Alannah McGruer | Women’s Ringette
Spencer Van Dyk | Fulcrum Staff
“Meet a Gee-Gee” takes a look at the people under the jerseys. Whether they’re varsity athletes or otherwise, we ask the players questions you want answers to. We get the dirt, straight from the horse’s mouth.
MEET ALANNAH MCGRUER, a fourth-year science major and captain of the women’s ringette team. In honour of the team’s recent silver-medal accomplishment at the Canadian University and College Ringette Championships, McGruer gave the Fulcrum the lowdown on ringette vs. hockey, and reflected on her time with the team.
The Fulcrum: What is the biggest misconception about ringette?
Alannah McGruer: A lot of people, hockey players specifically, tend to think it’s a sissy sport. There’s no checking against the boards, but there’s still a lot of body contact, and it’s still quite an aggressive sport.
What differentiates ringette from hockey?
You have to pass over the blue lines. The whole strategy is different, because in hockey you can take the puck from one end of the ice to the other without even passing. I find in ringette there’s a lot more communication with your teammates, because you’re forced to pass to them over each of the blue lines. Ringette has zones too, so you’re only allowed three players in each of the zones, offensively and defensively.
What position do you play?
That’s kind of a funny story. I’ve always played forward in the past, but have been switched a lot recently. Mostly this year I’ve been centre and defence, so I kind of get moved around. We’ve had a few injuries, so I’ve kind of been playing all positions except goalie.
What is your fondest memory on the team?
We have a really fun rookie party! It was great, because we have a lot of girls that have come from different associations, so we all hovered in little groups, but once we got to really hang out in a more informal setting, and not in the setting of the sport, I found we bonded a lot more off the ice, and I actually think it strengthened us as a team.
Does the team have any pre-game good-luck rituals?
Usually we’ll do goals, so in the change room, everyone will go around and say what their goal is for the game. As a team, it’s pretty standard. Myself and two other girls, we have a little handshake that we do before the game, because we all used to be forwards together, and we always have something to remind us to shoot. We say: “don’t be afraid to shoot,” so we keep doing that before the games.
Which school is your biggest rival, and why?
In the league, the only other university team we play is Carleton, and they weren’t in our division until this year. In other years, they were in a division lower, so I would say they’re our biggest rival. The other teams are mature women, so Carleton’s the only school team we really play consistently. They’re a good team too; we seem to go back and forth pretty evenly.
My teammates would vote me most likely to ________.
Eat cereal. I’m always eating really nutritious snacks, and they’re always saying that about me. When we go on tournaments, I always bring the cereal. That, or oatmeal.
What is the best part about being a Gee-Gee?
Developing friendships not only within the school, but in the sport context. It’s totally different than [playing in an] association, because you can actually see people on campus, and we’re around each other most days of the week. There’s that whole mentality of student athletes. We understand that we’re balancing school and sports.