Three young ringette players from North Delta and their teammates brought home a gold medal from the 2018 B.C. Winter Games last weekend.
Madison Maichin, Abbi Krzysztofik and Keeley Willams were part of a composite team consisting of 15 players from various local ringette associations in the Vancouver-Coastal zone.
The girls were joined by fellow Delta Ringette Association players Alexandra Zed (Ladner) and Makayla Anderson (Richmond), as well as coach Lisa Cadeau (North Delta) as the team traveled to Kamloops and faced off against seven others in the under-15 age category between Feb. 22 to 25.
Vancouver-Coastal won the gold medal in a close final match against a team from the Fraser River zone.
The team’s success, Maichin said, was largely due to the bonds they forged with one another, despite having only five practices together prior to the tournament.
“We had a really good connection,” said the 15-year-old centre. “I think it showed in the end, in the final score.”
Maichin said it was hard to say goodbye to her teammates once the trip was over.
“It’s really sad,” she said. “Everyone plays for their own teams in the area, and some people might not see each other in a while, or ever, so it was kind of bittersweet.”
Krzysztofik, 14, who played defence for the team, said ringette is an integral part of her life as it fuels her personal growth and is a chance for her to make new friends.
“[Playing ringette] allows me to make new friends from, not just Delta but, say, from Burnaby or Vancouver,” she said. “It allows me to have connections between multiple girls around the Lower Mainland.”
The team enjoyed bonding with players other teams at the tournament as well, Krzysztofik said, particularly at a tournament social event where players stayed up dancing until 11 p.m.
“We all kind of enjoyed having a chance to mingle around with the other [teams] and talk, and sing and dance,” she said, noting that many of the players enjoyed singing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” the theme song for the tournament.
Krzysztofik said she made an Instagram post after winning the gold medal where she reflected on her coaches and the many lessons she has learned from them over the years.
“Work hard. Never give up. Push through it. Focus, and believe,” she said, reading aloud from the post. “Those are the words that made me the player I am and got me to where I am.”
Lisa Cadeau, the team’s head coach, said she was impressed the team managed to gel with one another so quickly.
“It’s a hard thing to do with the format that we’re given, with the limited ice time that we have,” she said, adding that she particularly enjoyed watching her players forge those new bonds.
“That’s probably the best part about it is just watching them develop friendships with players they don’t really know but they’ve maybe played against for quite a few years.”