one, Open. They were previously known separately as Open, Intermediate, and Deb. This level of play is for 18 years and older.

There are also different skill levels in Ringette in each level, such as C, B, BB, A, and AA. AA is the highest level, and C is the lowest. There are also Recreational levels. In the 2004/2005 season the NRL (National Ringette League) was introduced. The NRL is Open aged players at AAA level. The league showcased 17 teams in three different divisions; Western Div (8 teams), Ontario Div (4 teams) and Quebec Div (5 teams).

Recent development

Canada Post will issue four stamps in a series entitled Canadian inventions: sports featuring four sports “made in Canada”: ringette, basketball, five-pin bowling and lacrosse. The commemorative stamps will be issued on August 10, 2009. Invented by Sam Jacks of North Bay Ontario in 1963, the game of ringette was designed to emphasize skill and teamwork with no intentional body contact, the game of ringette was and remains a great sport. The stamp will feature well-worn equipment used in each sport—with a background line drawing of the appropriate playing surface.

World Ringette Championship results

The Sam Jacks Trophy is awarded to the winner of the World Championships.


The event was held in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Rank Nation
1  Finland
2  Canada
3  Sweden
4  United States


The event was held in Stockholm, Sweden.

Rank Nation
1  Finland
2  Canada
3  United States
4  Sweden


The event was held in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Rank Nation
1  Canada
2  Finland
3  United States
4  Sweden


The event was held in Helsinki, Finland.

Rank Nation
1  Finland
2  Canada
3  United States
4  Sweden


The event was held in Stockholm, Sweden.

Rank Nation
1  Canada
2  Finland
3  United States
4  Sweden


The event was held in St. Paul, Minnesota.Canada fielded two teams for the championships. One team comprised from the western provinces of Canada, and a second team composed of players from the Eastern Provinces of Canada.

Rank Nation
1  Finland
2  Canada East
3  Canada West
4  United States
5  Russia
6  Sweden


The event was held in Helsinki, Finland.Canada fielded two teams for the championships. One team comprised from the western provinces of Canada, and a second team composed of players from the Eastern Provinces of Canada.

Rank Nation
1  Canada West
2  Canada East
3  Finland
4  United States
5  Russia
6  Sweden


The event was held in Gloucester, Ontario, Canada. Canada fielded six teams for the championships. Five of the teams were various provincial teams, while the host city of Gloucester provided the sixth.

Rank Nation
1 Alberta Alberta
2 Flag of Ontario Ontario
3 Flag of Quebec Quebec
4  Canada City of Gloucester
5 Manitoba Manitoba
6 Flag of Saskatchewan Saskatchewan
7  Finland



  • Ringette Canada (Aug. 22, 2006). "Information about Stick Approval/Legal Sticks"

External links

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