You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Thu, Jan 3, 2013 : 5:15 p.m.

Ann Arbor girls hockey players take up niche winter sport, ringette

By Pete Cunningham

Girls ice hockey is a popular, and successful, sport in Ann Arbor.

Local teams might soon be geting some competition for their athletes, though.


Members of the Narwhals during a recent ringette practice.

Photo courtesy of Emily Bingham |

Local hockey dad Shawn Gates has started a ringette team in Ann Arbor. The sport is played on a hockey rink with many of the same rules as hockey, but as explained in a Found Michigan article, there are several differences -- most notably the replacement of a puck with a plastic ring.

Gates and his daughter, Chloe, discovered the sport after doing a drill at hockey practice that resembled the niche sport, which is played with a blade-less stick. Chloe wondered if the drill was in itself its own sport and after some online research discovered it is.

The Found Michigan article states that the sport started as an alternative to hockey in Canada for girls before girls playing hockey was widely accepted. The Gates' have recruited some of Chloe's hockey playing friends and recently started a team, the Narwhals.

Though the Narwhals won't likely be competing in major tournaments anytime soon, there seems to be no shortage of fun being had in learning the obscure Canadian game of ringette.


Pete Cunningham covers sports for He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @petcunningham.


Shawn Gates

Fri, Jan 25, 2013 : 4:03 a.m.

Ann Arbor Parks & Recreation is now offering drop-in Ringette at Buhr Park Ice Arena on the following Fridays: Jan. 25, Feb. 15, Mar. 8, 15, 22, 29. All are 4:30 - 5:45 pm. These sessions are all ages and for both women/girls and men/boys. Ann Arbor Ringette will be there to give a brief overview of the rules and to provide a few sticks for people to borrow. Sticks are limited in number so if you have one, bring it. A hockey shaft with no blade will also work. Cost for residents is $6 for adults and $5 for kids. For non-residents it's $7 for adults and $6 for kids. For more info, check out the Parks & Rec Facebook page: or the Ann Arbor Ringette Facebook page:

Shawn Gates

Sat, Jan 5, 2013 : 1:31 a.m.

Ann Arbor Ringette is happy to announce our next Come Try Ringette FREE event for girls ages 5 - 18: Saturday, February 23 3:15 pm - 4:35 pm (with parent meeting afterward) Ann Arbor Ice Cube 2121 Oak Valley Dr. Ann Arbor, MI BRING A HELMET! You will not be allowed on the ice without one. Ringette, hockey, skateboarding, bicycle, etc. will do. We will provide sticks, skates and FUN! All skating abilities are welcome! Please show up at least 15 minutes early to sign-in and get ready. Parents and participants are welcome to stay afterward for a short meeting to learn about our program. Spread the word!!!! We want more players!!!! Questions? Email: or check our Facebook page (


Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 5:30 a.m.

While some Ann Arbor girls play informal ice hockey, another womens team played formally on behalf of the UofM: Michigan's women basketball team (12-2) beat Indiana (9-5) tonight at Crisler Center by a score of 65 - 48 to open their Big Ten season. According to Sarah VanMeter's article at, Senior forward Sam Arnold scored a career-high 17 points, while Senior forward Nya Jordan had her first double-double of the season, scoring 14 points and adding 12 rebounds. Also scoring in double digits was Senior guard Jenny Ryan who dropped in 11 points, along with eight rebounds and a season-high nine assists. Michigan's final lead was achieved at 5:04 remaining in the first half and the lead increased to as much as 20 points late in the second half. The Lady Wolverines next Big Ten game is against Iowa (12-3) on Sunday (Jan. 6) at noon CST in Iowa City. Iowa began its Big Ten season with a 77-71 OT at home victory over Ohio State.

Shawn Gates

Fri, Jan 4, 2013 : 3:49 a.m.

Thanks for the article! The rules are actually VERY different from hockey. They give the basics in the video that you posted. We will be holding our 2nd spring Come Try Ringette event in late February. This is a FREE event and is open to girls of all ages. Details are being worked out now. I can comment here when I have them. People can check our website (, our Facebook page ( or can email as well. My daughters and I have really fallen in love with this sport and hope we can get more people interested.