Team goes 6–1–1 in round-robin, defeats Western 5–4 in the final
After years of coming close, the University of Ottawa’s ringette team finished 2016 on a high note, battling eight other schools to bring home gold at this year’s University Challenge Cup.
Since 2012 the team has finished no worse than third in the tournament, but the gold medal had eluded them up to this point. This season, they finally broke through, securing gold in the final against Western with a score of 5–4.
Since the tournament, held at the University of Guelph this year, has been largely dominated by western universities for the last couple years, this was the first time two Ontario teams met in the final.
The team went 6–1–1 in round-robin play, including a 6–6 draw against Western, the team they would eventually meet in the final. The U of O squad entered the gold-medal matchup against Western looking to redeem themselves for two consecutive finals losses.
Human Kinetics student Alyssa Mainwood, who was one of three unofficial co-captains this year, played in the National Ringette League before joining Ottawa’s team this year. She credited putting team play over individual performance as a key to their victory.
“We had played about nine games in four days, so (the final) was our ninth game, and we were all exhausted,” said Mainwood. “It was important to come together as a team and play together to make that work because without each and every one of us, then it wouldn’t have been a victory.”
After falling short to western teams like Calgary and Alberta in past tournaments, it was a great accomplishment for the team to finally get the gold. Though she was not there for their defeats in previous years, Mainwood understands how monumental this victory is for the team.
“They’ve been very close to winning, they’ve always been a little bit short in the finals against a team out west, and I know for them it was a great accomplishment to finally (win) in the finals.”
Head coach John Packman is considering retiring this year, as his daughter is graduating from the team, so it was a fitting send-off for him to finally capture the gold after bringing the team so close for years.
“He was just so excited and so proud,” said Mainwood. “He was happy that he finally got to win and he can retire from coaching finally satisfied.”
Packman is looking towards retiring from the team this year and to possibly hand over the baton to Mainwood, who would like to return to the team next year in either a playing or a coaching capacity.
As the team celebrates its hard-fought victory, it looks towards a new season with hopes of maintaining its newly acquired title through the same great team atmosphere that brought them to victory in 2016.