From Russia with … ringette

Burlington’s Kayla Kowalsky is changing her nationality … but only for a week.

The ringette player will become a “Russian” from Dec. 28 to Jan. 3 when the 2012 U19 World Ringette Championship takes place in London, ON. Ringette Canada explains why Kowalsky and several other Canadian players will represent other countries during the tournament.

Four teams participated in the 2009 event – Finland White, Finland Blue, Canada East and Canada West. For the 2012 event, Ringette Canada has added three teams to those listed above – Team Russia, Team France and Team USA. Because these countries are currently developing ringette programs and are unable to support teams at the elite level, this is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate their initiatives.

Team Russia is comprised of mostly Ontario players, Team France has primarily Quebec players and Team USA athletes are mostly from Western Canada.

The U19 World Ringette Championship is an International Ringette Federation event. Finland White currently holds the world title after defeating Canada East at the inaugural U19 World Ringette Championship held in Prague, Czech Republic in 2009.

Ringette is a Canadian sport that was invented in 1963 in North Bay, Ontario by the late Sam Jacks. There are currently over 29,000 players on more than 2,000 teams across Canada with over 2,400 officials and 5,000 coaches. Internationally, it is played in half a dozen other countries. Additional information is available at Ringette Canada’s web site: