When it comes to ice sports, most people think of hockey. However, another sport is gaining popularity, especially among women: ringette. Ringette is a fast-paced and exciting game that shares some similarities with hockey but also has several unique features that set it apart.
Ringette Different from a Hockey
One of the first noticeable differences between ringette and hockey is the equipment used. In hockey, players use a stick with a blade to handle the puck, while in ringette, players use a straight stick with a long, curved end to control the ring. The ring itself is a hollow rubber object with a diameter slightly larger than a hockey puck.
Additionally, ringette players wear a different set of protective gear compared to hockey players. While both sports require helmets, gloves, and shin guards, ringette players do not wear shoulder pads or a chest protector, whereas these are essential in hockey.
2. Gameplay and Rules
The gameplay and rules of ringette also have differences from hockey. Instead of the traditional offside and icing rules in hockey, ringette has a “free-pass line” located in each attacking zone that players must pass over before entering the zone to avoid offside calls. This promotes a faster pace and fluid style of play.
In ringette, the 30-second shot clock forces teams to make quick plays and prevents them from holding onto the ring for too long. This rule encourages constant movement and team coordination.
3. Lineups and Positions
In hockey, there are distinct positions like forwards, defensemen, and goaltenders. In contrast, ringette does not have specific positions but instead uses a more fluid player rotation system. Each team typically has six players on the ice, with players transitioning between offense, defense, and backchecking as needed.
This rotation-based system in ringette allows players to develop a wide range of skills, as they must be adept in both offensive and defensive situations.
Physical contact is an integral part of hockey, and body checking is often employed to separate players from the puck. However, ringette has strict rules against body contact, primarily to ensure the safety of players and promote a more inclusive environment. Ringette emphasizes skill, speed, and strategy over physicality.
5. Gender Inclusivity
While hockey is traditionally seen as a male-dominated sport, ringette offers a more inclusive playing field for both genders. Ringette was initially developed as a game for girls and women, and it continues to be predominantly played by them. However, in recent years, the sport has seen an increase in male participation as well.
Though ringette and hockey share some similarities, such as being played on ice and involving a stick and a goal, their differences are significant. From the equipment used to the rules and style of play, the ringette offers a unique and distinct experience.
Whether you’re a hockey enthusiast looking to try something new or a newcomer to ice sports, ringette provides an exciting alternative that is fast-paced, skill-oriented, and inclusive.