Ringette is a team sport played on an ice surface. Players are generally women, wear ice skates, and use 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 internationally in such countries as Canada, Sweden, Finland, France, and the United States.



A game consists of two periods 15-23 minutes each, depending on the level of play. In international play, three 20 minute periods are used.

Blue Lines

Players must pass the ring over each blue line to another player. They may not carry it over the line. If the ring goes over both blue lines, the opposing team must touch the ring before the attacking team may touch it again, similar to the icing rule in hockey, except that when the ring reaches the other end, the play does not stop, unless the attacking team touches it first. In this case play is stopped and the defending team receives the ring. In the case that the defending team delayed in touching the ring first (after a two line pass), the attacking team may touch the ring without penalty and play will continue.


Only 6 players on each team are permitted on the ice at one time, these usually being one center, two forwards, two defence, and a Goaltender. An exception to this is when a player gets a penalty, and must serve the penalty in the penalty box for 2 minutes unless very severe. The team will be "down" a player on the ice, while the penalized player serves the time. The minimum amount of players on the ice will be 4 (3 skaters and the goalie). A goalie may be substituted for a skater, also known as "pulling" the goalie. You may "pull" your goalie at anytime during the game. Players are permitted to substitute at any time during a stoppage in play, during a goalie ring, or "on the fly". Forwards may cross over the Ringette line in there end, if there are only two defence. There can only be three people in one zone, with exception. The exception being when a team is two players down, then you can only have two players in the defensive zone (and of course your goalie), and you are allowed ALL three players in the offensive zone.


Goalies are the only players allowed in the crease. If another player goes into the crease while carrying the ring, or touches the ring within 5 seconds of passing through the crease, possession of the ring is given to the other team. When a goalie makes a save, or possession is awarded to the defending team, it is called a "goalie ring". The goalie then has five seconds to throw or use the stick to pass the ring out to another player. The pass can go over the blue line without violation if the pass is with the stick, if it is by hand there is a 5 second delayed violation and if the same team picks it up there is a whistle and loss of possession and returned to the previous zone, and if the other team picks it up then the delayed violation is nullified. If the goalie does not pass it within 5 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 would result in a whistle with a loss of possession and possibly a penalty. If the goalie is "pulled" (to gain an extra attacker) and the play returns to that team's defensive end, one skater may become an acting goalkeeper (AKG). Once the AKG enters the crease she is then bound by the same rules as a regular goalkeeper.

hot Clock

While the team is in possession of the ring, without the other team touching it, they have 30 seconds to take a shot or they give up possession to the other team. The shot clock is reset when possession of the ring changes teams, or when the ring stops in the goaltender's crease. The shot clock is also reset when the ring bounces off the goal posts, even if the team who shot picks it back up. (Note: This rule is only applied in competitive levels, starting at the tween level ages 12-13)


Penalties in ringette have the same concept as in hockey, with the notable exception of body contact. Penalties are given for several different offenses, and are 2 minutes in length. Players must serve their penalties in the penalty box. Common infractions include: hooking, high-sticking, tripping, body-contact, slashing, interference, delay of game, and unsportsmanlike conduct.

A Major penalty may be assessed on more serious offences. Major penalties are four minutes in length and do not end upon the scoring of a goal. An unknown fact for major penalties is that if you showed intentional reasons to commit the minor penalty, you can be given a major. However, this is usually up to the referee to decide what is intentional and what is not. Common penalties in this are slashing, body contact, boarding, and unsportsmanlike conduct. Misconduct and Match penalties may be called for serious offences, and result in ejection from the game. If a penalty is committed while the opposing team is in possession of the ring, the play is not stopped until the penalized team regains possession. This is called a delayed penalty. A penalty is nullified if a goal is scored, with the exception of a 4-minute single infraction. If both teams are equally penalized, no penalty is not nullified.

A team is allowed two penalties at a time. If a team incurs more than two, the player sits in the penalty box, but the penalty does not start on the clock 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. The first player cannot leave the box until the second player's penalty has ended, and the second player cannot leave until the third player's penalty has also expired, the third player MUST wait until a whistle to be released from the penalty box (and if there are more players, follow that same sequence, but never having more than 5 players on the ice at a time, and only releasing extras during full stoppages). Again, if a team has two penalties they can only have 2 players in their defensive end zone, however the penalized team is allowed to have 3 players enter the attacking zone.


Required equipment for ringette is:
* ringette stick (only for players)
* skates
* shin pads
* protective girdle
* jill strap (if padding in girdle is not strong enough)
* gloves
* elbow pads
* jersey
* regulation helmet with ringette facemask (must meet specific regulations)
* neck guard
*shoulder pads
* ringette pants or hockey socks

The ringette facemask is much like a hockey one except instead of squares there are triangles to prevent the end of the stick from entering the mask and injuring the player. One note of interest is that the sticks are not 'cut off' hockey sticks. Ringette sticks have tapered ends, sometimes with plastic tips specially designed with grooves to increase the lift and velocity of the wrist shot. A ringette stick is usually also reinforced because it must be able to withstand the bodyweight of a player without splintering - a ring carrier leans heavily on her stick to prevent opposing players from removing the ring. Hockey sticks are not designed to support such weight. Thus, using cut off hockey sticks would be a safety concern.

Compared to ice hockey

While obviously related to ice hockey, ringette is a different sport from ice hockey. In hockey, the difficulty is in puck handling. In ringette, the challenge is in catching the ring. To catch a ring, a player must stab through the hole in the ring with her/his stick, usually while the player is on the move. Rules in ringette reflect this difference by forcing more passing, making ringette a game centered around passing. As a result, players learn to build up teammates, instead of depending on one or two dominant players. The lack of puck-handling in ringette also frees up players to focus on skating, leading to potentially a very quick tempo game.

Levels of play

There are several levels of play in Ringette, categorized by age. They are:

::Bunnies 4 - 7 years, a beginner's program for young children::Novice8 - 9 ::Petite10 - 11 ::Tween12 - 13 ::Junior14 - 15 ::Belle16 - 18 ::Open- 19 years and older::Masters - 30 years and older

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 "19 years and older" up until the "Masters" level, which is 30 years and older.

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


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

External links

* [http://www.worldringette.com/ 2007 World Ringette Championship]
* [http://www.ringette.fi/ Finnish Ringette Association]
* [http://www.ringuette-rennes.fr/accueil.php/ Ringette France]
* [http://www.ringette.ca Ringette Canada]
* [http://www.ringetteusa.org/ USA Ringette Association]
* [http://www.sweringette.se/ Swedish Ringette Association]
* [http://www.waterlooringette.com/ Home of the Waterloo Wildfire]
* [http://www.zone5aaringette.com/ Zone 5 AA Ringette]

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